# Touring - How does weight affect distance?

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raybo
10-29-09, 10:32 AM
I've been wondering how a marginal amount of weight affects distance, let's call it the Marginal Length of Weight (MLW). It's units would be measured in miles per pound (kilometer per kilogram).

It seems to me that if I reduce my gear weight by 5 pounds that I should be able to do more distance within the same amount of riding time and exerting the same amount of effort (measured by fatigue at the end of the day).

I don't usually weigh my gear these days as I pretty much take the same stuff on every trip. But, I do know that when I'm not carrying camping gear (13 pounds when mailed home from Jackson, WY) that I am less tired at the end of the day.

If I had to guess, I would start at 1 to 1. That is, every pound of gear I lose is one more mile a day I can average.

I have never tried to quantify it and was wondering how the rest of you would estimate this ratio.

Ray

John Nelson
10-29-09, 10:46 AM
If your day is flat, it probably makes little difference. If your day is hilly, it probably makes more difference. And if the extra weight causes you to have to stop and do bike maintenance, it can make a lot of difference.

njkayaker
10-29-09, 11:25 AM
http://www.noping.net/english/

Dave Nault
10-29-09, 11:33 AM
Dude.... seriously
Your looking at this all wrong, the distance you cover in a day on tour is about:
1) rider ability
2) available camping / lodging / resources / food
3) calories (do you have enough energy)
4) terrain
5) wind / weather
6) traffic
7) equipment failure or the lack of
Just to name a few of the myriad of possibilities that effect mileage.

Good luck with that

bobframe
10-29-09, 11:38 AM
Don't overlook the effect of wind resistance from a big load. I'm no engineer, but I suspect that, under certain conditions, this produces more drag than the added weight does...hence the popularity of wind tunnel testing for bicycles (See: Armstrong, Lance). However, I think the effect of wind resistance may be tied into your speed...that is, it produces very little effect at low speeds and dramatically more effect at higher speeds.

LeeG
10-29-09, 11:56 AM
If I had to guess, I would start at 1 to 1. That is, every pound of gear I lose is one more mile a day I can average.

and if the wind is from the North at 15mph and the terrain is rolling with 200' climbs with soft pavement in 90degree heat and the burrito you ate isn't digesting at all you can add the cube root of your tire pressure onto the extra hours it takes to ride East.

Cyclebum
10-29-09, 01:16 PM
Since my gear weight is already pared to the minimum for self supported touring, all that's left to cut is this growing bulge around the middle. Hmm...Pound per mile. Might be just the motivation I need. 15 more miles/day.

Bacciagalupe
10-29-09, 01:23 PM
The alleged effect of weight on cycling performance is largely a myth.

The only time weight matters is when you're working against gravity, and even then the effect is less than most people think. So unless you're comparing a super-light load to a fairly heavy load (e.g. 25 vs 75 lbs), it won't make a big difference in terms of time or effort. Especially when touring, since most tourists will stop frequently to smell the metaphorical roses along the way.

For example, let's say you are doing 10 miles that has a 5% grade. With 75 lbs of gear, that will take you approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes. Dropping 50 pounds (while expending the same amount of energy) will save you half an hour. So that's significant -- but it's also the difference between, say, a fully self-contained tour where you carry everything including the kitchen sink, (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001G7IWX8/ref=asc_df_B001G7IWX8950299?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=googlecom09c9-20&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B001G7IWX8) and doing a credit card tour. A 13 pound difference, on the other hand, only saves you about 5 minutes on that same climb. Not a big deal. In fact, barely worth noticing for a tourer.

More importantly, as Dave basically indicated: We're not on motorcycles with a pre-determined and mechanically measured horsepower rating, it's a bicycle. The rider is the engine, and aptitude is different from rider to rider, and day to day.

So I'd say, other than deciding what type of tour you want to do, or considerations for other uses (e.g. hiking), I don't see much reason to worry about a few pounds here and there.

sstorkel
10-29-09, 01:51 PM
The only time weight matters is when you're working against gravity, and even then the effect is less than most people think. So unless you're comparing a super-light load to a fairly heavy load (e.g. 25 vs 75 lbs), it won't make a big difference in terms of time or effort. Especially when touring, since most tourists will stop frequently to smell the metaphorical roses along the way.

Weight always matters and it matters especially when you're working near your personal limits. Think about Olympic weight-lifting, where weight differences as small as a pound can make the difference between completing a lift and failing. If you can barely managed to get a 50lb bike up and over that 10-mile long, 5% grade then adding another 13lbs to the package may increase your ride time in a very non-linear manner (e.g. because you have to stop in the middle of the climb and rest)...

