Intro to Touring

Mary Kernan


I always had visions of someday riding my bike across the country. My husband Larry and I were avid cyclists, campers and backpackers so it didn’t feel like much of a stretch. In 2007, the stars aligned and we were able to plan the trip. We bought two new touring bikes, Trek 520s. They were the premier touring bike of the day and are still in production. We sprang for some newer lightweight camping gear, got maps from Adventure Cycling and were ready to go.


We did a shake down ride to Worcester County, spent the night, then rode home. That was our first tour, just one night. Our second tour started a few weeks later and was a ten-week odyssey following the Northern Tier from Boston to Seattle, covering over 4,000 miles. Just the two of us.


Boy, did we make mistakes. So many mistakes. It’s all part of the learning process but I’d like to save you some of the pain. On May 14-15, 2022, Harriet Fell and I are running an Intro to Touring ride. We’ll start at the Riverside T station in Newton and ride 50 easy, flat miles down to Providence where we’ve booked a block of hotel rooms. The return ride will be along a mostly different route but will be equally flat and easy. The idea is for you to enjoy the freedom that comes with simply riding your bike all day long, eating as much as you want, sleeping soundly, then getting up and doing it again the next day.


We’re running this as a credit card tour. That means we’ll be staying in a hotel and eating at restaurants and ice cream shops (all tours must have ice cream shops) so there’s no need to carry a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, extra food, etc. We’ll be traveling along paved roads and bike trails so your road bike is just fine for this ride. You can carry most of what you need in a rear saddle bag, a handlebar bag or a frame bag. If you can’t fit what you need for an overnight trip in one of these bags, you’re bringing too much stuff.


There will be a Zoom call for registered participants a week before the ride. We’ll answer all your questions, share a suggested packing list and hopefully save you from a few rookie mistakes.


This ride is intended for CRW members who have never toured and are touring-curious. Registration is required and you’ll be responsible for all your own expenses. For more details, check out the ride listing.


Larry and I were still on speaking terms when we finished that first tour, so we deemed it a success. In subsequent years, we rode the Pacific Coast Trail and the Southern Tier. We still have hopes of hitting the Trans Am before our legs give out.


Harriet and I hope you can join us for our Intro to Touring ride so you can see what makes touring so addictive.
The pictures are from the Kernan's Southern Tier tour. The first is the finish, dipping tires in the Atlantic Ocean in St. Augustine, Florida. Second is camping behind the fire station in Superior, Arizona. Last pic is the start of the ride in San Diego.