September 24, 2018
Where to Stay on Bike Trips

During my trip, I’ve already stayed at a variety of places from on the ground to on a plush extra-king-sized bed. With bike touring you move many miles each day so, compared you other outdoor activities, you have many more lodging options.

Camping

Because I love camping, this is one of my favorite options. Out of the last 100 days of my life, I’d say at least 40 have been in my tent. When I get inside it, I feel instantly cozy and happy. My Big Agnes sleeping pad is seriously comfier than any bed I’ve ever slept on.

Where I’ve been camping has been completely dependent on what’s on route and I never make a reservation. I personally stay at campsites, which in Washington are usually $12/night. I can’t camp every single day because I need to charge everything and it’s rough camping several days in a row if it’s been raining consistently. When everything is wet and I’m in need of a washing machine, that’s a good time to find an airbnb or new friend to host me. I’ve heard that the state park facilities in Oregon are awesome, so I definitely plan to stay in them as much as possible.

Airbnb

Staying in Airbnbs is one of the easiest options out there. When searching for them, my main priority is finding something on (or as close as possible to) my route. I also look at the price (the cheaper the better) and read the reviews. The best part of Airbnbs is how personal they are. It’s usually a solo host and a wonderful way to meet somebody.

For example, I stayed with a lovely person named Koelle at her Airbnb in Bellingham, WA. It felt more like experiencing a new friendship than a transaction about lodging. She even connected me with her friend Laurie who let me stay with her for free later down my ride! Despite all the advantages, I’ll likely be phasing out my Airbnb use moving forward because I have hotel points that I may as well use for indoor lazy days.

Hotels

I stayed in a hotel a few days ago, which was awesome. It was easy to clean myself up, let my materials dry, charge everything, and do my work. However, I don’t plan to use hotels too much throughout the rest of the trip. It’s a simple way to recharge, but it doesn’t make the trip feel as legit. That magic juju you get from camping or meeting new hosts... well, it’s just not there in a hotel room.

Warm Showers

Warm Showers is a community of hosts and travelers specifically for people on bike tours – Couch Surfing for bikers. There are some great pros to using this. Anybody hosting for Warm Showers is guaranteed to be enthusiastic about bikes. It’s also 100% free, which helps keep overall trip expenses down. I stayed at a Warm Showers in Seattle that was perfect. It was a group of friends living in a house together who were very friendly. We shared stories and they even made me dinner (thank you all so much again if you’re reading this!!!).

A downside of using Warm Showers is that you aren’t guaranteed to find available spaces anywhere. I made about seven phone calls to people who couldn’t host me for various reasons before connecting with the generous people I eventually stayed with. Part of the experience is being personable and sharing conversation. It’s easy to not feel up to it after big days, but I think getting over that initial anxiety is very worth it. Warm Showers is awesome.

So many options!

The decisions of where to stay on tour will affect what I experience to a great degree. I understand that camping may be wet and that meeting new people may be socially taxing. My goal is to choose to navigate through the discomforts and embrace all my experiences. If you have any questions about where I’ve stayed or where these pictures are, please feel free to comment below!

Ankur