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  1. #1
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Late Spring Tour Advice

    I probably should post this in touring but I thought I might get better advice from fellow Clydes

    I want to do a mini 'adventure. this spring. I was planning to ride from Annapolis to Wilmington, NC, but logistics and how do I get the bike back caused problems.

    I was on the Adventure Cyclist site and found a route called Potomac Heritage, I started looking at it, then revised it.

    Basically here's what I've come up with;

    I'll start in Alexandria, probably the Mt Vernon trail and drive to Reedsville, VA,about 140 miles), This winds through Fredericksburg, Richmond, then down through the Northern Neck of VA. From Reedville I'll take a morning ferry to Smith Island, then an evening Ferry to Crisfield MD crossing the Chesapeake Bay (a rest day), Smith and Tangier Island are fascinating places, I've taken my boat there before;

    then from Crisfield ride up and across Delmarva back to Annapolis.

    I almost finished building a Fuji Cross Pro as a commuter/tourer.

    I plan to stay at motels at night.

    I guess I have a lot of questions.

    I figure each leg (DC to Reedsville; Crisfield to Annapolis) should take 2 day, so that's 65-70 per day. Is that reasonable planning, I've done several metrics, but not back to back.

    I'll need some kind of panniers, but not carrying to much.

    I think I can do the whole thing in 5 days, but will plan six due to; whatever!

    I plan to do this solo as I'm winding down my 50's and need a challenge

    The Adventure Cycling map will cover the first two days, and all services, the Crisfield to Annapolis is my divergence. I went on mapmyride and made a route staying off the highways, but I have no idea what kind of roads these are. Is there a better way?

    Am I overthinking this or will a cell phone and credit card solve any problems I might run into.

    So I'll need to find panniers, bring repair kit and spares, 2 sets cycling clothes and one set regular clothes, some kind of on road food to carry ?????

    Also should get a couple of 150 mil weeks in before.

    I'm thinking that if I start early, and do a little sight seeing, sixty five miles a day should be no problem taking my time.

    Any other suggestions?

    Steve
    Last edited by prxmid; 01-17-10 at 02:56 PM. Reason: gramma
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  2. #2
    Neil_B
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    Get the Maryland state bike map and start plotting.

    It looks like you'd ride part of my June route backward. I got off Rt. 50, the Ocean Gateway, at Mardala Springs. You would get on it and ride through Vienna, Cambridge, Trappe, and Easton to Kent Island. The route is wide-shouldered everywhere but in Cambridge and crossing the Choptank - that was the scariest stretch on my tour, since there was no shoulder.

  3. #3
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    I've never toured (but plan on doing something this summer) so take my advice as you will. You might want to start off with a small or shorter tour with the distances you described, but make it a weekend type ride. Basically find someplace 60 or so miles away and ride there, spend the night, and the next day ride back. Bring of course your repair kit, change of clothes, credit card and cellphone, lock, or whatever else you think you'll need. Also let some one know your route. Take the next day off and see how you feel.

    Basically from my reading and such don't be overly ambitious. Start off small so you have a better idea what it would be like. Learn how to do the basic maintenance stuff before hand because on the road is not the time to learn. You may also want to drive the route so you have a better idea of what to expect. It sounds like you are asking good questions, but sometimes the best teacher is experience. You may also see what the Touring Forum has to offer as advice to newbies. Most posters seem very helpful, just that sometimes they take time to respond (probably out on a tour).

    As far as panniers go I have the Axiom Kootenays. Probably a little big for what you are bringing, but they have straps so they are not to bulky. People seem to use everything from milk crates, to Nashbar brand, to Arkel. If you are not sure if you would like it i'd probably get something cheap. Just make sure it's large enough to fit what you need or just a bit bigger.
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  4. #4
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Get the Maryland state bike map and start plotting.

