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  1. #1
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    New to biking - Serious advice please?!

    Hey, I've just joined this forum to see about getting some advice.

    Me and some friends want to bike the Pennine way with backpacks and small tents before uni (i.e. a few weeks time).

    I have contacted the national trust of the pennine way (UK) to check we can bike it and if its possible for a bunch of lads.

    I would like to ask is there any wheels or tyres that I can buy that are like impenetrable? Surely theres some tyres that are solid for biking across rough terrain?

    Also what other advice could you experts and enthusiasts give me?

    I have attached a photo of my bike below!



    P.S. My bike is over 6 years old

    Thanks in advance
    I'm very grateful and looking forward to my riding!
    Luke

    Edit: I've been successful in my shakedown ride, Check out the cool photos on page 2!
    Last edited by LERsince1991; 08-25-09 at 05:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member helmut's Avatar
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    Are you riding the full 430 km? If so, you'll probably be wishing you had a hard tail bike. I don't mean to disparage your bike, but I can almost guarantee you'll have some sort of mechanical break-down riding that far on a very low-end bike. But if that's all you have:

    Bring at least 4 tubes, and a pump.
    Bring tire boots to patch a tire, or a spare folding bead tire in case you damage the sidewalls.
    You'll want to fit a rack to the bike to carry gear, but I'm not sure how that would work on a FS bike.
    You'll want at the very least, a set of allen wrenches, a spare chain and chain tool, and tire levers.

    Get your bike checked out at a bike store, and have them adjust your brakes, gears and suspension as best they can before heading out. Unless the trail is very thorny, your current tires should be alright.

  3. #3
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Unless you are quite short, your seat is probably set too low for long distance riding - you may suffer from a lot of knee pain. Ask the bike store for fitting advice. Generally the leg should be almost straight when the pedal is at the lowest point. You may like the seat to be lower at home for jumps or whatever, but for touring it should be set higher. You might even need a new longer seat post.

    If it is already set at the right height, sorry, my bad!

  4. #4
    Senior Member victim's Avatar
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    Where are you going to put all the brewskis?

  5. #5
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Sweet kickstand.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

  6. #6
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Um, yikes. There are a lot of moving parts on that very low-end bicycle.

    This is the strangest forum for attracting this sort of question...anyways, I would be frankly astonished if that bike held together for a 400+km trip. If all your gear is on your back, pack light. Like, real real light.

    Tires are not your primary concern with this bike(!), I would suspect you are better served by bringing lots of spare tubes with you than trying to find super tough tires...unless there is a specific hazard you are concerned about, like cacti or something. DH-specific tires are generally 2-ply...I suppose that would make them more resistant to puncturing. Of course they're also insanely heavy and quite expensive. Schwalbe makes some tires with aramid lining. Again, though, quite expensive and I'm not sure if they'll work for the terrain you'll be encountering.

    Basically you have the wrong tool for the job here. But if it's all you have, bring tools and good luck.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by helmut View Post
    Are you riding the full 430 km? If so, you'll probably be wishing you had a hard tail bike. I don't mean to disparage your bike, but I can almost guarantee you'll have some sort of mechanical break-down riding that far on a very low-end bike. But if that's all you have:

    Bring at least 4 tubes, and a pump.
    Bring tire boots to patch a tire, or a spare folding bead tire in case you damage the sidewalls.
    You'll want to fit a rack to the bike to carry gear, but I'm not sure how that would work on a FS bike.
    You'll want at the very least, a set of allen wrenches, a spare chain and chain tool, and tire levers.

    Get your bike checked out at a bike store, and have them adjust your brakes, gears and suspension as best they can before heading out. Unless the trail is very thorny, your current tires should be alright.
    Helmut - We want to try and bike as much as we can, probably like a weeks worth, maybe half the trail, I don't know. I thought my bike was good suppose its old tech and more mainstream amateur

    Ok so I'll try and get my hands on spares. This may be a silly question but have they not invented any tyres that can't be punctured yet? Why do we need inner tubes? I went on a 4 hour bike today with my brother across fields and stuff and I got a puncture :/

    I was thinking of just carrying all the equipment, spares, food and very small tent just on my back really. Not sure even where I can fit any holders to my bike.

