Touring - advice: fenders, bike lock, clips/cleats/shoes?
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I am brand new to touring and am planning a trip (Calgary-Victoria) with a buddy for this June. I have already bought almost all of the equipment that I need, but I'd like to ask a few questions of the experts...
i) My bike doesn't have fenders, and I am thinking of not getting them. How strongly would you advise that I get fenders?
ii) I am planning on camping as much as possible during my trip but for the times that I need to lock up and leave my bike, what do you recommend? Right now I have a Bell D-Lock. Do I need to get something better? What if I want to leave my rear bags unattended on my bike? Is this unadvisable? Is there any way to lock them to my bike?
iii) Shoes. I don't know very much about touring shoes. I understand that I should go with some kind of cleat/touring shoe setup vs. clips, but I don't know what to look for in a shoe or what kinds of shoes are compatible with the pedals on the bike I have now.
Thank you very much for any advice you can give!
03-15-07, 03:20 PM
Fenders are nice if you have to ride in the rain (or just after). Keeps your bike (and you) cleaner. Highly recommended and cheap to install (SKS or Planet bike fenders--see your LBS).
If your going to camp, I would not leave your bike alone unless you take your valuables with you! Theres a chance you will come back to nothing--all your stuff stolen--it does happen but not often (depends on location) If your going to lock the bike--highly advisable--make sure its to something unmovable. You didnt say how far away or for how long you would be gone, so its a bit hard to give advise. If your going to a camp ground, maybe you can leave your bike locked up near the campground attendent and ask politely if they would watch it for you--sorry,Im not familiar with Canada and her camping/park systems.
As for shoes--you dont need clipless. Just wear comfy shoes and use platform pedals. Dont know what bike you have (post a pic). Bags are hard to lock to your bike securely--depending on the bag, all thats needed is a small knife to cut your handles off and walk away with them--or just wheel your entire bike away.
The short answer to locking up your bike and bags and leaving them for an extended time is--dont. Better safe than sorry.
i) I've toured for years without fenders. You can live without them.
ii) I have a cheap cable lock that I only use at the campground at night. During the day I do leave my bike unattended. I have my valuables with me in my handlebar bag. I don't worry that someone is going to steal my dirty clothes from my panniers.
iii) I use toe clips with running shoes. It makes it easier for doing hikes off of the bike.
Others will disagree, but this works for me.
I've toured without fenders and with them. I much prefer having them! I found an old bike equipped with 27" wheels with some fenders for $5 at a thrift store. The fenders were not dented but someone had painted them. I figured I could remove the old paint and repaint them to match my frame. I was shocked to find the chrome on them to be perfect after stripping the old paint. Keep an eye out on your thrift stores in your area. You might find just the fenders you need.
I use strapless ATB clips and hiking shoes as can be seen in this photo of my bike. My feet can't slip off the pedals when standing or if the bottoms of my shoes have become wet and slippery. I also don’t need to haul around walking shoes in addition to clip less bike shoes. I use small chain with a plastic cover and a small lock. the chain is long enought to go around both rims and around bike rack tubing or sign posts. This way they can't get my wheels off as I run QR's front and rear.
03-16-07, 12:08 AM
I have toured with generous fenders, with minimal fenders, and without fenders. I much prefer having fenders that actually prevent water from splashing you!
I used to tour with toe clips. A few years ago I switched to a clipless system. I am still not sure which I prefer. Clipless connect you better to the pedals, but I have never lost my fear that I won't get my feet out in time during an emergency. I will continue to use them this season, and if I still feel insecure, I will switch back to toe clips.
Locks... I take a good but not insanely secure U-Lock. I once toured through Switzerland hauling a heavy-duty "Stock Lock," but I began to feel silly when I noticed that bicycle stores in the towns I passed through left expensive new bikes unlocked outside their shops when they closed for lunch.
03-16-07, 07:56 AM
I use the Shimano SPD pedals and like the Lake brand of shoes. Most are listed as mountain bike shoes on the internet sites. They have the clip recessed so you can walk easily in them. I just got a pair of Lake sandals this week and are trying them out. A bit stiff yet but they should limber up after some wear and will be much cooler this summer.
03-16-07, 08:03 AM
i much prefer fenders-and a mudflap on the front one-keeps an awful lot of crap off your drive train-i also use shimano 324's-one side clip,the other clipless.
03-16-07, 11:36 AM
Sounds like a great trip, you will get lots of hill climbing experience. As for bike security I always lock my bike when I'm not with it. Even if you can see it from a distance you may not be able to get to it by the time someone has made off with it. I use 2 of the 6' coiled locking cables like Canadian Tire sell and start at my saddle and go though the racks, bag handles, wheels and frame and lock it to something that is solid.In most parks you can find either a attendant or camper that will watch your locked bike while you are not there, some parks will even allow you to lock your bike in a building so it's out of sight. Just ask as most park owners like having bikes in their park as they are usually not a rowdy crowd and most are interrested in your trip and will want to hear about it. I don't use quick release panniers, mine mechanically clamp onto my rack and I don't remove them when touring, so someone could not just grab and run with them.