Dan The Man
10-29-09, 01:54 PM
Weight always matters and it matters especially when you're working near your personal limits. Think about Olympic weight-lifting, where weight differences as small as a pound can make the difference between completing a lift and failing. If you can barely managed to get a 50lb bike up and over that 10-mile long, 5% grade then adding another 13lbs to the package may increase your ride time in a very non-linear manner (e.g. because you have to stop in the middle of the climb and rest)...

If you kept the same power output you wouldn't need the extra rest, you would just climb slower and then descend faster.

dmitrij
10-29-09, 02:55 PM
dont go buying new 'light' stuff. when i was on tour, everyone i giggles at the fact that my tent was 4kg( which is a lot, but i didnt realise) they however stopped giggling when they found i out that i cover an average of 200km, its all about whats in your head

stevage
10-29-09, 03:15 PM
meh. I like lightweight. It handles better. It starts faster. It goes up hills easier. It goes faster on surfaces other than smooth tarmac.

ryandood
10-29-09, 05:20 PM
Way too many variables to make any legitimate measurement. And, if you could get a real unit to measure how much it would affect you, it would be entirely subjective to you.

Bacciagalupe
10-29-09, 08:08 PM
Weight always matters and it matters especially when you're working near your personal limits.
I'm afraid you are incorrect on this point.

If you're on a flat tour, weight will make no difference whatsoever. Zip, nada, zero, none. Aerodynamic penalties from your bags and riding position will slow you down more than weight. Gravity has no effect when you are moving forward without an incline; you're getting slowed down by friction, primarily aerodynamic drag and a little bit with rolling resistance.

With climbs: 5-10 pounds, unless you're doing absurd amounts of climbing, won't matter. 15, 20 pounds, then it starts to add up. The question there is, what's more important to you, and which in the long run really helps you go further -- an extra 5 miles on a given day, or the 15 pounds of supplies or creature comforts.

Think about Olympic weight-lifting, where weight differences as small as a pound can make the difference between completing a lift and failing.
Err... That doesn't change the fundamental physics or mechanics of the situation. Cycling, especially touring, is completely different in almost every way I can think of from weightlifting. It's not comparable.

If you can barely managed to get a 50lb bike up and over that 10-mile long, 5% grade then adding another 13lbs to the package may increase your ride time in a very non-linear manner (e.g. because you have to stop in the middle of the climb and rest)...
Uh huh. 15 extra pounds on a 5% climb requires (theoretically) an extra 7 watts, i.e. you're burning an extra 15 or so calories on that 10 mile climb. That's like, what, two carrots? ;) 15 pounds is a little over what I normally consider "negligible," but on a climb like this it's a little bit worse than a dirty drive train.

Also, cyclists -- even pro racers -- are not riding in the anaerobic zone or even near max HR all day long. If you were, you'd bonk in short order. I.e. most tourists may need to rise to the occasion every now and then, but you really aren't riding at your absolute physical max every single day, all day long. Nor do I see how it makes sense to presume that cyclists are so precise that they carry exactly what they know is their "absolute limit" of weight.

Last but not least, at least some tourists (including me) just really don't care about shaving off every last second of performance when they're on a tour. Numerous other characteristics are more important, e.g. comfort and robustness. There's a reason why touring bikes tend to be 25-30 lbs and use a Brooks B17 and fenders, as compared to a 15 lb racing bike with bars 5" below an ass-hatchet 180g saddle....

CycleBiker
10-29-09, 08:21 PM
As I've mentioned in other threads in this forum, when Francisco Moser set the 1 hour distance record in Mexico City in 1974 he ADDED weights to his wheels to help him.

PS Does anyone know exactly how much weight he added?

rainking63
10-29-09, 09:05 PM
Weight doesn't affect distance, ever. Never, ever, ever, ever. 40 miles is 40 miles no matter what. If it's time to cover that distance that you're worried about, maybe you should take a minute to smell the roses, check out that coffee shop, take a dip in that stream, or talk to that cute hippie chick chilling out at the gas station.

10-29-09, 09:08 PM
Less weight = less energy used to maintain speed. Extra energy equals longer distances and better health throughout the tour.

10-29-09, 09:19 PM
There was an article in the Rivendell reader about weight and climbing. Take 3 lbs. off of the bike on a 4.5 mile climb that averages 7% and you save 34 seconds if you can go up it at 10mph.
It's best to take what you will need. When you add up the total weight which includes the engine a few pounds doesn't make a big difference.

