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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-30-10, 07:43 AM   #1
Mindseye
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Touring Who, How?

I was just wondering how many of you go on bike tours. Even local campgrounds. I would like to try this. I am wondering if Clydes tend to load the front of the bike instead of the back to save the wheels? What is considered a good distance for a overnight tour? I am thinking of going to the nearest campground I think its @ 20 miles. Any thoughts for the touring Clyde.

I know there is a touring forum but I am wondering what issues I might run into that the lightweights wouldn't.
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Old 07-30-10, 07:50 AM   #2
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Touring is touring. Your largest task is to figure out what to take and where to put it on the bike.
8 of us did this back in May 600 miles, 10 nights camping.


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Old 07-30-10, 08:03 AM   #3
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Generally speaking, the front of the bike is the load of last resort. Piling on gear there will affect the bike's handling to a hugely greater extent than when it's on the rear. Keeping front end loads low, like with panniers, helps - that's better than an overstuffed handlebar bag. That's the worst. Steering gets very touchy in those cases.

Don't get me wrong - people load up their bikes all over. It's just better to keep it to the rear if that's an option. Lower is better, too. A lower center of gravity will make everything more stable. That's why heavily loaded backpacks are a bad idea on a bike, too.
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Old 07-30-10, 08:06 AM   #4
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My C-Dale T-1 loved the weight on the front.
I could ride no hands.

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Old 07-30-10, 08:18 AM   #5
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I was just wondering how many of you go on bike tours. Even local campgrounds. I would like to try this. I am wondering if Clydes tend to load the front of the bike instead of the back to save the wheels? What is considered a good distance for a overnight tour? I am thinking of going to the nearest campground I think its @ 20 miles. Any thoughts for the touring Clyde.

I know there is a touring forum but I am wondering what issues I might run into that the lightweights wouldn't.
Details, please. What are you taking with you? How are you carrying it?

For transporting gear, front and rear racks or a trailer are the usual methods. Some ultra-light people can throw stuff in a backpack and wear that when riding for short trips.

Interesting reading on the subject of bike camping:

http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...ing_vs_touring

This thread on my overnight trip to a local state park in November 2008 might be useful to you:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...t+french+creek
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Old 07-30-10, 08:19 AM   #6
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A low front end load can add a degree of straight-line tracking stability, depending on the geometry of the bike (though I still maintain that a high front end load just makes things twitchy and unpredictable). I guess my point is that one way or another, a front end load will change the way a bike handles to a much greater extent than putting that load on the rear would. In some cases the mere fact that the handling is different than normal could be enough to cause control issues for an inexperienced rider if they were in a situation that required quick handling.
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Old 07-30-10, 08:31 AM   #7
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My bike load preference when touring is a 60-40 load front-to-rear when using 4 panniers. This works well for me and doesn't over-strain the rear wheel/break rear spokes. Handling is just fine - I've got a 54cm Windsor Tourist, fwiw. I mount my front panniers using low-rider rack mounts. Overall, the handling is different but not difficult - you know the weight is there even when packed and balanced side-to-side carefully. When I loaded 50-50 or and especially 40-60 front-to-rear, I found the front end "twitchy" or light and had to lean too far forward to get "good steering". The major concern is when it is windy or turning when going fairly slow. Haven't fallen/steered into a pothole yet, though.

I'm heading out on my first trailer towing tour this Fall. Why switch? Actually, it's a chance to "professionally evaluate" the trailer, write a couple reviews in return for a discounted price, and basically see if I like the trailer better than 4 panniers. Short rides (5-10 miles) with a Burley seem at least as comfortable as with panniers - but there is definitely a different feel than "when clean" despite what some people claim. Tried a Bob Yak for comparison and the difference between single-wheel and double-wheel trailers was noticeable to me - especially in descents and turns.

Point is, clydes tour - even bigger Clydes than myself (180cm/245lbs). We just make adjustments like we always do.
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Old 07-30-10, 09:13 AM   #8
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Historian,
Thank you yes those links were both helpful. I haven't got any of the equipment, so I was trying to get an idea of what I might need.

I am not as heavy as some Clydes but it seems the tires squish more than I like when I ride and I have popped a spoke once so I was concerned about the weight in a back rack or a backpack. The spoke may be because the wheels are old so I am still experimenting with the bike to see what it will do. I might be able to put more weight on the back than I originally thought. The advice about putting the weight low in the front, if I put it there, is well recieved. I haven't made any decisions yet so I am just going to read up some more and then make some decisions.
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Old 07-30-10, 09:28 AM   #9
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Historian,
Thank you yes those links were both helpful. I haven't got any of the equipment, so I was trying to get an idea of what I might need.

