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the never ending bike date: bike touring for two

March 31, 2011

{image courtesy of Russ Roca, The Path Less Pedaled}

Laura and Russ might not describe their bicycling adventures as a never ending bike date, but it sure looks like one to me. Two people, the open road, bikes, and much fun, adventure, and sight-seeing. Sigh… sounds pretty wonderful. Now I know that it’s not all sunshine and happy days (having read their blog, I’m well aware of that), but I think that they would both agree that it is pretty amazing and an awesome thing to share with your partner.

In fact, Laura just wrote a recent post on How To Talk To Your Partner About Bike Touring, admitting that she had to be coaxed into it at first but that the efforts are well worth it. The two have now spent over a year on their bikes touring the country (in 2009-2010) and are about to embark on a new bike tour this Spring.

This time, they’re combining train travel with bike travel to cover much of the US and a little bit of Canada as well. They’re using Brompton folding bikes and Amtrak for their journey. It sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to follow along, especially since I’ve been somewhat disillusioned about train travel in the US after being completely spoiled by the wonderful, accessible, practical, and reliable train system that runs through the majority of Europe (in particular in Germany and Austria). I would love to see how train travel fares here in the US and whether it truly is possible to tour the country via railroad and two wheels. I also wonder if I can talk T. into this kind of bike date anytime soon..Hmm….

Check out The Path Less Pedaled if you want to follow along Laura and Russ’s adventure! S.

Have you done any kind of bike touring? I haven’t, but would love to do something like this in the future. City Girl Rides has been planning a short little bike trip and detailing all that went into that. And, of course, you can get the info. on the long term version on Russ and Laura’s site listed above.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2011 16:17

    Go Russ and Laura!

    It is possible to tour the country via Amtrak and bike, I’ve done it! But you just have to remember that we just don’t have the rail system Europe has. Maybe someday we’ll get it. Touring the US by train takes a lot more patience and flexibility. But it can be done. And it can be enjoyable!

  2. March 31, 2011 16:20

    I would love to go on a looong bike tour with my husband – just days of cycling along the ocean, past meadows and forests on a pair of comfortable bicycles.

    Train+bike? Not so much. We have been without a car since December and I have tried. Really tried. But the train and commuter rail system is frustrating, especially, as you say, after having gotten used to how efficient and convenient it is in Europe.

    • March 31, 2011 16:34

      Velouria/Lovely Bike–Ironically enough, even though the Northeast has the most train service, it’s the worst for bikes. Out here in the Pacific Northwest, the Cascades service has hooks in the baggage cars for bikes. It’s $5 extra and you can get on and off anywhere the train goes. California also has a similar system.

      And the Bromptons that Russ and Laura are taking are a way of getting around the problems encountered with bike+train, especially in the Northeast. I traveled around the US a few years via Amtrak and Brompton, and the bike wasn’t a problem.

      This summer April and I are going to be biking cross-country! We’ll only be using the train on the return.

      • March 31, 2011 20:17

        Adventure – I have also heard pretty good things about the train system along the West coast, I have a friend who regularly commutes from Seattle to Vancouver by train and has great things to say of it. I’d love to give it a try.

        Where are you going for your cross-country trip? Sounds great!

      • March 31, 2011 21:04

        Yeah, I guess we’re spoiled in the NW with a lot of things! Some of the Illinois “Downstate” trains plus the Kansas City-St. Louis line has “roll on” bike service which they charge $10 for. Unfortunately they don’t really “do” anything other than allow you to bring your bike on board, and if you’ve seen the rail cars that they use, there’s really no place to put bikes efficiently.

        Where am I going? Well, everywhere it seems! Including your neck of the woods! I won’t bore everyone with details here, so if you want to see the itinerary, you can go to my blog:

  3. March 31, 2011 16:21

    haha i feel the same way…the mister and i are always on a constant bike date! i love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. we have been considering a bike tour…we have been on 3 bike camping trips and are planning another one this summer and they are way too much fun! we really want to ride down the coast to santa cruz but some of the road is a bit scary and cars drive incredibly stupid on that road so i am not sure. maybe up north would be saver as there are less cars on the road when you go up northern cali. we shall see! once that baby pops out you guys should try for it! have you done any bike camping?


    • March 31, 2011 20:15

      No, not yet! But I would love to! it might be a while after the baby is born but I’m sure it will happen at some point in the future.

  4. March 31, 2011 21:18

    these two are an inspiration, i can’t believe they sold all there things to do travel across states! it takes a lot of courage to give up comforts of everyday living. i”ve been following them on twitter for a while and they are always brewing up great facts and finds for planning and touring.

    after the past two days of touring on bike, i want to do more! there’s so much to take in and the experience is amazing! the learning process is something to consider for future plans too. either way, i plan on doing a couple more these next few months before i leave for France, that way i’m prepped for my journey there.

    @adventure has been a great supporter to my recent mini trip and i’m thankful to find friends like him who will encourage and help out one to plan these things. he’s a great resource, anyone planning a tour should have support this way.

  5. Tinker permalink
    April 3, 2011 12:59

    Not every place is equally connected by Amtrak. If you live in Austin, it seems most of the States are inaccessible. You can go north to Chicago, and South to San Antonio, possibly to LA if you arrive in the area, on the right day. But EAST? Never mind… And if you are in Chicago, you may have difficulty connecting to the west coast, as part of your train ride requires an unspecified bus. So I suspect it would be a big adventure. (read ‘big adventure’, as a ‘great deal of trouble for very little fun’.)

    • April 3, 2011 13:52

      And if you are in Chicago, you may have difficulty connecting to the west coast, as part of your train ride requires an unspecified bus.


      Chicago has MANY options to connect directly the West Coast. The Empire Builder takes you to either Seattle or Portland. The California Zephyr to the Bay Area. The Southwest Chief and Texas Eagle to LA. All of these are all the way on the train.

      The only major city NOT directly connected is San Diego, and you can take a Pacific Surfliner train (or a combination of two different commuter rail lines) to LA to connect with the Chief or Eagle. The only “unspecified bus connection” I can think of is to San Francisco, since the Zephyr stops in Emeryville in the East Bay. But it’s a short bus ride across the Bay Bridge.

      Granted, Austin is a toughie, since to go east you’ll have to go through Chicago. You used to be able to head south on the Eagle to San Antonio, where you could connect to an eastbound Sunset Limited to Jacksonville. But Katrina wiped out a lot of the rail east of New Orleans, so the line currently stops there.

      • April 3, 2011 13:53

        Sorry about that, must have not “closed” the bold on my last comment!


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