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  1. #1
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    Long Distance Touring, Non-Touring Bike

    Hello everyone,

    My first big tour will be taking place in the summer of 2007. Having recently done several short-distance tours (cycled to Barry, Ontario and Guelph, Ontario from Toronto on an old Trek hybrid), I will be getting a pure road bike, most likely a racer. For the next tour, several friends and I (two of whom are also on racers) will be going to Winnipeg, Manitoba from Toronto. I will most likely have two rear panniers, a front above-wheel pannier and a backpack strapped onto the rear, as well as a sleeping back and possibly tent supplies.
    My question is, would a racing frame be able to support this extra weight over a long distance without trouble?

  2. #2
    duh-river foe
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    The short answer is no. If you're going to be carrying that much, you should get a bike set up for it or modify your Trek. Most road bikes don't have rear rack eyelets, and carrying anything but the lightest loads on a clamp-on seatpost rack is miserable(trust me). How will the bag attach to the front of the bike? do you mean a handlebar bag or are you going to swap out the front fork for one that holds a rack?

    You could also take a trailer, but the trailer itself is very heavy. You don't want to load one up too much because of the lateral stress it puts on your frame- you need to be sure your rear triangle is up to the task.

    I think your best options are looking for a bike with rear rack eyelets (felt makes a few, among other companies), and reducing the amount of stuff you're hauling until it fits. It's always more pleasant to carry less, anyway. backpackinglight.com and the ultralightbiking yahoo group are great resources. On the ultralightbiking yahoo group, there's a trip report from a guy who went across the US in around 3 weeks (camping, too) with all of his stuff in a bag behind his seat- it shows that you can definitely constrain your gear to a rear rack.

  3. #3
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    You can't expect to carry a FULL loaded touring setup without the bike failing sooner or later.

    However, depending on the distance, you could sleep on the ground and wear filthy clothes and scare people away with your smell - you know, your average bicycle tourist - and get away with a lot less weight and the bike would survive.

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    You can check out this page http://adventurecycling.org/features..._bikes2004.cfm
    if you want to do some research on what to look for in a loaded touring bike.
    Last edited by cyklehike; 10-09-06 at 08:55 PM.

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    Alas, I suspected as much. The trip to Winnipeg is 1400 miles or 2200 km. The trips to Barry and Guelph were around 100 km. It'll be a step up, however will not be on such a constrained timeframe as the ones before it. Much more relaxed. Yes, I suppose it is unavoidable to bring a few changes of clothes, so I may need some front wheel panniers as well. The Trek held up decently on the last few trips being laden with relatively heavy amounts of supplies, as did my friend's racer. I suppose it's likely, though, that some complications will arise if the bike is carrying much more weight than it is designed to for a prolonged period of time.
    Thanks for the replies

  6. #6
    1 trick pony dogpound's Avatar
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    well, I did 700 miles last summer on a Lemond Zurich.
    I got a rack ( I have no eyelets) from http://www.thetouringstore.com/.
    Dude knows his stuff.
    I went with 2 rear bags and ultralight stuff, I have EVERYTHING IN the rear bags and hauled my ass up and down the mountains of the CA coast without changing my gearing.
    So it CAN be done.
    Just get the right set up and dont' take anything you don't need.
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  7. #7
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    Since you are in Toronto, you should check out the Urbanite Touring bike, test rides don't cost anything, nor is there any pressure. Sure a touring bike is not a racing bike, but it's still a fun ride. You might be impressed.

    Northern Ontario can be a little longer between stops than say running to quebec city where you would go past one great grocery store every few hours, if not 20. Plus up north you have normal camping requirements for stuff like minimal first aid, bugs. It's also a pretty terrible road. So my feeling is that while you will certainly make it on a racing bike, with decent wheels, you are not going to enjoy it as much as you would on a touring bike.

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    I will try out the Urbanite bike, thanks.

    Yeah, I agree that I'll definately need more room than what can go into two rear panniers. I suppose in the end I will get a touring bike, I just hope it won't be too hard to play catch-up with my partners who are on racers. My legs are much stronger than theirs because I commute and train with my hybrid, but their bikes just seem to glide so effortlessly

    yup, Northern Ontario will be a stretch in which we will need to be somewhat self sufficient, which is why I'll probably get the touring bike
    Last edited by LlewelynCycles; 10-09-06 at 11:22 PM.

