Your web is a wealth of info. Thanks for sharing xilios! 15000km, wow - Schwalbe should feature you in one of their ads.
Your web is a wealth of info. Thanks for sharing xilios! 15000km, wow - Schwalbe should feature you in one of their ads.
That must be the mother of all punctures! Gosh.
My second tip is one I recommend to all tourers, no matter how experienced, and that I follow myself. That is to bring a notebook on tours and take notes about what works and what doesn't - what you are glad you brought, what you wish you had brought, and what you could do without. It's much easier to know when you're out there doing it than it is two weeks after you get home and the impressions are starting to blur.
If you decide you like touring and want to invest in a good rig, get the best one you can afford. Get a dedicated touring bike with reliable components and strong wheels. Get one that fits you well and get a comfortable saddle - one you can sit on all day, day after day. Get really low gears - consider switching out the granny gear if it isn't low enough. You'll be so glad you did when climbing a really long, steep hill, like a mountain pass. Get high quality racks and high quality panniers. You don't necessarily have to get the best to enjoy your tour; you can get "2nd tier" panniers that will be excellent for quite awhile. Get some good, lightweight camping gear - sacrifice a little comfort for light weight, but also realize what comforts you need to stay happy. Make sure your tent won't leak in a downpour. Get some good raingear that you can cycle in.
Don't skimp on anything important - save your money until you have enough to get something that will do the job you want it to. If you settle for less than what you want, you'll just end up getting it eventually anyway, and spending more money in the long run.
Read this forum - there are some pretty experienced people sharing ideas. Ask questions about the choices you're considering in terms of equipment and techniques. People here will have opinions, and there will be some very valuable ones.
Hello everyone! I'm a first time reader of these forums, and I happened to stumble on this thread while doing some research on bike touring. I've only had very limited experience doing it but since I was little I had a powerful wanderlust. In college I bought a 50 dollar k-mart bike and rode from NYC to Philidelphia on a dare. Ever since that trip I've really wanted to try doing this a little more seriously. As much fun as I had on the trip, I made it a lot harder on myself then it had to be. I carried everything on my back, and had just a giant flashlight duct taped to the handlebars of my bike. The bike I was riding was way too small (I realized at the border of NJ and Pennsylvania that I could raise my seat - made the second half of my trip so much better when I wasn't kneeing my chest with every stroke). I carried with me like 6 ft of giant gauge chain to lock my bike (which never happened since I slept next to/on it the whole trip.) I was (and still am in many respects) totally naive when it comes to biking, especially biking for any sort of distance.
A lot of what you guys say here makes no sense to me *blush*. You have a lot of acronyms and phrases and make points about things I don't understand at all. The only bike brands I know are like ... huffy. I know it's embarassing but since this is for newbies... how about lowering the bar a little for me ^_^?
I'm trying to look stuff up but i really don't know what's important and what isn't. Or some place where it's laid out there for guys like me? Sometimes it's hard to tell when someone is saying something important, or showing off how knowledgeable they are about bikes =(
I just finished school and moved out to the south west and I would love to get out and tour around. Where do guys like me start learning about what these terms mean, how do I pick a bike that works for me? What are the tradeoffs, what are the options?
Sorry for the long question! I really appreciate all your input and all the advice that was given in this thread, it's great to have so many knowledgeable people in one place!
Another suggestion I would have is to go to one of your local bike shops that stocks one of the bikes that seem to be popular w/the touring crowd these days -- ask lots of questions -- ride one -- and then compare the specs with the other bikes. This is a good list of bikes to look at, depending on what's available to you in your area...
Jamis Aurora: $850
REI: Novara Safari: $850
Surly Long Haul Trucker: $930
REI: Novara Randonee: $950
Trek 520: $1250
Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30: $1500
Cannondale Touring 1: $1800
Bianchi Volpe: $850
To sum it up what these bikes have in common is:
- Longer wheelbases to be more steady under load (touring bikes typically have wheelbases of 41 inches or longer).
- Longer chainstays so that you can mount a rear rack plus panniers (at least 17 inches long for the chain stay)
- An overall design/geometry that has the rider sitting upright more than on a "racing" bike
- A sturdy frame/construction because they are carrying a load
- Plenty of braze-on fittings to mount racks both front and rear, fenders, water bottles
- Typically have a triple-chainring crankset that allows you to have very low gears for getting up hills/mountains with a full load
[QUOTE=HSmith;6258182]Hello everyone! I'm a first time reader of these forums, and I happened to stumble on this thread while doing some research on bike touring. I've only had very limited experience doing it but since I was little I had a powerful wanderlust...... QUOTE]
As you know you can tour with just about any bike. Here is a good link with some great pictures of bikes to look through http://www.fullyloadedtouring.com/. Another place to check out is www.crazyguyonabike.com here you got many journals from people all over the world. You can also check out my page for a personal view about bikes.