    What do you mean by tyre boots? And sidewalls are the sides of the tyres?
    I know a friend that will be able to look over my bike for me, I've adjusted the suspension and gave it lots of tlc the other day as I hadn't ridden it in a couple of years. Also adjusted the brakes but I think the gears are a bit out of sync and I couldn't tighten the wire but my friend should be able to have a look for me.

    I'm just going to buy some new grips and possibly tyres/tubes. I noticed people on here have massive tyres which look awesome But again... nothing thats puncture proof?

    Cooker - I will need a new seat poll as I cut it shot when I first got it. I'm 18 now so had it when I was 12 and the seat size has been fine bout time to make it taller though.

    Victim - What are Brewskis?

    Junkyard -

    Commodus - Thanks for your reply, TBH I don't see whats so different about my bike compared to others on here. I hardly know anything about bikes though. But I do know it does the job more or less. The breaks, break well and it goes fine until I get a puncture :/

    I'm not in a position to buy a new bike just yet, if I enjoy and succeed (whether that means finishing or not) I'll get a new bike with recommendations from you lot but that is not an option at the moment!

    What could fail on my bike and how exactly? The chain comes off odd time but thats only because the gears are out of sync I reckon, the tyres get punctured but that happens. Not much else. I suppose mud could clog it up which isn't much of a problem considering the sticky muddy fields I used toe ride through!

    I will go and speak to a bike shop.

    BTW I'd just like to add, I'm fit but not like ultra fit for insane biking. I want a challenge because I've never met my boundaries properly and I want to go on a demanding adventure.

    Thanks for your quick and helpful replies everyone!
    Luke.

  8. #8
    Senior Member helmut's Avatar
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    Hutchison actually makes a range of tubeless tires. The issue is making an airtight seal between the bead of the tire and the rim, which is harder than it sounds. These type of tires usually use a stop-leak fluid to seal up any small punctures. The problem is that a set of tubeless tires and rims would be worth more than your whole bike. Like I said, your current tires should be fine, just bring spare tubes.

    Things that could go wrong:
    Broken chain
    Ripped tire sidewall (yes, this is the side of your tire, and pretty much unfixable)
    Broken rear derailleur
    Broken shift cable
    Broken brake calipers
    Destroyed brake pad
    Stripped threads on any number of bolts or screws
    Broken spokes
    Bent rim
    Cracked frame

    These things are all possible. And the cheaper (and older) your bike and components, the more likely they become.

  9. #9
    Senior Member victim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LERsince1991 View Post
    Helmut - We want to try and bike as much as we can, probably like a weeks worth, maybe half the trail, I don't know. I thought my bike was good suppose its old tech and more mainstream amateur

    Ok so I'll try and get my hands on spares. This may be a silly question but have they not invented any tyres that can't be punctured yet? Why do we need inner tubes? I went on a 4 hour bike today with my brother across fields and stuff and I got a puncture :/

    I was thinking of just carrying all the equipment, spares, food and very small tent just on my back really. Not sure even where I can fit any holders to my bike.

    What do you mean by tyre boots? And sidewalls are the sides of the tyres?
    I know a friend that will be able to look over my bike for me, I've adjusted the suspension and gave it lots of tlc the other day as I hadn't ridden it in a couple of years. Also adjusted the brakes but I think the gears are a bit out of sync and I couldn't tighten the wire but my friend should be able to have a look for me.

    I'm just going to buy some new grips and possibly tyres/tubes. I noticed people on here have massive tyres which look awesome But again... nothing thats puncture proof?

    Cooker - I will need a new seat poll as I cut it shot when I first got it. I'm 18 now so had it when I was 12 and the seat size has been fine bout time to make it taller though.

    Victim - What are Brewskis?

