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  1. #1
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    long rides day after day

    Hi my long distance riding friends! I'm planning to do a trip from Cleveland to Chicago and was wondering if you guys could give me any tips? It's a little over 350 miles, so I'm looking at 120ish miles a day.

    I've for asked similar advice in the Touring forum a few weeks ago, but I get a lot of overly conservative answers ("you shouldn't plan on doing more than 50 miles in a day blahblahblah") So I came to where the hardasses are.

    I'll be packing some street clothes for my stay, 2 shorts and jerseys, a tarp, a sleeping bag, some MREs and snacks. Planning to find most of my food on the road (restaurants and such, not roadkill). I realize this is probably more than most of you carry, but I wanted to give you an idea of what I'm packing.

    So, ladies and gentlemen, please share your ideas!
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    You should be able to ride it two days.
    What is your longest ride to date?
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    There's people around that could pretty much do that as one continuous ride, so it's hard to say what YOU should do. I'm with the wusses in Touring, and if I was doing it, I might manage 120 miles a day, but I sure wouldn't enjoy it, either. And, if I was doing it, I'd leave the tarp and sleeping bag at home and use motels, but that's just me. Most of the people riding long distance don't pack that much (intentionally) and most of the people packing camping stuff don't go that far in a day. You might load up your bike like that and go ride a few hours and see what kind of time you make with that load. That could be informative. Especially if you hit a nice headwind. (Going 350 miles in one direction, you COULD have a headwind the whole way. Whee!)
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    10wheels, my longest ride has been a shade over 100 miles, with the bike fully loaded, and Stephen must be psychic, because my whole ride home was into a headwind

    Two days sounds a bit extreme, but I am relatively young and absolutely foolhardy, so I think that might be a good goal. I'm still looking for ways to trim my load overall.

    To give some background in reference to conditioning, I commute daily, race occasionally and, thanks to the Army, have a huge capacity for sucking up misery

    Thanks for the quick replies! Hope some others will throw out advice and input
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Amy at age 41 just did 572 miles in two days.

    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  6. #6
    Randomhead
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    MREs are heavy, and they are designed to make you constipated. I would go with purchased food only.

    350 miles is just a little under the distance of a 600k brevet. Time limit for a 600k is 40 hours, and that's pretty slow. Get riding.

    I don't really know what you want from us, if you were staying in hotels, 120 a day is no problem. Camping makes it more of a stretch. Finding a place to camp is a chore, and you have to make and break camp. That's why they say 50 miles, it takes 3+ hours a day just for the mechanics of camping.

    You will probably have a headwind, so it might not be all that pleasant.

    I like credit card touring, lightweight, ride long distances, flop in a hotel at the end of the day. It might not be out of the question to do 175 miles per day if you did that.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 06-22-10 at 10:43 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member spooner's Avatar
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    Just an FYI - Cleveland (10.5) has a higher average wind speed than Chicago (10.3). So at least things will get better as you head west

  8. #8
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    MREs are heavy, and they are designed to make you constipated. I would go with purchased food only.
    In Canada they're called IMPs and I don't know if they're designed for that, but i hear they sure make quite an exit!

    Seen below is Doom's IMP from ID Software for graphic illustration.

    Some may agree that passing either is about the same!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, most of the folks over on the touring forum are very conservative. I'm not sure why that is... Maybe they read about riding/touring a lot more than they actually do it.

    It all depends on you. If you are an avid cyclist and have done distances close to what you plan (you stated you've done over 100 miles before), then you shouldn't have much trouble with the mileage. I know people who tour with huge loads and rarely do less than 100 miles a day for weeks on end. I know a guy who tours with a light load and routinely averages 150 miles a day. He's not hammering or killing himself, he's just strong and maintains a higher average speed.

    You're young and in good shape, go for it! Stay hydrated and fuel right. Get your rest. It might turn out to be much easier than you thought.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    It's a little over 350 miles, so I'm looking at 120ish miles a day.
    More silly discussion based on the premise that the only measure of ride difficulty is distance.

    No one knows what kind of ride you would have.

    A few "real" questions to ask: What will the weather be like - and how will you handle rainy or stormy weather? What is the route surface? Are you taking the "main" roads? Will you be avoiding rough roads and area of no services? What's your "piss off" quotient? Can you handle a flat tire or a broken spoke? Do you have quality equipment or are you riding junk? Oh and by the way - are you actually in great shape? Or are you figuring if I rode this many miles one time - I can do it again?

    If you want to think about what kind of ride you will have - then do it - but quit thinking in terms of miles -and start thinking in terms of conditions.

