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moral question.... is getting a ride while touring cheating?

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Unregistered anon_user's picture
moral question.... is getting a ride while touring cheating?

so i started biking north to alaska on the 15th, i biked about 300 hundred miles in three days. this was through very mountainous terrain and at one point i came through dessert which i wasn't expecting, ran out of water, became dehydrated. i was given water by a motorist and made it to the next town. i may have pushed myself a little hard but i was ok with that. i left my helmet out with my bike while i went to use the bathroom. when i came back it was gone, luckily nothing else was. there was nowhere to buy a new one so i had to continue biking to the next town. i started biking the next day and made it about 30 miles before i decided to hitch to the next town. this lovely couple picked me up and drove me another 200! miles to prince george bc. i was able to get a new helmet and other supplies i needed here. the couple decided to house and feed me for the rest of the day. they looked at my map to see how much farther i had to go, and we both were in agreeance that i wasn't going to get where i wanted in the amount of time a was giving myself. now today i wake up and breakfast is made. we sit down to eat and they have smiles on there face. i ask "what's up?". they tell me that they would like to buy me a grey hound ticket all the way to white horse. this would take about 1000 miles off of my tour. leaving me with still another 900 miles to tour to homer alaska.

my main conflicts with this is that i feel it makes things a little too easy. i came to look for an adventure, although i have had one so far, and once off the bus it will continue. it still feels a little wrong. at the same time there offer is amazing, and will make it so i can get to alaska on time.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Not a moral question: You choose how you travel

This is not a moral question. You get to choose how you travel. Always. If you want to be a purist and ride everything, do that. You get to make the rules. Do you swim all rivers when you get to them? Is it OK to use bridges, or not? Do you have to use self-propelled methods when you come to oceans?

Some of my best experiences have been when I met new people through their kindness and help (including offering rides).

Enjoy the ride. Meet people. Profit from their experiences.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Up to you. No one else really cares!

I recently finished a long tour and now I am travelling with my bike mainly by bus, plane etc. and I really hate having to say "well, errr... actually, in fact I didn't cycle from ..." when people enquire about my journey. In the past I sometimes got trains or lifts for sections of a tour, and since I often regretted this I decided not to use any alternative transport anywhere for my recent Pan-American tour, excluding boat journeys.

The first exception to this was at some road works in the middle of nowhere on the Cassiar-Stewart Highway. I said I would prefer to ride/walk through for 2km rather than get in the back of a pick-up as requested, but the woman made such a fuss that I climbed into the truck just to get some peace and quiet. Only in Canada, where they really love their petty rules and regulations! Second time was for the last 200km in Baja California where my forks broke and I had to get to Mazatlán on the mainland for replacements. I would have returned to complete the route but due to the ferry it would have cost me well over a hundred quid. Third time was the Bridge of the Americas in Panama. Some cyclists have slipped through or ignored police orders to stop, but I had no such luck or boldness. Fourth was at a tunnel in Chile: ordered to get into a van. In the last two instances I could have made time-consuming detours, but I didn't want to bother.

Two or three other times I got an onward bus due to mechanical problems or security issues but in these cases I returned to complete the ride from where I left off.

If you get a bus for 900 miles you can't really claim to have ridden to Alaska, but I would say if you have taken the odd ride due to breakdown or extreme weather that claim would be fair enough. Whether or not this matters is another thing, though!

WS Member WS Member's picture
As a new host, my first

As a new host, my first guests turned up absolutely weary with another 10 000 kilometres too go. They were losing the joi dvre of the trip so a mechanical assistance wouldn't have hurt them at all. To come from a northern hemisphere winter to an Australian summer, it was understandable. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do....

WS Member WS Member's picture
Moral Question

Sometimes life gives you ready-made lemonade. Drink without guilt.
Happy hauling, B.