    It looks like you'd ride part of my June route backward. I got off Rt. 50, the Ocean Gateway, at Mardala Springs. You would get on it and ride through Vienna, Cambridge, Trappe, and Easton to Kent Island. The route is wide-shouldered everywhere but in Cambridge and crossing the Choptank - that was the scariest stretch on my tour, since there was no shoulder.
    When planning the route, I'm trying to do everything to avoid Rt 50, cars whizing by at 65mph doesn't sound like fun, didn't you find parralel roads that were more country riding? Also, how far did you ride daily
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  5. #5
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Good advice exile, I'm pretty good with repairs (except spokes), really wouldn't have time to do a practice tour befpre. So you're right, how difficult is it to ride 330 miles in 5 days? At a relatively leisurely pace
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  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    When planning the route, I'm trying to do everything to avoid Rt 50, cars whizing by at 65mph doesn't sound like fun, didn't you find parralel roads that were more country riding? Also, how far did you ride daily
    I ranged from 60 miles to 20, depending on the leg I was riding.

    Rt. 50 was OK. There were some parallel roads, and I used them when I could, but aside from Cambridge and crossing the Choptank, Rt. 50 was fine. Keep in mind that when riding in the country, you often don't have much of a choice of roads. The Eastern Shore isn't so densely populated there are multiple thorofares in the same direction.

  7. #7
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Get the Maryland state bike map and start plotting.
    r.
    I never knew there was such a thing as the Maryland State Bike Map, I'll Google it. Is it a state publication?
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  8. #8
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    I believe about 12 to 15 mph is considered a liesurely pace though of course it will depend on weather and how much you are carrying. So approximately 5hrs if you try and ride without stopping and probably add another hour or two for whatever brakes you need to take. I think it sounds doable. Do you have a bike computer prxmid so you know your average speed? If not it may be a worthwile investment.

    Food wise do you plan on stopping and eating or will you try and carry what you will need? I know most seem to like gronola or power bars and maybe some fruit. Above that it really depends on what you are willing to carry or buy. Of course there is also dumptser diving some people do.

    Map wise I can't help. Sounds like The Historian will be a huge help on that. I still think driving the route before hand is a good idea while stopping here and there just to see whats around. Are you bringing a GPS device of some sort?

    Sounds like a fun trip. Maybe check out your local book store or library. I can't remember the name but I remember at least two books I saw at mine about bike touring. Anyways, good luck and enjoy the ride.
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  9. #9
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    I usually average around 14.5 on my road bike, I assume it will be less on my loaded cross bike with bigger tires. Although the flatter eastern shore may be equivalent Plan on stopping to eat but carrying bars, goo etc.

    The planning is fun though
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  10. #10
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    I never knew there was such a thing as the Maryland State Bike Map, I'll Google it. Is it a state publication?
    Yes. You can order it through the DOT website. VA has one too.

    BTW, I assume you have a plan to get across the bridge between Annapolis and Kent Island. :-)

    Spend a few minutes in Trappe, MD. It's a lovely town. See Home Run Baker's home. And the Wye Oak further up the road. If you follow the route on the bike map you'll pass the Oak, since the bike map routes you off Rt 50 in a few spots.

    Oh, and skip the diner just before the bridge over the Choptank. It adds new meaning to the term "greasy spoon."

  11. #11
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    I usually average around 14.5 on my road bike, I assume it will be less on my loaded cross bike with bigger tires. Although the flatter eastern shore may be equivalent Plan on stopping to eat but carrying bars, goo etc.

    The planning is fun though
    12 to 10 MPH is about average for the average tourer. Don't get sucked into "white line fever." Stop and smell the roses. Or, as I did in June 2009, stop and have a snow cone.

    Frankly, I wish I were riding this tour. It sounds fun, and I loved the Eastern Shore.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    I figure each leg (DC to Reedsville; Crisfield to Annapolis) should take 2 day, so that's 65-70 per day. Is that reasonable planning, I've done several metrics, but not back to back.
    Depends on your level of fitness. When I rode from San Francisco to Los Angeles last year, my shortest day was around 55mi, longest was 95mi. The first three days were the toughest: 65-75 miles/day with 3500-5500ft. of elevation gain. I was tired at the end of those days, but didn't have any problems completing the trip. For me, flat 55-65 mile days seemed too short. I'd knock them off in 4 hours but end up stuck somewhere with nothing to do. Would have been better to ride 70-80 miles and stop somewhere interesting.

