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Old 03-01-17, 09:34 AM   #26
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At the risk of piling on...


One more vote for start slow and give yourself plenty of time. If you were planning on doing 700 miles in 8 days, back it off to 14 days. Or cut the tour to 350-400 miles. Plan on an average of 50 miles a day, start with 40 the first day. You always need to leave some in the tank for the next day (unless tomorrow will be a rest day).


Touring is supposed to be relaxed and fun. Seeing how far and how fast you can go is fun for a day or two, and then it turns into a grind.
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Old 03-01-17, 09:47 AM   #27
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OP, carry a lap top? Are you working? My "notebook" is 5x7 spiral bound and works with a pen. I too carry a smart phone for some back up maps and stuff. Gear list? My Karate Monkey this summer was 72 lbs. That was with full water + food for 4 days. Eat more, lighter bike. Really try to pare down the carry list.

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Old 03-01-17, 10:53 AM   #28
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If you normally ride an ultra light road bike with skinny tires, then I can see how you think that the touring bike handled like a semi-truck.

As noted above by others, the bike was probably 30 pounds, thus 45 pounds for racks, panniers and contents. That is not that unreasonable for most bike tourists. My Ortlieb panniers, empty handlebar bag and racks add up to over 13 pounds empty. There are a lot of really light weight bike tourists on this forum, but the norm I think is closer to what you had.

The first attached photo was from a group tour I did with 15 others. Almost everyone had four panniers except the three riders that pulled trailers. If my memory is correct, only two people had rear panniers but no front panniers and one of those two had the giant sized rear Arkel panniers.

I almost never see anyone wearing a backpack when bike touring unless they are on mountain bikes that totally lack racks, but if you want to try to wear one, go ahead. If it works for you, great. I want the weight on my bike, not on my back.

I have no idea what campgrounds you plan to use, but every campground I have ever used had water. But if you think you need to carry a lot of water a long way, someone else on this forum commented a few years ago that the 1 liter smart water bottles (bottled water) sold in grocery stores fit in water bottle cages quite well. Since I learned that, I started to use three of those bottles on my bike unless I want to also carry a coffee thermos, then only carry two of the smart water bottes.

The second photo was my expedition bike in Iceland last summer, the duffel on top in the back was almost all food, I needed to carry a lot because I was far from stores for over a week. The third photo was my touring bike from my Florida trip that I got home from last week, the blue dry bag (behind the green tent pole bag) on top in back was 100 percent food, in that case we also were far from stores when in the Everglades for several days so we carried quite a bit of food with us. The second photo had three of those 1 liter water bottles that I mentioned above, the third photo has two bottles plus my coffee thermos.
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Old 03-01-17, 10:57 AM   #29
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snip . . .

I almost never see anyone wearing a backpack when bike touring unless they are on mountain bikes that totally lack racks, but if you want to try to wear one, go ahead. If it works for you, great. I want the weight on my bike, not on my back.

I have no idea what campgrounds you plan to use, but every campground I have ever used had water. But if you think you need to carry a lot of water a long way, someone else on this forum commented a few years ago that the 1 liter smart water bottles (bottled water) sold in grocery stores fit in water bottle cages quite well. snip . . .
Great pics and advice. The backpack idea is for a small, lightweight foldable one (sea to summit's bag weighs 2.4 ounces) that is not used except when picking up food at the end of the day. It also come in handy when going to the shower or for a walk.

Ultra-SilŪ Day Pack | Sea to Summit
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Old 03-01-17, 11:32 AM   #30
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Great pics and advice. The backpack idea is for a small, lightweight foldable one (sea to summit's bag weighs 2.4 ounces) that is not used except when picking up food at the end of the day. It also come in handy when going to the shower or for a walk.

Ultra-SilŪ Day Pack | Sea to Summit
Ok, I missed that point. For grocery stores, etc., if I am where disposable bags are not provided I use one of those string strap type backpacks that are built like a large stuff sack, often sold for a few bucks or handed out for free with an advertisement on it. I wished I had one on my last trip to carry stuff to the showers, but forgot to bring it.

The Sea to Summit bag that you linked to above, I gave one of those to my sister a couple years ago for a Christmas gift so she can put souvenirs in it when shopping when traveling in foreign lands or to carry rain gear when it looks like it may be needed. She likes it for travel.
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Old 03-01-17, 11:38 AM   #31
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bosco500, This is a great forum for the technical aspects of touring in all of the activitie's various forms. We sometimes overlook the rider, but there are ways to become accustomed to the extra weight.

I like the idea of buying four 10 lb. dumbells to simulate loaded touring weight and then riding that weight whenever I can. You can also distribute the weight fore and aft, which I think is good for the bike, but also you may have a preference to the difference in bike handling. I find that the second day is the most difficult, usually for the first ten miles or so.