The Smokester
10-29-09, 10:30 PM
Adding 25 pounds to a 200 lb bike+rider system is a 12.5% increase. For acceleration and steep hill climbing you will need to drop down about one gear (9spd) given the same power output and your speed will drop accordingly (by 12.5%).

On the flats, the added weight will make no difference but increased aerodynamic drag will. Downhill, your terminal velocity might be faster or not due to the new it changed balance between the increased mass pulling you downward and greater drag holding you back.

benajah
10-29-09, 11:24 PM
Since my gear weight is already pared to the minimum for self supported touring, all that's left to cut is this growing bulge around the middle of my body. Hmm...Pound per mile. Might be just the motivation I need. 15 more miles/day.
Now, there may be something to be said for body fat giving you more distance if you go slow. At lower levels of effort the body burns fat pretty well. Figure it like you are saving on food.

LeeG
10-30-09, 05:27 AM
Now, there may be something to be said for body fat giving you more distance if you go slow. At lower levels of effort the body burns fat pretty well. Figure it like you are saving on food.

The amount of calories in a few lbs of body fat is all that you need to go slow. About 4000calories in a lb of fat. You still need water to metabolize it. Pretty sure if you're metabolizing body fat you're into bonking territory and LOW level output.
I knew a small lean guy who raced who said he would bonk if he didn't have some fat in his diet. All things being equal a lean person eating fat will be better off than a fat person trying to burn the fat on their body. When I was young and lean I did a long fast ride of 170miles in ten hours, after five hours of riding everything I ate became energy, it was a trip to notice the difference between a piece of fruit and a bag of nuts, a bottle of orange juice and a snickers bar.

KLW2
10-30-09, 05:50 AM
If you had 57 feet of mosquito netting to throw over a rhinoceros, how long would it take an ant with a wooden leg to kick a hole in a beer can? True or False? ;-)

John Nelson
10-30-09, 08:06 AM
If you're on a flat tour, weight will make no difference whatsoever. Zip, nada, zero, none. Aerodynamic penalties from your bags and riding position will slow you down more than weight. Gravity has no effect when you are moving forward without an incline; you're getting slowed down by friction, primarily aerodynamic drag and a little bit with rolling resistance.

Does not weight affect friction? Both the friction in the bearings and the friction caused by tire flex? And is not "rolling resistance" due to "friction"? While I agree that the effect of weight on the flats may not be great, I really doubt that it is "Zip, nada, zero, none."

Dave Nault
10-30-09, 08:52 AM
If you had 57 feet of mosquito netting to throw over a rhinoceros, how long would it take an ant with a wooden leg to kick a hole in a beer can? True or False? ;-)

That could better be answered in the road bike forum not touring bike.

sstorkel
10-30-09, 09:17 AM
There was an article in the Rivendell reader about weight and climbing. Take 3 lbs. off of the bike on a 4.5 mile climb that averages 7% and you save 34 seconds if you can go up it at 10mph.

Question: how many people ride a fully-loaded touring bike up a 7% grade for 4.5 miles at an average of 10mph?

Sounds like someone has been playing around with equations, rather than thinking about the real-world implications of weight. On my 16lb road bike, I'd find climbing at that speed to be challenging. Put me on a 50lb touring rig, geared the same as the road bike, and I'd be pushing to the top at 2mph... which would add a lot more than 34 seconds to the time.

HardyWeinberg
10-30-09, 10:47 AM
If you had 57 feet of mosquito netting to throw over a rhinoceros, how long would it take an ant with a wooden leg to kick a hole in a beer can? True or False? ;-)

An African or a European swallow?

cyclist2000
10-30-09, 11:14 AM
If you are riding up a hill at 10 mph weighing 200 lbs vs riding up a hill at 10 mph at 120 lbs you get up the hill in the same time you save energy, the amount of work performed. 10 mph is 10 mph and is the same speed. you don't save 34 seconds.

What weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound lead?

cyclist2000
10-30-09, 11:21 AM
Also the OP is describing "work" this is force x length. Weight is a force. so the his MLW is just work (W). lets not make things too complicated.

If you really want to measure this get a powermeter this will read power and thus can be converted to work.

njkayaker
10-30-09, 11:38 AM
Question: how many people ride a fully-loaded touring bike up a 7% grade for 4.5 miles at an average of 10mph?

