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Old 10-23-12, 10:33 AM   #1
Cougrrcj 
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1000-mile ride possible?

As I have gotten older, I had to pretty much give up on my dream to ride the Bikecentennial trail across the country - that name alone shows you how long I've been thinking about this, eh?

So.... now that I'm well into the 50+ category and looking at retirement soon, I've come up with a possibility for a relatively flat 1000-mile ride that never gets too far from home. The planned route is basically following the border of the State of Ohio - along the Lake Erie shoreline, down the OH/PA line to East Liverpool (and the Ohio River), following the Ohio River all the way to Cincinnati, then up the OH/IN border, across the OH/MI border to Toledo, then following the Lake Erie shoreline back home. This would be a solo non-supported ride with minimal gear, staying indoors at night - my days of sleeping under bridges and in culverts on the side of the road are long in my past! I'm figuring 40-60 miles/day, and taking three- to four weeks for the ride.

I posted requesting thoughts/input in the 'touring' section on BF.net, but is there anything age-specific I should consider in my plans? I don't have too many health issues other than high blood pressure, but that is under control with medication - with my current improved diet/exercise regime it is almost getting too low - Time to see the doctor again for an adjustment to my meds!

I'm currently riding 100-150 miles a week and will hope to keep up that pace or even a bit more on my old-school rollers over the winter... I want to shed some more pounds and work on my stamina some more -- not that I should need it at my planned mild 50 mile/day pace!

This ride is still a year or so away, so there is no urgency. I just want to get a handle on things I might have forgotten.
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Old 10-23-12, 10:57 AM   #2
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I am 55, slightly overweight, I have diabetes and asthma. I rode 900+ miles in July and 1060 miles in August--while also working full time and taking care of family obligations.

If I did it, you can too.

Good luck my friend!
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Old 10-23-12, 11:38 AM   #3
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Well, As EJA just said, physically such a thing should not be a problem. I think that I could ride 50+ miles per day given the time and inclination without difficulty. It is just a matter of pacing.

The major objections with possible counters are:

1) Do you really want to do such a thing for 20+ days straight? It could get old. But then again, you should know the answer to that one.
2) Communication would have once been a problem but with WiFi so available now, you can stay in touch with folks easily with a decent tablet or smart phone. So that should be no problem.
3) Medical is pretty much the same answer. If some problem does pop up, given your route, you will not be more than a few hours from home assuming you have someone to drive out and get you.

So if it appeals to you, why not? I would suggest that you take a digital camera to help record some of the high points of the trip and keep a journal of sorts. When you get back home, you can combine the photos with the journal for a real cool momento. Have a blast.
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Old 10-23-12, 11:39 AM   #4
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Don't think of it being a 1000 mile ride, think of it being a whole bunch of 50 or so miles rides then it becomes more doable.
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Old 10-23-12, 12:33 PM   #5
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I'm nearer 60 than 50. It's not unusual for me to ride 1000 miles in a month. Last year I did a two-month, 2500 mile tour with plenty of climbing, camping some of the time and using B&Bs, hostels etc. the rest. This summer I rode around England visiting friends and covered close to 1000 miles in less than two weeks.

Like overthehillmedi says, tours aren't long rides, they are just a series of short ones. Even in challenging terrain, if you go at your own pace 60 miles is not a big distance to cover in a day. There are no age-specific issues I can think of. There may be you- specific issues, but only you are in a position to judge those.

Do it. Long tours are profoundly liberating, they put you in touch with yourself.
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Old 10-23-12, 12:43 PM   #6
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Don't think of it being a 1000 mile ride, think of it being a whole bunch of 50 or so miles rides then it becomes more doable.
Think of it as 10 days of a Pro-tour without the mountains- not quite the daily mileage they do and without the company of riding in a pack of 200 or so. Take it you would be self supporting so probably change the number of days to 20.

Only problem I could see would be mechanical problems for the bike and you. 50 miles a day and I could do it with a fully laden bike but what happens when a saddle sore comes in? Or an off that causes a graze- or a muscle that decides it has had enough or "Man Flu" gets you. Can happen at any time to anyone and not much you can do about that. The bike though and excellent preparation would help a lot along with a service every night to check for any possible failures.