I'm sure this is an incredibly popular link, but I didn't see it here and I thought since it helped me so much it might help others in a similar situation. It's Sheldon Brown's page for beginners on cycling, and has all sorts of wonderful tidbits of information aimed directly at silly newbies like myself. While it's not all specifically for Touring, I found it incredibly enlightening. I suppose this is much a case of "blind leading the blind", but nonetheless:
Thanks for all the advice in this thread. I read it thoroughly, and personally I can't wait to get back on my bike... i know i've said that enough in these forums. :)
The consumer in me wants to go out and buy a new bike, but I won't have more than $600 to spend. I have a decent mountain bike that i've been using on my 5km round trip commute to work. I've decided to keep the knobby tires to go off-roading with friends, however I don't do that often.
One thing I wanted to try this year is going further distances. It's not the long day trips or anything like that I'm reading here, but I'd really like to try some casual, yet efficient trips around my region (Niagara Wine Region is really nice in the summer). They'd be about 50-60 km round trips, maybe shorter, but longer than what I'm used to. Eventually, I'd like to get more ambitious and go on longer trips, like to Toronto which is about 150km away.
So if I don't buy a bike, I'll have to gear up my mountain bike (has front suspension), to be able to do this trip. I know i'll need proper road slicks, decent enough for gravel and some dirt. What's a good tire for this? Maybe I'll get a rack, though I've done well with a backpack in the past. I'm good at travelling light. My bike is heavy enough.
If I do buy a bike, I've sort of got my sights on the Kona Dew or Kona Smoke 2-9. I've got some good advice about these bikes as a commuter, but how are they on longer distances?
Any more advice for a girl with a mountain bike wanting a few trips (probably by herself) to Niagara Falls for sight-seeing and fun? :)
I confess to needing help. I bought a new Fuji Tour last year for a little over 700 dollars and have used it heavily loaded on two tour. I ride it locally for miles at a time, to and from stores daily. It is stable, shifts well, has good ergonomics for my frame, and is an overall good bike. I like it.
Why doesn't this bike get better press? As the least expensive, does that fact alone castigate it to irrelevancy?
I think that the Fuji Touring belongs on this list, but the current MSRP is $950. The Bianchi Volpe is now listed at $1000. I haven't checked all the others.
Most readers of this site will not be touring through Siberia and the Gobi desert, so these lower-end, but still good-quality bicycles are sufficient to provide a good tour.
I've been reading the various threads with great interest. I've toured some in the distant past, I've worked in a bike shop, commuted by bike, am currently using a bike as my main transportation. Admittedly, not such a great feat in Key West, heck, the island is flat and only 1.5X4 miles. I am seriously considering becoming a nomadic/semi-permanent cyclist. What with the price of fuel going up almost weekly, I can't see dumping all that ca$h into a gas tank just to go faster and further every day. The 1982 VW Westfalia "other" vehicle is becoming a less and less attractive option for traveling. Besides, it's about the journey not the destination.
Couple of things that come from my experience(s); With bicycles, you generally get what you pay for. You spend more... You get more. Spend as much as you can afford and make sure it FITS! Same generally holds true for racks and panniers and other gear. BUT... Check out the forums here and else where. Find out what WORKS! What's proven, and what's just plain trash.
I've been surprised how many times the mo$t expen$ive bit of gear turned out to be total crap in the "real" world and the cheapie "dollar" store unit turned out to be a real workhorse.
Try to keep in mind that it really is about the journey, not JUST the destination.
Probably one of THE strangest most unsettling places I ever pulled in to was in the middle of nowhere in the desert. There were countless broken bottles, scattered trash and debris but probably the most unsettling thing I saw was the burned up dolls head on a spike.
Initially it looked like a nice place to bed down... But on closer inspection YIKES! I headed down the road.
I'm looking for a new bike for touring (the old ~1994 steel framed LX MTB has pretty much worn out) and am having a hard time making reasonable compromises. I want everything: speed (to keep up with my much fitter friends with serious hardware), suspension (because I've never had it, but enjoy downhill riding, general kerb abuse etc), front pannier mounts, comfortable handlebars (probably drops, though in my very short test ride they felt weird and unpleasant) and of course low gearing.
So, whatever I get will be good for one thing and less good at others. Could anyone offer advice on any of the following choices:
1) Dedicated, new touring bike (eg, LHT, Kona Sutra, Specialized Tricross, Cannondale T800). I tried the latter, and it didn't "wow" me - my first reaction was, that's a lot of money ($2k AUD) for "just a bike". But then, I wasn't flying down a hill with 40kg of gear...
2) Hybrid, probably with remote lockout suspension. I hear lots of comments about them being neither good mtbs nor good road bikes, but what about for touring? Bike shop people seem to be biased against them in general. Also, fitting front panniers will probably be tough.
3) Flatbar road bike. Was the first thing a shop suggested, but now I question the strength of the frame and rims, and since I'm not really a "road bike" sort of person, I find it hard to justify the expense.
4) Resurrect my current bike. It's been through a few short tours already, but almost all the original components are gone, save the selectors and cassettes which are both almost worn out. To get it ready for serious touring, I'd want to improve the handlebars (currently very cheap nasty plastic handles), probably adding bar ends if not drop bars, replace the rear derailler (currently very cheap replacement that I bought in desperation when the original deore LX exploded mid-tour), replace the seat (found in a pile of spare parts), and find some way of attaching a front pannier (no braze-ons). Also, the gearing is already marginal - the granny gear has had a lot of use already with medium loads and not particularly steep hills.