    It not how long the journey is - it's how the journey is long...... Yuk, yuk yuk I'm a grown up and you're not!!!

  11. #11
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    More silly discussion based on the premise that the only measure of ride difficulty is distance.

    No one knows what kind of ride you would have.

    A few "real" questions to ask: What will the weather be like - and how will you handle rainy or stormy weather? What is the route surface? Are you taking the "main" roads? Will you be avoiding rough roads and area of no services? What's your "piss off" quotient? Can you handle a flat tire or a broken spoke? Do you have quality equipment or are you riding junk? Oh and by the way - are you actually in great shape? Or are you figuring if I rode this many miles one time - I can do it again?

    If you want to think about what kind of ride you will have - then do it - but quit thinking in terms of miles -and start thinking in terms of conditions.

    It not how long the journey is - it's how the journey is long...... Yuk, yuk yuk I'm a grown up and you're not!!!
    Thank you for bringing these points up. Rainy and stormy weather, I plan to ride through it, as long as I feel I can do so safely. I'll be travelling on US 6 the whole way, I'm not sure if it's "major" or not, but I'm not going to be on out of the way roads. As I stated before, my threshold for "suck" is pretty high, spending a winter in the mounains of Afghanistan gives one a whole new definition of "suck" I work part time as a bike mechanic, and feel confident in my ability to repair most issues. I'm riding a Trek 520, which isn' a high end randonneuring bike but is a pretty high quality ride. I don't know your definition of "great" shape, but as stated I ride hard and often, so I don't think my body will give out, barring any unforseen injury. The route itself, after a few hills in western Ohio, is almost dead flat, a huge change of pace from the hills down here in Carolina.

    Thanks again for pointing out all these other issues and getting my mind to mull them over. And might i add, you have one of the best screen names I've seen in a while, it took me a second to catch it
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  12. #12
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    MREs are heavy, and they are designed to make you constipated. I would go with purchased food only.
    That's the plan for most of my meals, I'm only carrying about 4000kcal of MREs because being stranded without food really, really sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    350 miles is just a little under the distance of a 600k brevet. Time limit for a 600k is 40 hours, and that's pretty slow. Get riding.
    Thanks for the motivation!

    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I don't really know what you want from us, if you were staying in hotels, 120 a day is no problem. Camping makes it more of a stretch. Finding a place to camp is a chore, and you have to make and break camp. That's why they say 50 miles, it takes 3+ hours a day just for the mechanics of camping.
    Moral support and encouragement I guess? Advice or pointers from those who are more experienced? I don't question your knowledge or experience, but "camp" won't be that in depth for me, and I can't possibly see taking 3 hours to set up and break camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    You will probably have a headwind, so it might not be all that pleasant.

    I like credit card touring, lightweight, ride long distances, flop in a hotel at the end of the day. It might not be out of the question to do 175 miles per day if you did that.
    I like the idea of credit card touring, but after my recent divorce, my credit's already pretty shot

    Thanks for the input!
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  13. #13
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Your going to have a good ride.
    Be safe and have fun.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  14. #14
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    This thread is great:

  15. #15
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    This thread is great:
    I'm glad I can brighten your day! You guys are a lot more fun and informative than some of the other sub forums around here. Kudos!
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  16. #16
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    @Barrettscv: I just noticed you're in Chicago, any suggestions for routes into the city or parts to avoid?
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  17. #17
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freefallkev View Post
    @Barrettscv: I just noticed you're in Chicago, any suggestions for routes into the city or parts to avoid?
    Traveling from Portage Indiana to Downtown Chicago will be your most difficult section. I've taken this route, see the two links below. The route reduces you travel in rough 'hoods and avoids streets by staying on bike paths for 90% of the travel.

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...9,2.710876&z=9

    http://sites.google.com/site/huffmun/files

    Check it out. feel free to contact me, I might be able to offer support depending on your schedule.

    Michael

  18. #18
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    First, IMO some of the replies regarding the advice given on the touring thread are a bit too critical. The 50 mile advice given is a solid number based by most on years of experience. That, and remember, touring isn't about the destination, it's about the ride. Touring is to long distance cycling as sailing is power boating.

    That said, no one here can tell you how far you can ride in a day. The traffic conditions, route, and weather will dictate how far you go each day. The advice to bring no more than a credit card is about as good as it gets. The less you carry the better off you'll be. lastly, your bike is a fine machine for either LD riding or touring.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  19. #19
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    A common type of post in the touring forum is: "I'd like to cross the US in 12 days unsupported. I plan to ride 300 miles a day at 20mph on my super-stiff road bike. What do you think?"

