What is a S24O? Only the greatest thing ever!

So you’re a hardcore commuter. You ride five days a week rain or shine. You know how to carry gear on your bike, or maybe you have an Xtracycle. You want to go on vacation with your bike, but you “just don’t have the time.” Think again! It’s time to go on a S24O!

A S24O (pronounced “Es-Two-Four-Oh”) was coined by Grant Peterson of Rivendell. It is a sub-24 hour overnight bike camping trip. The beauty is that it takes little time commitment (less than 24 hours) and if you forget something in your packing, it’s not the end of the world.

If your commuter bike has a rack and panniers, it’s S24O ready. Because the trip is so short, you don’t have to carry everything and the kitchen sink. Two rear panniers and a saddle bag should do it. No need for front panniers. GP shows a typical kit for one night out on the Rivendell site. It’s not a whole lot.

S24Os are also pretty inexpensive due to the short duration. They are also family friendly, since you won’t be covering huge miles!

Finding a suitable location for an S24O will probably be the biggest challenge. State parks with camping would be the first choice or if you’re going solo, you could free camp with discretion in your local foot hills or mountains. I live in Long Beach, CA which is in LA County. Not the first place that comes to mind when you think of camping. However, with a little research I’ve found some great S24O opportunities not too far from Los Angeles. Combining the train, I can do a S24O in the central coast or in the mountains just north of Pasadena or the state beaches south of Orange County. There are a lot more options than you would think.

Here are a few accounts of some S24Os to inspire you.

Kent’s S24O
Alex Whetmore’s S24O account
-A family going bike camping with Xtracycles!
-A S24O Flickr Group

If you know of any good ones in your area, write in and share! I’ll be going on a slightly longer than 24 hour trip this weekend and I’ll be sure post about it.


  1. Ghost Rider June 24, 2008 12:28 pm 

    You can camp on the beach in California? Man, that’s a good way to get a ticket (or worse) in Florida, especially if you “sneak in” to one of the state/county beach parks.

    S240s sound like a blast, though…a nice getaway that doesn’t take a lot of preparation.

  2. Moe June 24, 2008 12:33 pm 

    I’m actually heading to Ojai in 2 weeks. My wife is not quite the avid cyclist, so riding over there was out of the question. I was planning to take the Amtrak and the bikes, but unfortunately, Amtrak is rather pricey. Even at this super high gas prices, it is cheaper to drive the mini-van to Ojai than to take the train. But once we get to Ojai, the mini-van will be parked and we will do all our exploration by bicycle. I’m really looking forward to it.

  3. Palm Beach Bike Tours June 24, 2008 12:41 pm 

    As an Adventure Cycling subscriber, I really liked the S24O concept and wish they would do more stories along that line.

    I know they are a touring magazine and thus must write about two week, two month and two year excursions. That is their bread and butter. Still, in order to get to that level on a bicycle, it helps to have done a lot of two hour rides leading up to a few two day trips.

    That was a great article because it acknowledged than even just 24 hours on a bike can be a relaxing reset and worth the time.

    Since that article came out, I have been trying to map out rides around Palm Beach County are enjoyable, can be used for a 24-hour round trip and have a place to setup camp.

    Unfortunately, camping is a bit iffy down here. It’s hot. There are bugs, snakes and alligators. Quite frankly, after spending much of my youth as a Boy Scout, I’m done camping in Florida.

    There are a few bed-n-breakfasts within 50 to 75 miles of my house that are affordable and bike friendly. Routes to and from aren’t so bad and a few even have a nice amount of time riding along (not on) the beach. In the summer months when there are no tourists here, prices are reasonable.

    For what you’re saving in gas money, dropping a little on a nice room for the night is a well-earned reward.

    Nothing beats cranking along the beach for half a Saturday, checking out the waves, sand and — when the wife isn’t looking — the babes and then pulling into a nice B&B. Park you bike while still hot and sweaty and then jump into the cool swimming pool out back — a swimming pool that is just like your neighbor’s not an ugly institutional pool like you often get at a hotel. After cooling off and taking a nap, bike over to a South Beach neighborhood bar & grill for dinner.

    Sunday morning starts with a nice breakfast and a mild hangover but with you knowing that you get to put in a few dozen miles before having to go to work on Monday.


  4. Russ Roca June 24, 2008 12:52 pm 


    There are actually a few beaches you can camp in California…You can’t do it at Huntington Beach or anything…but a few options… Doheney, Will Rogers, Cardiff by the Sea, Carlsbad…

    In the central coast there’s Morro Bay, El Capitan, Refugio….the best thing about those is they have hiker/biker sites for $5! while people in their RVs and cars get turned away…

  5. Russ Roca June 24, 2008 12:55 pm 


    I would extend S24O status to B&Bs as well…though I think GP was originally thinking camping in the mountains, not everyone is so geographically lucky as others….

    A fun ride for us in LB is to go south to Crystal Cove, where they have a preserved 1940s/50s beach community where you can rent them fully furnished for a day or two! It’s literally right on the beach, not too spendy and a good enough distance from Long Beach that you feel you’ve escaped it 🙂

  6. Dominic Dougherty June 24, 2008 4:51 pm 

    “So you’re a hardcore commuter. You ride five days a week rain or shine. You know how to carry gear on your bike, or maybe you have an Xtracycle. You want to go on vacation with your bike, but you “just don’t have the time.? ”

    Hey Russ, no fair stealing conversations we have in the back of the shop! We were talking about that 15lbs of gear guy going for weeks on end!

