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"car free adventure"
self designed & self supported bicycle tour adventures


car free adventure

 The “car free adventure” webpages are outlined below.  Select a webpage of interest and click.

Touring experiences" is a “daily log” of our bicycle adventures.
"Photo adventuresprovides a photo tour of the places we have seen and events we have taken part in when we get off our bicycles.  
"Touring Stories" are naratives written about interesting people
we have met or unique experiences we have had on our bicycling tours.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”     Ernest Hemingway.


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car free adventure ___________________________



The “Car free adventure” website discusses and shares our “self-designed” bicycle tour experiences.  My wife and I have planned and executed “self-designed” bicycle tours in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria; and we have bicycled across six U.S. states. The freedom and economy we discovered doing our own trip planning is very rewarding.


My wife and I began bicycle touring in 2000; our first adventure in France was “self-designed."   On our trip to France we stayed in comfortable quarters at night and ate well, but the trip was accomplished with significant dollar savings.  More importantly to us the savings made it possible to fund more than one bicycle trip each year.


A second important advantage of designing our own bicycle adventures is the freedom to control the trip agenda.  Being in charge of planning allows us to select a route, set daily riding mileages and plan the number of trip days required to expose us to the culture, history, landscape and population of an area.  This freedom also allows us to modify the route to experience an overlooked or unknown attraction along the route.    


The tools needed to support planning a bicycle trip exist and are improving daily.  The method we use to plan our bicycle adventures can be easily replicated. 


There have been some missteps along the way but even a little misfortune can produce very rewarding and memorable experiences.  The most significant obstacle I had to overcome before my first bicycle adventure was just getting started. 


You, too, can do it!  Visit the "carfreeadventure" pages to see how.




We have bicycled in 6 countries

... and across 7 states, so far.


 Ride Across Kentucky-Virginia Planning 


RAAOSTNPOD - Ride Across America One State at a Time in No particular Order or Direction

My son Jack and I rode together in France in 2000. After our return he became an “ultra-cyclist.” He had introduced the "old man" to the world of bicycling and it was time to move on to "Lance's world." He competed, and finished, as a team member in the Race Across America (RAAM) in 2003 and again in 2005. My wife and I agreed to crew for the 2005 race.

We passed through an expanse of very beautiful country at 15 miles an hour which matched or exceeded anything we had seen in Europe. My wife and I began to discuss the possibility of doing the RAAM. We would put together an 8 person team to allow us to sleep along the way. Our experience organizing bicycle rides in Europe had demonstrated the difficulty getting 8 like minded cyclists to join us.

We scrapped the RAAM idea but we still wanted to ride through the US from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It was the perfect excuse to bicycle. We decided we would bicycle across the US crossing one or more states each year.

On our first state ride, California, we decided to ride from Carson City, Nevada to San Francisco so we changed the rules to “no particular direction.” Then we rode in RAGBRAI (the bicycle ride across Iowa) so we added “in no particular order.” We decided not to worry about the States being contiguous just as long as we covered the complete distance from Pacific to Atlantic. The logo for our RAAM became RAAOSTNPOD; "Ride Across America One State at a Time in No Particular Order or Direction."

Bicycle tour planning 101 – Planning Task 1: “the idea”

The only consideration about where to ride should be “I want to visit that area of the planet.” All other considerations are reserved for planning. The difficulties of a ride will be revealed in the planning and solutions or alternatives found. Sometimes the impossible can be overcome with a little cleverness in the planning.

The idea: The "RAAOSTNPOD" initiated our state ride adventures. The selection of Kentucky as one of the states was driven by the fact I was born and raised in Kentucky. The selection of Virginia to complete our trek to the Atlantic was made after a “convincing” conversation with one of my wife’s colleagues, a cyclist, from Virginia. Now comes the difficult part. How to pull this off. What is the plan?


Bicycle tour planning 101 – Planning Task 2: “the route” 

After selecting where we want to ride, the next step is to pick the path. When we began to tour on a bike I used an area map and simply selected a route, but my route selection process has evolved. For example a lot of folks are bicycling now and I can have a conversation with them on the web to get an immediate understanding about the route I have selected.

The route: We purchased the Adventure Cycling maps for Route 50 to guide us across California, Nevada and Utah. After looking at various sites on the web discussing Kentucky cycling routes and my memory of the narrow roads in Bullitt County Kentucky where I grew up I decided to start the route selection process using the Adventure Cycling’s route choice across Kentucky and Virginia. The advantage of using the Adventure Cycling map is that I am confident the maps and the accompanying discussions represent actual experience of cyclist on the route. They are my eyes on the road which; (1) tells me the route can be bicycled, and (2) reduces the number of surprises that I may find on the road to an acceptable level. Route selection is an iterative process and the current route may have to be modified or abandoned and another route selected to support “our method” of bicycle touring.

Bicycle tour planning 101 – Planning Task 3: “the daily riding distance ”

The distance we are required to ride each day is “very” important. On some of our trips we bicycle without van support carrying everything on the bike with no easy escape from a problem on the road. Once the daily mileage is known the quest for a place to stay each night begins which often changes the daily riding distance. If a place to stay and van support is not available the riding distance for a particular day can become a “century ride.” We attempt to avoid this in planning. 

The daily riding distance: I am in the process of plotting the route across Kentucky and Virginia and familiarizing myself with the information about the available support along the route using the information provided by the Adventure Cycling Maps. The process is to list the town names and distances between using the maps. The distances between towns are then arbitrarily divided into the preferred distances for a “riding day” between 55 and 75 miles. The towns located in the 20 mile range are the possible “daily destination towns.” This becomes the “daily destination town zone.”  I look in the 20 mile zone “first” to locate a place to stay.

can I learn to use this new Editor??? I don't know????

"car free adventure"