    Junkyard -

    Commodus - Thanks for your reply, TBH I don't see whats so different about my bike compared to others on here. I hardly know anything about bikes though. But I do know it does the job more or less. The breaks, break well and it goes fine until I get a puncture :/

    I'm not in a position to buy a new bike just yet, if I enjoy and succeed (whether that means finishing or not) I'll get a new bike with recommendations from you lot but that is not an option at the moment!

    What could fail on my bike and how exactly? The chain comes off odd time but thats only because the gears are out of sync I reckon, the tyres get punctured but that happens. Not much else. I suppose mud could clog it up which isn't much of a problem considering the sticky muddy fields I used toe ride through!

    I will go and speak to a bike shop.

    BTW I'd just like to add, I'm fit but not like ultra fit for insane biking. I want a challenge because I've never met my boundaries properly and I want to go on a demanding adventure.

    Thanks for your quick and helpful replies everyone!
    Luke.
    Brewskis=beer. I thought you were in college, dude? Just kidding, good luck on your journey. Do it while your young. Bike looks good but why is it six years old and looks like you just unpacked it from it's original box??? I think I see some packing peanuts on the back wheel?

  10. #10
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    It's six years old and looks brand new in the photo because I got it out the other day and I had a bad hangover from the night before so i spent a whole day cleaning and tuning every part... not really knowing what I was doing, just working it out Cotton buds work a treat.

    Don't worry its been destroyed by dirt biking around the local area's farmer fields and stuff plenty-a-time.

    Sorry I thought brewskis were some bike talk component maybe its an american thing but we dont say it here haha
    And I've just been accepted into university to do architecture

  11. #11
    Senior Member victim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LERsince1991 View Post
    It's six years old and looks brand new in the photo because I got it out the other day and I had a bad hangover from the night before so i spent a whole day cleaning and tuning every part... not really knowing what I was doing, just working it out Cotton buds work a treat.

    Don't worry its been destroyed by dirt biking around the local area's farmer fields and stuff plenty-a-time.

    Sorry I thought brewskis were some bike talk component maybe its an american thing but we dont say it here haha
    And I've just been accepted into university to do architecture
    No worrys bro, I'm envious, sounds like a fun trip. The others posters advice was spot on, 3 tubes and a spare fold up tire. Also keep the bike good and lubed and not so many brewskis for you and you should have a blast. Ride on!

  12. #12
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    I think the budget required to acquire all the materials for the trip would easily outweigh the cost of a newish bike that is better suited to the task. I like the idea of getting a hardtail, it doesn't need to be new, but I sure sure wouldn't ride that bike 230 Km.

    Best of luck if you do!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by starvingdavid View Post
    I think the budget required to acquire all the materials for the trip would easily outweigh the cost of a newish bike that is better suited to the task. I like the idea of getting a hardtail, it doesn't need to be new, but I sure sure wouldn't ride that bike 230 Km.

    Best of luck if you do!
    The budget would be more than a good bike?

    I'm thinking the only spares I need to buy are 4 new inner tubes and possibly a tyre. Inner tubes are £5 so £20, along with the food and other supplies. I already have like puncture repair kit, backpack, small tents, the needed tools like allen keys and stuff to take my bike to bits. A small can of wd-40 and a spare tyre cant cost much

    Thanks

    Edit: oh and its 431Km, 268 miles

  14. #14
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    LERsince1991 - there's a lot of bikesnobbery here, so take that into account, but even so, your bike is not designed for what you have in mind, and there's a chance some major component will fail or you will discover that carrying all your gear on your back gets "old" pretty quickly, and detracts from your enjoyment of your trip.

    Bikes designed for long distance touring usually have racks to help carry some of your stuff, and don't have suspension because that adds to your work, slowing you down a bit.

    One option to seriously consider is renting a tourbike or a trailer for the trip.

    Still, lots of people ride bike that aren't exactly appropriate to the task and do fine, so if you decide to ride it, let's hope for the best. The UK is a lot more densely populated than (for example) the mountainous areas of the USA and Canada, so I would hope even on your trip, if you had major bike problems it wouldn't be much a of a side trip to get to a repair shop or whatever.

    A tire boot is a piece of sturdy rubber or plastic you can put inside the tire to temporarilly reinforce a damaged area and prevent the tube bulging out, until you can get to a store to buy a new tire. A folded pound note (do you still have those) can serve in a pinch
    Last edited by cooker; 08-19-09 at 04:03 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    LERsince1991 - there's a lot of bikesnobbery here, so take that into account, but even so, your bike is not designed for what you have in mind, and there's a chance some major component will fail or you will discover that carrying all your gear on your back gets "old" pretty quickly, and detracts from your enjoyment of your trip.

    Bikes designed for long distance touring usually have racks to help carry some of your stuff, and don't have suspension because that adds to your work, slowing you down a bit.

    One option to seriously consider is renting a tourbike or a trailer for the trip.

    Still, lots of people ride bike that aren't exactly appropriate to the task and do fine, so if you decide to ride it, let's hope for the best. The UK is a lot more densely populated than (for example) the mountainous areas of the USA and Canada, so I would hope even on your trip, if you had major bike problems it wouldn't be much a of a side trip to get to a repair shop or whatever.

    A tire boot is a piece of sturdy rubber or plastic you can put inside the tire to temporarilly reinforce a damaged area and prevent the tube bulging out, until you can get to a store to buy a new tire. A folded pound note (do you still have those) can serve in a pinch
    Ah right, bike snobbery
    Thanks for that info on the touring bikes!
    I don't think I will be that bothered about carrying all my stuff but I'm probably wrong there but it's part of the challenge for me.
    Another part of the challenge and enjoyment is succeeding with my own bike. It's not as suitable but it wont be the same renting a bike out

    I'm always going to have a phone and theres various roads and stuff to find people. my brother recently hitch hiked around england (and Australia) before that, he ended up at the Pennine way, lasted 2 days by himself and hitch hiked home. There was plenty of roads to ask for help but not another person on the trail. It should be fine. I'm quite resilient (I believe)

    Ah, a tyre boot, sounds cool We do have £5 notes So that would be suitable for pretty much a slashed tyre. cos punchers in the tyre wouldnt really matter.

    I'm proper getting into this and looking forward to it Just hope I can find some people that feel the same to come with me!

    Thanks again for your reply!

    So by the sounds of it I'm going take:

    - 4 spare inner tubes
    - a small can of WD-40 (lube)
    - possibly a spare tyre and/or tyre boot
    - Pump
    - Repair tools (1 adjustable spanner/wrench and some allen keys)
    - Puncture repair kit
    - Backpack
    - small tent
    - food equipment and food/drink
    - tech stuff like a phone, ipod and earphones
    - a change of clothes

    I'll try and take as little as possible
    Can't wait!
    Last edited by LERsince1991; 08-20-09 at 01:36 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member helmut's Avatar
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    I don't think you appreciate exactly how much gear it takes to successfully tour unsupported. For better advice, check out the Touring sub-forum to get good ideas on gear to bring, and pose some questions about the specifics of the ride. This forum is good for mountain bikes, but they know about the touring that you're considering.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LERsince1991 View Post
    a small can of WD-40 (lube)
    Can't wait!
    If you're planning to use the WD-40 on your chain, you might reconsider
    and pick something else. From everything I've read and been told WD-40
    is the last thing you should use as a chain lube. Just a thought...

    Good luck on your adventure and be safe.
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  18. #18
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    yeah, no WD-40. Fortunately proper chain lube is at least pretty affordable

    chamois cream should be added to the list.
    Proper clothing - i.e. no cotton.

  19. #19
    foolishly delirious RatedZeroHero's Avatar
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    serious advice...

    dont buy Enron stocks...

    always wear a condom...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helmut View Post
    Hutchison actually makes a range of tubeless tires. The issue is making an airtight seal between the bead of the tire and the rim, which is harder than it sounds. These type of tires usually use a stop-leak fluid to seal up any small punctures. The problem is that a set of tubeless tires and rims would be worth more than your whole bike. Like I said, your current tires should be fine, just bring spare tubes.

