Never been on a week long bike tour?
You will not be alone: every year over 35% of our riders have never done PALM. Many have never done a week long bike tour. Here’s how it works:
Every night including the first night, we camp out at schools. You supply the tent, rain fly, and sleeping bag. We use the school’s shower and restrooms. We sleep in tents even if it rains.
Every day you pack up your tent and all your luggage and carry it onto a truck to be taken to the next site. You bike to the next site.
At the next site, volunteers (including you if you arrive early enough) unload the trucks. When you arrive, you find your tent and luggage and setup. Every site has an information table manned by PALM staffers who will answer your questions about the current site, e.g. the locations of restaurants, laundromats, ice cream parlors, and other points of interest.
The route is marked. There are symbols painted on the road telling you where to turn and reassuring you that you are on the route. You will also receive a detailed map of the route. It is a booklet that contains a map of the area with our route marked in red, like a AAA Trip Tik. It also contains written instructions on where to turn and how long you will be on any road, like what you get from MapQuest. At the nightly meeting we go over the next day’s route, including any detours, problems on the route, and points of interest.
We have SAGs, ie Support And Gear vehicles, that patrol the route during the day. If you encounter a problem on the route, you can flag down one of these vehicles for help. For instance, if your bike breaks down on the road, the SAGs can get a hold of the bike mechanics or drive you and your bike to the next site. They carry water for water bottles and may have a First Aid kit or bicycle pump.
We travel with two bike shops. They set up at every site for bike repairs. You will have to pay for labor and parts, but your bike can be repaired.
You can purchase breakfasts and dinners on PALM. You choose to buy all the meals or none but you must pay for them in advance. They are prepared at the school by a local volunteer group or the school’s food service and are served in the cafeteria. A vegetarian option is (normally) available. You are on your own for lunch.