Touring - Are you a weight freak?
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11-30-04, 11:52 AM
The thread on panniers had a comment on weight - primarily with reference to the 'amount of gear' one carries. Many posts talk about gear consolidation / elimination of infrequently used gear, etc.
I haven't toured on a bike in 20 years, but did some long distance hiking 5 years ago. On that trip, I started with way too much gear & gradually consolidated and replaced gear to lighten my load. Of course hikers, like bikers, are kindof gear junkies and a lot are very weight conscious - always comparing gear & seeing what works well for others vs. what works well for oneself.
Then along comes this guy with a big, old-school external frame pack & somewhat heavy tent. Note that this guy caught us (at the time I was hiking with a group, we pretty consistently put in 20 mile days). His attitude was 'the body will adjust.' He and a buddy had reached this conclusion on a bike trip (US coast to coast). They originally started 'competing' for lightness - i.e. who could reduce their load to the bare necessities (like many hikers). Then they started competing for heaviness - stopping to grab that wrench on the side of the road in order to 'out do' the other guy.
Is there a consensus to this opinion (i.e. 'the body will adjust')?
I'm in the middle of the road on this. On the one hand, I like my gear to be light & not carry extraneous junk that I'm not going to use. But on the other hand, I hiked every day with an old metal-bodied SLR camera strapped around my neck, which isn't exactly in the 'ultralight' vein.
11-30-04, 12:14 PM
I think weight immediately becomes a major factor on the bike once you start going up a slight incline, whereas it may not matter much on flat ground. Weight is a factor in backpacking regardless, even if you're walking on level ground.
I think the 'body will adjust' theory does apply somewhat here, but more so on with the bike as a bike can be set up efficiently to carry that extra weight by effective use of many of it's components....such as geometry, gearing, etc...
11-30-04, 01:57 PM
I'm "middle of the road" in regards to camping and touring also. I go as light as possible without being asinine about it. Two brothers come to mind who toured across Asia, to save weight they used their fingers to shift and went without a front derailleur, that's asinine. Ultra light is still such an expensive thing for cyclists or campers, I choose the extra few ounces. The exception is if you're a Tom Brown Jr. primitive style camper, and are knowledgable about primitive skills, that's ultralight and inexspensive! People get a little ridiculous in regards to weight at the expense of comfort, but if it makes you happy...
Agreed that the balancing act is weight versus comfort. But again the factors to take into account at length of tour time and distance wise, whether the journey is the most important part (ie, speed) or the destinations, and how much money you are prepared to spend.
The credit-card tourer is the ultimate ultra-light tourer. That piece of plastic can become anything you want.
If I am going to ride then base myself from one campsite and do trips from there (as I probably will do this Christmas), I'll take the larger of each of the tent, sleep pad, and Trangia, and the sleep pad chair thingie. The trip to and from may be slower (and I may even catch a coach).
On a recent 340km, 24-hour ride, I took the smallest tent, pad, bag and stuff, and left the cooking stuff at home. Comfort wasn't a particular priority because we only slept for four hours (the return trip was a supported 24-hour fleche, so that's not really part of the discussion).
11-30-04, 04:34 PM
I remeber doing this backpacking trip with this guy. a real tough guy. My pack weighed only 30-some pounds (it was only a 3-day trip). this guy has a pack that is like 80 pounds. he was like, "I figured I'd rather be prepared then sorry". well we were waiting for this ass for like 20 minutes every mile of trail that we hiked. we tried to get him to redistribute the weight, but he wouldn't. we found out later that he had a bunh of canned food...probably the heaviest thing he could've packed. we were all kinda pissed at this guy.
so basically, your experience will be much more pleasent if you use discresion when packing. and you wont piss off your touring partners.
11-30-04, 05:30 PM
If you want to see guys worried about weight, go read some of the threads at the hiking forums. These people will do things like:
a) cutting off the tags off t-shirts to save weight
b) cutting off the handles to toothbrushes
c) putting toothpaste into small plastic bags to save the weight of the container
d) tearing out pages of books and maps as they use them
and on and on and on.....
It is actually interesting to read. I travel light, if it can't get into my front bag or attach/bungee to my backrack, I don't take it (no panniers here)
12-02-04, 08:33 AM
the body will adjust
i carry what i need
i carry what i anticipate needing
i cary what i wouldn't want to get caught without (i.e. extra water, spare parts)
and how fast do you need to go, anyway? i'm not gonna tear read pages out of a perfectly good book to clear an incline a few seconds faster. if i tear out a shirt tag, it's cause it itches. cool to hear your opinions, though.
12-02-04, 01:18 PM
yeah, sure the body will adjust. it'll also adjust to scraping your shins with a potato peeler every day...eventually you'll get callouses, but what's the freakin point? i backpack as light as possible...my body is perfectly capable of handling a 50-pound pack and will "adjust" to it, but i find getting rid of what i don't really need and carrying a 20-pound pack is much more enjoyable.
when i start touring, i don't intend to carry much more weight than what i do when i backpack...sure it's easier to carry more weight on a bike, but why make it any harder than it needs to be? i want to enjoy the scenery and the pleasure of the ride, not spend my time "adjusting" to a bunch of weight i don't really need...
i try to find a happy medium between weight and what i really need/want. and i won't sacrifice quality for weight...i could get signficantly lighter, but i don't like being miles away from civilization and relying on a crappy "altoids tin" homemade stove, for example...
12-02-04, 08:26 PM
I think it depends on what you're looking for, my comming trip, therre are couple 100miles-a-days, then are couple passes to negotiate, and I will eat out and stay in hotel everyday, so light packing is game for me. I've just weighted my added gears (rack/pannier/cloths/tools....) it's right about 15 lbs, my MTB weights 21 lbs.
I like the sightseeing but also love the physical challange of the tour.
Let's see how it works out.
12-03-04, 07:37 AM
yeah, sure the body will adjust. it'll also adjust to scraping your shins with a potato peeler every day...
amazing, isn't it? :D
i suppose my conditioning is different from yours. i am in the army, where the 65 lb ruck is standard load for a 12 mile road march. army equipment is not the lightest, or the best. with my full loadout, including body armor, weapon, ammo, and water, i weigh about 375 at the soles of my feet. the conditioning is rough, but it feels amazing after you carry that burden 12 miles in under four hours... yes, the body will adjust. apply this concept to a touring load. when you ditch the gear, and get back on a lean, mean, racing machine, you will be able to drop any triathlete wannabee you encounter...maybe even on 2.25" tires!
apply this concept to a touring load. when you ditch the gear, and get back on a lean, mean, racing machine, you will be able to drop any triathlete wannabee you encounter...maybe even on 2.25" tires!
when I tour the total weight of bike and gear is about 40 pounds.
I haven't measured it. I have a 25 pound bike, and small panniers.
If the bike starts feeling like a tank, I start pulling stuff out.
Yes, the body will adjust. To be honest, the lighter the bike is, the more I enjoy it. I love my Tubus Fly rack, weighs 12 ounces.
12-04-04, 02:26 AM
wow... i estimate 50 lbs gear plus bike. i am not concerned enough to put it on a scale and find out. i could drop 5 lbs with a different tent, and ditch some clothes, but why split hairs?
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