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Thread: Solo Touring?

  1. #1

    Solo Touring?

    Been planning a trip to Nova Scotia all winter long for late June, but my riding buddy can't get the time off from work. I'm really looking forward to the trip so I'm considering just doing it solo. I ride alone all the time on day rides, but I've never gone on an extended solo trip. Not sure if I'll get bored with only the voices in my head to keep me company. Even worse...what if I see something super cool and there's nobody else to witness it? What if I see Bigfoot? What if I crash into a ditch and lay there for hours before anyone notices the vultures circling? Anybody with a solo touring tale...good or bad? I've seen some excellent ride reports on ADVrider.

  2. #2
    Registered User donbmw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Monroe La.
    Never stopped me. Until the wife all my trips have been by my self. Except weekend trips and couple time meeting other riders going the same way for a couple days.
    1975 R90/6, 1980 and 1982 R65, !959 TR3A Triumph Car

  3. #3
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Olympia, WA
    I like solo touring, especially if I'm in a hurry.

    2012 Cross Country Solo


    No great stories from that trip, but then I didn't really slow down long enough.

  4. #4
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Olympia, WA
    If you're worried about crashing and getting stranded alone, get a location track like the Spot Tracker.

    Buy the extra Track Progress service and combine it with SpotWalla and your friends can see your location in almost real time.

  5. #5
    Intermediate Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Landenberg, PA

    Here is a link to an article I wrote on this very topic.

  6. #6

    Solo touring

    On my first solo tour, I was 1500 miles from home when an idiot turned left in front of me and totaled my bike. I was scared, alone, but not seriously injured. I now have a good story to tell and would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I have. I don't mind riding with 1 or 2 others but prefer to ride alone. I can stop when I want, where I want, or not at all. Go for it.
    IBA Number 49673
    Moore OK

  7. #7
    Registered User danners's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Arlington, Va.
    Quote Originally Posted by Newstar View Post

    Here is a link to an article I wrote on this very topic.
    Great article, Newstar. It is inspiring and your adventure sounds exciting. Thanks for sharing.

    Daniel aka "Danners" aka 189928

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eastern KY
    As for the crash alone in a ditch scenario- I have a whistle on my jacket. As for riding solo, many will attest to the fact that it's hard to find a ride partner that it works out ideally. We all know many that ride with great partners but partly based on living in a very rural area I have had few since my youth. On a different subject,I also sometimes wonder how I survived my youth?
    This ride partner thing comes up all the time on ADV where people tour long distances like here & many ride solo for lots of good reasons. I've sought a ride partner here for Mexico bike trips & never found one yet-usually it's timing- trip length/departure date & choice of destination/s & starting point.
    When it comes to leaving my wife at home-like they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder! We have a fun time! with our email when I bike out yonder.
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  9. #9
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, Ontario
    I have ridden long distance with riding partners and but mostly alone. Most riding partners are great travel companions.

    Having said that, I actually prefer to ride long distance alone. Maybe because it's more of an adventure, maybe it's the solitude that I enjoy. There are a lot of advantages giving me the freedom to make decisions that I want, where and when I want, whether it be food, rest stops, motels, etc. (call me selfish). On one occasion I did find myself down on deserted gravel Colorado road, unable to get the bike back up, but after 20 or so minutes, help came by and a new friendship developed. On the road, as a lone motorcyclist, I never lack for conversation as at stops, people gape at the license plate and come over to chat about how or why I could get so far from home on a bike, or share their tales of their former biking days. I've had locals invite me home to supper, give me advice as to motels, campgrounds to use or avoid. After one long conversation, the couple told me I'd be taking the local ferry the next day and rather than buying a ticket, they gave me one of theirs. You want a photo op with you and your bike? There's usually someone nearby that will take that photo for you.

    For ditch crashing, I carry a whistle, a phone and have covered the bottom of my cases with reflective orange tape. Fortunately in 175,000 km of touring in the last eight years, covering 7 provinces and about 40 states, these have not been necessary. Did buy a Spot a few years ago and I think that this season I'll finally activate it so that the family can follow my trips.

    Never been bored alone. Possibly you should try a weekend excursion alone to get a feel for the solo ride. Depending when your ride is scheduled, join the Salty Fog Rolling Rally beginning on Labour Day Weekend. Great scenery, great company and an all round good time.

    Don't abandon solo until you've tried it.
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Greater Bahstin, Massachusetts
    I prefer riding solo. Stop when I want to, eat when I want to, ride as fast or slow as I want to. Some might feel lonely but there is a diference between being lonely and being alone. But being prepared is important.

