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Old 03-20-17, 06:19 PM   #26
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Since your prep has been haphazard, I'll assume you're not hard-n-fast-planners, at this point that's to your advantage. Start slow and build, and you'll be fine. There's nothing that can't be adjusted as you go.
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Old 03-20-17, 07:17 PM   #27
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Well, it's a mute point now as someone else mentioned. all we can say at this point is "Good Luck".

If you had come here 6 months ago and asked the same question I really wonder how many would have suggested no training or trial runs before setting out. Certainly not me. Of course now, as someone else said, you will have to sort all that out on the road but it would have been a whole lot smarter to do that ahead of time. I do some pretty risky stuff and really don't consider purposely not planning part of the adventure. That's ego thinking I'm better/smarter or more able to beat the odds.

Also, Aura has a point. If you have no plan it's pretty hard to fail at it and decide if the lack of prep was a detriment. So, as long as you don't quit completely and sell the bike I guess you will be able to say no planning was necessary (there must be a technical name for that).

I really do hope you have success but also hope you will come back and tell us if it doesn't work out. Often people don't report the failures which makes the successes seem more commonplace than they are.

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Old 03-20-17, 07:36 PM   #28
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Well, it's a mute point now as someone else mentioned. all we can say at this point is "Good Luck".

If you had come here 6 months ago
Well, actually, she was here a year ago ... this idea has been in the works for a year. Or am I reading the dates wrong and that's December. Nevertheless, I think we did suggest doing a bit more riding.

Las Vegas to Canada 2017

Tips for Riding a Tandem

Recommendation for GDMBT

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Old 03-20-17, 08:12 PM   #29
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Mama mia...

Mri G: Have you even checked to see if there is snow currently on the route? We've had a terrible (unless you are a skier) winter and the snow pack is huge around here. I can't imagine any passes actually being open. I also can't imagine planning to wing it on a ride off road in the Rockies in March.

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Old 03-20-17, 08:58 PM   #30
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I would echo -- and underline -- what several others have suggested: Be disciplined at the start of your adventure. Take it nice and easy for the first several days. Resist the temptation to go too far; stop before you get wiped out. Four or five hours is a generous amount for Day 1. Then build slowly, adding maybe 20 or 30 minutes per day. Before too long, you will have developed endurance.

I think the lowest gearing on that tandem will likely be make you miserable on steep uphill climbs, in headwinds, and when both occur at the same time! See if you can swap them for something more convivial for touring.
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Old 03-20-17, 09:04 PM   #31
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Mama mia...

Mri G: Have you even checked to see if there is snow currently on the route? We've had a terrible (unless you are a skier) winter and the snow pack is huge around here. I can't imagine any passes actually being open. I also can't imagine planning to wing it on a ride off road in the Rockies in March.
I was wondering about this as well.

They're starting in Las Vegas which is probably all right, and I just checked St George ... it's 30C there today, but is cooling down over the next week to the high teens with rain which might work in their favour given that they intend to tackle long-ish stretches with no services and limited water.

However, as they travel north, there's a good chance of snow ...

I don't know when they plan to get up into northern Montana, but currently ...
https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

"Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently closed to vehicles between Lake McDonald Lodge and the foot of St. Mary Lake. Check the Current Road Status page to stay up to date. Seasonal gate closures are subject to change with weather conditions and/or road construction."

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Old 03-20-17, 09:10 PM   #32
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@saddlesores We have all the flight stuff like that sorted. We even paid for a stupid extra sport specific luggage despite our checked luggage not having any dimensions... So now we have a 30kg bike box (tandem will fit in it; we grabbed a recycled box from a bike shop as well as frame and bubble padding), as well as 60kg of luggage for the rest of the kit. If I'm lucky, I'll manage to convince Rob we don't need to fill the full 60kg... XD As for tools, Rob's already sorted all that and I'm not even going to pretend like I know what's what, but he can get everything to fit into a regular trouser pocket so it should be fine (obviously it'll go into checked luggage though). Thanks for the concern though, but I've been traveling for five years non-stop now so I've got the plane stuff sorted.
If you have 60kg of luggage you need to go through it and lighten your load. If you've been travelling for 5 years you should know how to pack light. Don't even think about a trailer if you are going near mountains. They do jacknife and you will crash.
I started tandem touring 1990 exactly the same way but the year before I had toured over 12000kms around Europe and I was a massively strong cyclist. That was with my ex-wife. I introduced next wife to touring very gradually and we've now been touring together for over 22yrs.
When we are credit card touring our 2 rar panniers weigh 14kgs including chargers, phones and a macair
For camping trips we weigh in a 30kg including food, stove etc.
our low gear for camping trips is 26 - 34. 11-28 cassette is to tall gearing for long climbs unless you have a massive ftp
Good luck with your travels
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Old 03-20-17, 09:21 PM   #33
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Quite an adventure!

Is this heading to the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route? (an Adventure Cycling route).

At least, you'll be on paved roads for a while, and can get your fitness and equipment working.

