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  1. #1
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    Cycling Across Canada Spring 2007

    Hello all,

    I'm new to forums as my profiles says but I have been reading these forums religiously for the past couple months. I am a fairly amateur cyclist but plan to cycle across Canada this spring starting at St. Johns, Newfoundland and ending in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am aware that I will be going against the common direction of the wind and fine with that. I have some questions related to the tour.

    1) What type of bicycle would best suite my needs for around $2000CAD or $1750USD, with panniers factored into the price, and which would be best as far as that goes? Seat comfort is a high priority
    2) What should my caloric intake be as far as carbs, fats, and proteins go? I'm 18 years old, 5'8" and 172lbs lean. Approx. 160-165 for the ride.
    3) How often should I eat?
    4) Anything you recommend for eating?
    5) Recommendations for camp stove/tent.

    That's all I can really think of for now, if I remember anything else I will add it or create another post when the date comes closer. I will be camping the entire way and making nearly all my own meals to save on cost although my budget is not necessarily that strict. I made various 50km rides throughout this past fall as well as a 120km cycle on a CCM mountain bike. The physical aspects of this ride although I expect to be hard, I also expect manageable. I am very serious and appreciate any advice you can lend me even if it is unrelated to the questions I asked.

    Thank you in advance,
    Jay Polisak

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Monsieur - -
    The physical part is the easiest part.
    It's the mental part which is far more difficult.
    Yes, you will have many days of headwinds in the Prairies.
    On circle rides, you only go against the wind for about half the ride,
    When you ride cross-continent you may have day after day of headwind.
    It sounds as though you are going solo. Have you been alone that long before?
    Ipods are nice, but there's no substitute for the real thing.
    Eating at a cafe is a way to have contact with others - even if it's a Tim Hortons.
    Then there's the weather.
    I certainly hope you are Canadian because starting in Newfoundland in the spring can be damn cold.
    Spring also tends to be the wettest season. Got good raingear?
    Are you allowing yourself leeway so that you can wait out a bad spell?
    I repeat - the hardest part is the mental part.
    Good Luck - -

    J

  3. #3
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    I tour on a bianchi volpe. I think it's a great bike, and it has served me well. There are a lot of anti-volpe people on this forum, though. The trek 520 is also supposed to be a pretty good bike in that price range, and there are several other touring specific bikes that would fit the bill.
    There are lots of different brands of panniers that would fit your price range. Different panniers have different features that appeal to different people. I have experience with panniers that are manufactured by Jandd and arkel. They work fairly well for me, but I'm considering purchasing a set of ortlieb panniers, or the nashbar waterproof panniers, when my current set finally wears out.

    When I tour I eat energy bars, trail mix, granola and anything else I can get my hands on, all day long, and I usually end the day with more of the same, when I'm done riding. I don't keep track of calories or take pains to ensure that I'm eating a balanced diet. But I do try to make an effort to eat a fair amount of protein. I always carry a block of cheese with me to supplement the generally carb heavy foods that I eat on tour. I think my daily caloric intake is 6000 calories or more.
    I think the best energy bars on the market are cliff bars. I like cliff because they taste pretty good, and they are an independently owned company. Plus they use a lot of organic ingredients. But cliff bars can be difficult to find in places. Whereas a lot of gas stations carry powerbars, which don't taste as good, and which are owned by Nestle (which I consider to be a negative atribute).

    You don't necessarily have to carry a stove with you. I used an MSR white gas stove on my first long tour. It was nice to have a hot meal at the end of the day, and to have a cup of tea here and there. But I haven't been carrying a stove in recent years, and I haven't really missed it. When I do have a stove with me, I cook lentils and rice with fresh vegetables and a lot of cheese more often than not.

    There are lots of good tents out there. I use a mountain hardware one man tent. There was a good discussion about tents a few weeks ago in this forum. You should check the old threads to find it.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  4. #4
    fks
    fks is offline
    Shoot Your Car fks's Avatar
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    1) What type of bicycle would best suite my needs for around $2000CAD or $1750USD, with panniers factored into the price, and which would be best as far as that goes? Seat comfort is a high priority

    Bike: Trek 520 or REI Randonee ($US 979)will also allow you to get good racks, ie blackburn or Tubus and some panniers

    Saddle : Brooks Conquest ( Sprung version of Team Pro)

    2) What should my caloric intake be as far as carbs, fats, and proteins go? I'm 18 years old, 5'8" and 172lbs lean. Approx. 160-165 for the ride.