    I.e. there are a lot of people with minimal experience and outlandish expectations who like the idea of covering huge distances on a bicycle; they're also trying to fit a trip into an unrealistically short time frame set by other constraints. Many of us who have actually gone on tour know that 120 miles a day is very ambitious for a tour, and quite a few have heard of people who wind themselves up for a huge tour and quit before the end of the 1st week.

    So even if you were a thoroughly experienced randonneur, you shouldn't be surprised if folks there tried to adjust your expectations.

    Touring also has a very different mindset than randonneuring. If you're on a brevet, your goal is to get from A to B within a set time; you don't need to carry nearly as much stuff; you don't have to worry about cooking; you aren't stopping to sleep, let alone find a campsite and set up a shelter. Touring is less about "pushing limits" as it is about "enjoying the ride."

    Can you do it? Maybe. Will you enjoy it? Maybe, maybe not. Will you get an overuse injury, if you go from 100 miles a week to 400+? Seems likely, so I'd start training.

    Or better yet: Pile your stuff on your bike, and do a short tour ASAP. After you've actually done a couple of long days back to back, you'll have a better idea of your limits and what works while on tour.

  20. #20
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    So even if you were a thoroughly experienced randonneur, you shouldn't be surprised if folks there tried to adjust your expectations.
    My experience with randonneurs is that many of them tour like they ride brevets, i.e. non-stop. And they check to see if they can ride any permanents along the way. Limits the range, that's for sure.

    I think the gist of your tour is very wise. Having said that, I think that the 50 miles per day target comes from stopping at anything interesting along the way, plus taking a lot of pictures, and writing a journal on CGOAB. Of course, if you skip all that extra-curricular activity, the maximum sensible distance is probably no more than 75 miles. Significantly more miles than that is certainly doable, but not sensible. I also happen to think that randonneuring isn't sensible either, otherwise we would stop for the night.

  21. #21
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    Hey, just to be clear, it wasn't a knock on the touring crowd, more a gentle ribbing. I'm well aware no one can tell me that I'll be able to ride exactly 182.6 miles in a day, I'm just looking for general lessons learned from those who are more experienced, like "bring an extra cleat for your shoes" or "don't eat yellow snow."

    It would be more about the trip if I were traveling through interesting country. But the midwest? been there, seen it, and other than some beautiful prairie sunsets, there isn't a whole lot to take in. So in that sense it's more about the destination (a new city and a lovely young lady who's company I'll be enjoying) than the trip or scenery (cornfield... cornfield... cornfield...)

    And I really don't want to grow old without doing something completely contrary to sensibility
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  22. #22
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Traveling from Portage Indiana to Downtown Chicago will be your most difficult section. I've taken this route, see the two links below. The route reduces you travel in rough 'hoods and avoids streets by staying on bike paths for 90% of the travel.

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...9,2.710876&z=9


    http://sites.google.com/site/huffmun/files

    Check it out. feel free to contact me, I might be able to offer support depending on your schedule.

    Michael

    Thanks a lot for the maps! So... where's a good place to grab a slice of pizza 'round there? I have a feeling I'm going to be hungry when I get in...
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

  23. #23
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freefallkev View Post
    Thanks a lot for the maps! So... where's a good place to grab a slice of pizza 'round there? I have a feeling I'm going to be hungry when I get in...
    They have this really backward notion about what "pizza" is around Chicago (it requires a pan, knife, spoon and fork to consume), and getting a "slice" of one of theirs is liable to leave you exceptionally messy.

    Good luck on your little journey. I have a feeling you'll do fine. 120 miles a day under those circumstances will be an accomplishment, and not easy, but I suspect you could pull it off.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  24. #24
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freefallkev View Post
    It would be more about the trip if I were traveling through interesting country. But the midwest? been there, seen it, and other than some beautiful prairie sunsets, there isn't a whole lot to take in. So in that sense it's more about the destination (a new city and a lovely young lady who's company I'll be enjoying) than the trip or scenery (cornfield... cornfield... cornfield...)

    And I really don't want to grow old without doing something completely contrary to sensibility
    Hey, nothing wrong with cornfields. There are some real nice ones, sure they might not be the fields of Elysium but one shouldn't be picky!

  25. #25
    Senior Member freefallkev's Avatar
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    Well, I realized I never updated this thread. The trip took me three days, 160 the first, 100 the second and 120 the third. Carried a few days worth of "normal" clothes and basic camping gear in the panniers, maybe 40 lbs worth?

    Thanks for all the tips, I had a great time!
    would you rather weave through traffic, or sit in it?

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