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  1. #1
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    Hi all I have been reading and reading and..

    I have been going through a lot of your threads many have helped. I am thinking of doing my first tour next summer. It will probably be a weekend tour or a 3 day tour. I have so many questions even after reading a lot of these threads.

    I currently ride an entry level road bike its not light maybe 25lbs or so. I am looking to add the racks to it for my first tour. I will probably sleep at a cheap hotel/motel for my first tour. I have been reading about what types of bike to use etc... And I am more confused now than before. I looked at all the pics of your loaded bikes and saw how diversed they are from drop bars to flat. from disc to reg brakes. from mountain frames to road frames damn where do I start?? I read every post in the tips and tricks thread.

    do I get a trailer or just bags? do I look for a used touring bike? is it possible to convert my entry level road into a touring bike? How many miles should I train to ride for a weekend tour? I can ride 50 miles comfortably now on an unloaded bike?

    AS I said I am confused

    Thanks
    Shawn
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  2. #2
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    Can you put racks and fenders on your bike ? Given that you can there should be no need for another bike until you see how you enjoy loaded touring. What is your gearing? If your heading for hills you could change your casette and get the largest cog your rear derailleur accepts. If you have a road double this could be to hard if there is much climbing to be done. The minimalist solution could be Lowriders up front and a saddlebag and no rear rack. Check out Jobst Brandt climbing 50 000 meter in 17 days with only a saddlebag.
    Have a nice trip.

    http://www.trentobike.org/Countries/...r_of_the_Alps/

    My touring bike, converted old MTB:
    http://photobucket.com/albums/b337/plodderslusk/

  3. #3
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    well, shawn, I'm no experienced tourer like many of the people in this forum (I've only gone on one tour...but it was awesome!) but what I can tell you from a slightly less newbie point of view is that a lot of the stuff you mentioned is personal preference. Like flat bars vs. drop bars, mountain bike vs. road bike, trailer vs. panniers.....it depends on what you prefer. What have you got now? Do you have a bike that might be suitable for touring?

    Also, another thing that I found was that some of the questions that I was most concerned about I couldnt' find the answers to online. The subjects simply weren't discussed. I was very worried about not having answers to these questions before the tour. But once I got on my way, I realized that the reason most of those things were not discussed is because they're not an issue. I can't even remeber one of the questions now, but you will find that the answers are so obvious that you wonder why you were worried about them in the first place.

    Having said that, ask every single question to this forum....there's so much knowledge here it's scary.

    One mistake I did make though was that I got a late start on the morning of the tour. Then decided to push on past my original stopping point to get to the next one. I did this so I could relax the other 3 days of the trip. But I got to camp after dark, slept in very late the next morning and thoroughally wiped out my touring partners (who didn't have the base miles from cycle commuting that I did). Also, the original stopping point was a city that had many things to go see and do. We skipped them in order to have a relaxing rest of the trip. We continued on in good spirits, but a knee injury ended the tour early for one of them, and mechanical probs ended the tour early (only by about 10miles) for the other.

    Even with those setbacks, all three of us had a great time on the tour. We all have a love for cycling, camping, travel and an appreciation of a break from the rat race.

  4. #4
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    AS for the bike its the iron Horse Triumph sport with 12-24 on the cog and 52/42/30. I know its capable for the rear rack as I had stopped at a shop and looked at a rack and the guy had checked since I had no clue and I have the eyelet? or whatever they are called to mount the rear rack to. What cog gears do you suggest?? My only changes I think I need for touring is a better tire suited for touring since I am running mich. pro race and I may get a stem with a slightly higher degree to give me a more upright postition.

    Oh yeah I see a lot of people claiming they need a tougher bike due to there weight I am 270lbs and not really fat since I have been weight training for years and put over 500 miles on this bike since mid summer. No reall issues at first a lot of flats and trial and error have prevailed. DAMN NOW I CURSED MYSELF.

    Thanks
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  5. #5
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    I think a 30X24 low gear is a bit too high for touring - unless you plan on staying in Rhode Island!


  6. #6
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    my gearing on my specialized sequoia elite is about the same as what you've got and it seemed to work fine for me. But I was not carrying that much gear. If you're not camping, you probably won't be carrying much gear either. I'd say go for it! The route I took didn't feel like it had any really significant climbs. Maybe other can comment on what defines a 'significant climb'. My tour was the pacific coast, from santa cruz, ca to morro bay, ca.