  7. Jon Karak June 25, 2008 6:42 am 

    My experience on the east coast is to do a little internet research and identify a campground that has (hot water) showers. I live in the Boston area and I’ve tried Fort Getty Park, RI and Wompatuck State Park, MA. Both of them were positive experiences.

    Fort Getty positives – island campground. boating, swimming, fishing, and other marine activities. WW1 ruins.
    Fort Getty negatives – no direct route (bicycle traffic on connecting bridge prohibited), but the ferry-ride makes a fun addition. hard to make a reservation. bathrooms in need of rennovation.
    more info at http://www.jamestownri.net/parks/ftgetty.html

    Wompatuck positives – excellent facilities. easy to navigate.
    Wompatuck negatives – limited choice of activities. spotty cellphone service.
    more info at http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/womp.htm

    And for what its worth, neither park had a bike rack, so you may want to leave the Kryptonite lock at home and bring a chain.

  8. tonkatruck June 25, 2008 7:18 am 

    From the DC area, the C&O Canal towpath offers plenty of S24O opportunities. On narrow tires, you can avoid the dirt path of the towpath and take the Washington and Old Dominion trail to White’s Ferry, then take one of two campsites within a mile of the Ferry (that would be about 40 miles from the National Mall, but you could also take the Metro out to Vienna and cut out 25 miles).

    The C&O canal towpath runs all the way to Cumberland Maryland and after White’s Ferry there are campsites every 5-10 miles with water, fire pits, and a toilet.

    Check out the classic BikeWashington site that has all the info:

  9. russ roca June 25, 2008 9:52 am 

    JonK and TonkaT…Thanks for those suggestions! Do you guys mind making a Google Map or G-Map Pedometer of the route?

  10. Smudgemo June 25, 2008 12:43 pm 

    I’ve got some ideas for this that include places like Calistoga, Napa, Sonoma and Marin County. There are a ton of quiet roads and beautiful places see just north of me. Perhaps high fuel prices will make them just that much quieter.

  11. BodhiSativa June 25, 2008 5:11 pm 

    Great article RR. Inspiring! Looking forward to cycle trips like this! I never thought about 24 hour trips and often multiple day and week excursions have made me skip it all together.

  12. 2whls3spds June 25, 2008 5:55 pm 

    I quite often do out and backs (S24O’s) with stealth camping. One of my favorites was to catch a ride with a buddy going north on Fridays, he would drop me off about 45 miles up the road. I would ride for 10 miles or so, stealth camp along one of the local rivers then ride the rest of the way home on Saturday.

    With the bride in tow it is going to B&B’s or nothing 😉


  13. Rick June 25, 2008 7:19 pm 

    That sounds like my old days. A long time ago (before kids and wife) I would head out. Where? I had no idea. I would just ride. When I got tired, I would either find a hidden place to camp, or – with permission – camp on someone’s front yard. That was a great time.

  14. Eddie Allen September 24, 2008 3:51 am 

    Here’s my account of how S24O translates in the UK. Wish I had the Californian weather, but we’ve got some green and pleasant land to make up for it.


  15. Ray Roberts S24O « Bike Denton July 29, 2009 9:07 am 

    […] S24O is a “Sub 24 hour Overnight” bike camping trip, and the term was coined by Grant […]

  16. day two of the S24O August 28, 2009 3:57 pm 

    […] our trip was not an S24O, as we were back home at 2:45 PM the day after we left. I felt this was a great dry-run of a […]

  17. Scott and Becky go East » Blog Archive » Our first S24O June 27, 2010 7:03 pm 

    […] What the heck is an S24O you ask? It’s a short overnight bike tour (S240 stands for Sub 24-hour Overnight) for those of us who can’t get away for anything longer. Since you are not gone for long, you don’t need to bring too much stuff and you need less time to prepare. Once your bike is kitted out, you can easily do an S24O on a weekend and still have time for the Sunday afternoon BBQ with friends. Russ Roca describes it well in his blog post here. […]

  18. We’re getting some extra help | Bike Commuters June 28, 2010 8:03 am 

    […] BikeTrailerShop.com-They have a huge selection of bike trailers like the BOB, Burley, Extrawheel as well as the world famous Xtracycle. BikeTrailerShop.com can pretty much equip your bike so you can use it more of a utility vehicle to carry large loads or if you simply want to get away to do a bit of S24O (pronounced “Es-Two-Four-Oh”). […]

  19. venturing out « Kelly Hogaboom July 23, 2010 2:28 pm 

    […] are reading part one of two of the S24O camping trip my seven year old daughter and I took from Hoquiam, WA to Westport, WA.  I’d […]

  20. Birthday S24O — The Bicycle District August 2, 2010 2:20 pm 

    […] know what an S24O is, you can read this PDF from the man who coined the term, or check out this link. Basically, it stands for Sub-24-Overnight and is a short, overnight bike camping trip – like […]

  21. Transit & Trails July 27, 2012 10:40 pm 

    Yes! We’re so into this idea. Check out http://www.altride.org – 128 miles, 12k ft elevation gain, 1 day, bikes and transit. Definitely a S24O!

  22. scott October 10, 2012 8:53 pm 

    I did a sub 24 hour bike trip with my girlfriend yesterday. We stealth/free camped on some State Land. We did not go very far, only about 31 miles round trip. My girlfriend does not have a very good bike, so much farther was out of the question. I was pulling all the gear in my croozer trailer. It got down to about 38 degrees, and rained while we slept. Was pretty awesome.

  23. Alastair Humphreys February 20, 2013 6:40 am 

    Thought you might like to see this 1 minute video of my recent S24O here in England…

    I call them microadventures. But whatever the name, they are good for the soul!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *