Touring - Mountain bike touring (offroad)
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10-05-07, 09:07 PM
After I graduate I will most probably moving up to northern Ontario to a small community. Being as such I will be able to mountain bike along nice selection of trails going through the endless woods.
I love road, road bike touring and mountain biking, as well as back country hiking (although I have not got to do many multi day hikes). I was wondering how feasible it would be to go off road on my mountain bike with the express purpose of camping out for a few days at a time at different spots. I was thinking I would try to stick to trails, but taking the roads for a stretch would be an option. As well I could ride the bike to the area I was planning to do a bike hike in.
Has anybody here tried anything like this?
How feasable is it in your opinion?
What are some experiences that you have had touring, offroad and sleeping in the woods?
10-06-07, 01:13 AM
Everything can be done and has been done. My suggestion would be to look at unsuspended bikes and find something interesting. Look at tour reports on the Continental Divide on Crazy Guy on a Bike (http://crazyguyonabike.com) and it should give you ideas on suitable equipment.
As for actual suggestions, a lot depends on the roads and trails you want to use. For a mix of asphalt, gravel roads and a few "civilized" trails – i.e. most of that can be driven with a 4x4 if they are wide enough – I would recommend a touring bike that accepts wide tires. Two models come to mind : Surly LHT and Bruce Gordon BLT. Both can use 700x42-45 or 26 x 2.25" tires with fenders, so both will offer adequate traction on sand and comfort on gravel, yet they will allow you to cycle long distances. And if you ever reach good roads, you won't feel penalized with a heavy bike.
BTW, the Bruce Gordon already comes with a mountain crankset. With the LHT, I would at the minimum ask the shop to replace the granny with a 24, and I would prefer a mountain crankset with 44-34-22.
If you plan to ride on much more rugged terrain and don't think of significant distances, then a true mountain bike might be better. Just don't dream of 100 km-per-day tours.
In both cases, the best off-road luggage carrying capacity might be achieved with small panniers (also used for commuting) and a single-wheel trailer.
here are more then a few people doing it, I am gearing up for our terrible southern California winter right now ;) I would reccomand a look at http://www.oldmanmountain.com/ for some insparation, there are some short vidieos of what they are doing. I looked at quite a few panniers, and settled on the Arkel, the Ortlieb are nice but we do not get that much rain that I was concerned with dry bags. The bike I have is a Haro Mary XC, OMM racks and a Mary handlebar from on-one. This is also my comuter set up, with 40 mm slicks. I am saving up to put dirt drops on it but that is a couple of months away. So good luck and let us know how it works out up north. Just a thought, look up "bike camping" as opposed to touring, for some reason it is getting that name once you get on mostly dirt.
10-06-07, 08:06 AM
Check out this guy's setup.
He's my inspiration for mtb touring.
For off road, I prefer a converted mt bike, and a trailer over panniers....
10-06-07, 12:46 PM
There is a couple from Canada that did Mongolia-India across the Taklamakan desert. They produced a DVD of their journey. They did the ride with mountain bikes. Here is the link: http://www.asiemut.com
You've got great idea and just do it. Do not worry too much about how difficult it is, my recommendation is to do a few relatively short trip for training, and then go ahead. About equipment as simple it is as it more reliable, by my mind. So I would suggest you to take rigid cross country bike, and rigrid front fork
and wheels with fat tyres. May be it is good idea to have 29 or 69 rigid bike. The best choice for offroad bike travel I truly beleive is to have rigid but titanium bike.
Then you will do not care at all about how your bike strong or whatever. I am crazy about offroad travelling and did a lots of bike tours in various wild places (Mongolia Gobi desert, Atlas mountain, Nepal) with my titanium (Titerra Ti-m19 frame and XC front fork) bike.
10-06-07, 08:35 PM
I second old man mountain. I went to there shop (it was right across the street from me!) and they hooked me up! Those guys know their stuff and Love what they do.
When you are riding offroad try to keep as less weight on the rear wheel as possible! Better avoid any rear carrier at all.
I can suggest you to put sleeping bag in front of the bike (under handlebar). You can fix your tent on
the top tube.
You also can keep up to 3 ltr. of water under the down tube. Use effectively the space under you saddle, try to find as big as possible saddle bag.
So finally depending from weather condition and a the trip duration you will probably do not need any
rear carrier, just a backpack with weight around 5-10kg.
10-07-07, 06:55 AM
Thank you for all the replies.
When I do this I plan on using my rigid Cannondale MTB. I have some Kirtland and cannondale panniers. I am waiting on arrival of my Hennessy hammock.
It seems that from what is being said here that with some simple equipment anything is possible for off road touring.
I think my off road experience would have an ulterior motive like fishing at remote northern Ontario lakes.
Right now when I do day trips into the woods with my MTB I will bike to a nice spot, bushwhack with my bike for a bit, then hide my bike in the underbrush after taking a compass bearing. And then hike around the area for a while.
I think that having to stay overnight would definitely add another dimension and make the tour a bit more adventuresome.
Until them I guess I will just have to daydream between papers and exams.
Again thank you all.
If you are near Arkansas, you could do camping trip on the Ouachita Trail. Parts of the trail are open to mountain bike and camping is allowed on the trail. I will admit it might be a rough trip with too much equipment/weight, but it is a trip I'm planning to do one day...
Here are links for info about the trail.
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