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    If you compare a touring frame set-up to a racing frame, both with camping gear, I would be hard put to put my finger on the factors that would make you slower! You may well smoke them. On some of the steeper hills they may want a tow.

  10. #10
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    If your going to buy a touring bike, now that you know that a road bike won't work for what your going to carry, look into the Trek 520 or a Fuji (can't remember the model name). The Trek comes ready to go touring.

  11. #11
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Don't forget to bring the kitchen sink.

    You don't need that much stuff on tour, the less the better! One reason to use front panniers is because it improves your handling. If you have more than 20 lbs of gear (guaranteed if you're camping), it is recommended that you put 40% up front and 60% in the back.


    Quote Originally Posted by peterpan1
    If you compare a touring frame set-up to a racing frame, both with camping gear, I would be hard put to put my finger on the factors that would make you slower!
    For most people, there won't be much of a difference, but a touring bike will be a little slower than a racing bike due to....

    • a more upright position
    • a more stable frame (i.e. steers a little slower, a little bit heavier)
    • stronger and heavier wheels
    • wider tires with more tread
    • gears is optimized towards carrying loads than traveling at warp speed

    The good news is, though, that you can use a touring bike as your road bike anyway; it'll probably be more comfortable on long rides than a bike made for racing, too. If it isn't fast enough for you, just lower the handlebar height, put on a pair of slick tires, and you're all set.

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    Riders have stripped down touring bikes for use in time trials, cx races, fast centuries. A spare set of race wheels and aerobars can tranform the bike.
    For touring you need serviceable, strong spoked wheels and lowish gearing. You will probably smoke your racebike buddies on a long hill.

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    You want smoke your buds riding road bikes on a touring bike climbing mountains but you would if both were loaded!

    Anyway's here some web sites that should be useful:

    http://www.bicycletouring101.com/index.html
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/howto.cfm
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/?pics=small
    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/index.htm

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    Thanks for all the help guys. Yeah, after some research I've decided on either a Jamis Aurora or outfitting my Trek with drop handlebars and road tires. The Trek's frame is relatively sturdy as it is a hybrid frame. Very old too, I can't find anything abouit the particular model I have.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sebach's Avatar
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    A touring bike is probably a good idea. Careful though cause if you get one and your roadie-riding buddies suffer breakdowns from the load, you might end up being the mule.

    Whatever you do, bring lots of food and water as you pull out of Pancake Bay Provincial Park (a shorter day's ride N of Sault Ste. Marie) and head up toward Wawa. That is probably the nastiest section I encountered in Ontario, unending hills, nothing but up and down and very, very few services: none in Superior Provincial Park (which is an area, no campgrounds or people). You'll hit Montreal River Hill before Superior PP, and you'll hit it from the nasty side - you'll know once you make that big right hand turn up toward the sky. The area is beautiful and you'll enjoy it more if your stomach is not grumbling the entire day.

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    I used a Trek 7200 hybrid for an 1100 mile tour this year and a 700 mile tour last year (both self supported using panniers). Having good wheels and tires will solve most of your potential problems. Bar ends are a necessity and aerobars will make the inevitable long drags into the wind much easier. You won't be setting any speed records but that shouldn't be a consideration anyway.

    Of course when you take the bags and racks off you're left with a hybrid and all the disadvantages thereof. When you take the bags and racks off a true touring bike you're left with a slightly detuned road bike and all its advantages.

  17. #17
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    After doing a 4000 mile tour with front and rear panniers, I trimmed down my packing list and did tours of 1100 miles, 500 miles and 1600 miles using only rear panniers.

    I see no real reason not to travel light, unless you want to be able to cook gourmet meals along the way. I would never go back to touring with a full setup again unless I had additional gear that I had to haul for non-cycling/camping purposes.

    So what I'm trying to get at is I think you can tour on a road bike just fine. All my tours have been on a touring bike, but I've seen plenty of people haul just as much gear as I have on my recent tours on road bikes.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
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    You might also consider the middle ground 'club racer/brevet' bikes. These bikes have a geometry somewhere in between a racing bike and a touring bike. I have an Ind. Fabrications Club Racer which I took on a five week tour. These bikes are becoming pretty popular these days because of their 'do it all' capabilities and thus many outfits are starting to produce them. Mine weights 26 pounds when it's stripped down for unladen rides. I think real racers come in between 15 - 20, so their isn't much difference.