WS Member WS Member's picture
NO. It's your own journey,

NO.
It's your own journey, you don't need to explain yourself to anyone.Do what feels right for you in your heart at the time.
I have been there and at times taken rides with people. Sometimes I may have already cycled 100 miles in a day and still been in the middle of nowhere, with dwindling food and water.Sometimes in that situation I would camp wild under the stars and tough it out , go hungry and rest until morning.Other times I would cycle/hitch and take the kind offers of locals to take me the next 40 miles ( etc ) into town, and end up getting a nice warm bed for the night, maybe a cold one or two, plus the oppurtunity to meet some amazing people and make new friends.
So NO, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY , cycle in your own comfort range ( 300 miles in 3 days for me now would be way too much ) and remember it is your trip, it should only be about punishing yourself if YOU want it to be.
If taking the ride allows you ENJOY your ride at a much more comfortable pace, and if that is good for you, then take this kind offer, and consider it a " gift of the road ". And you can always recipricate someday.
I have recieved much kindness on the road and always hope someday to see heavily laden tourers coming past my door so I can feed them and give them cold beer and warm beds for the night ;-)
enjoy the rest of YOUR trip,
best wishes,
jim fullwood,
hope this helps

WS Member WS Member's picture
"auto assist"

I’ve ridden both ways, with “auto assist” and as a so-called purist. Unless you are doing a charity ride where you are suppose to “earn” pennies on the miles, there really isn’t any moral dilemma. On a trip from Spokane to Milwaukee, I threw my bike in the back of a truck for 12 miles of construction in Montana. It was a wise decision and I don’t feel I tainted the ride.

Your experience with kindness made me remember my first tour, where auto assist saved my brooks battered butt.

It was the 70’s, touring was the rage and I was raring to roll. I wanted to ride in Europe the following year so I thought that I would shake down my equipment. Hearing travelers’ tales that ruining 27-inch rims or tires across the big pond would live you wheeless outside of Wales, I ditched my metric-challenged Super Champions for shinning new 700 c Rigida’s. I thought that they looked a bit narrow, but hey, they were in centimeters! Heck, stout Europeans also wear Speedo swimsuits so I wasn’t too concerned about dressing the skinny rims with plump pneumatics.

I found the fattest tires, 700 X 35 c Woblers attached homemade panniers and headed West to Seattle from Spokane, (AKA the hub of the inland empire). The self-stitched sleeping bag proved to be as comfortable as an Iron Maiden as I simplemindedly sewed in the fastening pins the night before my trip. The first time I rolled over I punctured my new thermo-rest pad and assorted body parts. The crimson pinpricks spotting the bridal white bag liner were florid proof that I was a touring virgin. After a week the sheet started to look like the “Shroud of Touring”, a relic venerated by those damned by darning.

Two miles out of town, I had the first flat. I was surprised because I had brand new wheels, including tubes, liners, spokes, hubs and rims! But just a quick change and yes, I was again on my way. Two flats later, I wobbly rambled into the campground.

Next day, three flats. I searched in vain for the reason. No cuts, no nuthin! Even more disturbing, the jinx was an equal opportunity double-dealer as both the front and the rear tires flattened at random, really deflating my touring experience. I was pumping the silica more than the pedals. Instead of touring, I was farting around with flatulent tires. After six flats in one day I was ready to engage in self-abuse with a severely patched tube in a flagellation ritual as penitence to appease the tire god! My newly built hoops turned into a modern day equivalent of the Catherine wheel, torturing me with fear and trepidation on every revolution. Despite my love for my new Mercian frame, I nearly chucked the d%$m thing into the Columbia.

I quickly ran out of rema patches and purchased from a hardware store a camel repair kit, the one that you actually had to flambé to glue. Ever try to get a presta valve tube in the biggest town for miles, Okanogan? Good luck! Luckily I ran into a fellow cyclist and bartered white gas and gorp for a real patch kit and another tube. He thought that he got the best end of the deal as he smugly told me that he didn’t have a flat since San Francisco!