    I toured on specialized armadillos, didn't have a single flat. One of my buddies toured with cheapie performance 26" slicks with mr tuffies in them. He had no flats either, but had a sidewall blowout. I've got almost 3k miles of touring, commuting and errands on my armadillos with only 1 flat. I hate flats. I dont' care about weight and rolling resistance as much as flat-free rides.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    I think a 30X24 low gear is a bit too high for touring - unless you plan on staying in Rhode Island!

    No I do not plan on staying in RI I am hoping to try a Short ride to Ct or eastern Ma. early spring next year. Then farther and farther through the summer. Unfortunatly I have two young boys and will be limited to a few weekends and vacations for now. and even vacations will be tough unless I pay a sitter or my wife is home for her vacation.

    Shawn
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    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    I did a 2-dayer down thru your neck of the woods this summer (Springfield, MA to Providence and back) down Rt-44. Beautiful trip!

    I don't know if you ride at all into CT, but the Putnam CT, to Woodstock CT up thru to Bigelow Hollow State Forest is a nice day trip from where you're located.

    Quote Originally Posted by Body2big
    No I do not plan on staying in RI I am hoping to try a Short ride to Ct or eastern Ma. early spring next year. Then farther and farther through the summer. Unfortunatly I have two young boys and will be limited to a few weekends and vacations for now. and even vacations will be tough unless I pay a sitter or my wife is home for her vacation.

    Shawn

  9. #9
    Life is simply timing...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Body2big
    No I do not plan on staying in RI I am hoping to try a Short ride to Ct or eastern Ma. early spring next year. Then farther and farther through the summer. Unfortunatly I have two young boys and will be limited to a few weekends and vacations for now. and even vacations will be tough unless I pay a sitter or my wife is home for her vacation.

    Shawn
    Rather than unfortunate, I think you are extremely fortunate to have two young boys. Enjoy them now, you will have plenty of time later in your life to play. Trust me, I've been there!!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by foggydew
    Rather than unfortunate, I think you are extremely fortunate to have two young boys. Enjoy them now, you will have plenty of time later in your life to play. Trust me, I've been there!!
    I love my boys but they are 7 and 9 so sitter or my wife is the only option. I work nights so we don't have a sitter or daycare on a regular basis. But it makes riding even tougher. I can normally ride on Sun, Mon, tue. and thats it. working 12 hr nights the rest of the week and then that damn thing called sleep


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  11. #11
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    Take all three!! Start with an overnighter. Park about 30 or so miles from the hotel (that you have reservations at) stop several times, at least for one meal. Each rider carries thier clothes in a backpack (except wifes', her's are in the bag on YOUR bike). when you get there have dinner, enjoy the pool.......... Ride back the next day, & enjoy the mini tour with your family, each of you will remember this for many years to come!

  12. #12
    Knox Gardner
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    Oh boy, as far as taking the kids, you have a couple sweet options in Rhode Island. Both short, but on either side of that tiny state you've got the bike path, and I would guess nearby hotels. You may already have this, but if you call Department of Transportation in Rhode Island they will send you a free bike map, that is pretty good. Here's some links.

    http://bikenerd.blogspot.com/2005/02...ean-state.html

    Of course, if you don't have this map already, it would be helpful even without kids and it is free...

    Here's one more thing to consider if you have the kids along, and that is the KATY trail in Missouri. Haven't done it, but my landlords packed up the kids and rented some bikes from a guy in St. Louis. He drove them to the other side of the state, and they spent the week, staying in hotels and biked back to St. Louis. It looked like good wholesome family fun. And here is my limited information on it. If this looks like something your seriously need some input on at some point, I could point you in their direction and they can tell you how thier diva of a 5 year old held up on her princess bike.

    http://bikenerd.blogspot.com/2005/04...with-kids.html

    Good luck! I hope to get back to Rhode Island soon for some touring, it was lovely.

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerinchrist
    Take all three!! Start with an overnighter. Park about 30 or so miles from the hotel (that you have reservations at) stop several times, at least for one meal. Each rider carries thier clothes in a backpack (except wifes', her's are in the bag on YOUR bike). when you get there have dinner, enjoy the pool.......... Ride back the next day, & enjoy the mini tour with your family, each of you will remember this for many years to come!

    Do I dare say this My kids can't ride bikes We live on a BUSY street with a dirt driveway going downhill to the main road. We bought them bikes 2 yrs ago tried taking them to a parking lot but in 5 min they are bored and don't even want to ride a bike.

    Shawn
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Body2big
    Do I dare say this My kids can't ride bikes We live on a BUSY street with a dirt driveway going downhill to the main road. We bought them bikes 2 yrs ago tried taking them to a parking lot but in 5 min they are bored and don't even want to ride a bike.

