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  1. #1
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    help me whittle down my to-buy list?

    So I'm getting ready to purchase stuff for my tour, and it's adding up like mad! I'm sure that I don't need some of this stuff - can y'all help me prioritize?

    Brooks b-17
    arkel T-42 panniers (I haven't decided how to do the pannier setup yet - have been considering putting the t-42s on the front and strapping my chrome to the rear rack. I'm kind of worried about weight balance if just pack the back and don't put anything on the front, but I don't know if I can afford both front and rear.. if i get front ones too, i'd like waterproof..)
    Lake mx165 shoes
    pedals - haven't decided between shimano m520, m424, and a520. i also currently use clips/straps and have not ridden clipless before. seems like it's the way to go, though.
    cyclometer
    tent
    sleeping bag (haven't even started pricing specific tents and sleeping bags yet, but i know that both are necessary expenditures)
    road morph pump (i've already got a cheap schwinn frame pump, but i'm not strong enough to get the pressure up with it)
    and this doesn't even include little things like shoe-covers for rain, cheap cookware, an extra pair of shorts, etc.

    I know I'm going with the good (i.e. somewhat more expensive) stuff for the most part - I hate realizing six months later that I should have bought the more expensive version of something originally because it's better. So! Am I going way overboard? Is there any of this that exists in cheaper off-brands that are still high quality? I'm so overwhelmed!

  2. #2
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    Looks like you're going almost top-of-the-line for everything. Nothin' wrong with that, if you can afford it, it'll serve you well and make everybody else envious

    If it were me and my money:
    -- Stick with your current pedals/clips, and good "mtn bike" shoes (good cycling shoes are less than $50 for non-clipless. My wife got some Cannondales for $35 at Performance and loves 'em.). Many people (myself included) have toured for years with clips/straps.

    -- You don't need world-class panniers for touring around North America. I have a set of REI's, my wife has a set of Nashbars (all total less than $100). They've been on about 10,000 miles of tours, combined, and they still have several years left in 'em. They're not waterproof, but everything is packed in plastic bags (which you should do anyway, even with the best panniers).

    -- Similarly for racks, you can get sturdy racks on sale (or probably eBay) for easily less than $100. Ours are still going strong.

    If you're headed to Patagonia or over the Silk Road, I'd change my advice on the panniers/racks. But not for weeks-long tours in North America or Europe.

    The place where high quality (=cost) really counts is in comfort and survivability: your tent should handle a soaking rainstorm and keep you dry. If you're planning to go through the Rockies, you have to depend on your sleeping bag in subfreezing temperatures (even possibly in July). Make sure you have a sleeping pad, but simple foam ones are 1/10 the price of inflatable mattresses.

    Similar for personal comfort: You spend 10 hours a day in the saddle, so shorts (even shoes) should be chosen for that. There are good shorts for low prices, look for 8-panel (or higher), no seams on the insert, a durable non-bunching pad. I've always been satisfied with shorts in the $25-40 range after choosing them carefully; it seems they probably wear out faster than the $100 ones, but they still last a few tours.

    Other things like flashlight, cooking gear, shoe covers, etc., don't go overboard. Pick up a cheap aluminum pot at Goodwill. Use plastic shopping bags on your feet in the rain (believe me, nothing can keep your feet dry while riding in the rain, but plastic bags are as good or better than shoe covers). If the cost is getting in the way, make do with the mundane things and focus on tent/sleeping bag/foul weather gear. Rain gear (jacket, pants, gloves) and cold-morning clothes (shirt, tights) are important, but they don't have to be bicycle-specific if they're too expensive.

    Oh, and get the Toppeak Morph pump. Money well-spent. That plus a multi-tool.

    -- Mark

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    I would add to obtain these items gradually and adjust to using them / carrying them or breaking them in (saddle) before assembling the entire list and trying to ride. I am sure there are lots of adjustments that will be incurred by adding one or more items to the bike.

  4. #4
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    One way to save money is get everything used. lots of people buy all this crap brand new, go on one tour and then sell it all on EBay or Craigslist. It's not unheard of to see a touring bike, panniers, camping gear, shoes, the whole works, being sold in one auction. For the most part, if it's good quality to begin with there is no detriment to buying used - even well used.
    Also, if it were me, I'd axe:
    Brooks b-17 - use a saddle I am already comfortable with
    arkel T-42 panniers - I would buy less expensive panniers like the vaude's or madden's - and I'd get them used
    tent - I'd use a tarp, hammock, thermarest pad and down bag.

  5. #5
    Scum, Freezebag! Mo'Phat's Avatar
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    I'd agree with EmmCeeBee about the shoes. If you are planning to do any off-bike hiking or just taking breaks or walking around, I'd stick with the toe clips and get some comfortable, all-purpose mountain biking shoes that are good walking shoes.

    I stand by Brooks saddles, but Mr. Super Socks's point about getting a new saddle that you're not used to is a bad idea. That's only if you don't like your current saddle. The B17 is a great saddle for immediate comfort and reliability.
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  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Here are some questions for you .....

    -- Have you ever done any sort of tour? Even just an overnight thing, or weekend thing? If not, my suggestion would be to take what you've currently got that you think you might want on a tour, and borrow what you don't have (like a tent and sleeping bag), and go for a weekend somewhere. That way you can find out what sorts of things you might be looking for in equipment. Oh yes ... don't wait around for the nicest weekend either ... go ahead and pick one that looks like it might have some rough weather. That way you'll really be able to discover what is nice to have, and what is necessary to have.

    -- How much cycling have you done?
    -- When is your tour?

    You mention getting a new saddle, new pedals, and new shorts. In particular, your comment about an extra pair of shorts would indicate to me that you haven't done much cycling ... or at least not in full cycling gear.

    While I think my B-17 is the greatest saddle in the world, if what you've got works for you, you don't need to change it. However, if you really want to get a B-17, I think it is an excellent choice but be aware that there is often a fairly lengthy break-in period, so you might want to get it ASAP.

    Again, if you want to switch to clipless pedals, you might also want to make that change ASAP so you can get used to them. BTW - I got the cheapest pedals Nashbar had to offer, and some of the cheapest Lake mtn bike shoes Nashbar had to offer ... and I've been very happy with both. I figure, if you've got money to burn, go ahead and agonize over which pedal might be the "best" ... but if you are on a bit of a budget, even the less expensive stuff can be just fine.

    Again, like the pedals and saddle, I'd recommend getting the shorts sooner rather than later so you can try them out and discover if they are going to work for you or not.

    Focus on the contact points (pedals, seating area, hands) on the bicycle, and your comfort on the bicycle (setup, clothing for various weather conditions, etc.) first ... because I would assume that you are cycling now to train for the trip you are taking and one part of training is getting used to the equipment on the bicycle.

    Then gradually acquire the camping stuff.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee
    Looks like you're going almost top-of-the-line for everything. Nothin' wrong with that, if you can afford it, it'll serve you well and make everybody else envious

    If it were me and my money:
    -- Stick with your current pedals/clips, and good "mtn bike" shoes (good cycling shoes are less than $50 for non-clipless. My wife got some Cannondales for $35 at Performance and loves 'em.). Many people (myself included) have toured for years with clips/straps.
    Actually getting clipless pedals and shoes is fairly inexpensive. A set of Wellgos will cost $40 or less. Try and find mountain bike shoes on sale. Clips and pedals aren't a bad arrangement either. If you are use to them and they don't cause you any problems stick with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee
    -- You don't need world-class panniers for touring around North America. I have a set of REI's, my wife has a set of Nashbars (all total less than $100). They've been on about 10,000 miles of tours, combined, and they still have several years left in 'em. They're not waterproof, but everything is packed in plastic bags (which you should do anyway, even with the best panniers).