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Old 03-01-17, 02:18 PM   #32
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I'm surprised 15 lbs made that much of a difference - you have to be pushing a combine rider/bike/gear weight over 200 lbs and 15 is <7%. Could it be the 85 mls vs 40 mls.... perhaps if only psychologically?

(Btw, hilariously written OP)
Very much possible. However the bike was noticeably much easier to push up the hills. I'm guessing it was a mix of different variables - hard weight savings / phycological / less weight on front /lower mileage etc
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Old 03-01-17, 02:19 PM   #33
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your big misteak was riding that far with a load on the first try.
wasn't the weight, plenny ride with double the load double the distance reg'larly.
as mentioned, 15 pounds is no biggie. the fact you could easily ride a shorter
distance with less weight was more likely due to better training/conditioning.

no point in comparing to a road bike. i can walk 15 miles easy, but strap
an 80 pound pack to my back.....and, uh, i'll get tired really fast.

not sure about the LHT gearing, but maybe look at a smaller inner ring,
perhaps a 22 tooth?

replace your heavy-duty front rack with a super lightweight platform
front rack. an empty 2L soda bottle bungeed on can be filled up
late in the day.
Great idea on the rack, thanks
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Old 03-01-17, 02:22 PM   #34
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If you have time, perhaps try a day ride with the full gear, but set the panniers on your front rack and leave the huge bag on the top of the rear rack.

Your bike wont be so rear-heavy this way. Steering will be slower due to the weight up front, but the bike will be more balanced and you might find it even easier to ride up hills.



Just know that even very experienced riders around here change their setup from tour to tour depending on weather, location, and trying out new setups. Point is- its an ever refining process for most due to personal preferences, so there really isnt much that can be considered 'doing it wrong'.
I actually liked that the front end was much lighter than it was when weighted down. However I'm going to take your advice and move the rears to the front and go riding tomorrow to see how it feels. Never would have thought there would have been so many variables loading the bike down - I'm a problem solver by nature so this sort of thing is fun to me
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Old 03-01-17, 02:42 PM   #35
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Some try to do a 60% weight front, 40% weight rear, and assuming that averages out once you sit down. I run a 22-34 for low gearing finding it easier to spin than mash. What is your low?
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Old 03-01-17, 02:50 PM   #36
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I actually liked that the front end was much lighter than it was when weighted down. However I'm going to take your advice and move the rears to the front and go riding tomorrow to see how it feels. Never would have thought there would have been so many variables loading the bike down - I'm a problem solver by nature so this sort of thing is fun to me
It really does slow the handling down...sorta deaden it, but I like it as the bike then naturally tracks forward more than a road bike. I dont want a loaded touring bike to have twitchy handling.

But hey, it could be the worst experience youve had(worse than the overnight you wrote about) and if that happens, at least you eliminated a possibility and are on your way to figuring out what works best for you.

Good approach there- viewing this as fun to solve. Too often difficulty is met with defeat.
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Old 03-01-17, 05:13 PM   #37
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Must be I'm a weight hog.

My bike with fenders and front and rear racks weighs in at 33 pounds.

Four Ortleib panniers = 10 lbs (surprisingly heavy but they last forever).

Gear plus four 24oz bottles of water ~ 35 pounds.

Near on 70 pounds of bike and gear.

For six months before my first tour at age 57; 2,000 miles in 30 days TX to NY I rode the bike everywhere, commuting every day, with that load or near equivalent, 50-100 miles a week. Got so I only noticed it on hills. My longest training day was 110 miles in ~12 hours.

Began the tour with two back to back 85 mile days followed by a 75 miler, averaged 65 miles/day over the whole trip. No undue fatigue problems.

Didn't bother with such elaborate preparation for my recent Europe tour; 1,500 miles in 40 days (slower 38 miles/day pace due to circumstance and surroundings rather than fatigue) but I do ride the bike most every day carrying some sort of incidental load in the panniers.

I will add that I am not a strong or fast rider, which is fine with me, 10mph average all day long suits me fine, I don't WANT to go faster than that; not enough time to enjoy the surroundings, watch for traffic or listen to bird calls if I do.

I will also add that I'm on a 44-32-22 crankset up front and a 12-36 tooth cassette in back

Early on, during my loaded-bike training before my first tour, I added two gallons of extra water as ballast (bike+load = 85 lbs) and THAT was too much, so ya, I found a huge difference between 70 and 85 pounds.

YMMV,
Mike

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Old 03-01-17, 05:39 PM   #38
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There's a lot of great advice here to follow. One thing to completely ignore, though, is the "15lb isn't much and won't make a difference" stuff. 15lbs makes a big difference. Go ride a bike with 40lbs of gear and then go ride someone's ultralight bike packing rig and tell me there isn't a Huge difference at the end of the day in how tired you are and how much you enjoy having an extra half hour of daylight in camp(you'll go a little faster on the lighter bike). Most importantly, get in more loaded miles before your trip. Secondly, keep cutting gear weight where reasonably possible.
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Old 03-01-17, 05:52 PM   #39
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Our tandem weighs 36 lbs. Our camp-touring load is 44, so 80 lbs. for the both of us. We take an REI Flash 18 empty and put groceries in it for the last little bit into camp. We find that lowering the volume as much as possible also lowers the weight. We have only rear panniers but also bar and frame bags. We camp luxuriously but are parsimonious with clothing and personal items. I'd sub a smartphone with a microSD slot for the laptop. You can put routes on the card for transfer to a Garmin, which of course also must have a slot.
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Old 03-01-17, 08:38 PM   #40
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DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE; This is your first experiment with touring. It is common for one to take too much on a first trip. I have herd/ experienced the "oops I think I have stuff I do not want to lug, I'll mail some "stuff" back home". Assuming that you have a list of your gear, I think that you should go through it and put check marks next to gear that went unused on this short trip, and consider leaving at home gear that went unused. Obviously conditions change. You may have ridden when it was nice and did not require leg warmers, so I'm sayin' that it means you should go next time sans the leg warmers. I tend to use about 80% of the gear that I carry every day. I gear weight hovers about 20 pounds. In other words; next time leave the bowling balls at home. Good luck
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Old 03-01-17, 08:45 PM   #41
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.....In other words; next time leave the bowling balls at home. Good luck
LOL. That was awesome.
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Old 03-01-17, 11:18 PM   #42
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There's a clothes list thread here in the touring forum that's very much worth looking at.
Maybe post a gear list people can pick at. light camping gear can get real expensive, but it is lighter.
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Old 03-02-17, 08:24 AM   #43
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2) Even though a pound is a pound, a pound on your back will most likely feel heavier than a pound on your bike.
I disagree. The weight on the rider is sprung weight with the rider's legs and arms providing the "spring". A pound on the bike is unsprung weight. Higher unsprung weight results in a worse ride.

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3) Many tourers would recommend front panniers to distribute weight fore-aft. Some will go as far as suggesting front panniers only.
That I certainly agree with.
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Old 03-02-17, 08:27 AM   #44
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your big misteak was riding that far with a load on the first try.
wasn't the weight, plenny ride with double the load double the distance reg'larly.
as mentioned, 15 pounds is no biggie. the fact you could easily ride a shorter
distance with less weight was more likely due to better training/conditioning.

replace your heavy-duty front rack with a super lightweight platform
front rack. an empty 2L soda bottle bungeed on can be filled up
late in the day.
I'm not sure that there are "plenty" of riders who carry around double the 60 lb load much less double a 75 lb load. 60 lb is already a very heavy load for touring...and that's coming from someone who isn't exactly a light packer.
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Old 03-02-17, 08:37 AM   #45
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So I'm fresh meat when it comes to bike touring. I have planned a 700 mile trip at the end of March. I bought a LHT, the biggest front and rear panniers I could find, and loaded that sucker down. Final weight (without water) was 75 lbs. I took it on an overnight camping trip 85 miles away, and thought I was going to die before I got there. I have ZERO problems riding that distance on my road bike, but boy was I in for a surprise. I felt like a tractor trailer going down the hills, then shifting down rapidly to find myself in the highest gear, going nowhere uphill. The next day I made it 50 miles towards home, and finally called my wife to come get me. I was absolutely beat and couldn't take anymore. The hills killed me.

So I got rid of all 4 panniers and replaced them with two ultralight rear panniers, and no fronts. Dropped some miscellaneous cooking gear, switched to a lighter laptop (something I need), lighter tools, etc. Wound up dropping 15 lbs. Took it for a 40 mile ride today and felt MUCH better. It handles much better and I actually feel like I can move the bike uphill. Hard to believe how much of a difference 15 lbs can make. Still not like riding a road bike, but this is much closer. Before / after pics below
Your first newbie mistake was to buy the largest front and rear panniers you could find. I don't know what you do for a living but in chemistry, there is a principle called the Ideal Gas Law. Simply stated, gases will expand to fill the available space.

Touring bicyclists have a similar principle called the Ideal Stuff Law. The stuff you carry will expand to fill the available space. If the "stuff" is a gas, there's not much problem because gases weigh almost nothing. Touring "stuff" weighs a whole lot more. You should have bought the smallest panniers you can get away with which limits space for "stuff".

I suggest you look at your gearing as well. Lots of people assume that their gearing is "adequate" because anything lower would make them seem weak. But if you have to walk up hills, your gearing is too high and you are just being pigheaded if you don't use "weak" gearing. This gear calculator helps you figure out your gearing. Those are my "weak" gears. I can pedal up anything that the world has thrown at me so far.

