Well-Planned but Minimally Scheduled

In my introduction to this blog I mention that you simply can’t beat the flexibility of a well-planned, but minimally scheduled, self-supported cycle tour.  So, what does that mean, exactly?

What I mean by that is:
  • Do scads of up-front research;
  • Schedule the things you need to successfully launch, and successfully close, your tour.  In these realms you (hopefully) have at least some modicum of control, and the better planned it is, the better your experience will be;
  • Do your daily planning on a daily basis – do NOT schedule where you’re to be on a particular day during the tour (e.g., do not book accommodation or anything else for within the body of your tour).
I think of a cycle tour as happening in “stages”.  My stages of a cycle tour are research, scheduling, preparation, launch, tour and close.  The crucial “launch” and “close” stages are heavily planned and scheduled, while the “tour” stage is researched but not scheduled. 

The description below is roughly what I follow for a tour of one month or longer.  For a shorter tour, or a “local” tour (not flying anywhere), the “launch”, “tour” and “close” logistics will be different, however, you’ll still go through all of the stages (sort of like grief). 

Research Scheduling Preparation Launch Tour Close
Approx 12 months to 4 months prior to your tour.

Research and research and research some more.
Approx 4 months to 2 months prior to your tour.

Book your airline tickets and accommodation for your “launch” and “close stages. Also book whatever else is required for “launch” and “close” per your research.
Start as much as 1-2 months prior to your tour, lasting right up to launch.

Per your research and scheduling: select, prep and pack your gear. Prep your bicycle.
From the time you leave your house to the time your wheels are rolling on Day 1 of your tour.

Plan and schedule the snot out of this for best experience.
Unscheduled – planned on a daily basis.

Don't assume that you'll always have your technology. Have your maps and printed sheets at the ready.
2-3 days at the end of your tour to get yourself (and your gear) ready to go home.

Plan and schedule the snot out of this for best experience.

I’m sure this blog entry triggers more questions than it answers.  Never fear… subsequent posts are coming that will cover topics such as:
  1. What kind of up-front research do you need to do?
  2. Choose Your Tour
  3. Pre-Trip Research
  4. Expect the Unexpected
  5. And more, of course…

If there's a particular topic you'd like me to write about sooner rather than later, let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!
Planning Tools


  1. I like how you said to plan the snot out of something, and that column is green.


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