    -- Similarly for racks, you can get sturdy racks on sale (or probably eBay) for easily less than $100. Ours are still going strong.

    If you're headed to Patagonia or over the Silk Road, I'd change my advice on the panniers/racks. But not for weeks-long tours in North America or Europe.
    Delta makes some very good racks as does Blackburn for relatively cheap. I agree on the panniers especially for starting out. You can always upgrade later.


    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee
    The place where high quality (=cost) really counts is in comfort and survivability: your tent should handle a soaking rainstorm and keep you dry. If you're planning to go through the Rockies, you have to depend on your sleeping bag in subfreezing temperatures (even possibly in July). Make sure you have a sleeping pad, but simple foam ones are 1/10 the price of inflatable mattresses.
    There are some excellent, if slightly heavy tents out there that will stand up to most anything. A Eureka Timberline weighs around 7 lbs and is built like a house. I've been in some terrible storms in mine and never suffered a single drop of water inside.

    I will disagree on the sleeping pad however. A pad does more then just cushion you from the ground, especially when it's cold. The pad is your major source of insulation from the heat sink under you. Thermorest pads are expensive but do the job. I currently have a Big Agnes pad which is not self inflating but it is more comfortable and more compactable than the Thermorests (about the size of a Nagle 1l bottle). Noninsulated versions start at $50, insulated ones are $75 and they are 2 to 3" thick.

    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee
    Similar for personal comfort: You spend 10 hours a day in the saddle, so shorts (even shoes) should be chosen for that. There are good shorts for low prices, look for 8-panel (or higher), no seams on the insert, a durable non-bunching pad. I've always been satisfied with shorts in the $25-40 range after choosing them carefully; it seems they probably wear out faster than the $100 ones, but they still last a few tours.
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee
    Other things like flashlight, cooking gear, shoe covers, etc., don't go overboard. Pick up a cheap aluminum pot at Goodwill. Use plastic shopping bags on your feet in the rain (believe me, nothing can keep your feet dry while riding in the rain, but plastic bags are as good or better than shoe covers). If the cost is getting in the way, make do with the mundane things and focus on tent/sleeping bag/foul weather gear. Rain gear (jacket, pants, gloves) and cold-morning clothes (shirt, tights) are important, but they don't have to be bicycle-specific if they're too expensive.

    Oh, and get the Toppeak Morph pump. Money well-spent. That plus a multi-tool.

    -- Mark
    For pans, my wife and I use a cook set that we cobbled together from regular aluminum pots for years. They work so well (they heat more evenly then the cheap or even expensive backpacking sets) that we still use them for car camping. Get a 3 quart teflon lined pot, a 1.5 quart pot and, for a lid, a 6" skillet. If you choose wisely they will nest together after you remove the handles and make a nice cook set.
    Stuart Black
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  8. #8
    Senior Member kamoke's Avatar
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    Another option for inexpensive panniers - Lone Peak and lone peak website

    also, if you're in canada or US, here is a used gear board that might help you

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    I will disagree on the sleeping pad however. A pad does more then just cushion you from the ground, especially when it's cold. [...]

    Actually, we agree about this point, which is why I say that a sleeping pad is essential. The foam ones cost less than $6 (about 1/10 of a Thermorest), and work great. Harder to roll up, and they don't last as long, but they provide that critical insulation.

    -- Mark

  10. #10
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    Hi!

    Someone suggested a down sleeping bag -- rather than down I suggest a synthetic insulation - the weights are very similar, though the synthetic may be a bit bulkier. The primary consideration (IMO) is that when down gets wet, it is useless; when syn. gets wet it can still keep you warm. I've had both - started with a down (it was stolen), and now have the syn.

  11. #11
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    *doctor, please check my temperature, i appear to be just beginning to get over a serious case of newbie gear-lust...* it's so terrifically easy to do after looking around these boards. i'm very glad that i posted this before buying anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Here are some questions for you .....