And a laptop? Particularly one that you "need"? This is 2017, there are lots of options that weigh a whole lot less...including the non-electrical option.
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Old 03-02-17, 08:42 AM   #46
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bosco500, This is a great forum for the technical aspects of touring in all of the activitie's various forms. We sometimes overlook the rider, but there are ways to become accustomed to the extra weight.

I like the idea of buying four 10 lb. dumbells to simulate loaded touring weight and then riding that weight whenever I can. You can also distribute the weight fore and aft, which I think is good for the bike, but also you may have a preference to the difference in bike handling. I find that the second day is the most difficult, usually for the first ten miles or so.

Brad
Not dumbells. Rice and/or beans. Both come in convenient 1, 2, 5 and 10 (perhaps even higher) bags. They settle into the bottom of the panniers better. And, better yet, they won't wear holes in expensive water proof bags at the pressure points because they don't have pressure points.

Personally, I find the 3rd and, possibly, 4th day to be the worst. You are still close enough to the start to turn around and you haven't had time to adjust to the discomfort yet. The last few days are bad too because you are pushing to get to the end.
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Old 03-02-17, 08:55 AM   #47
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I think the OP needs to spend some time on the ultralight section of whiteblaze.net
Even when I first started backpacking in 1975, I never carried the kind of load he is talking about. And that was with a week or more worth of breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks. With a tent that weighed more than twice what I use now and a down bag (high tech at the time) that weighed about four times what a comparable down quilt does now, my pack never went over forty pounds. My current set-up, summer weight quilt, air mattress, pump sack, tent and footprint, water filter and cooking gear weighs in under ten pounds. I'm toying with the idea of using a bivy sack that will drop the weight about one more pound.
Unless you are riding in a really remote location there is no need to carry a week or more of food and that shaves a lot of weight.
Even with older technology, if you are carrying even sixty pounds you need to take a look at what is and isn't essential.
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Old 03-02-17, 09:34 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Your first newbie mistake was to buy the largest front and rear panniers you could find. I don't know what you do for a living but in chemistry, there is a principle called the Ideal Gas Law. Simply stated, gases will expand to fill the available space.

Touring bicyclists have a similar principle called the Ideal Stuff Law. The stuff you carry will expand to fill the available space. If the "stuff" is a gas, there's not much problem because gases weigh almost nothing. Touring "stuff" weighs a whole lot more. You should have bought the smallest panniers you can get away with which limits space for "stuff".

I suggest you look at your gearing as well. Lots of people assume that their gearing is "adequate" because anything lower would make them seem weak. But if you have to walk up hills, your gearing is too high and you are just being pigheaded if you don't use "weak" gearing. This gear calculator helps you figure out your gearing. Those are my "weak" gears. I can pedal up anything that the world has thrown at me so far.

And a laptop? Particularly one that you "need"? This is 2017, there are lots of options that weigh a whole lot less...including the non-electrical option.

Yes, I figured out this Ideal stuff law pretty fast. Went from the biggest panniers I could find to very small rears and dropped the fronts. This did help get rid of a bunch of unneeded items. Thanks for the tip on the gearing, I will definitely look at that.

About the laptop, I have multiple income streams that allows me to go wherever I want for however long I want, but I do need to connect to various servers at least once a day (usually at night). I could do this with a 1lb Ipad, but I have a 2lb macbook and the keyboard is worth the extra 1lb to me.
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Old 03-02-17, 09:35 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Flintshooter View Post
I think the OP needs to spend some time on the ultralight section of whiteblaze.net
Even when I first started backpacking in 1975, I never carried the kind of load he is talking about. And that was with a week or more worth of breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks. With a tent that weighed more than twice what I use now and a down bag (high tech at the time) that weighed about four times what a comparable down quilt does now, my pack never went over forty pounds. My current set-up, summer weight quilt, air mattress, pump sack, tent and footprint, water filter and cooking gear weighs in under ten pounds. I'm toying with the idea of using a bivy sack that will drop the weight about one more pound.
Unless you are riding in a really remote location there is no need to carry a week or more of food and that shaves a lot of weight.
Even with older technology, if you are carrying even sixty pounds you need to take a look at what is and isn't essential.
I was checking that site out last night, tons of great info there. I have also found there are very cheap ways to drop weight, and there are some very expensive ways!
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Old 03-02-17, 09:54 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by bosco500 View Post
I was checking that site out last night, tons of great info there. I have also found there are very cheap ways to drop weight, and there are some very expensive ways!
One of the cheapest is to use a pop can stove. I ended up using the heavier Traglia because it was easier to simmer with, but there are some pop can stoves that allow simmering.
The best part, is that the fuel is everywhere. Even most convenience stores carry Heet in the yellow bottles.
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