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  1. #1
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Preparing for first tour

    This is a little premature, but I just couldn't help myself. We are fairly excited to be leaving on our first tour in the morning. It's just an overnight shakedown for our 2 week unsupported camping tour in September, but it is something we've never done before. We're all loaded up.

    We went out with almost our full 2-week kit last night. Just short a few things, amounting to about 5 pounds. Not counting the stuff we have on the bike for day rides, we're adding about 30 lbs. for the 2-week tour, including the panniers and rack. Photo below.

    Anyway, we did one of our standard 23 mile loops last night and found to our delight that we were only a little slower than on the unloaded bike. About 1 cog lower on the climbs and maybe 1/2 mph slower on the flat. So all you tandem couples out there - it's not that hard to get the weight down. You'll probably lose half that much in two weeks, anyway! With everything split between two people, and the gear sitting in a tandem's draft, it's pretty cool.

    We found we have to keep the bike upright when climbing out of the saddle. Otherwise I could hardly tell the load was back there. The bike handled quite normally. Braking distance was a little greater, but not bad at all with our Avid rim brakes. 310 lb. team.

    We put on larger tires - Rubino Pro Tech in 28c, running them at 120 lbs. I didn't like them on the unloaded bike, but loaded they feel great. We bombed across the world's worst RR crossing a couple times and it was fine. So I guess we're good to go!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member CGinOhio's Avatar
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    We are excited for you! Where are you headed?
    Also impressed that you can get by with only 30 lbs of gear for touring/camping. That will make the riding much more pleasant...I think our load including pannier weights was closer to 75 lbs.
    I would keep a close eye on the pressure of your rear 28c tire during your tour. With the weight you have on the rear it doesn't leave you a lot of margin for error. Before the end of your two weeks you will need to top off.
    Have fun and please post some details when you get back.

  3. #3
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    Same here, we tend to run 75 ish pounds, tho that includes the bob, which unfortunately weighs 16 by itself. Have fun & do give a trip report
    R&J

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    OK, dear friends. Because none of this would have happened without this community. We've learned so much from all of you, and were able to translate that into what Stoker calls "a life changing event."

    We did a two day tour of Whidbey Island and the Skagit flats in Washington State. We rode with another couple who, while a more experienced tandem team than we, also had never gone anywhere unsupported. We went up Whidbey Island and spent the night at Deception Pass State Park. We reserved a campsite, not realizing that they had hiker/biker sites that don't require reservation and that are situated well away from the cars, RVs, and their inhabitants. We rode 50 miles the first day, over fairly hilly terrain, maybe 2500' of climbing.

    We had an excellent night's sleep in the first use of our new tent, bag, etc. The second day we rode to La Conner and down through the Skagit flats, about 65 miles, over much flatter terrain, probably only 1500' of climbing. Long way though. We were really exhausted by the end of both days. Part of the problem with touring with bike buddies with whom one has ridden singles a bit competitively for years is that neither of us wanted to disappoint the other with weak pulls, frequent rest stops, etc. On our own we would have gone a bit more slowly. As it was, we averaged a bit over 14 mph, saddle time, for the two days. Not bad for a couple of aging hippies who really didn't train for this. Compared to our unloaded day rides, we averaged only about 1/2 mph slower. The rather light load and only rear panniers were a big help.

    We didn't bring a stove or pot. We ate in restaurants and Starbucks, which made it all very simple. On our day rides we are accustomed to bringing special bike food, powdered drinks, and that sort of thing. On this overnight we brought only water and ate a couple of Clif bars. Otherwise it was all ordinary food. Which worked much better than I expected. Stoker had some sour stomach but not too bad, and we had good energy the whole way, even when we got tired.

    Only real problem was stoker butt pain. Just on the sit bones, not friction sores. Ibuprofen helped. So just a matter of more saddle time. We're going to work on that over the next few weeks.

    Quite empowering and a lot of fun - getting to ride together all day for two days. We plan on repeating this ride together with the other team next year, but next time will take 3 days over it, staying at less popular parks and dawdling more. But this was a great training ride. We should be noticeably stronger for the group tandem ride next Sunday.

    The whole equipment thing was flawless. Neither bike had a flat or a mechanical other than a couple of chain drops. I think I know what I did wrong in mis-shifting. I went too far down the cassette in the granny ring before shifting to the middle ring. We'd gone over the top after getting beat up on a 19% grade in the campground and I was a t***** fuddled. I think the RD sort of collapsed and the chain couldn't catch the middle ring strongly enough to pull the lower jockey wheel back into position. We have 52-39-26 and 11-34.

    Thanks again, folks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ftsoft's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post and congratulations on a successful tour. Maybe we will be inspired to make the attempt. BTW where did you get you 26 tooth inner chainring? is it FSA?

    Frank

  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftsoft View Post
    Thanks for the post and congratulations on a successful tour. Maybe we will be inspired to make the attempt. BTW where did you get you 26 tooth inner chainring? is it FSA?

    Frank
    There were a few threads on here about small inner rings. Most folks thought a Salsa was most durable, so that's what I got. Internet. No complaints. Brand doesn't matter as far as shifting is concerned. Chain will drop onto anything. We also installed a Jump Stop, which was a very good idea. Some folks put on a 24 and I've even heard of using 22s. I was a little afraid of too big a tooth difference making shifting difficult, so I was conservative and went with a 13 tooth shift to the 39, which works well. You just have to buy the correct BCD for your crankset.

  7. #7
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    If you pulled a 19% on a 24 tooth, you sure don't a lower gear, congrats from us. We do keep miles closer to 50 as we just tire out, too many years as they say. Keep on havin fun
    R&J

  8. #8
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Our multi-day tandem toots do not involve carrying a tent as we motel it.
    We are able to pare down our gear to 22 lbs. for the 2-of-us.
    Glad you had a good experience . . . next time don't be in a rush!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
    If you pulled a 19% on a 24 tooth, you sure don't a lower gear, congrats from us. We do keep miles closer to 50 as we just tire out, too many years as they say. Keep on havin fun
    R&J
    Our lowest gear is 26X34. If we'd had more than about 100 yds of 19%, we might have been walking. 3 mph as it was. We tried standing, but it didn't really work in such a low gear. The bike would squirt forward and then stop with each downstroke. We treated this as a training ride. I was really curious to see how we'd do on day 2 if we went hard on the hills on day 1 and only one way to find out, so . . .

    We plan on repeating this trip with the same couple next year, but next time do 40 mile days, stay at more lonesome campgrounds, and do more of our own cooking. We like our own cooking and just self-published a 2 oz. ultra-light camping cookbook. When we backpack, we say it takes 3 days to get "there." We're looking forward to arriving, on a longer tour.

    Later . . . I did a little calculation and figure that at 3 mph and 19% we were climbing at 3000'/hr. Since our hour steady state has been 1500'/hr, pretty easy to see we can't keep that up!
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 08-07-10 at 09:11 PM.

  10. #10
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Our multi-day tandem toots do not involve carrying a tent as we motel it.
    We are able to pare down our gear to 22 lbs. for the 2-of-us.
    Glad you had a good experience . . . next time don't be in a rush!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    We will take it easier next time! Well, maybe. That's what I always say before I get on the bike. We know we only have a limited time left for the camping/touring thing. We hope to be motelling it too, as long as we are lucky and keep at it. Thanks for everything, folks.

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