5) Build a cheap touring bike. Eg, there's a recycling place near me that could build one from an old touring frame for ~$500, but I don't know what level of componentry that would be.
I've done a few 3-4 days tours, and would like to do more, plus a few slightly longer ones (7-10). I don't see monthlong tours in my future, but I do see a moderate amount of riding around town (say 100ks/week). The tours I do tend to start out "let's stick to sealed roads" and end up "hey lets go down that dry creek bed".
So I guess ultimately the question I'm asking is, how much more benefit do you get from the dream touring bike, rather than a good general purpose bike with only minor modifications for the task? I'm open to spending $$$ if the benefit is really there. All suggestions and advice very gratefully received.
Much as I like it when someone comes in and buys a shiny new bike from me? My suggestion would be to go to that "recycling" place you mentioned and talk to them some more.
You could very well wind up with a near-perfect to perfect mount from what would normally be in the dumpster.
I ALWAYS like hearing about it when someone brings old bikes back to life.
Yeah, well it turns out that the shiny new bike I finally decided to get is totally unavailable, so the recycling place may be my next best option. There isn't much of interest on eBay, so I think I'll give it another go. I'll probably go with something cheap but usable while waiting for the dream bike...
A very interesting and good learning thread.
I am a newbie who is coming in from the angle of knowing virtually nothing about any bikes. As I'm looking to get one soon, and overweight to boot, my goals were to lose weight and enjoy cycling around the country as well as just around town. The weather is starting to change now in the UK so hopefully we will have a good summer.
I thought I wanted a Hybrid/Street/Commuting bike or a Mountain bike with slicks on. Actually, a Mountain bike would still be ok for what I need but having read various articles on the web, and this thread, I'm almost certain now that a Tourer is everything I want and more.
One think I would like to ask everyone, when you buy a new bike and decide to upgrade gears etc straight away, does the shop simply change them and charge you the difference, or charge for new and give your old gears to you, I am unsure what the norm is?
Good reading thread.
AFAIK, if the bike is brand new, you simply pay the difference - they use the components elsewhere. If you ride it for a bit then upgrade, you pay the whole cost of the new component. That's how it was explained to me at my LBS, in terms of a chainring, anyway.
On the other hand, the more you ride the bike, the more you will know whether you need to make that change, and what to change it to.
In any case, check with them first.
In '06 I rode a Trek Navigator 200 from Nova Scotia to Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, and then, after 10 weeks in Mexico, up the Rio Grande from Brownsville to Alpine, TX. I chose that bike for the comfort of suspension and an upright position. I geared it as low as possible, and used SPD pedals and shoes. I wore out two chains and two sets of brake pads and had one flat tire (Schwalbe marathons - don't leave home without 'em), and absolutely no other problems with the bike.
I put on front panniers and a handlebar bag, tied a milk crate to the rear rack and towed a BOB trailer. All told I had 70 lbs of gear. About 20 pounds more than I should have had, but I managed it alright. I could have managed with a smaller tent and without a laptop, but my tent was comfortable and dry and email and Google Earth were worth the extra weight.
Loneliness and fear were the greatest obstacles. I lost twenty pounds and got very strong. I met some very fine people. And my rear end got so sore that I would be in agony at the end of the day.
I'm 68. I'd love to do it again. Maybe with a recumbent. Any 'bent tourers around here?
Hey guys, another newbie here.
My roommate has a Centurion Le Mans RS, I believe to be made roughly around 1987. It's virtually identical to this bike seen here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...6434%26fvi%3D1
It's Japanese made bike with Tange #2 Chromoly seamless tubing for the three main tubes and Mangaloy alloy steel for the forks, seat, and chainstays. It also has 36 spokes front/rear with a wheelbase of approximately 40 inches. Would this be a decent bike to turn into a touring platform? I realize it's not in the list of common touring bikes and has a somewhat small wheelbase, but it does have a steel frame and I'd obviously be upgrading the chainrings/front derailleur in order to provide lower gears, as well as upgrading the seat and buying decent racks/panniers.
I'm not looking to get into camping/completely independent touring just yet, but possibly in the future. I was planning on doing a several hundred mile credit card/hotel tour with a buddy of mine and wondered if this would be a good choice to do that with?
Thanks in advance for any input you guys might have :)
I've got a Cross Check commuter currently geared 11-28 in the rear, 36-48 double in front. It's a commuter at the moment, but I intend to do a couple smaller tours this summer / fall.
I'm going to swap the rear derailleur for an XT soon and run an 11-34 cassette. I'd also like to change the cranks to a triple. But should I buy a mountain bike triple or a road triple?
How steep the hills and how heavy the loads? You can't go too low. I have a 22/34 on my tourer.
The hills will primarily be those along the Oregon coast. Not sure about loads yet. I think I'll go MTB!