    As far as training went, I made sure to ride my loaded bike exclusively for 4-6 weeks before I left on the trip. I was riding 100-150 miles/week. Lots of fast 15-16 mile rides at lunch during the work week then longer, slower rides on the weekends. I made sure that I was comfortable doing back-to-back 60-miles days with 3000-4000 ft. of climbing on the weekends. If I put my head down, I was able to average 15mph and complete those rides in 4-5 hours, so I figured that with 8-10 hours of daylight I wouldn't have any problems.

    I'll need some kind of panniers, but not carrying to much.
    Skip the panniers. I bought a Carradice Nelson Longflap saddlebag from Peter White Cycles and a Lone Peak H-100 handlebag bag for my 8-day tour down the Pacific Coast. Carradice is pricey, but works very well. The Nelson Longflap doesn't seem that big, but it held everything I needed. I bought the Bagman support because my saddle didn't have the loops necessary to support the bag. If you want a Carradice or Bagman, you can probably save money by ordering through one of the UK bike shops.

    Am I overthinking this or will a cell phone and credit card solve any problems I might run into.
    Depends on how far you are from the nearest bike shop. At one point on my trip, I was going to be 50-60 miles/2-3 hours from the nearest shop, so I brought lots of tools and spare parts. You can probably find the packing list I posted over in the Touring forum. If you're staying closer to "civilization" or your travel plans are more flexible, then a cell phone and credit card may be all you need.

    So I'll need to find panniers, bring repair kit and spares, 2 sets cycling clothes and one set regular clothes, some kind of on road food to carry ?????
    You won't be able to carry enough food for the entire trip. Best to find stuff that you can easily replenish along the way. Do this before you leave, so you don't end up with stomach problems when you grab some random food at a gas station and find that it doesn't agree with you. I like M&Ms! Even though I was eating a bunch of them, I still lost a bunch of weight during my trip...

    Any other suggestions?
    Get your bike and gear together a month or more before you're planning to leave and start riding around with it. Even for a "credit card" tour, you may be surprised at how heavy everything ends up being, how the handling of your bike changes, and whether your gearing is low enough.

    I was planning to "travel light", but still ended up with 22.5lbs of luggage, ~5.5lbs of water (2x24oz bottles, 1x20oz), and a 23lb bike. That 51lb package was 3X heavier than the bike I normally ride! Turned out the gearing that I had initially planned to use (52/39/30 crank w/12-27 cassette) wasn't quite low enough. Glad I found this out before leaving, so I could switch to a 48/36/26 crank.

    I would also suggest doing any needed maintenance before you leave. Check: tires, tubes, chain, brake pads, cables, etc. before you leave. The cheap chain I put on my touring bike only had 750 miles on it when I left. I figured it was so new I didn't need to worry about it. Wrong! The chain snapped at the end of the first day!!! An easy roadside repair, but I had shifting problems the rest of the trip because it had also stretched too much. Next time, I'll check everything a couple of days before I leave...

  13. #13
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Search www.bikely.com for routes that are actually used by cyclists.

    Another place to check is http://www.bimactive.com - there's a route search engine on the home page.

    The MDSHA map is free.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  14. #14
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Yes. You can order it through the DOT website. VA has one too.

    BTW, I assume you have a plan to get across the bridge between Annapolis and Kent Island. :-)

    ."
    I live off the first exit of the bridge on the Annapolis side, so I'll have my wife come over and pick me up at the end. You're welcome to join me, all or part
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  15. #15
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Skip the panniers. I bought a Carradice Nelson Longflap saddlebag from Peter White Cycles and a Lone Peak H-100 handlebag bag for my 8-day tour down the Pacific Coast. Carradice is pricey, but works very well. The Nelson Longflap doesn't seem that big, but it held everything I needed. I bought the Bagman support because my saddle didn't have the loops necessary to support the bag. If you want a Carradice or Bagman, you can probably save money by ordering through one of the UK bike shops.