After two more days of flats in the mountains of Washington, I approached the North Cascade highway. I had two patches left and at least a day to go before I could call it quits.

Riding down Rainy Pass was a blast but my luck didn’t last and I was down to my last patch. It was a day’s ride in either direction to find another kit. The weather started to prove the validity to the pass’s moniker. And then, the familiar hiss, the customary trouble in steering and full stop. I carefully placed on a boulder all the required tools for the life or death, or at least ride or walk, operation. With the sand paper being more the later than the former, I painstaking scraped the tortured tube that looked like it suffered from an eruption of black death induced boils. Plagued by a lack of glue, I gingerly rationed it around the familiar snakebite holes. The wind suddenly blew the patch from the rock to the silvery gravel. Since it was twilight, I was in real despair. I had to find the patch before the glue completely dried or I’d be fried!

The rain started and I knew that the game was up. All of a sudden a car pulled over. Like Klieg lights the headlights cut through the gloom and illuminated me on all fours like a pig in mud rooting for the patch. Either this is deliverance or a scene from the movie I thought as the window rolled down. I was ready to squeal but went hog wild when I saw my landlord and his wife, (in reality the landlord and her husband). Yes, 300 miles from home, on a deserted highway the couple from a farming community 50 miles south of Spokane actually were asking me if could be of any help. I asked how much stuff they had in their trunk and promised that I would never be late on the rent again! On the spur of the moment they decided to take the recently opened North Cascade Highway on their way back from the coast. I think that the odds for them taking a right instead of a left, them finding me plus having room in their trunk after a shopping spree in Seattle rival that of an alien abduction.

Luck was certainly with me. This luck has held on extended trips on several continents albeit with W I D E rims for wide tires! Some good also came out of it. With this experience I can now repair a tube and be riding in five minutes flat!

Robert Mink Jary Poland via Spokane USA

WS Member WS Member's picture
WA

hello again,
which do you like better - North Cascade or South Cascade route ?
One hot 100 F + day in the US Okanagan i stopped to ask at a hose for a water refill. The kind lady happily obliged and off I went into the early evening heat enjoyinf fresh cold water.
Sometime later when taking that 1st big swig from my 2nd water bottle i almost choked to death. She had filled that one with neat Gin ;-)

WS Member tungus66's picture
save your knees for more

save your knees for more rides. no moral question when you can get a ride and you want it. I was cycling up the Sani Pass in lesotho and people stopped to offer a ride every time, but the place is so breathtaking that I just pushed the bike and rode when wanted. busy sections and boring landscapes - do you really want to cycle through everywhere?

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Cheating?

I understand what you mean about the moral dilemma but be careful as this kind of thinking can be a symptom of an overly obsessive and punishing approach to enjoying yourself!
I finished a tour once by putting by bike in the guards van of a classic steam train and letting it puff through the countryside. It cut out a vile stretch of narrow traffic choked road, was simply a great experience and a lasting memory.
As others have said this is your trip, your rules, your fun.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Hitching

It's a moral dilemma only if you choose to make it one.

OTOH, if you've announced to friends and family that you're gonna ride across the US, or whereever, and hitch for 10 miles, then technically you haven't done what you said you would, unless after the hitch, you backtracked to where you were picked up and continued from there. That's rather common and can be justified for all sorts of reasons.

I've crossed the US in three stages, starting each from a different, yet overlapping longitude, so it doesn't have to be an all-in-one affair.

WS Member ceo's picture
bicycle hitching

I completed a cross country tour of the USA (5,500 miles) last summer. I had to hitch a few times to the next town because of needed repairs (ran out of patches,broken spokes,ect). In the heat of the moment you do what you have to do. Happy and safe cycling to all.

CEO

WS Member WS Member's picture
Cheating

For me, cheating on tour is when you've announced to yourself and everyone that you're gonna ride from A to B, then you hitch part way. Time to fess up.

