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Questions To Ask Bike Touring Partners

November 6th, 2010 9 comments


Our bikes on bridgeA bike tour shared between friends can be a wonderful experience.

With a friend nearby, there’s always someone to celebrate milestones with and to help when the bike breaks or the storm clouds roll in. But best friends at home aren’t always best friends on the road.

If you want to start riding at 7am and your bike buddy loves to sleep-in, you could be in for more stress than fun.

We once cycled with someone who preferred to cover more than 100km a day and didn’t take very long breaks.

On the dykeCompared to our lounging lunches and more moderate 60-80km a day routine, the week that followed had more than its fair share of grumpy outbursts from both sides. Our friendship returned to normal after the ride, but our days together on the bike were sometimes very stressful.

A lot of this is about expectations. We should have asked more questions, and made sure we were riding with someone whose own style fit our routines (or at least that we were willing and able to adapt).

After that we put together this list of questions to ask potential bike touring partners.

  • How far do you want to go in a day?
  • How fast do you cycle?
  • How much money do you want to spend?
  • Do you prefer hotels or campgrounds?
  • How early do you get up?
  • What do you like to see on a tour (landscape, museums)?
  • Are you willing to wild camp?

What questions would you add to the list?

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8 Responses to “Questions To Ask Bike Touring Partners”

  1. Briana says:

    Great post! I would add to the list:

    How often do you want to take a rest day?

    Do you want to share food or cater for yourself?

    and, I know this may sound like a funny one, but
    Are you planning to carry any spare tubes?

    (we had a friend depart with us on a 1,000 mile leg through Eastern Europe with no spares! Luckily another friend had the same size tires and plenty of spares, very helpful when he flatted 3 times in one day!)

  2. Do you like to just cycle and get to your destination quickly to hang out there or do you like to take your time to see things along the way? I met a couple of people who were quite happy to arrive at the campground at 9pm.

    How often do you take a break during the day?

    I’ve pondered such a list many times on tour. There are just so many things you need to be compatible with otherwise it can be very stressful.

  3. Amaya says:

    I’d definitely check up on my potential partner’s skills as a bike mechanic.

  4. matt picio says:

    Another good question to ask is how tolerant are they of diversions? If you’re riding, and all of a sudden you see a lighthouse, or a museum, or the world’s largest ball of twine – is that person going to want to stop? Will they want to ride 8 miles off-route to get to it?

    Also, many people are good with riding apart from each other and either meeting at the agreed-upon place to stop for the night, or intermediate stops during the day to regroup. Others want to ride with someone all day. It’s good to know what the riding style of that person is, and whether it meshes well with yours.

  5. chris says:

    hi all i’m planning an around the world cycle trip to begin in the spring of 2013 and would idealy like to have a partner to cycle with does anybody know of a web site that i could visit for potential partners i’m based in britain

    • friedel says:

      I don’t think there’s any one website, but you can post in many forums. Try the chat boards of CrazyGuyonABike, Lonely Planet’s OnYourBike branch, Cycle Chat (very UK based)…

    • Mona says:

      So glad to see your post! My (independent) 28 year old son is planning a round the world trip starting spring as well, and is not the type to reach out, but I am. If you want to contact him, please let me know. He has a route in mind, but would like company, but just doesn’t want to take the time to find someone. I will send you his contact ifo if you want.

  6. I personally can tell what the others don’t like about me. I hate getting up early. When I decide to get somebody to bike with they always want to start early in the morning. That’s killing me. I cannot get over it. Don’t you people like to sleep:)

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