    Sstorkel...thanks for the great advice. I was looking at those bags, seems like they aren't big enough to support your 8 day trip but I guess they were. Was the Caradice bag stable off your seatback or did it flop around?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    Sstorkel...thanks for the great advice. I was looking at those bags, seems like they aren't big enough to support your 8 day trip but I guess they were.
    I tried to pack light, but did end up with quite a bit of stuff. Still, I had all the Carradice straps on their tightest notches. The bag would have held quite a bit more! But... I was touring in California in the summer. For clothing, I could get by with shorts and T-shirts. Didn't bring rain gear and only a hint of cold weather gear (wind-proof T-shirt, arm & knee warmers). As mentioned in my wrap up: I was a bit cold when temps dropped.

    Was the Caradice bag stable off your seatback or did it flop around?
    With the Bagman support, the Carradice bag was very stable. The only time I really noticed the bag was when standing to pedal. As you rock the bike from side to side, you can feel that the weight is carried a bit high. Took me 5-10 minutes to get used to that, then I was fine.

  17. #17
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    prxmid, do you know about the Severna Park Peloton club that rides in that area most of the time? If you could hook up with those guys, they could help you with your route. They do some eastern shore riding as well as around Severna Park, Crofton, Davidsonville, in to Baltimore, down to North and Chesapeake Beach.
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  18. #18
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer View Post
    prxmid, do you know about the Severna Park Peloton club that rides in that area most of the time? If you could hook up with those guys, they could help you with your route. They do some eastern shore riding as well as around Severna Park, Crofton, Davidsonville, in to Baltimore, down to North and Chesapeake Beach.
    No never heard of them. I ride with the Balt Bicycle Club occasionally. I was going to ask in Touring about Eastern Shore Routes, trying to avoid Rts. 13 and 50 if possible

    Thanks for the help
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  19. #19
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Sstorkel, I'm sold on the Caradice. Looks perfect. What's the verdict on carrying a spare tire? I'm getting more and more excited about this tour
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    Sstorkel, I'm sold on the Caradice. Looks perfect. What's the verdict on carrying a spare tire? I'm getting more and more excited about this tour
    I carried one with me, but didn't use it. My bike had 700x35 tires, but my rims could accept tires as small as 700x25 so I packed a lightly-used 700x25 that had been on my road bike. Figured it would be enough to allow me to limp 30-40 miles to a bike shop if necessary. After seeing first-hand what happens when the bead detaches, I couldn't convince myself to leave the spare tire behind...

  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    What's the verdict on carrying a spare tire?
    Touring gets easier the lighter the rider, so if you have some winter weight gain, work to get rid of it. Oh wait..... that's not what you meant, is it?

    I've never carried a spare tire. Then again, I ride with hardcase tires that easily last 2K miles, so that's not a problem.

  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    I live off the first exit of the bridge on the Annapolis side, so I'll have my wife come over and pick me up at the end. You're welcome to join me, all or part
    I'd do part, depending on our schedules. Trust me, you'd get frustrated at my slow speed if you had to ride with me day after day.

    BTW, here's an account of my June 2009 tour.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...a-Winding-Road

  23. #23
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Great pictures, I remember reading that thread post ride. Those pictures of Annapolis harbor could have been taken from my office.

    The only thing you missed was the St Michaels, Oxford Easton loop. Three picturesque villages, and the Oxford-Belleview Ferry over the Tred Avon is the oldest continuously run ferry in the country.

    Sounds like you had a great tour, much more ambitious than my little 5-6 day excursion
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  24. #24
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
    Great pictures, I remember reading that thread post ride. Those pictures of Annapolis harbor could have been taken from my office.

    The only thing you missed was the St Michaels, Oxford Easton loop. Three picturesque villages, and the Oxford-Belleview Ferry over the Tred Avon is the oldest continuously run ferry in the country.

    Sounds like you had a great tour, much more ambitious than my little 5-6 day excursion
    I'll be back at some point. I want to see those towns you mention.

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