Depends on how you want to do it but a target for daily mileage can be modified to give a decrease or increase on any target you have set. Bike shops must be in most towns so out of true wheels on your 36spoke handbuilts can trued and you can replace the brake blocks back into your stock after the repair you did last night.

Prepare for it- train for it and plan it and you will manage it.

Good luck.
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Old 10-23-12, 12:58 PM   #7
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There is a wide range in human ability, and only you know what is reasonable for you, and how much you are willing to suffer.
That said, I am 59. bike commute every day and ride centuries (and sometimes a double) and do supported touring with my wife. I hit about 7000 miles a year.
My reason for for bring this up is this: I am not an athlete. I wish I was, was I never have been. No high school sports, club sports or anything.
My thinking is that if I, non-athlete can do that much, you can do your trip if you are willing to hurt just a little.
Then again, if there is no stop watch running, you may not even need to suffer!

Sounds like a fun trip.
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Old 10-23-12, 01:04 PM   #8
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Then again, if there is no stop watch running, you may not even need to suffer!
Really, this. Touring isn't like doing centuries or double centuries, unless you want it to be. You don't have to keep up with anyone, nobody is timing you. You have all day. Suffering is not required.
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Old 10-23-12, 01:08 PM   #9
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courgrrej,

I think your plan is doable as the route will not be too hilly since you are following the lake and river. I think that if you research places to stay, then connect them with decent roads you will enjoy the adventure even more. Good luck if you make the ride.
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Old 10-23-12, 01:28 PM   #10
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The reason I want to hold this down to 40-60 miles/day is that while I am certainly capable of riding more on any given day, the wear and tear on the old body after repeated longer rides might take the 'fun' out of it! My 'normal' flat-ground pace is around 17mph. I figure ride in the morning after a good nights rest, stop for the day at noon-ish, have lunch, get cleaned up, wash my clothes, explore the town (on foot), have dinner, etc. Three-four hours of saddle time per day will be enough for my bottom!

The reason I say 3-4 weeks for the trip is that I really don't want to ride in the rain if I don't have to. A little drizzle/light rain maybe, but no riding in all-day cold rains or downpours! I've got no schedule to keep, so why not just ride on nice days? Besides, I hate cleaning the bike of road grime after riding in the rain!
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Old 10-23-12, 01:31 PM   #11
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The reason I want to hold this down to 40-60 miles/day is that while I am certainly capable of riding more on any given day, the wear and tear on the old body after repeated longer rides might take the 'fun' out of it! My 'normal' flat-ground pace is around 17mph. I figure ride in the morning after a good nights rest, stop for the day at noon-ish, have lunch, get cleaned up, wash my clothes, explore the town (on foot), have dinner, etc. Three-four hours of saddle time per day will be enough for my bottom!

The reason I say 3-4 weeks for the trip is that I really don't want to ride in the rain if I don't have to. A little drizzle/light rain maybe, but no riding in all-day cold rains or downpours! I've got no schedule to keep, so why not just ride on nice days? Besides, I hate cleaning the bike of road grime after riding in the rain!
Sounds like a plan... Pics or it didn't happen, right?
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Old 10-23-12, 02:00 PM   #12
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Besides, I hate cleaning the bike of road grime after riding in the rain!
Then don't. It'll work just as well dirty.

The rest of your plan is good. Generally I get about two-thirds of my daily mileage in by lunchtime, so that I am finishing in mid-afternoon and have time to look around wherever I'm stopping. And while successive 100-mile days are fine physically, the last thing you want to do on a tour is feel that the cycling is becoming a chore. 50-60 miles per day is ideal, in my experience. Longer when you fancy it, and the occasional day off.
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Old 10-23-12, 02:01 PM   #13
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Should not be a problem. I did 900 miles over two weeks summer before last and there was still some gas left in the tank. I'd suggest an off day here and there just to recharge yourself.
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Old 10-23-12, 02:11 PM   #14
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It is not only possible, but it should be a lot of fun. I would not loose sight of your dream. Age is not the show stopper. I know two couples who have crossed the U.S. on various routes at least 5 times. They are all over 60, and probably closer to 70 years old. I think we tend to use the "old" card as an excuse sometimes. I know I do.