    Lots just be balanced between carbs , proteins and not too much fat

    3) How often should I eat?

    Whenever you feel like it

    4) Anything you recommend for eating?

    Lots of rice or pasta with a small amount of protien, ie fish, have a lot of snacks ie nuts or dried fruit to munch in between meals
    5) Recommendations for camp stove/tent.

    Stove: MSR Whisperlite International almost foolproof and multi fuel

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Since you don't know if you'll like touring, I'd consider using your current bike and buying a BOB trailer. That way if you stop touring, you'll only have to unload a US$300 mistake rather than a $1800 mistake. IMHO there is not much of a functional difference bet a BOB and good panniers.

    As far as food goes, you'll eat what you can find. Forget energy bars, they taste bad and play on peoples paranoia about non-organic food. Compare the nutritional information on a Snickers and a Power Bar - the former is virtually the same, but tastier, cheaper, and more available. Same with peanut butter, except for the taste part.

    As for real food, you will be burning about 50 calories per mile (including basal metabolism) and you don't want to bonk in the boonies, so eat complex carbs and protein (the fat comes along for the ride with the protein, 30% of your calories from fat is OK when you're touring). Avoid junk food if you can. Try to eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, and grains, and try to avoid food derived from rice, potatoes, white bread, and sugar. Avoid fatty meats. Fiber is good because you want your digestive system to be satisfyingly productive.

    Just eat what you Mom told you you should eat. The saving grace is that whatever you eat within reason, you'll have burned it off by the end of your trip. And guilt-free porking out is one of the joys of touring. And well before, during, and after you ride.

  6. #6
    Faster than a SwiftTurtle
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    I created a small page linking all the Cross Canada cycling journals I could find. http://xcanada.roosmachine.com . I found reading other journals was a great way to prepare for the ride I did in 2005. plus it is good reading for the long winter months as well. There are a few journals that start in early spring, and If I recall one started in 2005 in NFLD in the spring, that would be a good indication of what you should expect.

    As for eating habits, I just ate whatever and whenever I could. I went into the ride with a few extra pounds and lost over 20 in the 9 weeks of the ride. I gained it all back like i do every winter. My diet was pretty close to what I normally eat, just more of it. That is to say.. lots of crap and junk food, resturants and snacks. I'm not a role model in my eating habits, but for me, what works for me day to day in normal life works for me when I am riding.. except I eat more.

    For a bike, If you live in the Toronto area, Urbane Cyclist ( http://www.ucycle.com/ ) has a good shop brand touring bike that they can build up to suit your needs. If you are else where the old standard is the Trek 520, but there are many other threads on here that touch on the subject of touring bikes. Once you got a bike, make sure you know how take care of it, and make simple and complex repairs (Fixing Flats, spokes, tweaking gearing, brakes, and replacing cables).

    Best of luck! Keep us up to date!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sebach's Avatar
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    Hey man, I did exactly that ride this summer... but going in the opposite direction. I went along the provincial capitals. Check out my gallery from the ride, maybe you'll recognize a few things on your way.

    http://www.pbase.com/sebastian82/on_the_road/

    Eat whatever you feel like eating man. And before you leave Sault Ste. Marie (going E-W), carry an extra day's worth of food with you 'cause things start to get a bit scarce at times between there and Thunderbay, lol.

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone for the advice, specifically:

    jamawani vbmenu_register("postmenu_3310350", true); I am aware to the best of my knowledge of the mental toll of doing things alone. Currently I eat the same meal everyday on a strict diet and workout religiously, I spend time on a lonely journey everyday. I appretiate your concern though and I will most definitely keep that in mind. Maybe i'll figure something out to help me a bit.

    brotherdan Thanks for the tips about the stove, and food choices. I will try not cooking things for a couple weeks during the winter months to see how I feel about going stoveless. I will also talk to my LBS about a bianchi volpe and see what they offer. I'm going to hunt for that thread later too.

    I'll reply to everyone else later, and thanks again

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