2005 Adventure Cycling "Northern Tier" Bicycle Tour, Conclusion
This was my first Adventure Cycling tour. I found it to be about as I expected.
Compared to touring on my own:
- Camaraderie of a group
- Route and maps are already done
- Low cost due to group purchase of food and camping
- Somebody else makes the reservations and handles the money
- There's someone to help if you get into trouble
The scenery on this tour tended to be concentrated at the beginning and
end. I suppose to some extent that's inevitable in a coast-to-coast tour,
but it sure seemed like we had an awful lot of miles in the middle with nothing
to look at but grass. I believe the Adventure Cycling Trans-Am and Southern
routes are probably a bit more scenic. (I'm basing this partly on my own 1996
tour which was roughly similar to the Trans-Am.)
- Inflexible route and schedule
- You tend to meet fewer people because you interact mostly with the group
- Possibility of personality conflicts (didn't happen to me on this trip)
- Serving on cook crew can be stressful for some of us "cooking-impaired" types
- Less adventurous -- Sometimes the best experiences are when things "go wrong"
We started with 16 riders, 13 men and 3 women. We ended with 9 riders, 6 men
and 3 women. All of the women made it but over half the men dropped out.
Would I do it again? No. I think next time I'll do the Southern route. :-)
Seriously, I'd like to do another Adventure Cycling tour. But there are so many
places in the world that I haven't ridden my bicycle through yet -- the AC
tours will just have to get on the waiting list. I will say that, for someone
new to self-supported touring, they are an excellent low-stress way to get your
feet wet (sometimes literally :-).
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