Here's a link to your original post in December.
Completely new to tandem-riding; I just got this idea two days ago. Haha. I popped into the town's bike shop today and got a lot more questions answered (the owner was taught on a tandem and is willing to give lessons so yay!).
Your inexpensive Dawes tandem has a 48/38/28 triple, and a 11-28 7-speed cassette. That 28/28 low gear will make steeper gravel climbs very difficult. I'd stop at a bike store along the way and see if you can get lower gearing.
I know little about tandems, but I recall seeing some tandems with an extra brake for slowing down on big downhills. Maybe see if a shop can install one, if that is something people typically use in mountainous terrain. As I said, though, I really have no idea if this is recommended. Could be counterproductive if it causes a blowout from overheating the rim. In any case, being able to stop is a huge safety concern of mine, and I hope the bike is suitable for the proposed trip.
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Old 03-20-17, 09:25 PM   #34
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I know little about tandems, but I recall seeing some tandems with an extra brake for slowing down on big downhills. Maybe see if a shop can install one, if that is something people typically use in mountainous terrain. As I said, though, I really have no idea if this is recommended. Could be counterproductive if it causes a blowout from overheating the rim. In any case, being able to stop is a huge safety concern of mine, and I hope the bike is suitable for the proposed trip.

Yes, Rowan and I experienced extremely hot rims on a long steep descent with a tandem we were using a few years ago. We opted to stop a couple times on that descent to let things cool.

On that ride we also discovered that tandems aren't great for long steep climbs either ... or at least that one, with whatever gearing it had, wasn't.
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Old 03-20-17, 09:43 PM   #35
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I was wondering about this as well.
Yes. If the plan allows for just tooling around for a while, and they actually enjoy tandem riding, and they get over the butt discomfort, then I think it's possible to acclimatize to the riding in general but my understanding was that they are trying to do the great divide off road/gravel route, which is a pretty serious undertaking without the early start/zero experience handicap.

In all it will be a learning experience as long as they don't get themselves too far off the beaten path in conditions they aren't really prepared for. I wouldn't try to sound so negative if it were just tooling around on roads and checking out the scenery. I tend to worry about epic "trust me" adventures (pretty common in diving) in which one person has some experience and the other none. It puts a lot of pressure on the former and a lot of dependence on the latter and goes pretty well until it doesn't.

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Old 03-20-17, 09:51 PM   #36
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Yes. If the plan allows for just tooling around for a while, and they actually enjoy tandem riding, and they get over the butt discomfort, then I think it's possible to acclimatize to the riding in general but my understanding was that they are trying to do the great divide off road/gravel route, which is a pretty serious undertaking without the early start/zero experience handicap.

In all it will be a learning experience as long as they don't get themselves too far off the beaten path in conditions they aren't really prepared for. I wouldn't try to sound so negative if it were just tooling around on roas and checking out the scenery. I tend to worry about epic "trust me" adventures (pretty common in diving) in which one person has some experience and the other none. It puts a lot of pressure on the former and a lot of dependence on the latter.
Agreed.


Rowan and I have done tours which have ended up being more or less a series of hub-and-spoke tours .... cycle a decent distance for a day or two or three or something, then stop in an area for a few days and explore in different directions, then cycle again or maybe take a train or ferry, then stop in an area for a few days to explore, and repeat. If it were something like that ... great! Lots of time to adjust to the tandem and to make necessary adjustments to the tandem, etc.

But trying to go from Point A to Point B in 3 months (I think that's their time limit) puts a lot of extra pressure on.
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Old 03-20-17, 10:50 PM   #37
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So now we have a 30kg bike box (tandem will fit in it; we grabbed a recycled box from a bike shop as well as frame and bubble padding), as well as 60kg of luggage for the rest of the kit....
ohmyladygaga! 60 pounds of luggage would be a load, but 60kg!

so.....45 pounds (minumum) weight of the bike, two humans at let's say 300 pounds (low estimate)
and 120 pounds of gear...........plus up to 30 pounds of water. (and some food, too?)

holy carp! have fun pushing that 500-pound rig up those loooooong grades. (offroad???)
and good lucky screaming downhill! freight train...meet hairpin. (got hub drag brake??)

1. reduce your total gear weight.
2. get your wheels professionally trued and tensioned.
3. reduce your total gear weight some more.
4. when done, consider reducing your total gear weight.
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Old 03-20-17, 11:40 PM   #38
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ohmyladygaga! 60 pounds of luggage would be a load, but 60kg!

so.....45 pounds (minumum) weight of the bike, two humans at let's say 300 pounds (low estimate)
and 120 pounds of gear...........plus up to 30 pounds of water. (and some food, too?)

holy carp! have fun pushing that 500-pound rig up those loooooong grades. (offroad???)
and good lucky screaming downhill! freight train...meet hairpin. (got hub drag brake??)

1. reduce your total gear weight.
2. get your wheels professionally trued and tensioned.
3. reduce your total gear weight some more.
4. when done, consider reducing your total gear weight.

And the thing is ... they've never ever tried riding with all their stuff so they've got no idea whatsoever how the bicycle is going to handle ... or whether there's going to be heel strike ... or whether the home-made bags of various sorts are going to sit properly and securely on the rack or wherever else they're going ... or whether the home-made frame bags are going create an awkward pedal stroke ...