Sounds like someone has been playing around with equations, rather than thinking about the real-world implications of weight. On my 16lb road bike, I'd find climbing at that speed to be challenging. Put me on a 50lb touring rig, geared the same as the road bike, and I'd be pushing to the top at 2mph... which would add a lot more than 34 seconds to the time.

Use this to see the effect.

http://www.noping.net/english/

A large difference in weight does matter, especially when climbing. But we aren't talking about comparing a light racing bike versus a heavy loaded touring bike.

If you are carrying stuff that you don't need while touring, you should stop doing that. You don't need obscure mathematics to tell you that.

If you can select what you carry on a tour to make large reductions in total weight, and you can afford it, by all means do so!

Small differences in weight yield small differences in effort.

Dave Nault
10-30-09, 12:56 PM
The trouble with that noping.net site is that they don't have a button for 1) it's raining like hell and I'm freezing my ass off or 2) I ate mexican from a road side stand a few miles ago and now I'm boiling! or 3) wow this is a pretty area and I want to take it all in.

You guys can argue the science all day long but none of it will come to the truth. One's ability to cover distance regardless of how much weight they have on there bike is a very subjective topic.
If you want to go fast carry less. If you want to be comfortable, carry what you want or.....
shoot for something in between and if it's not fast enough, drive.

Wogster
10-30-09, 03:16 PM
I've been wondering how a marginal amount of weight affects distance, let's call it the Marginal Length of Weight (MLW). It's units would be measured in miles per pound (kilometer per kilogram).

It seems to me that if I reduce my gear weight by 5 pounds that I should be able to do more distance within the same amount of riding time and exerting the same amount of effort (measured by fatigue at the end of the day).

I don't usually weigh my gear these days as I pretty much take the same stuff on every trip. But, I do know that when I'm not carrying camping gear (13 pounds when mailed home from Jackson, WY) that I am less tired at the end of the day.

If I had to guess, I would start at 1 to 1. That is, every pound of gear I lose is one more mile a day I can average.

I have never tried to quantify it and was wondering how the rest of you would estimate this ratio.

Ray

There are oh so many factors, not sure you can equate it the same. For example being able to go a mile further really doesn't matter if your planning on stopping at Fred and Bonita's Camp Ground, the only one within 40 miles, reducing your gear weight by 100lbs isn't going to move that camp ground a 16th of an inch.

I think you would also find that you would have infinitely diminishing returns, say the first 1lb saved a mile, the second 1lb might save 1/2 mile, the third pound 1/4 mile, the fourth pound 1/8th mile, the fifth pound 1/16th mile. So for 5lbs you can go nearly 2 miles further, and the camp ground still didn't move!

Sure you can take a 1kg tent instead of a 2kg tent, but when it gets shredded in a wind storm because the material is so thin, and your stuck in some little place where the welcome to and thank you for visiting signs are on the same post, for 3 days waiting for the UPS guy to show up with a replacement. Then that throws the calculations off by quite a wide margin....

BigAura
10-30-09, 07:47 PM
I would use calories burned rather than the vague feeling “fatigue”. If the cyclist weighs 175 lbs, the fully load bike with supplies weighs 75 lbs., the distance covered is 75 miles he will burn around 4500 calories. I’m assuming he’s riding rolling hills and minimal wind (the world is not flat). If he adds an additional 5 pounds he will burn 4500 calories in 73.5 miles.

xyzzy834
10-30-09, 09:25 PM
I would use calories burned rather than the vague feeling “fatigue”. If the cyclist weighs 175 lbs, the fully load bike with supplies weighs 75 lbs., the distance covered is 75 miles he will burn around 4500 calories. I’m assuming he’s riding rolling hills and minimal wind (the world is not flat). If he adds an additional 5 pounds he will burn 4500 calories in 73.5 miles.

In that case, I'll stop beside the road and have an ice cream cone to even it out.

fantom1
10-30-09, 10:46 PM
1) Weight does matter.
A. Get your gear as light as possible without giving anything you like up.

2) From my experience- Weight on a tour does NOT matter nearly as much as comfort, morale, and general happiness. If bringing a 10oz. gas stove that allows you to cook a full meal makes you happier than bringing a 1oz. alcohol stove, bring the gas stove.

avatarworf
10-31-09, 12:05 AM
Don't overlook the effect of wind resistance from a big load. I'm no engineer, but I suspect that, under certain conditions, this produces more drag than the added weight does...hence the popularity of wind tunnel testing for bicycles (See: Armstrong, Lance). However, I think the effect of wind resistance may be tied into your speed...that is, it produces very little effect at low speeds and dramatically more effect at higher speeds.