    -- Have you ever done any sort of tour? Even just an overnight thing, or weekend thing? If not, my suggestion would be to take what you've currently got that you think you might want on a tour, and borrow what you don't have (like a tent and sleeping bag), and go for a weekend somewhere. That way you can find out what sorts of things you might be looking for in equipment. Oh yes ... don't wait around for the nicest weekend either ... go ahead and pick one that looks like it might have some rough weather. That way you'll really be able to discover what is nice to have, and what is necessary to have.
    haven't toured, but i've done a lot of camping. i plan on getting the shoes/pedals, saddle, and panniers asap so i can start riding with the bike loaded, even just with deadweight, to get used to it. and as soon as there's time, i'll be doing small tours - hopefully i can fit in an overnight or two, and maybe three or four days during my spring break.
    -- How much cycling have you done?
    daily commuting for about a year, plus 30-70 mile rides on the weekends once or twice a month (once or twice a week in warmer weather)
    -- When is your tour?
    starts may 1. pittsburgh to portland.

    While I think my B-17 is the greatest saddle in the world, if what you've got works for you, you don't need to change it. However, if you really want to get a B-17, I think it is an excellent choice but be aware that there is often a fairly lengthy break-in period, so you might want to get it ASAP.
    it works ok, but I'm definitely pretty achy after 60 miles. i figure it'll be nice for the commute too - but i do see your point. also, i'd been reconsidering the brooks partly because of the rain issue - i don't have to try to protect my body geometry saddle from the rain, and i hear that midwest thunderstorms are common and drenching.

    Again, if you want to switch to clipless pedals, you might also want to make that change ASAP so you can get used to them. BTW - I got the cheapest pedals Nashbar had to offer, and some of the cheapest Lake mtn bike shoes Nashbar had to offer ... and I've been very happy with both. I figure, if you've got money to burn, go ahead and agonize over which pedal might be the "best" ... but if you are on a bit of a budget, even the less expensive stuff can be just fine.
    i've wanted to go clipless for quite a long time, but for commuting in the winter it's not so feasable for me. it just seems to be so much more efficient! however, my current setup does work quite well.. i'll have to see. and yes - I'll be buying all this asap to try it out.

    thanks for your advice so far! It's all just terrifically helpful. There are so many debates around here on what the "best" gear is that it's easy to forget that one can do just fine with decent cheaper gear, especially for a first tour.
    Last edited by srrs; 01-31-06 at 06:17 PM.

  12. #12
    vintage tourer
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    in the alpine environment, i've learned that the best really actually is the best and damn well worth every penny(or should i say $100 bill?) well, it's not only comfort, but your life is on the line too.

    however, when i tour, i guess i've never felt the need to go too high-tech. about the only things i have these days that i didn't have 30 years ago would be a helmet, a brooks saddle, quality cycling specific rain gear and a modicum of basic common sense.

    here are a few of what i do and don't use:

    - i started off with clips and still use them, with regular sneakers.

    - a foam pad is more than adequate, and 1/2 the weight and expense of a thermarest. you won't be sleeping on a glacier. plus you can trim a foam pad and further reduce size and weight. admittedly, thermarests are more comfortable.

    - pedals and shoes: as far as pedals go, if you put 10 hours in the saddle per day, i'd guess that the difference in milage per day between the pedals you are now using and top-of-the-line pedals would be measured in inches rather than feet. the difference between sneakers and bike shoes is more pronounced, but still probably 10's of yards in the course of a day. in the course of a month coast-to-coast, maybe 10 or 20 minutes. that might be offset if you end up have 2 pairs of shoes

    - panniers: inexpensive is fine as long as the stitching is good. i'd recommend staying away from the bell-and-whistles models. here's a no-nonsense pair of bags for about $60 US. http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1138768159175

    - tent and bag: if you're satisfied hauling and using what you now have in the mountains, they'll be ok. these days i often use a 1 person tent and a syltarp. light, flexible and comfortable enough for me. here's a 3 lb. $100 tent by kelty, a quality manufacturer: http://www.rei.com/product/47772718.htm the 2 person model is $40 and 1 lb more. use the lightest affordable bag rated to about 35 or 40 degrees. yes, it's possible it could snow in the rockies, but not particularly likely at the elevations of the campgrounds you'll be using. sleep with your clothes on the few nights it gets really chilly.