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    Good list:

    I just add the following that you covered because of the workarounds the Urbanite has.

    • a more upright position

    Only if you want it,you can drop as low as you want, and you have a longer wheel base for stretching out.

    • a more stable frame (i.e. steers a little slower, a little bit heavier)

    This probably speeds you up since you cut a nice steady line.

    • stronger and heavier wheels

    This is the worst news, but there lots of tweaks you can cutomize. Urbane cyclist will build you whatever wheels you think you need at no extra cost, and anything lighter than that may leave you with a broken wheel.

    • wider tires with more tread

    I just run slicks, but mine are wide. At a certain point when the road gets rough, I would be more hurt by the rough ride, hey, but I'm a geezer.

    • gears is optimized towards carrying loads than traveling at warp speed

    Again you can taylor that, it's only a problem if you get the wrong gears for your purpose.

    The way the Urbanite is built out they will put whatever you want on it, they are pretty cheap when it comes to their bike packages, and they will incorporate components you want or leave them off for you to add. So in my case I had pedals, and brakes of my own. They switched out the saddle for a B17, and the brifters for brakes and barends, that was pretty much a wash. They built me rock solid wheels to my specs.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LlewelynCycles
    I suppose it is unavoidable to bring a few changes of clothes, so I may need some front wheel panniers as well.
    Not true! The only thing you need two of is shorts! Rinse your clothes every day (fastest way is to wear them in the shower) and they will dry overnight, except the shorts. I did a five month tour this way with no problems. I didn't carry camping gear, but everything, including some respectable street clothes, fit in a bar bag and tail pack. So my racing bike coped just fine. (And I was almost as quick up the mountains as the Sunday riders without any bags!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurostar
    Not true! The only thing you need two of is shorts! Rinse your clothes every day (fastest way is to wear them in the shower) and they will dry overnight, except the shorts. I did a five month tour this way with no problems. I didn't carry camping gear, but everything, including some respectable street clothes, fit in a bar bag and tail pack. So my racing bike coped just fine. (And I was almost as quick up the mountains as the Sunday riders without any bags!)
    Don't forget that when packing clothes (or anything else you don't want to get wet) make sure you put them in ziplock plastic bags because panniers or bar bags can and will leak especially in a downpour.

  22. #22
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Look what I carried in just two rear panniers: Ottawa to Montreal and back
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  23. #23
    Florida to Oregon in 2007 lighthorse@eart's Avatar
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    Yes a road bike can be a good touring bike. But you probably can not bring as much stuff as you have listed. The first limitation is the ability to mount a front rack. Most road bikes do not have eyelets on the fork. Check to see if your proposed road bike does. If not, then you are left with a rear rack bag and two rear panniers, and maybe a handlebar bag. Road bikes with a load on the back exhibit changed stability so you will need to practice with the load before you depart. The different stability is not necessarily bad, just different.
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  24. #24
    My tank takes chocolate. FlowerBlossom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurostar
    Not true! The only thing you need two of is shorts! Rinse your clothes every day (fastest way is to wear them in the shower) and they will dry overnight, except the shorts. I did a five month tour this way with no problems. I didn't carry camping gear, but everything, including some respectable street clothes, fit in a bar bag and tail pack. So my racing bike coped just fine. (And I was almost as quick up the mountains as the Sunday riders without any bags!)
    Washing clothes while in the shower....great idea!!! I'm going to try it next time!

    If you like wearing clean but relatively dry clothing, bring at least one extra of everything. Having dryish clothes at the end of the day, at least, is nothing to poo-poo about, especially if you're camping and the nights are cold.
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  25. #25
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    I always have dry clothes! Damp clothes are, as you say, miserable, not to mention a risk to your health. Stuff dries faster if you wring it well. Lay clothes flat on a towel then roll the towel up and twist it really tight by standing on one end and turning the other end with both hands with as much force as possible. I was taught this by a girlfriend. Synthetic clothes will be barely damp after this.

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