I'd also add to your list ...

5. get the brakes looked at by a professional
6. reduce your total gear weight.

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Old 03-21-17, 12:54 AM   #39
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The old hands will remember the Flic adventure. Same sort of scenario building here, unfortunately.
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Old 03-21-17, 03:16 AM   #40
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A 6000 mile trip gets composed of many shorter individual days strung together with some rest in between.

In my opinion, at this point the important part is whether you'll take some extra time here and there to make inevitable adjustments in equipment, settings, etc. Also some time to let your bodies adjust. If so, I expect it all works out in the end.

Personally, I'm more in the advance test ride type camp - because I've found it easier to make those adjustments from home and with extra time in between to try different things.

However, there is only so much you can do...and at least once was on a long trip without having set up my (new) tent. Discovered, it wasn't the model I ordered, but worked out in the end.

Also useful is where you start riding. Current trip started in Prudhoe Bay where first 240 miles has little in way of services so you either work it out or get a ride...but many places are less remote.
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Old 03-21-17, 03:52 AM   #41
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Glancing through their blog it seems the OP(s) are rather intrepid and dedicated adventure-travelers. I'm sure they'll be able to adjust.
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Old 03-21-17, 04:55 AM   #42
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I would never consider going anywhere again with different equipment without a test ride. And the test ride should be up and down some hills, some different road surfaces, ideally different weather but in a one day test that is hard to achieve.
We've done a few days loaded with the panniers, but we have yet to do it with all of our frame bags and the top racks full. The bike itself though is solid, or darn well should be given the amount of stuff my partner was adament we replaced. XD (pretty much all but the frame at this point).

But we'll definitely get at least an hour's test ride all packed up tomorrow.
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Old 03-21-17, 05:20 AM   #43
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Welp, I just wrote a whole message replying to certain things and accidentally lost it so here's the gist:

1. We're not taking 60kgs of luggage. That was a (bad) joke on my part simply to say that we had the plane stuff sorted as one was concerned with that. More than likely all up we'll be carrying 30-35kg inc. water and food.

2. We haven't looked at snow yet as we're landing in Las Vegas and aren't planning to be in Montana until mid June. However, we will keep ourselves updated with the weather and ask around about any impassable passes. If they're impassable then that's that and we'll either see if we can wait it out (based on time allowed) or just find another route.

3. What was the Flic adventure? Maybe we can learn from their mistakes without making them ourselves. XD

4. We've done a few test runs as we had this idea in December. Longest I think was 40 miles up a 25% grade pass (and that was fully loaded with the gear we had at the time (so just two 20L back panniers). I am happy to have since realized that 11% is what we're most likely to face in the Rockies. Tomorrow we are going out fully loaded (packed same as on the trip) either rain or shine. However, honestly I don't think we could get anything sorted if we didn't like it in the time we have left, but at least we'd know what to expect. XD

5. And thank you BigAura for the kind words. (: However, Rob's never done a rough camping trip before so I'm kinda worried I'm going to strangle him within the first two weeks. XD

6. And if anyone wants to look at the rough route we're planning: https://goo.gl/maps/7QQ66HeHJW92
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Old 03-21-17, 05:27 AM   #44
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The longer the trip the more time you have to get things sorted out. Just don't put yourself in a position of having a set and ambitious schedule in the beginning portions of the trip.
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Thanks everyone! You've made me way less worried...until like day 4 where we have to cross an actual desert due to refusing to go on the freeway (as if that's the only straight road out of Las Vegas!). Given our ability to only carry about 15 L, we'll have to
Riding on the shoulder of the freeway (where legal) isn't really that bad, as long as it will be only a small percentage of the time.
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Old 03-21-17, 05:40 AM   #45
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XD

XD

XD
What is XD?
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Old 03-21-17, 05:52 AM   #46
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A couple of months down the road, Alberta #40.
Unless there is a personal draw to travel the CanFor trunk roads, don't. Sure travel 5 miles then come back to the pavement. Say you've done some. That would be about the most remote experience I can imagine. About no traffic (all heavy trucks), should they be working a slope down that road. None if they are not. Those go up/down over all terrain to access big lumber, nothing to see that would be any better than #40.
Hinton to Grande Cache, 150km good pavement, shoulders and sporadic traffic that will give you a wide berth. The town moto, "The beauty of Banff, without the crowd". Great campsite and a full grocery store (pop 5,000). Then 175km north to Grande Prairie, new highway 15 yrs ago, even better than from Hinton. Alberta has great roads and shoulders, you don't want to miss this route. As pretty as the Alaska Hiway.

Enjoy your adventure.
Hope this helps.



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Old 03-21-17, 07:04 AM   #47
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what is xd?
lol
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Old 03-21-17, 07:07 AM   #48
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lol
Is that what it means?

OK, just looked it up and ... yep.

Never seen it before.

I thought it was the sort of British-ish habit of signing everything off with Xx or Xo.

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Old 03-21-17, 07:13 AM   #49
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Is that what it means?


Get it?

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Old 03-21-17, 07:21 AM   #50
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Get it?
Got it!
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