I am not as heavy as some Clydes but it seems the tires squish more than I like when I ride and I have popped a spoke once so I was concerned about the weight in a back rack or a backpack. The spoke may be because the wheels are old so I am still experimenting with the bike to see what it will do. I might be able to put more weight on the back than I originally thought. The advice about putting the weight low in the front, if I put it there, is well recieved. I haven't made any decisions yet so I am just going to read up some more and then make some decisions.
How light do you camp? Do you use backpacking gear or stuff from Wal-mart?

I suppose I qualify as a "heavy" camper, since I use a two-person tent, two sleeping pads, and tend to overpack. Hence the trailer. Also, with a trailer I can unhook it at camp and ride unloaded.

BTW, your first tour doesn't need to be camping. Do you have a friend 20-30 miles away? Ride to their home, spend the night, ride back. I'm planning on a 40 mile ride like that in September.

Or like this one (ignore days one and four, they were day rides. The overnight was day two and three.)

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/havdalah
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Old 07-30-10, 09:50 AM   #10
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I'll second what The Historian said above, it doesn't have to be camping. I just did a very enjoyable 3 day credit card tour here in West Michigan. 120+ miles in 3 days, 2 medium size panniers probably not weighing more than 12 pounds, very pleasant. A set of off the bike clothes for at night and a pair of baggy shorts to pull on over my bike shorts when I stopped for water and food. The motel people were cool with my bike sleeping in the room with me at night and having a nice bath/shower available at the end of the day rocks when the temperature is hovering around 90 degrees.
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Old 07-30-10, 09:52 AM   #11
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Yeah! Touring! I'm sitting here counting down the hours at work before I embark on an 850 mile tour over the next week and a half. 4 hours, 13 minutes.... 12 minutes...

Yep, loading a clyde on a bike plus even more crap for a fully loaded tour puts a lot of stress on components. As far as weight distribution and packing, different bikes and different racks will affect how the bike handles as to where the weight is loaded. Best leave a little room in the panniers your first time out to adjust as necessary.

Don't want to carry all that crap on the bike? Trailers are a popular option, but I prefer to just go light. I get into the bikepacking philosophy as much as possible, but sometimes it's just fun to stuff a change of shorts in a backpack, grab the credit card and head for a distant hotel and ride back the next day.

Just get out and do it, a good way to start is picking an out and back route with several potential overnight stops along the way to choose from depending on how you feel.
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Old 07-30-10, 09:53 AM   #12
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A credit card tour over Christmas 2007.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/dectour2007
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Old 07-30-10, 10:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
Generally speaking, the front of the bike is the load of last resort. Piling on gear there will affect the bike's handling to a hugely greater extent than when it's on the rear. Keeping front end loads low, like with panniers, helps - that's better than an overstuffed handlebar bag. That's the worst. Steering gets very touchy in those cases.

Don't get me wrong - people load up their bikes all over. It's just better to keep it to the rear if that's an option. Lower is better, too. A lower center of gravity will make everything more stable. That's why heavily loaded backpacks are a bad idea on a bike, too.
I disagree with this advice. A properly-designed touring bike will handle better if the load is split about 70-30 or 60-40 back/front. Putting the whole of a heavy load on the back will make the front end "light" and will compromise handling.

I do agree about the need for a low centre of gravity. Panniers on racks and low-loaders, or frame bags are best. Saddlebags are OK, bar bags less so IMO, though some like them. Backpacks definitely a no-no, not just because of the centre of gravity but because a heavy backpack will make your touring experience profoundly uncomfortable.

OP, you really should trawl the touring forum because it is a quarry of inforamtion on travelling light. In particular, there's a brilliant thread on taking a week-long tour with only a saddlebag. The ideas in there will really help you, because there is no issue that you will face that lighter riders won't, other than weight. Hauling your gear over hills is the issue, and if you're heavy, adding unnecessarily large amounts of weight in the form of dispensible gear is to be avoided.
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Old 07-30-10, 10:11 AM   #14
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BTW, your first tour doesn't need to be camping. Do you have a friend 20-30 miles away? Ride to their home, spend the night, ride back. I'm planning on a 40 mile ride like that in September.
My first tour was a 500-mile ride down the Pacific Coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I stayed in hotels, ate in restaurants, and probably had around 20lbs of stuff split between a Carradice Nelson Longflap saddle bag (mounted on a Bagman support) and a Lone Peak H-100 handlebar bag.

FWIW, I hated the way my road bike handled with all of that stuff on it, so I built a cheap touring bike based on Nashbar's Double-Butted Aluminum Touring Frame and components I had sitting around the garage.
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