    - saddles: saddles are tricky to give advice on. there are many less expensive saddles that are plenty comfortable for many people, and many expensive saddles that are uncomfortable for many people. maybe try swapping saddles with your friends and try them on a long days ride. i've never heard of anyone having comfort issues with leather saddles after they are broken in. on rainy days, just put a small plastic bag over them. there are less expensive alternatives to brooks. check out the "persons" saddles at http://www.permaco.com/

    - i'd recommend bringing along a few extra tools than what you'd normally bring on day or overnight rides. there's a lot of open country out there

    good luck on your tour. it's sure to be a blast and one of your best life-long memories.

  13. #13
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    I would buy as little as possible and keep your cash so you can load up on stuff once you are underway. I fthere aren't any places to drop ship stuff through, or places that you can stop at along the way, it is a different mater. I had most of the stuff I needed to get on the road, and some of it I discovered I would like replaced by the end of the first day. Nothing really fell apart except, one tire, but I found out fast how the stuff really worked together, and that was really important. I left with a B17, new shoes, and gloves I had never tested, and a new bike. I could have done tests, but the best test is the main event. Of course if you are cycling out of an airdrop in the middle of a desert it's different, but the road is the best teacher if you can wait for it.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srrs
    . also, i'd been reconsidering the brooks partly because of the rain issue - i don't have to try to protect my body geometry saddle from the rain, and i hear that midwest thunderstorms are common and drenching.

    There are so many debates around here on what the "best" gear is that it's easy to forget that one can do just fine with decent cheaper gear, especially for a first tour.

    I have ridden my Brooks 20,000 kms, a good portion of which have been in downpours that would have sent Noah out looking for gopher wood and pairs of animals. Believe me, the Brooks saddles can withstand A LOT of rain!
    But here are some tips to protect your Brooks:
    -- get fenders ... they'll protect your gear too
    -- wear a rain jacket with a tail ... it will cover you and your Brooks while you ride
    -- when you stop and get off the bicycle, cover your Brooks with a plastic grocery bag.

    And yes ... especially for a first tour ... riders don't absolutely have to have the most expensive things out there. Most of the time we ride, we tour, we we buy some stuff, we realize that something we've bought doesn't work as well as we thought, or maybe we see something we like better, or maybe something new has come out, so we upgrade ... and that process seems to keep going and going!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I would buy as little as possible and keep your cash so you can load up on stuff once you are underway. I fthere aren't any places to drop ship stuff through, or places that you can stop at along the way, it is a different mater. I had most of the stuff I needed to get on the road, and some of it I discovered I would like replaced by the end of the first day. Nothing really fell apart except, one tire, but I found out fast how the stuff really worked together, and that was really important. I left with a B17, new shoes, and gloves I had never tested, and a new bike. I could have done tests, but the best test is the main event. Of course if you are cycling out of an airdrop in the middle of a desert it's different, but the road is the best teacher if you can wait for it.
    I agree. I started preparing for my big US tour with a long shopping list, and ended up just taking what I had, with the idea being to buy what I needed en route...and just about all I ended up buying were a few extra tools, and I even ended up shipping stuff home (eg. the stove which I never used). My el cheapo old panniers were completely adequate for the whole trip, as were my old tent and sleeping bag, and a $5 foam sleeping mat.