I've completed two of my longest tours after turning 64, 3750 miles across the U.S.,Oregon to Boston in 74 days and 2900 miles for 90 days around Europe. The cross country trip was also one of my long-time dreams. My wife and I have toured, fully self contained, over 11,000 miles since I turned 60. Almost all of that was while we were still working. We do at least one long tour a year. This year we actually did three shorter tours totaling 2,000 miles-- retirement is great! . My point is not to brag about what we have done, but to illustrate that age is not necessarily a detriment to attaining goals.

FWIW Department-- Your planned tour sounds really good, and should be fun. Why don't you think about using this trip as a "test trip" or training for a possible cross country ride? I thought I'd better warn you that once that seed is planted, it tends to grow. Bike touring is addictive

Good luck in your venture!

PS. Going through Cleveland is a challenge.

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Old 10-23-12, 02:57 PM   #15
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Why do 17mph? Why not ratchet it back a bit to 12 and actually see what 's around you as you ride? Stop and take pictures. Stop and talk to people. Stop and relax.

That way you won't beat yourself up each day, and you will still have plenty of time to see what's in each town where you stop.

Other than that, what else is there to say? If you are reasonably fit, have your bike fit worked out to a T, your bike is mechanically sound and comfortable (as in rides nicely without you having to concentrate on pointing all the time) and you keep yourself well rehydrated, refuelled and rested, there is nothing that in normal circumstances will stop you.

Incidentally, many of the posters in the Touring forum are in the 50+ age bracket. And a fair few of us also participate in randonnees and other long distance events and centuries. Any notion that one's capability to do things that extend them physically and emotionally diminishes after the age of 50 is a furphy.
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Old 10-23-12, 05:13 PM   #16
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As I have gotten older, I had to pretty much give up on my dream to ride the Bikecentennial trail across the country - that name alone shows you how long I've been thinking about this, eh?

So.... now that I'm well into the 50+ category and looking at retirement soon...
I would encourage you to not give up on the Bikecentennial Trans-America Bicycle Trail ride. Especially since you will be retired, and time would not be an issue. It is perfectly possible for you to accomplish something like that. Just don't do it like I did; going from east to west. Big mistake! Battled the prevailing winds the whole way. Go west to east like just about every body else who rides cross-country.

In 1995, I went on my cross-country ride, also solo and non-supported. Back then, I was in my mid 40's, but happened upon other cross-country cyclist in their 60's. You can do it! Don't give up on your dreams. Last year, after about fifty years of dreaming, I finally fulfilled a childhood dream of walking on the Appian Way. Being finally able to do so was a very emotional, even somewhat religious experience. One that I will never forget, and not for a moment regret accomplishing.

Go ahead and do your Ohio circumnavigation ... but don't give up on Bikecentennial in the future. I guarantee that you will have the time of your life and will have stories to pass on to grandchildren for many, many years to come.
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Old 10-23-12, 05:26 PM   #17
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Thanks for all of the encouragement! I doubt that my non-cycling wife would allow/permit me to ride longer/ farther away from home without being within 2-3-hour drive away!! LOL!!! But your encouragement is most helpful! I gotta work on this plan...
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Old 10-23-12, 05:36 PM   #18
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Shouldn't be a problem. I would load up and do a trial ride or two beforehand. Maybe a weekend shakedown trip.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:08 PM   #19
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Sounds like a very doable tour. I agree with those who suggest a day of rest when needed. After many week long tours I'm always ready for a day of rest.

Do you plan to take advantage of some of the great trails we have here in Ohio?
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Old 10-23-12, 08:11 PM   #20
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Touring 50 miles a day on the flat would leave a lot of time each day. You might surprise yourself and realize you could do a lot more. I guess it depends on what you wanted to do with the hours in the day.
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