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WarmShowers.org - Is it any good?
 ColoradoGuy member not displaying online status
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posted 1/30/2014
at 9:06:56 PM
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Have any of you had experiences with Warm Showers? www.warmshowers.org

In three weeks, I will be biking across the USA again, and with my finances tight, I'm hoping to stay at some people's homes along the route for free.

I love the concept: It's a community of cyclists who all agree to put people up (or allow them to camp on their property, give them a warm shower) if they're riding through. I look forward to maybe hosting people later this year.

Any thoughts or experiences?

-Steve




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posted 1/30/2014
at 9:47:21 PM
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Mimitabby is a member.

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posted 1/30/2014
at 11:16:31 PM
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I seem to remember there was some positive comments on this site in another thread. Can't comment from personal experience.
3rd trip! Sort of envy you, wish I could walk away from my life for a few months and come back and pick it up where I left off when the adventure was over. Rock on ColoradoGuy!

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posted 1/31/2014
at 10:22:14 AM
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There's a club on BJ for this, called 'BBB - Bed, Bike & Breakfast'.

Not too many people have signed up though...

 kirkej member online
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posted 1/31/2014
at 2:03:03 PM
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Our OHPV club member Sylvia from Portland has made very successful use of Warm Showers. Check out her blog at www.travelsbytrike.com/europe2013conten.html

One problem that has prevented us from trying out Warm Showers so far: our house has been so full of family and stuff that we have not had room to accommodate anyone stopping on a tour, and Kathi has been way too busy with grandma duties to have time for hosting. Things were not supposed to be this way at our age! We did not expect to be pretty much raising a grandchild full time.

 SteveWilson member offline
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posted 1/31/2014
at 4:25:07 PM
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Yes - it's a great organization. We've hosted many times, and a number of friends have used it to find lodging.

 smoab member offline
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posted 1/31/2014
at 6:11:25 PM
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I have seen articles in adventure cycling about them all good

 ray_aballo member offline
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posted 2/2/2014
at 7:13:43 AM
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I've had one WarmShower guest. Everything worked out great. I also had a buddy that biked the Southern Tier from St Augustine to San Diego last year. He used WarmShowers quite frequently and had nothing but positive feed back from him as well

 Harry member offline
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posted 2/2/2014
at 10:32:24 AM
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Lodging will most likely be the biggest expense of a long distance tour unless one stealth camps or uses something like Warm Showers or Couchsurfing. I suspect the degree of success with these alternative methods of lodging depends a lot on your personality and luck.

I did a number of short bike camping trips when I was a teenager and stealth camped often, but times have changed and I wouldn't do it again unless I had no other options (I tried it once last year). I have no experience with Couchsurfing but some limited experience with Warm Showers, of which we are members. It doesn't cost anything to register, and once signed up you have access to the entire database including the forums.

In answer to your specific question about Warm Showers I'll offer these thoughts:

How do you feel about spending a large percentage of your touring time in strange people's houses? Some people have never met a stranger while others (like me) are very uncomfortable in that type of setting. Are you comfortable being the recipient of "handouts" or are you, like me, uncomfortable being on the receiving end of "charity"?

The type of hosts you find will be all over the spectrum of lifestyles and living conditions, from immaculate mansions to filthy dumps. The reviews on WS are, in my limited experience, no indicator of what you can expect of a particular host unless you know the frame of reference of the reviewer. Some people are comfortable living in squalor—what they consider to be excellent accommodations might be totally unacceptable to you—and they may rate a host as "wonderful, excellent" while you might regret ever setting foot in the dump, let alone eating and sleeping there. It happened to me twice.

Finding hosts can be a time consuming affair requiring either a lot of planning before you leave, or a regular connection to the Internet during the tour. If you line up your hosts prior to the tour you will need to plan your days carefully and be quite confident of your daily schedules. Canceling at the last minute (or worse, just not showing up) is unfair to these kind people unless it's an emergency, and could be a problem if you can't get a cell phone signal.

If you have an Internet connection while on tour (or a spouse or friend who can make the connections for you), it may be easier because your planning can be more spontaneous. However, while a few hosts will accommodate same day requests, others request a minimum of a few days notice.

Some hosts apparently view hosting as an inexpensive form of entertainment and will want to keep you up until late at night to hear your stories and regale you with theirs. At the other extreme are those who provide almost campground style accommodations: a spot in their yard where you can pitch your tent and leave you on your own. The former may plan to provide you with a leisurely late morning breakfast which might be a problem if your tendency is to be on the road by daybreak. The latter could be a problem if they lock their doors at night and you need to use the bathroom.

And finally, the recent explosion of the percentage of Americans who are "dog lovers" could be a problem if you aren't one. Because so many people now treat their dogs like members of the family, it could cause problems if you are not appropriately enthusiastic about their animals.

I've failed twice in my dream to tour cross country—you already know how to do it and I wish you tailwinds all they way.

 startle member offline
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posted 2/4/2014
at 8:10:46 AM
post #9 viewed 2558 times
I'm not on the list, have hosted some riders. Usually on forums when I see someone traveling thru my neck of the woods. I send an invite and a phone number so if they want they can call when they get close.I think from forum chat we kinda know what type of person could be dealing with. I think Harry's post was excellent. I get invites on the road but usually haven't taken them. People on this site should have the comment thing enabled if they want invites!
post edited on 2/4/2014 at 7:54:00 AM

 SteveWilson member offline
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posted 2/5/2014
at 5:23:05 PM
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While I can't deny that everything that Harry lists could possibly happen, it's a bit of a negative outlook on things. It's a little bit like listing all of the mechanical breakdowns that 'could' occur while touring.

I personally have not had any bad hosting experience, nor heard from fellow hosts or touring friends of anything other than excellent experiences.

I take a bit of an exception to calling it 'charity' and 'handouts'. It's showing kindness to a traveler. It's a wonderful human thing to do.

Steve
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