A little remedy for the expensive bike trip

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU THOUGHT about that big road trip? I've been wanting to ride the Southern Tier for some time now, but I've been denied either for health reasons or finances. Big trips are expensive, and there's a lot of leg work to be done before the rubber ever meets the road. And considering it's a 30-day tour--well, that's a big deal in more ways than one.

The solution for many is the over-nighter ride. They're cheaper, less planning is required, and by staying reasonably close to home, you can't get into too much trouble. 

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As soon as the weather gets a little more predictable, I'm planning an over-nighter from Jax to Clearwater Beach, FL--about 260 miles one way. I'll spend one night in Mt. Dora, and complete the ride the following day. I'll spend a day or two with friends, and if I'm feeling up to it, I'll ride home using a different route. If I'm not feeling up to the ride home, I'll throw my bike on Amtrak, it's a cheap and relaxing way home. My choice will be to ride home, but it's nice to know I have that option, without a lot of painstaking planning and budgeting. 

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So, even if that dreamed about long tour is out of the question right now, because of finances, job demands or family obligations, consider riding an over-nighter to a small town, or a park in your region. It's fun, you can meet some great people on the road and in towns along the way, and you can still get in some serious cycling and adventure. 


Long-distance cycling is a life-changing event

Advcycling1 LAST NIGHT I ATTENDED a very interesting presentation by Adventure Cycling Association. They’re traveling throughout Florida this week spreading their message.  Adventure Cycling is: “… America's bicycle travel expert, offering inspiration and resources for cyclists. We create bike routes and maps for our Adventure Cycling Route Network, lead bike tours, publish Adventure Cyclist magazine for our membership, work on bicycle advocacy projects such as the U.S. Bicycle Route System, sell bike gear, and provide bicycle travel information.” (Taken from their website.)

Adventure Cycling does great work
It was a free and informative meeting with about 50 or so attendees and a table full of tasty snacks that reminded me of a rest stop on some of the better organized charity rides. I wanted to hear what executive director Jim Sayer had to say, because I’ve personally found Adventure Cycling to be an incredible resource for bicycling and bicycle travel information. I’ve enjoyed their magazine, Cyclosource Online, their products catalog, and the Cyclists' Yellow Pages. In fact, I’ll soon be purchasing a set of maps for their Southern Tier route.
 
What I learned last night, was what a powerful advocate they are for cyclists. For example, they’re working hard on the U.S. Bicycle Route System. When completed this system of roads and trails will be for cyclists what the freeway system is for motorists. Imagine being able to ride anywhere in the country on your bike using a planned and well-marked route system!

You should think about joining
Adventure Cycling is headquartered in Missoula, Montana, and is the largest membership-based cycling organization in North America. Their purpose is to improve the world, and people's lives, by inspiring more people to travel by bicycle for fitness, fun, and self-discovery. As a nonprofit organization, all proceeds from tours, sales, and membership go directly back into supporting their mission and programs. 

I’ve been on some long rides, but I haven’t ridden across the country yet. That’s something I plan to do this year. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these gatherings, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as I did. Please check out the Adventure Cycling Association website, and consider joining. There’s a nominal charge for membership, but your dollars help cyclists and support cycling travel throughout the United States.

(This is an uncompensated endorsement for Adventure Cycling Association.)