Travelling Light - 500 mile trip
I currently living in San Diego, and thinking of making the trip up to the Bay Area to visit my parents' house. It's around 500 miles. I was thinking of doing it in about 4 days. I want to use my race bike. Have any of you done something like this? It should only be about 7 hours or so in the saddle each day. I have friends and relatives houses to stay at for the most part, but I'm not quite sure how much I should bring to not be a complete idiot. It seems like I might need a pack of some kind - I've been referred to peterwhitecycles.com as a possibility. But I definitely want to be traveling about as light as possible. Any tips/advice/experiences?
Try to find a really light backpack that has a tensioned mesh back padding area. It should be under two pounds and around one pound is better. This allows your back to breath so you don't get too over heated. If possible avoid the standard backpack designs that use a half inch closed cell foam as the back support. This is OK in winter but gets very hot in summer so look for a mesh suspension system.
All you really need is your rain suit and helmet cover and a light weight long sleeve polyester shirt and some lightweight nylon convertable pants. This is for changing into after you shower at your friends so they can stand you. And the shirt can double as an insulation layer if you get cold on the bike. And the nylon pants can double as breathable wind pants if needed. And since they are convertable they make good shorts for casual wear and can double as biking shorts if your main shorts get ripped or something.
You might want to take a really light breathable windbreaker if your rainsuit is not highly breathable. It doesn't add much weight but it can be a life saver if the weather turns cool. Also, if you don't want to be wearing your cycling shoes all of the time when off the bike a pair of cheap foam sandals work really well. Reeboc makes some that only weight a couple of ounces. They are something like shower sandals. Next, a change of socks for biking and underwear for when you get to your friends and inlaws. You can wear the sandals without socks so you only need an extra pair of biking socks. Wash out you biking stuff every night and all will be well.
You can carry extra water container empty in the pack in case you get in a situation where you need extra water. Keep the pack weight at no more than 10-12 pounds and you should have no troubles but you won't be as fresh as with no pack and the lighter you can have it the better. I like to carry a lightweight 34 ounce stainless steel vacuum bottle. It's not as light as a plastic container but I can put a cold 32 ounce gatorade in it and it will stay cold for several hours. It is really nice to have if your two standard water bottles are not going to be enough. And especially if like me you hate to drink hot Gatorade.
Some people like to use the hydration bladders but I don't like them. Either way everything else applies. Just find a small appropriate backpack that has a sleeve for a hydration bladder if you want to take that approach.
You will be drinking more water with the pack on because you will be working a little harder than with no pack.
Last edited by Hezz; 07-03-06 at 05:26 PM.
Thanks for the advice. The lightweight nylon stuff sounds like a good idea. As for food...maybe just hammer gel and powders...with real food at my stops. It would be ideal if I could fit everything in jersey pockets, but I guess I might want a little more...especially staying at people's houses.
I've done a 800 km ride over 4 days in may with my road bike. If you stay with people or at the hotel you really don't need much. Here is what I did: I have a rather big saddle bag, which contains tools + arm and leg warmers. I put a bungee cord around it, so I can attach a couple more things over the saddle bag. Finally, I rolled up some clean clothes (like a sweater, shorts and a T-shirt) in a plastic bag, and attached the bag over the saddle bag to the seat post. It works perfectly. If you attach everything securely it doesn't move while you ride and doesn't interfere with you movements. Also, if you have 2 bottle holders and only use one to put a water bottle you have some more space to fit other stuff in, like a rain jacket for example. I've done quite a 2-3 days rides like this. I really don't like the backpack.
I have done many centuries and even a Tran-America. I would never use the backpack for anything longer than a long commute, say up to about 30 miles.
Get a modest set of front panniers [or saddlebags if you prefer] that can snap togehter and be carried easily when you leave the bike. If you ever have an opportunity to compare you will be glad you did. You could even use a seat bag if you can find a quality one that does not interfere with your legs. The only advantage a backpack might have is lowered wind ersistance but not significant for a small amount of gear.
That's good to hear. I really would prefer avoiding stuff on my back. Panniers won't attach to my bike...so I guess a seat bag it is.
If you are staying with people mail your gear ahead, eg shorts etc and you can carry very little.
I could think of a number of solutions.
1. In the pack area, i have this pack https://www.wingnutgear.com/product_details.cfm?id=112
It is extremely comfortable for cycling. It isn't a huge pack but it holds an amazing amount of stuff for it's size. I use it for commuting (when I was commuting, now mostly working from home)
2. You could do a seatpost rack with pannier supports. The amount of weight is kind of limited but could work if it is mostly clothing. Never tried them so I can't vouch for it.
3. Large seatbag. I saw a website with some HUGE bags. Of course I cannot remember where now.
You need a new bike
A Carradice seatbag will easily carry everything you need. Even the smaller size will do. Same for one of Rivendell's "Baggins" bags (made by Frost River). But you will need a saddle with saddlebag loops or some adapters for one. See www.wallbike.com for Carradice bags. Any backpack will also do fine. A large camelbak or other hydration pack with some significant storage may be ideal if you want to really go light.
For what you are doing, the only clothes you need take are two sets of cycling clothes and a pair of nylon shorts to slip over your cycling shorts. When you arrive at each day's destination, you switch clothes and wash out the dirty set. If you like, you can carry additional clotes depending on capacity of your bag or pack.
You will also need the standard flat repair/multitool stuff that you should always carry. You should carry rain gear and a small toiletries kit. Buy travel sized soap, toothpaste, etc. to keep the weight and volume low. Some Woolite repackaged into a hotel size shampoo bottle should get you through four or five days washing your clothes. Same for sunscreen.
If you take simple solid color jerseys you won't look so conspicuous when you're off the bike. If you use MTB shoes you don't need to carry separate off bike shoes.
My guess is that you should be able to get the weight down to under 3 lbs if you try. If you need to do any camping, the weight shoots up significantly, but can still be done with a large saddlebag.