When I do this coast to coast ride, I plan on taking as little as possible. I expect to pack 3 to 4 days of clothes, basic tools, spare tubes, but no camping gear. This should make my packing a lot lighter and hopefully give me even more flexibility. As I stated elsewhere, Plan A is to stay in hotels/motels. I have planned the route so that each day ends with at least one hotel option.
Even though I am inherently anti-social, I look forward to meeting and talking to new people along the journey. I just don’t want to do it while I’m actually riding. During rest stops and especially at night, I would love to hear other people’s stories about life, guiding youth, biking, music, and any local history. There is an organization, called Warm Showers [warmshowers.org] that helps make all this a reality.
I first heard of them at an event called Bikes, Biz, and Brew held at TwoDEEP Brewing Company [twodeepbrewing.com] in Indianapolis. After I gave a presentation about my idea for this ride, someone suggested I look at Adventure Cycling and Warm Showers as resources for my trip. Warm Showers is a network of hospitality homes for bicycling tourists. Your host might offer a backyard camp site, a bed, a shower, use of laundry, and maybe even a meal. To join, you must also be willing to be a hospitality home – if not now, then at least some time in the future.
My wife and I were a League of American Wheelmen (now League of American Bicyclists) hospitality home in the early 80’s. In that time, we only hosted once, but it was a fun and memorable experience. Our guests were a family of 5 riding from Iowa to Ohio and we put them up for one night in our home in Noblesville, IN. The parents were in their early thirties, (like us at the time). They had 3 children ranging from 4 to 10 years of age. The youngest was riding in a “bugger” attached to the Dad’s bike. They carried quite a bit on their bikes. I think we provided sleeping bags for them to sleep on the floor, but they might have had their own. We made dinner and had a good time talking about their journey.
Whenever possible or convenient, I would like to stay in the Warm Showers hospitality homes. Since I am not bringing a tent or sleeping bag, I will be restricted to those that offer a bed, but I don’t mind. 🙂 Nearly all the hosts are cyclists, so they appreciate the trials and adventures that other cyclists might encounter and are appropriately accommodating. I expect that I will have stories to share, including some from my life as a part-time car valet at a local hospital. As long as they can put up with my snoring, I will certainly be grateful for their hospitality.
The Lone Rider