    I must admit that when touring Nova Scotia several years ago, I was particularly careful up at Cape Bretton Highlands. Great riding road but if you crash there it will be a long, long time until you get to a hospital. Plus, riding fast you miss the fantastic scenery.


  11. #11
    blah blah blah squiffynimrod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Regina SK Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by hondarider View Post
    what if I see something super cool and there's nobody else to witness it? What if I see Bigfoot? What if I crash into a ditch and lay there for hours before anyone notices the vultures circling?
    What if you listen to the voices in your head, decide not to go solo or even not at all? Prepare, prepare, prepare. You'll be fine.
    No pithy comments available at this time.
    Please check back later.

  12. #12
    Registered User GeorgeR1200RT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    Have had the pleasure of nearly 400,000 miles on my BMW's over the years.

    Less than 10,000 of those miles with another rider. Another 10,000 miles carrying a passenger.

    I was in a line of work dealing with people and loved getting away from it all by myself. My wife understood and is always supportive.

    Most of that riding was done before the days of cell phones, GPS, email or anything other than land line communication.

    Fixed a few flat tires and dropped the bike a few times...all at low speeds. Totaled my R100 in an altercation with a fault. Used the BMWMOA Anonymous book once and got excellent help from another rider....would not travel without it.

    Longest trip was nearly 10,000 miles over a four week period back in the late 1970's... on my R75/5.

    When I felt the need to talk to people, it was easy to do. Some of the most interesting conversations were when I would stop for a break in a small town square. Some old guy would wander over and want to tell me all about when he owned his Harley or Indian as a young man before "the war".

    Avoided major cities whenever I could.

    Camped a lot and used motels when I was in a better financial position. Never cooked when camping. Usually ate breakfast in a restaurant, picked up what I felt like eating at a local grocery for lunch and took something to the campsite for dinner. Always carried drinking water.

    Get out there and take a chance on solo touring. You can go where you want and do what you want with no one complaining. Start with an overnight and build up if you are more comfortable with that.

    I still prefer solo riding. Owning BMW bikes added to my confidence of getting home!
    R1200RT. Previous K1200RS, K1200LT, R80RT, R100R, R75/5

  13. #13
    Registered User 119240's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Put your ICE - In Case of Emergency - info on your helmet & blood type.
    Ditto GeorgeK1200RS thoughts as well. Other things follow weather reports & drink water - and depending on where you go, for people or animals carry bear mace.
    '91 K75S, '06 K1200S
    BMWMOA #119240
    YB # 1463
    NRA #154764753

  14. #14
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Larry's River, Nova Scotia, Canada
    In 1998 I rode my first cross country on a route similar to that outlined above by Tim Tyler. I had very little money but a trusty card to build debt with. Me and a 1973 75/5. I really never gave being alone much thought. Most certainly had an adventure with lots of stories. Took six weeks. Those thoughts in your head can get sorta funny but that's nothing to be concerned about. A wonderful opportunity to meditate in a focused sort of way.

    What Paul_F says and what Newstar wrote are valuable perspectives. Don't worry about the Cabot Trail..... but don't be too cocky on it either. You'll have a ball. Camp out in Meat Cove plus a whole basket full of other things to do and see. You're only down in Mass. (if I'm correct) so distance is really very manageable if this is a first traveling alone. You will meet lots of people that you may not have had the opportunity to meet if you were with someone else.

    Now my wife Mary and I always travel two up and by ourselves. We would consider another couple I suppose but it would be a rare case. On a six week 12,000 mile journey it is definitely solo (two up). Enjoy your ride and don't forget the comfort that the Anonymous book - Bob
    Bob Weber
    Larry's River, Nova Scotia, CANADA

  15. #15
    Thanks for all the feedback. As mentioned, I've done most of my riding alone for the past 25 years...but usually those have been day rides of less than 400 miles. As a young soldier, I criss-crossed the country year after year as I jumped from one TDY gig to the next, but always in my Jeep with lots of music, snacks, beverages, and other distractions. I'm generally very outgoing and have no issues with drumming up conversations with my fellow travelers, but my biggest disappointment while traveling solo is when you find yourself standing in front of something truly epic...whether the Grand Canyon or a Giant Sequoia or Niagara Falls...and there's nobody there to share the experience. Nobody for you to say "Holy Crap! Just look at that!"...and nobody to say to you in 20 years "Remember that week we rode the entire PCH from end to end?" or "remember that time in Vermont when you hit that turkey at 50 mph and managed to stay upright?" I have no doubt about my ability to hop on the bike and travel to any address in North America...I'm just on the fence about whether I'll enjoy it as much by myself as when I travel with friends...or even new acquaintances.

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