    Things that could go wrong:
    Broken chain
    Ripped tire sidewall (yes, this is the side of your tire, and pretty much unfixable)
    Broken rear derailleur
    Broken shift cable
    Broken brake calipers
    Destroyed brake pad
    Stripped threads on any number of bolts or screws
    Broken spokes
    Bent rim
    Cracked frame

    These things are all possible. And the cheaper (and older) your bike and components, the more likely they become.
    Not only these, but there are a ton of moving bits in the suspension components on this bike. Any of these could wear or break and make continuing difficult, if not impossible.

    A bike from Wal-Mart (or the equivalent) is not necessarily a terrible thing. It is, however, a machine with a purpose - short trips around the neighbourhood. I'm not trying to be a bike snob here, it's just a question of limitations. A Canfield F1 Jedi is a fine bicycle, but I'm not about to try and build a 10lbs frame into an XC bike.

    If you can borrow an old rigid bike from a family member or mate, it would be a much better bet. HOWEVER...if you absolutely can not get a hold of another bike, then bring some tools and have fun. One way or the other, it'll be an adventure.

  21. #21
    Addicted to Dirt Freefallman's Avatar
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    LER, take duct tape. No joke. If you get a rip in the actual tire you might be able to temporarily hold things together by taping the interior of the tire. This is not a permanent fix but for emergencies. Buy a small chain tool and know how to use it. You can skip the derailleur and just throw it around the a chainwheel and cassette sprocket if you need to. Read up on emergency repairs as I bet it will serve you well. When you get home think long and hard about what you would have done differently. Try riding a basic, used hardtail of reputable brand around and then report back. Remember, duck tape....

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    Ok so duck tape is added to the list and WD-40 has been replaced.
    I always thought WD-40 was perfect. Just googled it and now I will buy chain oil Will stop my chain from catching so much too cheers!

  23. #23
    "STAT" -_RebelRidin'_-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victim View Post
    Brewskis=beer. I thought you were in college, dude? Just kidding, good luck on your journey. Do it while your young. Bike looks good but why is it six years old and looks like you just unpacked it from it's original box??? I think I see some packing peanuts on the back wheel?
    lol, Hes from the UK, they dont know all our American slang.

    We got a UK guy at work, we always forget he doesn't know wth were talking about half the timelol.
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  24. #24
    This steel horse I ride Skones MickLoud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LERsince1991 View Post
    What could fail on my bike and how exactly?
    This is usually where Mr Murphy and his annoying Law come into play. If it can go wrong, it will.

    Just remember that duct tape (electrical tape might work in a pinch), Zip-ties and 550/Parachute cord can and do fix everything.

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    Thanks for the help, I'm off for a 2 day shakedown trip either tomorrow or tuesday!

    I've tuned the bike up. Good job I've had the time to look at it properly!

    My chain kept coming off so I properly cleaned all the cogs and gear things and then synced the gears (I guess the cables had stretched slightly in 7 years), then... I found the 'gear cog' behind the pedals had been causing it mainly, 2 or the 'points' that hold the chain were deformed. One was bent out and the other was bent in quite badly, so with a small hammer and other tools fixed it. Can't tell the difference now! Oh and I got some proper chain oil on it.

    Also got a couple of new inner tubes today, 3 for 2 at halfords.
    tuned the brakes properly (again I guess the cables had stretched)
    The handlebars then came loose when i was testing it! Fixed them.

    Then its just general tweaks here and there. Unfortunately I didn't get a new pole for the seat (longer)... Will see how it goes soon!

    Just packing my bag now. There isn't much actually! just like tent and sleeping bag that are the main weight. Got a couple of allen keys and an adjustable spanner, puncture repair kit, spare inner tube. Gathering 3x 1 litre bottles to strap to the back and one for the bike, need to get food and a bit to cook the food.

    I got a reply from an officer from the Pennine way and he said I cant bike it but I can bike the Pennine bridleway. Its a better trail and is 120 miles with option additional routes for biking. So thats good

    Hope all goes well!

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