I crossed the southern US with no hitching by design. From now on, I hitch when I want to. Longest was 250 miles across wilderness Montana to stay on a schedule. BTW, volunteered by a WS host in Billings.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I think the Real answer is

I think the Real answer is "who cares ?"

If it is just a trip then go with the flow. Obviously if it is pre determined that you will ride all the way then you know the answer.

That is not to say you cannot change your mind half way through.
the book and dvd Janapar is a good example.

Steve

WS Member WS Member's picture
Contrarian

Sorry, but I disagree with most opinions expressed here. I believe a big part of cycle touring is the independence and saying you did it yourself. There is a big difference between "I cycled across the United States" and "I cycled across the United States, but hitched a ride when it suited me." If time is a factor, pick a different start or end point.

I have hosted those who travel by a combination of thumb and bike and I feel a bit less giving than with those who tough out every mile. I understand that mechanical issues and unrideable road (very rare) may necessitate hitch-hiking, but one should be prepared for most of these issues. It is perfectly acceptable to plan a "leap-frog" trip, perhaps using train, bus, plane, or boat as a part of a larger tour. But, to me anyway, hitching when one has poorly planned or is simply tired seems like "weeny" touring.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I was a purist when I was

I was a purist when I was younger. Rode 5,600 miles, LA to Boston via Canada without hitching. But now I go with the flow.

As a purist, I also would never use a motel. Camp grounds, churches, city parks, farm houses and rouge camping prevailed. This meant that as a purist I had no GPS, no internet and no cell phone. I communicated with my travel companions by flagging down motorcyclists. The number one rule of the road was "Fend". So, with that said, using a service like Warm Showers would be like hitching a ride, and by some accounts, cheating.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Traveling under one's own power

I think it is admirable that some people cycle great distances, be it across the state or across the country, without motor assist. I think it would be less impressive if you would have to explain why you took that ride, be it due to the weather, mechanical issue, or just wanting to skip over some unpleasant section.

In my opinion, using modern equipment, technology, or the kindness of strangers does not diminish the feat of cycling long-distance without accepting rides. A cycling/hitch-hiking tour is not the same as someone who guts out the difficult days and depends on one's own power. There is also the danger factor of trusting some random motorist is not going to drive off with your bicycle and gear after you load it up.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I set out on my own journey

I set out on my own journey with fixed ideas about not taking transport and cycling everywhere. It soon became apparent this was not going to work when I was stopped early on by the winter snows in France.

One year on and some of my best experiences have been when I have taken time out and had a break from cycling, hitched a lift and met with incredible hospitality and kindness.

I don't have a problem with taking offers of help. After 26 countries and over 23,000 km's I still have many places I want to visit, including riding across both Canada and America. I'll never be able to cycle all the way, my illness means I am not blessed with the time left to do this so I take shortcuts when I'm offered them. I think I will still be able to say I cycled around the world, so what does it matter? Just my 2p worth...

Derek
http://www.deresbiketrip.com

WS Member WS Member's picture
Well said!

Well said!

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Riding the Copenhagen-Berlin

Riding the Copenhagen-Berlin route this summer we helped a couple of older ladies navigate out of the harbour area in Germany near Rostock, which can be a bit confusing even with a mapbook. (We used gps with the route laid in.)

Anyway these were tough women that ran halfmarathons on a regular basis but were perhaps not as seasoned biketourers. They had a hotel booked in Berlin, and as we left them to push on ourselves, we often wondered if they made it. Their timeframe was a bit optimistic and they'd misjudged the distance. Hopefully they jumped on a train at some point and "cheated".

If I get out on my round the world trip this spring, I won't rule out doing the same.
I'm doing this to please myself and if weather, terrain or traffic makes hitching a ride
or taking a train for bit a better option, so be it. I will at any rate need to cross the ocean a couple of times by plane or ship, so already "cheating" there. I'm going to do what I feel comfortable with and not get into an ascetic weewee contest. Theres always someone out there thats more dedicated anyway. :-)

Cheers
Mikael