Finding a travel companion for a WomanTours Bike Tour

Finding a travel companion for a WomanTours Bike Tour

by Karen Miltner

Two women by the ocean holding their bikes over their heads.
Longtime friends Michele G. and Lisa N. celebrate the completion of their Southern Tier: Cross-Country Bike Tour in St. Augustine, FL.

For first-time travelers with WomanTours, there are a lot of unknowns. How hard will the cycling be? What if I can’t keep up? What will meals be like? How do I get to the start of the tour? Given so many uncertainties, it’s understandable that many women prefer to travel with a friend or relative and share a room with her. But how do you find that person?

Cast your bike touring net far and wide

After hearing great things about our Cross-Country: Southern-Tier Bike Tour, Michele G. of Palo Alto, CA was eager to sign up. She knew her longtime friend Lisa N. of San Carlos, CA would be a terrific travel companion for this two-month trip, as the two had traveled together before. When she asked, Lisa wasn’t sure she could take the time off work.

So an optimistic Michele spread the word to friends and family, and put herself on the wait list for the tour. Lisa soon followed suit, predicting that if two spots did open up, she could work things out with her employer.

As luck would have it, there were two cancellations. Both were able to join the tour, and Lisa’s employer supported her request to take time off.

“It is great traveling with a friend, especially such a lifelong friend like Lisa,” says Michele.

“One of the things that makes WomanTours so special is the all-woman aspect. There is a special camaraderie that can be shared in an all-woman dynamic. It makes a great selling point when asking a friend to join,” adds Lisa.

The two made a pact at the beginning of the tour to eat breakfast and dinner separately so they could get to know the other women on the tour. The decision helped them cement new friendships. 

“My advice would be not to be too wedded to the idea of doing a trip with someone else,” advises Michele. “WomanTours makes it so easy to make friends and feel at ease. And you never know if you or your friend at the last minute may be unable to go, for nothing is guaranteed in this world. Make the most of the amazing opportunity that WomanTours affords. These are truly once-in-a-lifetime trips!”

But what if the friend you would like to invite isn’t into bike touring as much as you?

Jackie B. was exactly that kind of friend. She has been active her whole life, but bike touring wasn’t her “thing.” Riding horses is. Still, her longtime pal and avid cyclist Lisa L. convinced Jackie to join her on our Colorado: Our Ride the Rockies tour in 2016.

“When I went, I was not even able to measure tire pressure. But I could ride a bike,” says Jackie. The pair have done several WomanTours trips since then as roommates, and have two more on their calendar for this summer.

The two friends, both of Bristol, TN, had always enjoyed sharing exercise and adventure, and traveled together before so knew they were companionable. And while the cycling was a different focus, the things they already loved doing together --- exploring new places, finding great coffee shops, having great conversations --- easily fit into their WomanTours experiences.

“My advice would be to invite someone you know and enjoy. It’s always about the people we are with!” says Jackie.

Use social media to connect with other women cyclists

By the time Jackie M. of Delaware, OH and Nancy H. of Cumberland Center, ME became friends, they were already WomanTours veterans, (they have both done more than 30 tours). But when Jackie was considering our Great Allegheny Passage Tour in 2021, she saw a notice on our WomanTours Guests page on Facebook and mentioned that she wanted to go but didn’t have anyone to go with. She was a little worried that others would be hesitant because of Covid, but Nancy piped up and said she'd love to.

“We hit it off great,” recalls Jackie. The two have been roomies on about five bike tours since then and have more in the pipeline.

WomanTours’ Guest Page on Facebook is an easy way to connect with and learn from fellow WomanTours riders.

Nancy H. and Jackie M. on a bike tour.

Above, Nancy H. and Jackie M. on a bike tour.

Come solo to a bike tour and find your future travel companions 

In addition to enjoying travel with Jackie, Nancy has toured with friends she knew beforehand, but she also relishes the idea of making new friends on tour who turn into future roommates/travel buddies.

“On a couple of my early tours (many years ago) I went alone and actually felt a bit lonely. But then I met several women that I kept in touch with via email and we started planning tours to do together,” she says.

We see this happen all the time. Women arrive on tour by themselves (either opting for a single upgrade or taking part in our roommate rotation), and in about 10 minutes, they have made new friends. Often, these friends stay in touch and become future touring buddies. So if you have the confidence to arrive solo on your first tour, you will likely come away with several potential roommates for your next.

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