    I wouldn't take a Brooks without breaking it in first though - mine took several thousand miles and several saddle sores to get comfy

    Similarly the clipless pedals - you want to get well used to them first, but the benefits are worth it. It is well worth having them, even if you have to carry an extra pair of shoes (Maybe I am fussy, but who wants to wear the same stinky (and often wet) shoes you have been cycling in all day when you are kicking about at night anyway)

  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee
    Actually, we agree about this point, which is why I say that a sleeping pad is essential. The foam ones cost less than $6 (about 1/10 of a Thermorest), and work great. Harder to roll up, and they don't last as long, but they provide that critical insulation.

    -- Mark
    Sorry I misread that.

    For my old bones (and even my younger bones when I had them ) the thin pads would insulate but the comfort factor just wasn't there. The Big Anges pad I have now is decadently comfortable and nicely compact and less then a Thermorest.
    Stuart Black
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    -- get fenders ... they'll protect your gear too
    Lest this point gets lost in the muddle. You absolutely, positively, must have a set of full fenders installed on your bike. I don't think a single person on this forum will disagree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Super_Socks
    Lest this point gets lost in the muddle. You absolutely, positively, must have a set of full fenders installed on your bike. I don't think a single person on this forum will disagree.
    the bike i'll be touring on is also my daily commuter in rain, snow, etc - so i've definitely got my fenders! the rear one just lost a chunk from the middle after a minor crash (that patch didn't LOOK like ice.. ), though, so i might have to replace it first.

    I also intend to get the bike tuned up and hopefully fitted soon, just to make sure it's in tiptop shape, as i'm able to do minor repairs and adjustments myself, but nothing major.

  19. #19
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    Thee are two major subject areas that need to be covered: Bike Gear and Camping Gear.

    Above all, your bike needs to be comfortable and reliable. What saddle, pedals, etc. you choose should be based on what allows you to ride the bike 8 hours a day. BTW, clips and straps are not bad for touring since you tend to ride long stretches without having to stop and remove your feet from the pedals.

    For camping gear, you should look for gear that is lightweight, compact, and durable. It's sometimes difficult to meet all three of these as once, but it can be done. There are a lot of different approaches to camping gear on bikes. You'll need to find what works for you. I tend toward the ultralight style of camping. This means I take a 2 lb hiking tarp and net tent instead of a 6 lb traditional tent. I use a down sleeping bag or synthetic hiking quilt depending on expected temperatures and available volume. I use an alcohol stove made from a couple soda cans and an xmart aluminum grease pot for cooking. I can easily do a 1 week tour with less than 20lb of gear, including the saddlebag and front bag. If this appeals to you, then I suggest you search on "ultralight backpacking" or visit www.backpackinglight.com for lots of suggestions.

    However, many people use more traditional camping gear and also do just fine. If you go this route, using a traditional tent, sleeping bag, etc. I can only suggest that you buy good quality gear, like what is sold in REI, as oppsed to the cheap stuff sold at an xmart or "sporting goods" store. When a cheap tent drips water in a rainstorm or the poles break in 50 mph thunderstorm gusts, you'll wish you spent the extra money.

    One last item. Although it is true that a synthetic sleeping bag will provide better insulation when wet than a down bag, I have never gotten one of my down bags wet. Packing the bag into a trash compactor bag (extra thick plastic) keeps it safe from rain when packed and a good quality tent or tarp keeps rain off it in camp. Unfortunately for geese, there is still no synthetic down substitute that is as light or as compressible as down.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Super_Socks
    Lest this point gets lost in the muddle. You absolutely, positively, must have a set of full fenders installed on your bike. I don't think a single person on this forum will disagree.
    I've toured quite happily without fenders for many years. Fenders just end up getting out of aligment, and rubbing on the tire. When I say this to my friends with fenders they say that doesn't happen. But they end up spending half the tour fiddling with the fenders because they're rubbing.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    <snip>

    One last item. Although it is true that a synthetic sleeping bag will provide better insulation when wet than a down bag, I have never gotten one of my down bags wet. Packing the bag into a trash compactor bag (extra thick plastic) keeps it safe from rain when packed and a good quality tent or tarp keeps rain off it in camp. Unfortunately for geese, there is still no synthetic down substitute that is as light or as compressible as down.
    I agree completely with supcom on the use of a down bag. I've used both thru the years, but for me, there's nothing as nice as goose down. Just take the proper measures to keep it dry and it will serve you well. And it's nice that they compact to almost nothing! Fits easily into a pannier. Personally, I use a 20 degree bag that serves well at higher elevations in the spring or fall, and in hotter climes, I just open it up. Works for me.