:roflmao2: That reminds me of the time 2 racing cyclists came up behind us and stayed there for a while. We wondered why they weren't passing. When they finally went by us they yelled you, 'you guys are great to draft behind!' and I guess we were with all our bags :)

I have no idea how you would estimate the weight factor since there are so many other things at play.

BigAura
10-31-09, 06:22 AM
In that case, I'll stop beside the road and have an ice cream cone to even it out.

Exactly, a quick sugar boost definitely works --> in theory AND practice.

Cyclesafe
10-31-09, 06:44 AM
To amuse myself while touring last year, I wore a heart rate monitor. Although in retrospect it is obvious, I learned that my calories burned per hour was pretty much the same regardless of how much I was loaded and regardless of the terrain. The reason was I tour loaded and ride unloaded while going up and down hills always expending the same effort. Loaded and going up hills I used lower gears.

Of course, when you are always in a lower gear you are going slower. So to cover a given distance you have to ride longer. If I am expending 500 calories per hour regardless and ride a loaded bike at an average of 10 mph I do 80 miles in 8 hours and expend 4000 calories. I cover the same distance riding unloaded at 14 mph in 5.7 hours and expend 2850 calories.

However, if I am riding such a steep hill that I have to mash in my lowest gear combo, my calories per hour dramatically increases.

Both aerodyamics and weight affect how fast one goes at a given effort. At 10 mph without tail/head winds aerodyamics are not much of a factor. But when going downhill or in a headwind they certainly are. At equal effort I'm several mph faster in a headwind when pulling a BOB than when loaded with panniers.

raybo
10-31-09, 08:01 AM
I would use calories burned rather than the vague feeling “fatigue”.

I like this idea.

Does anyone know how to calculate distance ridden given calories burned and weight carried?

Specifically, how would I calculate how far a cyclist can ride on rolling hills with no wind if that cyclist weighs 175 lbs, is carrying 60 pounds (bike and gear) and burns 2500 calories?

I don't need exact values and would like a simple calculation if possible. Most of the ones I've seen on the web are way too complicated.

Thanks for all the ideas,

Ray

TheBrick
10-31-09, 08:15 AM
Some points.

Weight dose effect you on the flat as it increase rolling resistance.

The effect of increase weight on a rider depend not on the pabulum value of the weight but on the power output of the rider when climbing. Climbing is about power to weight ratio.

BigAura
10-31-09, 08:34 AM
I like this idea.

Does anyone know how to calculate distance ridden given calories burned and weight carried?

Specifically, how would I calculate how far a cyclist can ride on rolling hills with no wind if that cyclist weighs 175 lbs, is carrying 60 pounds (bike and gear) and burns 2500 calories?

I don't need exact values and would like a simple calculation if possible. Most of the ones I've seen on the web are way too complicated.

Thanks for all the ideas,

Ray

I used a factor --> 0.24 = calories/mile/pound

(rider weight + loaded bike weight) * factor * miles = calories

Individuals may need to adjust this factor based on the efficiency of their particular engine ;)

KLW2
12-04-09, 10:56 AM
An African or a European swallow?

European. Everyone knows that, because telephones and motorcycles don't have doors. Is it farther to New York or by car?

BigAura
12-05-09, 03:44 PM
Is it farther to New York or by car?

Yes.

BigBlueToe
12-06-09, 03:57 PM
Here's my seat-of-the-pants opinion based on many tours: weight matters, but there are other factors to consider when deciding what to bring. If you're always on flat roads, the effects of weight are pretty neglible, but how often do you tour on flat roads only? I always try to minimize weight when I can, but I also know that my tours are much more enjoyable if I bring certain things: a small Thermarest pillow, a drip coffee funnel and insulated mug, a fleece cap for cold nights, a book, a camera, full rain gear, etc.

I've tried to find the lightest camping gear that was also comfortable, and I've cut things from my packing list over the years (of course, I've added a few items too.) My kit isn't the lightest but it works for me.

Packing lists are personal - find what works for you. Light is right, but don't go so Spartan that you don't enjoy the experience. My two cents.

deepakvrao
12-06-09, 09:28 PM
I see all the time that it is said, that weight on flats is of negligible importance. How come? Carrying a 250lb load over 1km would certainly involve more work than say a 200 pound weight - right?

