Credit Card Touring

        If you haven't toured I hope the information here will encourage you to give it a try. There's a special feeling you get from carrying your gear and traveling on something of an adventure with like-minded friends; you'll see and experience things from the bike you normally don't.

This isn't your father's kind of tour, I'm talking minimal gear on your regular lightweight bicycle, spending nights in hotels and eating in restaurants. No heavy tents and bags to slow you down.

Tom, Mark and Diane riding with full panniers to Chattanooga
        All you really need to tour is a rack and bag (either panniers or a trunk), which can be fairly inexpensive. If you know someone who tours they may have a spare rack and bag you can borrow. Most modern bikes don't have attach points to mount a rack but you can use adapters or a seatpost mounted rack.

Another item that's nice to have is a pair of cycling shoes you can walk in, like the Keen Commuter sandals. They'll save you from carrying a pair of walking shoes or sandals.

Holly riding the Silver Comet with a simple rack bag
        A credit card tour can range from one night away to a long multi-day tour. On shorter tours you can take less clothing but for longer tours you'll want to bring full rain gear, especially if you're riding in the mountains. A rain jacket is always recommended.

If you're touring more than a couple of days you'll want lights, you may find yourself riding in bad weather or caught riding into town after sunset so you should have both front and rear lights. They don't often build hotels out in the country so you'll likely be riding with some traffic at the start and end of each day.

Freddy with seatpost rack on Edge of the Smokies tour 2010
        Check out the credit card tours on my main Cycling page for some great touring routes. The Spring City Cycling Club hosts a few short tours each year and the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Chief Ladiga / Silver Comet trails are also great for touring.

Here's an extensive packing checklist with notes.

Group in Tellico Plains for breakfast before climbing the Cherohala Skyway