    Shawn
    Let's see...... Gamecube or Xbox "mysteriously" breaks down until they at least try to ride, or maybe some sort of bribe? (I didn't say that if MY kids are watching)

    Seriously, most boys love to compete, pit them against one another, see who learns first! You might make it something "the guys" do without Mom around. Offer hefty rewards. You already know it's good for them.

  15. #15
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Your bike is fine. YOu don't need new cogs or any phooey. Just get some panniers and go for a ride. You won't fall off the earth or anything in 3 days.

  16. #16
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    As for outdoors my kids love to swim, play in the playground etc... just bikes don't interest them

    Quote Originally Posted by becnal
    Your bike is fine. YOu don't need new cogs or any phooey. Just get some panniers and go for a ride. You won't fall off the earth or anything in 3 days.
    Yup I will try this first and foremost. I may change to a set of armadillo tires in the future. I am hoping to get the panniers soon. I was going to get ther performance rear rack and the bag/panniers.

    Shawn
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  17. #17
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Yes, like becnal says, just go for the adventure. I've toured on bikes that were total cut rate bargain bikes when I was just getted started 20 + years ago. You'll be fine.


    Have fun, stay visible. The bigger issue than equipment is fitness if you ask me, ride as much as you can before your tour if you aren't already

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Yes, like becnal says, just go for the adventure. I've toured on bikes that were total cut rate bargain bikes when I was just getted started 20 + years ago. You'll be fine.


    Have fun, stay visible. The bigger issue than equipment is fitness if you ask me, ride as much as you can before your tour if you aren't already
    I am trying to ride at least 100 miles a wek but work/family/sleep seem to get in the way If its not those 3 things the weather goes to crap and I'm all done thanks to all that helped

    Shawn
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  19. #19
    Knox Gardner
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    You know, I am "always training" for touring. But here's the deal, and what I tell everyone, you can ride and ride and ride, and it will help tons, but for most of us, there is no way to adequately train for 50 mile plus days on a LOADED bike. It's just not practical in work-parenting-life model. The more seat time you get the better you'll be, sure. But if training is keeping you from actually going on trips, um, I agree with everyone else just go!

    You are pretty lucky to be in New England for begining touring (except for the **** drivers). Think about this: Pick a destination you can bail if you are too sore or the weather turns to hell. The options are huge, especially, the closer you are to Providence or Newport.

    Rhode Island: it's mainly flat. That's good for beginning tours. You are also fairly well conected with Peter Pan buslines! Woo hoo! For cheap, or free, you can slide you bike under the bus. So you could ride an out for a day or two and the take the bus back toward home. I know that alot of buses in the RI Bus system also have racks. So that is another otion... Also, you are fairly close to the Boston area commuter rail lines... or I think the Connecticut Rail lines... so a beginning "tour" might look like riding from your house to Attleboro, MA to catch the commuter line into Boston. Spend the night in Boston seeing the sites and ice skating in the park and then taking the Peter Pan bus back the next morning to Providence and riding home. Admitedly, some purists out there would not call this "bike touring" and maybe I wouldn't if you live 5 minutes from the Attelboro train station...but if you live on the OTHER SIDE of RI, you've got a full day of adventure, mixed suburban, urban, rural biking to find the train station and cool stuff to see along the way, you get to go somewhere you probably don't get to regularly, and then you go home...A nice touring weekend if you ask me.

    There's lot of riding in New England that could be this way this time of year, another example, would be the trip up through Putnam, CT someone suggested (very lovely), spend the night and then keep on biking to Worcseter, and then Peter Pan it back to Providence, and then bike home. That would be a sweet weekend trip.

    Anyhow, don't sweat all the prep. For a weekend tour, you're fine, you're bike is fine if it doesn't have anything wrong with it, and the open road (or the kooky New England road) awaits!

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

  20. #20
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Don't listen to a word this guy tells you!! He ain't narry toured in the North East!

    Yo Knox buddy!!! How the bleepidi bleep are ya?!?!

    Nancy just mentioned you the other day. It's been quite some time since I've been to this site and was stoked to see a last post by some bloke going by "knoxg". There could be only one!

    Just haven't been in the web browsing mood lately or I'd cruised over to your blog.

    Shoot us an email at emerckx at xmission D commmmm and tell us what's up!