I use and like fenders, remember a bell and lights.
As for shoe's and pedals I have used both clipless (Shimano PD-M545) with a large platform and regular pedals with running shoe's, I don't like toe clips. I currently like using biking shoe's with recessed cleats and a set Shimano PD-M324 pedals with a regular platform on one side and clipless on the other. I really like this because clipless are great on the open road but not being tied to the pedal is great in urban areas where you are on and off the pedal a lot.
Have a great trip.
03-16-07, 12:09 PM
Sounds like a great trip.
Do you already have a route planned out?
If there was a good chance of rain, I'd definitely prefer to have fenders.
As for securing the bike. Two schools of thought: Lock & leave it out in the open so people wouldn't tamper with it in view of others, or hide it and lock it so people don't find it in the frst place. Also as mentioned, keeping all valuables in a handlebar bag that's with you at all times ensures you're not stranded without cash for a ride or flight or out even more stuff should the worst happen.
I like my clipless pedals and use a "mountain shoe" that looks like a casual shoe. Stiff enough to ride for a day, but still flexible enough to walk around in at the campground or museum. I've got Shimano's SPD cleats, and low end Shimano pedals which are set pretty loose, so getting out is a breeze and is really second nature. There's no way I could get out of clips faster than I get out of my clipless.
03-16-07, 02:38 PM
You don't need clipless shoes/pedals for touring. Unless you've already made the transition and it's convinced you never to go back (lots of cyclists in this camp...) In fact, when I'm on the road, I'd say half the tourists I pass use clips&straps. Me, too -- add in the extra expense and complexity (something else to break?), I see no reason to switch. My shoes are good for cycling or hiking. (But I also realize if I did switch, I might be a "never go back" convert...)
It'd be a mistake to do long distance cycling with plain platform pedals (without straps), IMO. One bump on a downhill, and your feet could bounce off the pedals. There's usually one outcome in this situation, and it's not pretty.
A 6 foot cable with a padlock is a great solution. You can lock up to another bike, even to your tent. You can use the padlock by itself, or loop the cable through your panniers in camp. This doesn't prevent thieves, but it'll definitely slow down or discourage 'em. I always lock my bike when away from it, but in most situations (like going into a store), leave the panniers. Of course, I haven't tried this in downtown Chicago or Manhattan....
Fenders are for you and for the cyclist behind you. They do little to protect your gear (which is, after all, mostly at wheel level), and almost nothing for the bike. Fenders keep crud out of your headset, but mostly concentrate it on the drivetrain -- since all the spray and grit recycles within the circumference of your wheels instead of being thrown off.
I've toured with and without fenders, and I much prefer having them. When it's raining, you get wet; at least with fenders, it's mostly 'clean' water. In a cold rain, as long as I'm not layered with dirt and grit, I can convince myself that I'm not miserable. If I expect less than 5% chance of rain on a tour, I'd probably take off the fenders. You're in BC -- if you head out more than a week, I think you're well over 50%.... Everybody has their own threshhold, fenders are either an inconvenience (in dry weather, or in shipping the bike), or a godsend.
03-18-07, 11:38 AM
I prefer to tour with a pair of clipless riding shoes and another pair of shoes for walking, usually sandals. In my experience spd shoes meant for walking and riding are not ideal for either. If my cycling shoe is not completely rigid ( I am using Sidi Bullets now) I develop sore spots at the ball of my feet after a few hours in the saddle. That being said, if you are not already sold on clippless I would just bring some running shoes and toe clips.
Also another vote for fenders, they are cheap and light and make riding in the rain ( and after the rain) much more pleasant.
Thanks very much for all your help. I am looking around for a pair of fenders, and I still haven't quite made up my mind about the shoes. About the lock, I didn't mean that I would leave my bike completely unattended, just that I would need to be away from it at times for going into stores etc. I am thinking a chain might be a good idea as my front wheel detaches pretty easily.
Bikepacker: No, I haven't planned out my route yet...Have you covered that stretch before?
03-19-07, 09:52 AM
If you decide to try out clipless pedals, cleats, and shoes, I would recommend speedplay frogs (http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.frog). I've never used any other brand so I can't compare, but I was comfortable with these right away. I use them with shimano touring shoes (SH-T092). I've used them for about two years now and have never had problems getting out. I am in the convert category who would never go back to platforms. If you have the money, and a few days to get used to them, I'd try them out. You could always return them or sell them if you don't like them.
As far as shoes off the bike I'd get something closer to sandals than running shoes. I'd rather have something that allows my feet to breathe than something that hugs my feet after a long day of riding.
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