The Pedalshift Project 162: Multimodal Bike Touring and Spring Tour Preview

Most bike tours don’t start and end with you riding from home – most of us need a car, bus, plane, train, or ferry to help with some of the travel. On this episode, tips on how to handle the transitions in multimodal bike touring, plus a preview of May’s DC to Cincinnati bike tour!

The Pedalshift Project 162: Multimodal Bike Touring and Spring Tour Preview

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The Journal: Multimodal Bike Touring

Preparing for Multimodal

  • You’re going to be biking, packing up, then perhaps biking again
  • Transforming from bike touring to bus, train, plane, ferry or some Millennium Falcon-like transport
  • Your needs can impact what you carry, in what, and how to break it down
  • For DC to Cinci I’m riding a modified fully loaded version but with an eye towards being able to stealth camp if needed plus the need to get on at least 2 busses and a train

Mid ride considerations

  • Getting your gear in one or two hands so you can load the bike however it goes
  • Easily move around with gear to get into the transport
  • Most useful example? Fast forward by municipal transit
  • Traveling pretty light? Awesome, you’re already set.
  • Two tricks to combine larger gear sets
    • Big duffel/shoulder bag
    • Bungee together panniers
  • Give yourself time and prepare
  • Bikes on bus front racks… lock or bungee the spring arm mechanism if it isn’t snug because of wheel size, front racks or fenders (super common for touring bikes).
  • Be mindful of riding etiquette. Yes you have a crap ton of gear, but don’t take two seats at rush hour.
  • Be extra nice to the operators and listen to them if they have special instructions.
  • Move with deliberate speed when you load and unload and move aside.
  • Repack your bike carefully. No rush here.

End of ride considerations

  • You just finished your tour – hooray and boo!
  • If packing your bike up and not riding at the other end, you have more wiggle room to include things you won’t need for travel.
  • If riding the bike at the other end, this will look more like mid-ride rules.
  • These tend to be longer-haul jaunts so make sure your bike is secure.
  • Remember restrictions on anything you have that cannot be on board with you (flammables, sharps, etc.) and pack accordingly

Spring Tour Preview: DC to Cincinnati 

For a preview of the ride, check out Pedalshift 162.
Part 1 on the C&O towpath – Pedalshift 165.
Part 2 on the Great Allegheny Passage – Pedalshift 166.
Part 3 on the northern half of the Ohio to Erie Trail – Pedalshift 167.
Part 4 on the southern half of the Ohio to Erie Trail coming soon.
Part 5 on takeaways coming soon.
  • Route has solidified – will post the final version after, but it’s essentially C&O to GAP to road route to OTET.
  • As I mentioned, I’ll be riding my Safari with a modified fully-loaded setup
    • 2 panniers on read
    • 1 dry bag up front
    • Big duffel to consolidate at FFs
  • Leaving from home
  • Camping every night, with the caveat that I’ll hotel or Airbnb if I need to
  • Stealth camping probable – listen to ep 161 for more on my take on that
  • Itinerary currently requires miles every day BUT has a few options for compressing  (GAP especially) or diverting (flatten the road route and cut off the northern section of the OTET)
  • This allows for any mechanical, weather  or illness zeros
  • Sidebar… the “for entertainment purposes only” 10-day forecasts are looking like there’s a chance of rain early in the ride, every day. Temps look great (highs in the low 70s, lows in the upper 50s).
  • Planned fast forwards are minimal distances (<20 miles) and are for (a) safety north of PGH and (b) avoiding duplicative riding on the OTET, while ensuring a complete through ride.
  • I don’t rule out the possibility of using other FFs if they would enhance the ride in some way. 
  • Meetup in Cinci! if you’re around the early evening (i.e. after work) on May 14 and want to hang.
  • Live along the C&O, GAP or OTET? Some of you have already reached out! There may be some opportunity for helloes so please feel free to reach out. At the very least I appreciate real local tips on where to get good food or beer on the ride, especially in Ohio since it’s my first time riding there.

Pedalshift Society

As always we like to close out the show with a special shoutout to the Pedalshift Society! Because of support from listeners like you, Pedalshift is a weekly bicycle touring podcast with a global community, expanding into live shows and covering new tours like this spring’s DC to Cincinnatti bike tour! If you like what you hear, you can support the show for 5 bucks, 2 bucks or even a buck a month. And there’s one-shot and annual options if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it all out at

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