Heylo everyone - nice resource here for finding out stuff.
Never been much into cycling, but recently I decided to get into "unsupported touring" (aka homelessness on wheels). My plan is to ditch my parents' house and just start riding.
Went on craigslist and found myself an older Raleigh touring bike for $50, racks and everything (http://cybrmarc.tripod.com/bike/). Have been trying to get it right - bought some wald cruiser ("touring") bars, and they're nice and shiny and comfy for relaxed upright riding..but if there's any wind or I need to change positions I'm screwed. So I just ordered some nashbar trekking bars today, can't wait to throw those on.
So far I had to learn how to replace brake levers/cables and fiddle with center-pulls when I took off my drop bars, and I'm eager to learn more. I picked up some 3-in-1 and some degreaser today and I plan to start dissasembling the whole bike tommorow to clean and re-lube it. Time for some learnin'! I was going to pick up a book or two at the library on bike maint. to help me through it - does anyone have any suggestions on a good book?
BTW I'm located in New Hampshire. I plan to be leaving within a week or two and I'll be riding around at least in this state and Maine, might go up to the white mountains, but considering I plan to dumpster food (don't want to spend any $ if possible) that might be difficult up there in the boonies!
You will also need some specialised bike tools - cone wrenches, freewheel remover to match your bike's freewheel, spoke wrench. If your bike has cranks attached by cotter pins, it might be worth your while replacing them with ones that fit on a square taper spindle, before you are too far from home. Good luck
Thanks for the site and tips Andrew. I've got plenty of tools (I think..) Got one of those 40-someodd-piece bike kits off ebay (ProTools I think it's made by...but I saw a similar if not identical one in a nashbar catalogue). I'm going out to pick up some touring gear and Armadillos today, I'll grab some grease too I guess. To the library!
I dont expect the freewheel remover is in that kit, as most bikes have freehubs nowadays. You will need it if you ever have to replace spokes in the back wheel. Take your rear wheel to the bike shop so you can be sure of getting the right version - they cost about $15.
Welcome to bf!
go to touring section of this site for all around answers/suggestions to this mode of exploration.
what type of tour are you planning? supported (others carry your stuff- clothes.etc), self-contained (you carry all you need) and how skilled are you with bicycle mechs (fixing flat, replacing spoke or brake cabke)?
these are only a few of the things that you need to consider prior to your "tour"
I spent about an hour or so talking to the guy in one of the LBS' today about touring and bike mech. Decided not to fiddle with my bike because as the guy said, "What's most important is just getting out there and riding." Better to have my bike ready for leaving in a week or so than have to be figuring out how to put it back together and being stuck at home. I've been getting pretty obsessive with handlebars, saddles, camping equip. For example, I've spent pretty much all of today researching camping hammocks versus sleeping pads. Argh! But I like it in a sick way...
As for my touring type...I'm going to be doing it unsupported. And "stealth camping" (which I discovered today has an actual name.) Also plan to be spending minimal money - dumpstering, eating wild foods, ect. Basically just being homeless on my bike visiting people and places for an indeterminate amount of time (jobs=yeck).
I'd planned on just getting a decent sleeping pad and bringing my 0-degree bag and a tarp with me, but now there's these Hennessy Hammocks and they're just so dang cool! Unfortunately, a bit pricey and complicated once I factor in all the stuff I'd need to keep warm/set-it up. I'm not that confident about using something that is going to make me cold in my 0 degree bag when it's 40-50 out! Of course, I'm just figuring that from the hours of reading I've done on it. I actually don't know how they'd effect me...so if someone has experience to the contrary, speak up!
But yeah...been looking at sleeping pads. I'm a pretty finicky sleeper. I spent some time in North Carolina a little while ago, and while it was nice being warm and all that (I just finished a year outside in the woods of Wisconsin) my foam sleeping mat was a piece of crap. My legs were so bad I had trouble walking after a few days. Anybody know of sleeping pads that are good for side-sleepers? I guess I'll post this in touring too.