    Cheerios!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by knoxg
    You know, I am "always training" for touring. But here's the deal, and what I tell everyone, you can ride and ride and ride, and it will help tons, but for most of us, there is no way to adequately train for 50 mile plus days on a LOADED bike. It's just not practical in work-parenting-life model. The more seat time you get the better you'll be, sure. But if training is keeping you from actually going on trips, um, I agree with everyone else just go!

    You are pretty lucky to be in New England for begining touring (except for the **** drivers). Think about this: Pick a destination you can bail if you are too sore or the weather turns to hell. The options are huge, especially, the closer you are to Providence or Newport.

    Rhode Island: it's mainly flat. That's good for beginning tours. You are also fairly well conected with Peter Pan buslines! Woo hoo! For cheap, or free, you can slide you bike under the bus. So you could ride an out for a day or two and the take the bus back toward home. I know that alot of buses in the RI Bus system also have racks. So that is another otion... Also, you are fairly close to the Boston area commuter rail lines... or I think the Connecticut Rail lines... so a beginning "tour" might look like riding from your house to Attleboro, MA to catch the commuter line into Boston. Spend the night in Boston seeing the sites and ice skating in the park and then taking the Peter Pan bus back the next morning to Providence and riding home. Admitedly, some purists out there would not call this "bike touring" and maybe I wouldn't if you live 5 minutes from the Attelboro train station...but if you live on the OTHER SIDE of RI, you've got a full day of adventure, mixed suburban, urban, rural biking to find the train station and cool stuff to see along the way, you get to go somewhere you probably don't get to regularly, and then you go home...A nice touring weekend if you ask me.

    There's lot of riding in New England that could be this way this time of year, another example, would be the trip up through Putnam, CT someone suggested (very lovely), spend the night and then keep on biking to Worcseter, and then Peter Pan it back to Providence, and then bike home. That would be a sweet weekend trip.

    Anyhow, don't sweat all the prep. For a weekend tour, you're fine, you're bike is fine if it doesn't have anything wrong with it, and the open road (or the kooky New England road) awaits!

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

  21. #21
    Knox Gardner
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    Ah Ron,

    You joker...!

    The plan is to make the next phase of the trip out your way. What the hell will it be like in Utah in late June? If I am not really working I think leaving here in early spring, April and heading across would be good timing (Cherry blossoms in DC, Spring in the Civil War Battlefields, pre-bugs Midwest). I am concerned about hitting the West too soon for the passes but too late for the desert! What do you think? I know that the Mountain Bike set like Mojav in April...when it is reasonable, but there is no way I'd be there by April.

    I'd assume you tell Body2Big in Rhode Island the same thing re training for but then actually riding a loaded tour? Related but two seperate issues when you have a busy life...and hard to prep for.

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

  22. #22
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    well, listen to knoxg, but don't listen to him. I try to fit in an hour worth of extra riding each way on the commute, thats 30 extra miles of commuting gear, books, all that daily shizzle, lunch, etc. Toss in picking up heavy stuff on the way home, and/or riding a heavier bike like a worksman, and all that will put you in better shape.

    Riding 30 miles with half a load WILL put you in better shape for when you ride 60 miles with a full load. Today, I picked up 2 gallons of milk at the market while i was shopping. with the temps the way they were, I rode for an hour with an extra 18 pounds of milk, plus the rest of the groceries on top of a heavy schwinn corvette with full baskets. I don't tour with a 35 pound 5 speed bike, laden with wire basket panniers and two gallons of milk and a front basket of produce, but it HELPS.

    3 weeks into a big tour you're doing 130 miles a day and feeling strong, maybe this is what knoxg means, you won't really be in touring shape until you do it. but on a weekend you pretty much have to rely on the fitness you maintain during the week.

    Have fun, ride safe. Go check out some library books on the sport of touring.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 11-19-05 at 09:22 PM.

  23. #23
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    I think Shawn's had some fine advice thus far to include that from my pal Knox but I'll add my two bits.

    Shawn, our first tours were done on bikes much like yours. From hotel to B&B to motel with no cook or camp gear. This is not the rig you'd want to stick with if you start getting into week long trips unless you pull a trailer. Then you're going to want a wide range cogset and faith in your rear wheel if a BOB Yak is what you're pulling.

    One thing of importance I didn't see anyone mention: Potential heal interference with panniers.

    On a sport bike, your chainstays aren't long enough to ensure you won't have this problem. Take your bike and riding shoes to REI or where you're buying the bags and try before you buy. Some bags will be better for avoiding this than others. When testing for interference make sure you vary your foot angle. Your foot angle changes over varied terrain.