    And whether you tour in the US or Europe, with your good attitude and common sense, you'll enjoy the tour of your life!

    Best,

    Ted Phelps
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    If we don't change our direction
    we will likely end up where we are heading.

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  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srrs
    haven't toured, but i've done a lot of camping. i plan on getting the shoes/pedals, saddle, and panniers asap so i can start riding with the bike loaded, even just with deadweight, to get used to it. and as soon as there's time, i'll be doing small tours - hopefully i can fit in an overnight or two, and maybe three or four days during my spring break.
    Don't worry too much about getting used to carrying a load this early in the game. I usually start training with weight around 8-10 weeks before I start and I add it gradually. The best thing I've found for training weight is rice. Rice comes in 1, 2 or 5 lb bags, is cheap, edible and, if you have 2 people training for a tour and end up with 80 lbs of the stuff, donatable to a food pantry Because it denser than your regular touring load, it does ride lower in the bags than your load but it still gives you an idea of how your bike will handle. Start with 20 lbs and work up to around 45 or 50 lb. Double bag it to keep it from spilling if you happen to split a bag.

    Quote Originally Posted by srrs
    i've wanted to go clipless for quite a long time, but for commuting in the winter it's not so feasable for me. it just seems to be so much more efficient! however, my current setup does work quite well.. i'll have to see. and yes - I'll be buying all this asap to try it out.

    thanks for your advice so far! It's all just terrifically helpful. There are so many debates around here on what the "best" gear is that it's easy to forget that one can do just fine with decent cheaper gear, especially for a first tour.
    I switched to clipless for winter riding several years ago because it's easier to get you feet with shoe covers on clipless than into toe clips. For shoes you want to get a mountain bike shoe and pedal. You don't need a super stiff shoe nor one with overly agressive lugs on the sole. Look for the more moderate priced shoes. They do just fine and they are better to walk in.

    As for having the best gear, it is nice but not necessary. I have good gear because I'm old and grumpy and can afford it. I was once young and poor but no less grumpy
    Stuart Black
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul2
    I've toured quite happily without fenders for many years. Fenders just end up getting out of aligment, and rubbing on the tire. When I say this to my friends with fenders they say that doesn't happen. But they end up spending half the tour fiddling with the fenders because they're rubbing.
    I stand corrected. At least one person thinks fenders are a bad idea. But I'd rather fiddle with fenders than fiddle with hosing road grit out of my pants, shoes, shirt, hair, face, etc. And if you are touring with others, isn't it kinda discourteous to create a rooster tail of road grime that your group has to ride behind? I guess if you're the only guy in the group that has no fenders you don't have to worry about that, though . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Super_Socks
    I stand corrected. At least one person thinks fenders are a bad idea. But I'd rather fiddle with fenders than fiddle with hosing road grit out of my pants, shoes, shirt, hair, face, etc. And if you are touring with others, isn't it kinda discourteous to create a rooster tail of road grime that your group has to ride behind? I guess if you're the only guy in the group that has no fenders you don't have to worry about that, though . . .
    I find that the rack acts as enough of a fender that I don't get covered in road grit or create a rooster tail.

  25. #25
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul2
    I find that the rack acts as enough of a fender that I don't get covered in road grit or create a rooster tail.
    And, for those of us living west of the Mississippi, even using a raincoat requires going back to the owners manual on how to use it the once a year we get rain. I'm not even sure I know what a fender is
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
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    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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