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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 09-19-06, 02:38 AM   #1
jbeaman
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help with a touring bike

i have a early 80's colnago road bike built up with campy ergo record (and a bit of chorus) and was wondering if i could make this bike work for a short tour (700-1000 miles). i rarely ride more than 20 miles or so at a time now but will be training soon.

do i need to buy a new bike or will this one work?

thanks
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Old 09-19-06, 07:53 AM   #2
Cyclesafe
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Get a BOB Yak trailer and the widest most durable tires you can fit on your bike - probably 25mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus's - and you'll be fine on pavement. Walk your bike on gravel though. I used a similar set-up to go from San Diego to St Augustine with no mechanical or stability problems even when standing on the pedals.

There are many who would use a BOB even though they can otherwise fit racks and panniers, but if you have only a road bike, the BOB is really the only practical choice. It is cheaper than high end racks and panniers and only a little heavier, but the latter is ameliorated by the trailer wheel taking 2/3's of the weight. You will tend to be much quicker with this rig than if you had a dedicated touring bike with racks/panniers. But of course since it is the journey not the destination, you will not need to utilize this advantage.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:42 AM   #3
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Splendid advice. Nothing more to add.
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Old 09-19-06, 01:22 PM   #4
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The real question is whether this is a good enough bike for what you want to do. Is the gearing appropriate for what you have in mind ( and a trailer will require lower gearing still). How comfortable are you on this bike that is 20 years old, do you still fit it as well as when you bought it.

Another isssue is whether this is a solo trip or not, are you setting the pace, or someone possibly differently equipt.

Obviously there are many people in developing couintries traveling long distances or with heavy loads on very cheap bikes. They may not worry about walking hills, or the quality of the experience.

Doesn't sound like what you currently have is a touring bike, and if you want to move in the direction of a touring bike then you can probably do better by putting the money into something other than a YAK. Many people like them, but most people still run pannier on a touring geometry frame.

Do you won approapriate camping gear? If this is just a one-off, then maybe you should put the money into a credit card tour.

My feeling about training is that for a solo ride with the right gearing you hardly need to train Obviously there are routes where traning will be necesarry, basicaly depending on the amount of climbing. I just get on the bike and go at a comfortable pace.
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Old 09-19-06, 01:31 PM   #5
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I agree with PeterPan. Too many people will tell you you need the biggest, the best and the most expensive. I always say, "if it has 2 wheels and goes, that's all you need." That said, the simple question is what kind of condition is the bike in? If it fits you and you can outfit it for a tour, then use it. If you haven't toured before, don't go spending tons of money before you know if you'll do another (longer) tour. Remember, millions of people around the world use junk bikes we would laugh at... until we see them using them.
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Old 09-19-06, 01:49 PM   #6
jbeaman
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thanks for the replies. a couple things.

i bought this frame recently and built it up myself. it fit's well and is geared fine for me for everyday riding in San Francisco. i've just seen some horror stories about plagues of broken spokes and flat tires. I haven't had a flat in 6 months or need to have my wheels trued with everyday riding (at least 5 miles a day, usually more like 10).

is this a one off? i don't know. but i love bikes and ride them everyday. it's my primary form of transport. it's been good for my getting into shape and i want to spend my next vacation on my bike. that's it. maybe i'll hate it. i doubt it though.

i'm no credit card tourer. never have been. spent a year in eastern europe walking and hitchhiking. done 40-50 mile solo backpacking trips. just new to the bike tour thing.

i will be traveling with a good friend who is at my same experience level and mindset. slow and steady, fun and enjoyment is the number one goal.

thanks again for the replies.

J.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeaman
i have a early 80's colnago road bike built up with campy ergo record (and a bit of chorus) and was wondering if i could make this bike work for a short tour (700-1000 miles). i rarely ride more than 20 miles or so at a time now but will be training soon.

do i need to buy a new bike or will this one work?

thanks
I've talked to people who have crossed the US repeatedly on similar bikes, carrying camping gear, and they had a great time. You can probably make this bike work, and if you really like the idea of touring you can invest in a "real touring bike" later.

Hopefully your backpacking and hitchhiking trips have taught you how to travel light, and hopefully you've installed the lowest gearing available for your drivetrain.

If a trailer doesn't appeal to you, Carradice and Rivendell make really nice saddlebags, the biggest ones are big enough for a lightweight camping trip. If your saddle doesn't have loops for a bag you'll need an adaptor.
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