    As to the training. As long as you're not climbing mountains with 30 pounds of additional weight your not used to, you should be fine. If you want some inspiration... Check out my tour journal titled 1,000 Miles to Nowhere. My bike weighed 115 pounds and my training miles totaled zero.

    Above all else, have fun!

    Cheers,

    Ron
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    http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/



    Quote Originally Posted by knoxg
    Ah Ron,

    You joker...!

    The plan is to make the next phase of the trip out your way. What the hell will it be like in Utah in late June? If I am not really working I think leaving here in early spring, April and heading across would be good timing (Cherry blossoms in DC, Spring in the Civil War Battlefields, pre-bugs Midwest). I am concerned about hitting the West too soon for the passes but too late for the desert! What do you think? I know that the Mountain Bike set like Mojav in April...when it is reasonable, but there is no way I'd be there by April.

    I'd assume you tell Body2Big in Rhode Island the same thing re training for but then actually riding a loaded tour? Related but two seperate issues when you have a busy life...and hard to prep for.

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

  24. #24
    Knox Gardner
    Join Date
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    LOL!

    Well, I often feel like hell on a tour! But there you have it! I am seriously and often out of shape...

    Seriously, like bekologist says the more you ride your bike before "the tour" the better. There is absolutely no denying that. But I did that thing which was for years I knew I wanted to go on a tour but did not becuase thought I did not have the right gear, the right bike and was not in shape enough! What a shame I just did not get out there, because it is so much fun. I guess the other thing that I really believe is that "bike touring" is in some ways a frame of mind. While it might not be a tour for me to bike five miles to hotel to spend the night, I'd like to acknowledge that for some folks, this could be a pretty major accomplishment and a perhaps a great beginning to achieving better fitness and independence...

    I honestly have a pretty serious "training plan" I try to follow and you can check out via my blog, which also has some other links to online training programs:

    http://bikenerd.blogspot.com/2005/04...ining-log.html

    You are welcome to copy the files and manipulate them if you find them helpful. This year, I have been reading Joe Friel's book for cycle racers, and have been thinking about what parts make sense to try as a tourer and fatso. I have a new plan to keep me from getting too fat over the winter, and will post those files if they actually seem to work. Again, they'll be live somewhere in blogsphere.

    I guess when it comes down to it, I concentrate on ride time more than anything, just to not feel "saddle sore"...some of the touring book specify things like loading up your bike and riding around for a week or more and that is just not practical in my world of bike riding and balancing my social life and work.

    I think a smarter thing in general is to start your "big tours" easy and plan on short days and more frequent rest days until you find your legs. Or if you are new to the sport and only have weekends to get started learning the ropes, maybe plan on a 50 mile first day, and then a second day of only 30 miles. And a place to bail (again, a New England benefit!). I always have a bail point in the Spring when I am seriously out of shape. It takes the pressure off. I would say: if your big life time dream is to cross the US for example, and you are taking the summer of your 10 year sabattical to do it, and this is you're one shot, well then by god, the more training you do, the more enjoyable it will be! If you are like me and kinda slacking through life to ride your bike, well, hell, don't sweat it, you'll get there! What I really regret is the many years I wasted thinking I wasn't prepared in gear or body, when what I realize now, is that it was only mind that was keeping me from the road. GRIN.

    Finally, let it be known, I've never once ridden 130 miles in a day. Eggads. It is kind of a sick goal as I've just joined the Randonneurs, but I don't know on a loaded bike if I'd even want to do those distances. I feel brutalized on the few days I've gotten lost and ended up doing 90. I've met some ultralight tourers that do, but I am definitely more in the 50-70 miles a day kinda guy cause I like to stop and drink espresso when I get the chance.

    Good luck with the fitness planning!

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com
    Last edited by knoxg; 11-19-05 at 09:51 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Thanks to everyone again. I am going to continue training through the winter anyways. As best I can. I also work out with weights. I try and eat a healthy diet as well. I am only about 18 miles from Attleboro. But I think I could bike to Boston with an unloaded bike now. Loaded I have no idea as I have never tried. I stated out Mountain biking and carried a camelback on my back plus the weight of the mountain bike. we have spent 4 - 5 hours mountain biking. My legs don't seem to be an issue its my lungs on climbs. I live in a hilly area as I am in the corner of MA, RI, CT. Obviously its not as bad as a Mountainous area. Putnam is only about 14 miles from me. thats where I bought my bike. I am thinking of going out about 50 miles give or take then get a motel room then bike back.
    I will check out your blog when I get a chance Knox

    Shawn
    My site, Literally I am the owner/admin

    www.freetattooforum.com

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