Windrush
12-07-09, 05:42 AM
I was a bit overweight at the beginning of this season. I lost a few pounds and did a huge number of training rides early in the season. No impact on the distances I achieved each day while bicycle touring, however I did complete the routes a lot faster and felt much better when finished for the day. The distances remain the same as we still stop to visit attractions and sightsee along the way.

Cyclesafe
12-07-09, 06:42 AM
I see all the time that it is said, that weight on flats is of negligible importance. How come? Carrying a 250lb load over 1km would certainly involve more work than say a 200 pound weight - right?

Your gear hangs on the bike rather than on your back so your legs are not constantly lifting the load as when you walk. There are increased losses from friction if the tires dig into a soft or unsmooth surface, but otherwise this loss is negligible when compared to the energy required to lift the load uphill. Now, accelerating the bike from a standing stop on level ground will indeed be more difficult with a heavier load (inertia effects), but once you're up to a constant speed on a firm and smooth surface it really won't take much more effort.

In theory a 260 lb loaded bike powered at 100 watts goes 12 mph on level ground and 6.3 mph on a 2% slope - all else being equal. That same bike if weighing only 230 lbs goes 12.4 mph on level ground and 6.9 mph on a 2% slope. Thus 13% more weight reduces your speed 3.2% on flats, but 9.5% (including friction) on a 2% grade.

When mashing to maintain a minimum of 3 mph on an 8% grade, a 260 lb load requires 140 watts while the 230 lb load requires 124 watts - 13% more.

Play with Walter Zorn's power calculator at http://www.noping.net/english/eindex.html. I think it's useful when making comparisons. It proves to me that carrying a bit more weight on tour is not as bad as others' assume.

Cyclesafe
12-07-09, 06:53 AM
Here's my seat-of-the-pants opinion based on many tours: weight matters, but there are other factors to consider when deciding what to bring. If you're always on flat roads, the effects of weight are pretty neglible, but how often do you tour on flat roads only? I always try to minimize weight when I can, but I also know that my tours are much more enjoyable if I bring certain things: a small Thermarest pillow, a drip coffee funnel and insulated mug, a fleece cap for cold nights, a book, a camera, full rain gear, etc.

I've tried to find the lightest camping gear that was also comfortable, and I've cut things from my packing list over the years (of course, I've added a few items too.) My kit isn't the lightest but it works for me.

Packing lists are personal - find what works for you. Light is right, but don't go so Spartan that you don't enjoy the experience. My two cents.

This articulates my sentiments exactly. One has to decide whether they are into touring to cover distance and minimizing time off the bike, or whether the overall experience of riding and camping is more important. The 1 lb difference between a typical one man and two man tent won't be noticed while riding the bike, but certainly will be appreciated in camp.

boazmoss
12-18-09, 03:07 PM
Yes.
Excuse me, "yes" what?

twinkles
07-08-10, 08:11 AM
I'm afraid you are incorrect on this point.

If you're on a flat tour, weight will make no difference whatsoever. Zip, nada, zero, none. .

Well damn, then, i am going to hook up a tractortrailer rig to my bike and make a couple of bucks on my Transamerica.

Sorry for the smart ass comment. I just couldn't help myself.

vik
07-08-10, 09:04 AM
I've been wondering how a marginal amount of weight affects distance, let's call it the Marginal Length of Weight (MLW). It's units would be measured in miles per pound (kilometer per kilogram).

It seems to me that if I reduce my gear weight by 5 pounds that I should be able to do more distance within the same amount of riding time and exerting the same amount of effort (measured by fatigue at the end of the day).

I don't usually weigh my gear these days as I pretty much take the same stuff on every trip. But, I do know that when I'm not carrying camping gear (13 pounds when mailed home from Jackson, WY) that I am less tired at the end of the day.

If I had to guess, I would start at 1 to 1. That is, every pound of gear I lose is one more mile a day I can average.

I have never tried to quantify it and was wondering how the rest of you would estimate this ratio.

Ray

Less weight = more fun!

I have never met anyone touring in the mtns who wished they had more gear with them, but I have met loads of people cursing their rigs and mailing stuff home. I'm not an ultra light bike tourist, but I do keep my weight in check...I take few luxuries and instead find them on the road...like a big cushy chair and an ice cold beer on a long hot day....feels awesome and I didn't have to carry either!...:thumb:

I suspect that a good % of failed tours result due to folks carrying too much weight. It's hard to find the joy and beauty in bike touring if it feels like a death march!...:twitchy: