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  1. #1
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    need a lot of advice

    I am going soon on a tour from SE Michigan to northern New Mexico. I could use some help, so here it goes. My first tour. I've been riding about 1.5 years, pretty seriously. I lived in northern NM until last may, know what hills look like, feel like.

    1. I am using a trek 520, changing out the rear cassette with an 11-34. This gives me a low gear inches value of 23.8. high of 122.7. I am pulling a light (ten pound) ExtraWheel Trailer. rack and paniers on back of bike, lowriders on front. paniers will be light, heavy stuff in trailer. I will be carrying a load appropariate for this trip - about 1900 miles when taking expressways, longer by back roads though I dont have the route planned yet. see #2 below.

    Is this low enough gearing> I am crossing the rockies, probably in southern colorado, and dropping into NM from the north (walsenburg - highyway 160 to fort garland, then south into NM).

    2. how do you recommend planning the route - are there available resource showing best cycling routes> just use google? need to plan stop so they are at campgrounds, what is the best way to do that?

    3. have been purchasing gear using recommendations from this forum. very helpful, thanks. using a summer weightdown bag, prolite 4 pad, dragonfly stove, MSR raingear.

    4. biking tights or shorts with biking pad underwear? issues and pros and cons?

    5. average miles per day goal? 50?? I plan on a day off about every 5 days or so.

    6. condition - currently 210 pounds, could lose some. plenty even. I can ride back to back centuries here in SE mI a week apart - ride 60-70 miles the day after a centory no problem. have been doing about 200 miles a week sometimes 280 for about 2 months now. can i do this?

    7. allot what duration of time for this? a month? is that too agressive? how much? (one way time, I am flying back)

    8. time of year - plan to start end of next week, or at least by sept 17. should be ok provided I corss rockies during a good weather window?

    9. route suggestions are approciated. other tips welcome.

    thanks in advance, I am sure a lot of things haven't been covered here, but this is a good start.
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  2. #2
    1 trick pony dogpound's Avatar
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    how many miles is it?
    I would use maps from
    http://www.adv-cycling.org/
    they show campgrounds, stores, bike shops, and roads least used by cars.
    I think 50 miles is a good goal per day, you might have days were you're really smoking and you might have days when you just wanna cry to your mommy.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    First tours are great, you will (hopefully) love it. As for your questions, I'll take a stab.

    1. I have never heard a touring cyclist complain about have too low of gears. Go low, I think you do in-fact need lower gears, swap out your from chainrings for 22/32/44 or any combo that starts with 22.

    2. If this is a first tour, and you are asking this question, I would recommend using Adventure cycling routes as a base for your overall route. Make your own route south to the ACA Northern tier and go west, connect to the Great Rivers route south, to the TransAm west, finally take the Western express option until you have gone far enough west for you destination in NM.

    4. I suggest regular cycling shorts, you can always put baggy shorts over them.

    5. Sounds good, 50 is a little conservative, but start out that way and see how it goes.

    6. Your in good condition, you will do fine, just start out slow.

    7. Figure about 300-350 miles a week for the duration.

    8. I'm not sure about this one, maybe someone else will chime in.

    OK that's all I know, are you writing a journal on Crazy Guy or some place like that?

  4. #4
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    thanks! going to http://www.adv-cycling.org/ now.
    2009 Custom TI Frame Road Bike, all 2007 Campy Record, Campy Euros Wheelset
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  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. I am pulling a ... Trailer. rack and paniers on back of bike, lowriders on front. paniers will be light, heavy stuff in trailer. I will be carrying a load appropariate for this trip - about 1900 miles when taking expressways, longer by back roads though I dont have the route planned yet. see #2 below. -- For a 1900 mile trip, you can easily get away with one set of panniers, a trunk bag, and a handlebar bag. I rode 5000 kms (3000 miles) over 3 months in Australia with that much.

    Just remember, if you are planning to spend any time in a hostel/motel/hotel you have to carry all that up to your room. If you plan to do a section by train or bus, you have to carry all that around the station. And when go to fly back, you've got luggage weight restrictions to deal with, plus you've got to carry all that stuff around the airport. Also ... considering that most airlines have a 2 pieces of checked baggage limit, how do you plan to bring all that back with you? Have you read your airline's bicycle and baggage policies yet?


    2. how do you recommend planning the route - are there available resource showing best cycling routes> just use google? need to plan stop so they are at campgrounds, what is the best way to do that? -- I usually get a map (a physical, paper map) put it in my map case on my handlebar bag, pick a road that doesn't look like it will be too busy, and ride. BTW - if you want a somewhat flatter route, you can usually (but not always, no guarantees) find it if you pick a route along a river.


    3. have been purchasing gear using recommendations from this forum. very helpful, thanks. using a summer weightdown bag, prolite 4 pad, dragonfly stove, MSR raingear. -- Don't forget to check the weather in Michigan ... they are going into the fall season now and nights could be chilly.


    4. biking tights or shorts with biking pad underwear? issues and pros and cons? -- Cycling shorts with basketball shorts over them.


    5. average miles per day goal? 50?? I plan on a day off about every 5 days or so. -- Whatever YOU want! My Australia tour nearly killed me with the distances we were doing, and the terrain we were covering, but the European tour I just finished was much nicer and we were doing only about 60-70 kms a day.


    6. condition - currently 210 pounds, could lose some. plenty even. I can ride back to back centuries here in SE mI a week apart - ride 60-70 miles the day after a centory no problem. have been doing about 200 miles a week sometimes 280 for about 2 months now. can i do this? -- Just an incidental terminology comment ... back to back centuries are centuries on consecutive days i.e. one on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. But back to your question, yes, you sound fit enough, and again, ride distances each day that you feel comfortable with. Touring is not racing or randonneuring. You don't win anything if you complete a certain distance each day.


    7. allot what duration of time for this? a month? is that too agressive? how much? (one way time, I am flying back) -- Use math. If you are comfortable with 50 miles a day for 4 days then one day off, that's 200 miles every 5 days.


    8. time of year - plan to start end of next week, or at least by sept 17. should be ok provided I corss rockies during a good weather window? -- The earlier the better when crossing the Rockies. Up here in Canada, already I'd be saying to expect at least some snow in the Rockies, but I'm not sure how it is in the US.

  6. #6
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    For that kind of trip you probably need either a trailer, or full set of bags, not both. Longer tours do not mean more gear, if anything the reverse can equally be true. Longer stages between available food and water, extremes of weather, total required self-sufficiency, etc... mean more gear. You might make 50 miles with all that stuff, and 80 miles with a more reasonable load.

    I would google earth your trip to see what kind of terrain you are facing as you proceed.

    Your gearing is too high. With a loaded bike you really don't use the top gears except for coasting at high speed which is just something some people love to do. Getting a 20 inch lower gear, and tightening up the steps is really inportant. You would probably make better speed under most circumstances with 18-90, and the tightest steps, least double shifts. There is a comon tendency to go for the widest tange which is normally a bad idea.

    You can wear whatever you want but I would recomend the sewn in pads and no undies, and a Brooks seat, then you can probably forget about your seat for the rest of the trip.

  7. #7
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    -Ditch the extrawheel, just use front/rear panniers. If you can't fit everything you need in 4 panniers, a handlebar bag, and your tent/sleeping bag on top of the rear rack, you are carrying too much stuff. Leave things you think you might need at home, only take things you know you will need, make them all do double-duty, and you can always buy stuff or have it mailed to you along the way. You don't need your laptop, by the way, not that you said anything about that.

    -The gearing is not low enough, you can put a 26 tooth front ring on as well without doing any other changes, and that will help a lot. Better to get a MTB crank if you can - easy swap out, no need to change any of the rest of the drive train.

    - bike shorts w/ pad + legwarmers or tights to wear over. Make sure to bring long fingered gloves, a warm upper body layer, real rain gear, and a warm hat you can put under your helmet.

    -you are crossing the rockies in october with a summer weight down bag, and then heading out into the high desert.... uh... bring a credit card so you can sleep in hotels, you're gonna freeze. YOu might want to check your route for ski areas, just for giggles.

    -plan the next day's destination/camping spot each night, not all in advance. Resources: Forest service /ranger stations, tourist information booths (=chamber of commerce), ask locals, AAA map/campbook, adventure cycling maps, internet, GPS.

    -50 miles/day sounds just fine, your condition sounds just fine, just remember to start slow (30-40 m/d) and build up, and if you are feeling crappy it's probably because you need to rest, so rest before you make yourself sick from being too tired.

    -you are too late to cross the rockies already with any degree of reliability. For example, winter road closure of Trail Ridge Road usually happens in mid-october. You should make alternate route plans or be willing to hitchike or something, in case winter happens.

    - don't forget that fall/winter touring means short daylight hours, you are gonna have to hustle in the morning to make sure you have enough daylight to get to your destination. Bring real lights.

    - a month is way too short, if you go 350/week, 1900 is 5.4 weeks, and that's 6 days/week at 58/day.

    I really don't mean this to be as negative as it sounds, just make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

    If you are flexible about your route but not your timing, I would suggest changing your route to the Pacific Coast, Seattle to San Diego or some chunk of it. You don't get to ride out your door, but you will follow the better weather south, there are lots of services, towns are close together, there is a great deal of information (adventure cycling, "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Kirkendall & Spring, the scencery is breathtaking. Your summer weight gear will keep you happier there, too.

    WHatever you, enjoy your tour!!!
    ...

  8. #8
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    google shows a non-interstate route of approx 1500 miles. looks like the routes covered by those available at http://www.adv-cycling.org/ might be a tad farther. maybe not.

    - i might cut the length of the trip by driving part way first, cut it in half. if i can find somewhere to leave the van without going broke paying for parking. hmmm. maybe a one way truck rental!! leave from st joseph, mo. it would take a lot of risk out, and total of about 800 miles instead of 1600. I can rent a truck for 316.00. figure 60 gallons of gas.

    i'll get a warmer bag.

    I see the point, dont need the trailer AND the bags. like the idea of the trailer to keep the bike light. would like to keep some things handy on the bike though (food water and rain gear for example).

    i am leaving everything in NM and flying back. I'm in the process of moving BACK there, having moved away last may.

    to avoid rockies all together, I could go into texas, west to the turquoise trail to santa fe, then up the rio grande valley to taos. much warmer, WAY more predictable, no passes, in fact you dont cross the rockies. you drop to the south of them and wont hit 7000; till santa fe. rarely snows there in october. have to check on getting into NM from the east, I40 might be the only road.

    I pretty much know the bad part of the terrain having driven it ten times at least. and will google earth that part (colorado/NM) make sure there are no surprises.
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  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You might consider two summer weight sleeping bags rather than one heavier one. That's the method I've opted to go with, and it works quite well. I have two bags which pack down to practically nothing and are rated to about +7C each. (In reality, I wouldn't recommend using just one of them in temps below +10C ... those ratings are stretching it a bit) But with two bags, I've got the option of using one as an additional mattress and the other as a blanket on warmer nights, or one inside the other on colder nights.

    I also bring a foil emergency bivy to line the inside of the tent, which adds a little bit to the warmth of the tent, a tiny silk bag liner in case it is cold enough to need it, and a sarong which I use as a sheet at night (and a skirt during the day, or towel sometimes, etc.).

  10. #10
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    wow, thanks for all the good advice. think i have settled on departing from st. joseph missouri, making it an 800 mile trip - going north of wichita, thru newton, liberal KS, guyman OK, dalhart TX, Tonapah Nm, las vegas NM, and there to Taos over a good road and 8500' pass. I figure 300 miles a week avg, so three weeks, arriving around oct 10. this is sounding do-able now. thanks. longest stretch with no towns is 70 miles, dalhart tx to logan NM. and its not desert but high plain.

    i like the idea of two summer bags. thanks. thanks for the bivy, slik liner, and other tips.
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  11. #11
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    Pack light..... I agree about ditching the trailer.

    Relax and hit the road.

    Remember that it's easy to ride Greyhound if the weather turns nasty and things go wrong!

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    Here is a good article on gear ratios:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...e_id=56277&v=s

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    for that trip use chamois butter, or neosporin with pain relief liberally on your nether regions trust me it will maximize your ability to crank out the miles

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edzo View Post
    for that trip use chamois butter, or neosporin with pain relief liberally on your nether regions trust me it will maximize your ability to crank out the miles
    That shouldn't really be necessary if his bicycle is set up correctly and he has the right saddle. He has also been doing quite a bit of cycling so it isn't like he's new to it.

    It's a rare day when I break out any creams. However, I bring Ozonol with me, and may use a tiny dab of it on particularly hot or wet days which will cause my sitting area to be wet for an extended period of time (and thus may cause a rash), but other than that, I don't use anything. Plus Ozonol has the additional benefit of being anti-bacterial so it can also be used on road rash and other cuts and scrapes.

  15. #15
    Occasional poster countrydirt's Avatar
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    Jb,
    I live about 5 miles off of the Guymon, Dalhart section. You can crash here for a night if you need to. PM if interested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee View Post
    Pack light..... I agree about ditching the trailer.

    Relax and hit the road.

    Remember that it's easy to ride Greyhound if the weather turns nasty and things go wrong!
    I read the question, got alarmed, grew less alarmed as I read the replies, and Tacomee boils it down perfectly. Pack light, relax, and no heroics -- it's your first tour! With all due jealousy, have a great time.

  17. #17
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    thanks all. Takara: if you my earlier questions alarmed you, wait till you read this REALLY LONG post.

    i realize i am a newby at touring, and appreciate the great help everyone has offered. I AM concerned about overpacking, so i imagine this thread will be quite active as I discover what I DO NOT need to take. I have searched this forum, have seen others packing lists, but i am sure I will still ask here as i prepare, if only to be sure I am making good decisions. so here are some more questions

    this is a rambling post, reflects the flurry in my mind.
    about the bike:

    1. will change the front rings. using replacement 11-34 on the back. Using a 22 on the front gives about 18 gear inches using a (replacement 11-34) 34 on the back and a top end of 108. . the 520 comes with 50-39-30 shimano r453 crank - can i just change the rings, or i need another crank? if so what crank?

    2. is 22/32/44 a good combination with close enough shifting under loads uphill? I dont give a rip about top end, I typically spin OK, like a cadence 70-90. what will I get with 108 gear inches at 80 cadence?

    3. i use a 172.5 crank on my other bikes. go with same? does it matter since geometry is so different than racing bike?

    4. Shop thinks i need a 19"in the trek 520 (am i 5'10", short 30" pant leg inseam, longish torso ride a felt f1 racing bike in a 54cm). nobody has touring bikes in stock around here. LBS guy says 'relax' he's done this a lot of times, talks the talk but i am just testing.

    other questions and remarks:

    A. I ALWAYS use assos chamois cream. never tried a long ride without it so I dont know how I'd feel without it. seems worth the space and weight to me.

    B. definately starting in st. jo. MO. much relieved about the risk factor and duration.

    C. double checked the sleeping bag, its 1lb 1oz of goose down. I agree its potentially not enough for this tour. . I have a small down blanket (a 'throw'), have used it summer camping plenty. probably 1 pound fill, using a thermorest prolite 3 pad. is the down blanket and bag enough? if not, i'll get an addition 40 degree rated down bag.

    D. here's another dumb one. anyone know how to wash a sleeping bag? mine is like OLD, never been used much since I camped when it was usually always warm enough not to need it. I mean I know you can wash down pillows so long as you tumble dry thoroughly. same for down bag? temp during wash cycle? use a fabric softener sheet in the dryer or not? seems like probably not, i bet those sheets leave an unwelcome residue. i dont use them on my shorts.

    E. i'm using a dragonfly stove, how much fuel do you think i should carry on the bike. I have the tank that comes with the stove, also have an additional 11 oz fuel bottle. is it overkill to carry both bottles? i think the fact that i am asking this question means the answer is yes, but checking anyway. is white gas sold in less than a gallon? i know you can get small bottles of kerosene. of course there is unleaded gas but it seems a hassle to fill a teensie bottle with a huge nozzle.



    F. A minimalist approach would suggest bringing one spare tire and one tube, maybe two patch kits. The guy in my LBS (a seasoned tour guy) says "oh no, I bring THREE tubes. flats come in clusters, spend time patching tubes at the camp, not on the road.


    G. my LBS guy says in his early touring he discovered he prepared for too many unlikely scenarios, and managed to always not have enough food. How much is enough? what food. how much? i am a believer in steel cut oats for breakfast so will carry enough for a few days breakfasts.

    H I am aware of nutritional need while riding to sustain output. I use hammer gell (in bottles), sharkies, cliff shotes when doing cennturies. I'd imagine NOT stocking much of that stuff and refueling on the road unless no towns coming? or DO you carry a few days of gel packs and whatnot? what about electrolyte powder? (I like hammer HEED?), or drink gateraid when available?

    I. what about recovery drinks? I am a believer in Hammer recoverite. rather than carry enough to make a difference, how does one eat after a days ride to help the legs? high carbs (pasta stuff) and protein - what travels well?

    J. bike has room for three water bottles. carry extra water?

    K. carrying a topeak roadmorph pump - it seems like also carrying CO2 violates the minimalist rule? Ok, i get it. of course it does.

    L. ok, and i scratched the ipod. i dont use it when i ride anyway. I'll read a book. a light book.write a journal. a light journal.

    M. seems like the headlight would suffice for a flashlight too. I think a blinkie on the back makes sense. is this correct? on helmet or on bike?

    N. I carry a mintyboost to power the garmin 305 for more than 7 hours. I am starting to get it, take the recharger for the batteries in the mintyboost off the list. use non rechargeable AA cells. mintyboost is emergency power for cell phone too. its built in the small altoids tin, so rides in bento bag with the cell and road food.

    O. spare cables?

    P. does anyone have comments about this rain gear
    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1189158742580

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1189158799225

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1189158843545

    and

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1189158881279

    wow that is a LOT of questions. i guess we should be alarmed at my level of experience here. is everyone so dumb about the first tour?

    thanks again. i would not attempt this trip were it not for the assistance of the members of this forum. If anyone ever needs a place to stay in TAOS, NM, PLEASE contact me. great skiing, road and mountain biking, rafting. RE skiing: no snowboarders allowed though. no lift lines either. seriously STEEP. decent powder. see skitaos.org.
    Last edited by jbpence; 09-07-07 at 04:53 AM. Reason: organized better
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  18. #18
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    You should do fine. There's always a first time for everything. The most important factor is that you are in shape. I've been on many cross-state supported tours where lots of riders do virtually no training and still manage to ride 60+ miles per day. A few comments:

    -- Lay out all of your gear and weight it. Then meticulously go over everything you plan to bring and determine which items aren't necessary and remove them. Pay particular attention to heavy and bulky items.
    -- Bring clothes that you can layer for warmth. Clothes that are easy to wash and dry. Clothes that are not bulky and heavy.
    -- Do you plan to bring rain gear? I would unless you plan not to ride in the rain.
    -- You definitely need at least one good blinky tail light. A good LED headlight that can double as a flashlight, such as Fennix.
    -- Sounds like your LBS guy knows what he's talking about. Listen to him. I agree about carrying three tubes and at least one spare folding tire.
    -- Use the chamois cream, particularly if you are already using it.
    -- A good cycling cap will keep sun and rain out of your eyes, and help control sweat and sunburn.
    -- Don't forget sunscreen, pain-killers (eg, ibuprofin).
    -- Wear cycling shoes you can walk in, such as mountain biking shoes with cleats.
    -- Get at least two pairs of good cycling shorts (preferably bibs) so you can wash and dry the pair you aren't wearing. A small bottle of Woolite is great for washing clothes in sinks.
    -- You're right to ditch the trailer. That would just encourage you to overpack.
    -- Don't skip the rest days. Your body will need it. Also take some recovery days where you ride easier, particularly after long and hard days.

  19. #19
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    thanks tarwheel. yup, i do feel as though I am in adequate "shape". if the trip trims ten pounds, well, the pedaling gets that much easier as I go.

    regarding rain gear, what there are links to what i've ordered (it already shipped) in the post preceeding yours. please check it out.

    i am nearly convinced about dropping the trailer out of the plan. I definately will only pack what can be stowed on the bike, in the event of a 'trailer failure'. so many folks have chimed in that i should drop the trailer... i will load the bike panniers before I make this call, never having packed for a tour before. I wont even unpack the trailer from the shipping box until i 'winnow' my list until I can carry everything on the bike - then I'll likely punt the trailer - who needs another ten pounds. I bought the trailer because I had planned to use a specialized sworks tricross (no eyelets, semi compact frame, a double needing $$ to become a triple, with better wheels, etc), the guy at the LBS said, sure, go for it, I'll sell you the 520 when you get back, you'll WANT IT, and I'll make more money because you are trying to make your tricross into something it isn't, I'll get parts and labor for that hopeless task AND you'll want the 520. I like his style. very convincing, but seems not to care about the trailer. though he recommends panniers that would make it not needed, so maybe h'll drop that though on me as he preps me for the trip.

    THe reason I am uneasy about this is

    1. folks that used this trailer loved it. You dont know its there, bike is light, the rig is supposed to handle very well.

    2. dont know about 'driving' a loaded bike. wont have much experience before departing. will do a couple overnighters first, about 30 miles away from home. But then I dont have any experience pulling a trailer either, execially not tipping over when stopped, handling tricky situations, etc.

    the reason I'd like to punt the trailer:

    1. feedback on this forum
    2. unsteadyness when stopped on the bike
    3. tendency to overpack just because i have the space
    4. a loaded trek 520 might just 'ride' better than an unloaded one. after all its designed for it
    5. hassle of second floor motel rooms, stopping for lunch (single wheel trailer)

    gee, 2 items in the 'pro' list. 5 in the 'con' list hmmmmmm.

    feedback? especially on the loaded vs unloaded trek 520 ride quailities?
    2009 Custom TI Frame Road Bike, all 2007 Campy Record, Campy Euros Wheelset
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  20. #20
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    God dude, I hope you are planning to SLEEP some time before you leave.

    RE: Loaded ride characteristics - the 520 feels just exactly riding a bike when it's loaded (45 pounds). A big, heavy bike. With a trailers, my other bike felt like there was someone standing behind me, pushing me around. YMMV. And downhill, that guy standing behind me tried to kill me, and it almost worked. "Tail wagging the dog" is a phrase that has been used by multiple people.

    I'll try to answer your flock of questions:


    1. will change the front rings. using replacement 11-34 on the back. Using a 22 on the front gives about 18 gear inches using a (replacement 11-34) 34 on the back and a top end of 108. . the 520 comes with 50-39-30 shimano r453 crank - can i just change the rings, or i need another crank? if so what crank?

    26 is as low as you can go with the stock crank, you get 22 by swapping to mountain bike crank, your bike shop should be able to do this when they build it for you, for only the price difference between the two crank sets. I'm using a Shimano LX crank, stock derailleurs, 34tooth big ring, and I'm happy with it.
    You might add a shift guard to keep the chain from popping off the small ring - i think it's called a 'chain watcher' or something like that. Just get the stock mountain bike crank, it's fine. And yeah, you don't need much on the top end.

    2. is 22/32/44 a good combination with close enough shifting under loads uphill? I dont give a rip about top end, I typically spin OK, like a cadence 70-90. what will I get with 108 gear inches at 80 cadence?

    It doesn't get much lower than 22x34, and that is fine. sometimes you will still not be able to spin, and will be pushing hard at 3 miles an hour. C'est la vie.

    3. i use a 172.5 crank on my other bikes. go with same? does it matter since geometry is so different than racing bike?

    same as what works for you already. Also this is true for saddle & pedals - move those from your race bike.

    4. Shop thinks i need a 19"in the trek 520 (am i 5'10", short 30" pant leg inseam, longish torso ride a felt f1 racing bike in a 54cm). nobody has touring bikes in stock around here. LBS guy says 'relax' he's done this a lot of times, talks the talk but i am just testing.

    no comment

    A. I ALWAYS use assos chamois cream. never tried a long ride without it so I dont know how I'd feel without it. seems worth the space and weight to me.
    bring it

    D. here's another dumb one. anyone know how to wash a sleeping bag? mine is like OLD, never been used much since I camped when it was usually always warm enough not to need it. I mean I know you can wash down pillows so long as you tumble dry thoroughly. same for down bag? temp during wash cycle? use a fabric softener sheet in the dryer or not? seems like probably not, i bet those sheets leave an unwelcome residue. i dont use them on my shorts.

    laundromat style front-loading washing machine with no agitator, warm or cold water, woolite or special down-wash product you can buy in an outdoor store (rei), dry on air or very low heat with clean tennis ball to break up down lumps (I put this in after a few drier cycles, not immediately), and keep drying it until it's dry, forever.

    E. i'm using a dragonfly stove, how much fuel do you think i should carry on the bike. I have the tank that comes with the stove, also have an additional 11 oz fuel bottle. is it overkill to carry both bottles? i think the fact that i am asking this question means the answer is yes, but checking anyway. is white gas sold in less than a gallon? i know you can get small bottles of kerosene. of course there is unleaded gas but it seems a hassle to fill a teensie bottle with a huge nozzle.

    One bottle, you can only buy the gas in huge containers in any normal place, but it's like $5 for the huge container, so just donate it back to the shop after you re-fill. you'll probably only have to refill 0 or 1 time in 4 weeks. gasoline burns dirty and stinks, so don't do that unless you really need to.

    F. A minimalist approach would suggest bringing one spare tire and one tube, maybe two patch kits. The guy in my LBS (a seasoned tour guy) says "oh no, I bring THREE tubes. flats come in clusters, spend time patching tubes at the camp, not on the road.


    I take 2 tubes, 1 folding tire (avocet), 1 patch kit

    G. my LBS guy says in his early touring he discovered he prepared for too many unlikely scenarios, and managed to always not have enough food. How much is enough? what food. how much? i am a believer in steel cut oats for breakfast so will carry enough for a few days breakfasts.

    Enough food is: look at the map, find the next town that has services (ask people what's there), figure out how many meals in between, carry that many meals plus a few granola bars, PBJ, bananas, newtons... or whatever you eat while riding. (usually this means you are carrying lunch plus a box of granola bars) Plus I always carry one "emergency dinner" - backpacking meal or couscous or packet of tuna - just something so that if I mess up and end up camping in the middle of nowhere, I have a meal. If I eat it, i replace it at the next opportunity. If the area is very remote/long distances between towns, I carry a little extra, just in case the riding takes longer than planned. Never had to carry more than 1.5 days food in the USA.

    H I am aware of nutritional need while riding to sustain output. I use hammer gell (in bottles), sharkies, cliff shotes when doing cennturies. I'd imagine NOT stocking much of that stuff and refueling on the road unless no towns coming? or DO you carry a few days of gel packs and whatnot? what about electrolyte powder? (I like hammer HEED?), or drink gateraid when available?

    I carry gu if I can find it, but sports drinks goop up your bottles, and if you let them fester you get sick. SO if you can't wash your bottles well, drink water, buy gatorade at gas stations/whatever.

    I. what about recovery drinks? I am a believer in Hammer recoverite. rather than carry enough to make a difference, how does one eat after a days ride to help the legs? high carbs (pasta stuff) and protein - what travels well?

    I don't use that, so no comment

    J. bike has room for three water bottles. carry extra water?

    take 3 bottles, fill 2 unless it's really far between towns. if it's really really far, buy an extra bottle of bottled water, strap in on somewhere/put in a pannier, recycle bottle when no longer needed.

    K. carrying a topeak roadmorph pump - it seems like also carrying CO2 violates the minimalist rule? Ok, i get it. of course it does.
    i just carry that same pump

    M. seems like the headlight would suffice for a flashlight too. I think a blinkie on the back makes sense. is this correct? on helmet or on bike?
    i carry both, have only ever used the headlight about 2ce.

    N. I carry a mintyboost to power the garmin 305 for more than 7 hours. I am starting to get it, take the recharger for the batteries in the mintyboost off the list. use non rechargeable AA cells. mintyboost is emergency power for cell phone too. its built in the small altoids tin, so rides in bento bag with the cell and road food.
    if you can stand it, ditch the garmin, get a simple bike computer that the battery lasts forever.

    O. spare cables?
    brake yes, der no.

    wow that is a LOT of questions. i guess we should be alarmed at my level of experience here. is everyone so dumb about the first tour?

    I don't think you are being dumb, you are excited and want it all to go well, and you are preparing, which is smart.

    Don't overload yourself, because that can ruin it, and make sure your gear is being carried in a way that won't get loose/get into your wheels/make you crash. watch for flapping straps, tuck them in.

    All your questions will sort themselves out after a few days on the road. I was just as excited/stressed/OCP as you before my first solo tour, and I had already done 3500 miles of touring with a friend. Settle down. It will be really fun.

    Oh, at the beginning, expect to not sleep at all the night before your first ride, maybe not be able to eat, etc., from excitement. Plan a VERY short first day - like 20 miles. You will have to stop a bazillion times to adjust stuff, find stuff in your bags, change your clothes, go to the bathroom, etc.

    You're gonna be fine. It's just like riding a bike and going car camping at the same time

    anna
    ...

  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    You're gonna be fine. It's just like riding a bike and going car camping at the same time

    anna
    Yep. It is good that you are planning, but don't get too obsessed. It really will all sort itself out in the first few days.

    Remember that if you make poor choices it isn't the end of the world. You can send stuff home from any post office. You can have stuff sent from home to you general delivery at any post office along the way.

    My recommendation would be to not plan your stops too far ahead. Each day decide what your options are and pick a destination for the day, but be flexible and adjust as needed.

    Everyone recommends rest days. If they work for you great, but I don't see sitting around in one spot all day as all that great. I say only take rest days if there is something you want to do along the way and then half day rests are usually sufficient for me. Doing 25-35 miles and taking a swim then reading a book for the afternoon beats taking the whole day off IMO. On our recent TransAmerica we took two rest days in 10+ weeks. One to go rafting, and one for one of us to get xrays and recover from a fall. We did have a few low mileage days though.

    My point isn't that everyone should do what I do but merely that you should figure out what works for you regarding rest days and consider them as optional.

    Pete

  22. #22
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Regarding overpacking, let me relate an experience from an extended backpacking trip while in college. We were hiking the entire Long Trail in Vermont. During the first leg of the hike, my backpack frame actually cracked probably from being overloaded. I took that as a sign. We went through all of our gear and removed everything we didn't absolutely need. I mailed it all home in a big box. The trip was much more enjoyable with a lighter pack. One of the things I mailed home was my down sleeping bag, which I replaced with a space blanket. That was fine for the first 3-4 weeks, but I got very cold after for a few nights after a cold front came through. Ended up hiking into a town to buy a woolen blanket to carry the remainder of the trip.

  23. #23
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    ok, yup I'm calming down. I Just met with my LBS, and we are going 48-39-22 on the front, and 11-34 on the back. this gives a high end of 117.8 gear inches, and a low of 17.5 running 770c 32's and a 172.5 crank. nice and low at the bottom, still have some top. it looks like I'll be on the middle ring most of the time, which is fine.

    seems to me to be big drop between middle and small chainrings tho.
    comments appreciated?

    OK ok, no trailer. thats settled.

    decided on Large Mountain Panniers on the back,
    http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FLMP
    regular Mountain Pannier on the front
    http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FMP
    bringing the rain covers.

    brooks b17. i've got about 60 miles on it so unfortunately its not broken in.

    what about fenders on the bike. i expect some rain. maybe a lot this time of year. things get pretty messy on the road rides I've done with no fenders. nasty. shoes get pretty wet too.

    thanks for all the help - feel the open issues are controllable now. I'll try to stop obsessing. its just that to make a proper shakedown trip, I need the bike together by thursday.
    Last edited by jbpence; 09-07-07 at 04:30 PM.
    2009 Custom TI Frame Road Bike, all 2007 Campy Record, Campy Euros Wheelset
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    2009 Performance Bicycles TI (by Lynsky) road frame, 7900 DA, 7950 DA Compact Crank, Light Niobium Rim Wheels

  24. #24
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    DO get fenders. You are gonna have a blast!

  25. #25
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    Regarding Routes - -

    There are no Adventure Cycling Maps for your specific route - however -
    Most of the states have traffic volume data available online.
    You can go to each state DOT and find the appropriate maps -
    I would plan the route using AAA or Rand McNally paper maps so you can get the "Big Picture"
    That's the problem with Mapquest and other online programs -
    It's often hard to visualize the larger picture - - yeah there still is a place for paper.
    And as Machka says, paper maps fit better in the handlebar bag slot.

    MICH - http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,...6053--,00.html
    IND - http://www.in.gov/dot/div/traffic/count/index.html
    ILL - http://www.dot.state.il.us/bikemap/STATE.HTMl
    MO - http://www.modot.org/safety/trafficvolumemaps.htm
    KANS - http://www.ksdot.org/burTransPlan/ma...rafficdist.asp
    OKLA - http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/hqdiv...maps/index.htm
    NM - http://nmshtd.state.nm.us/upload/ima...sp?show=County

    I would strongly recommend taking the Katy Trail across Missouri.
    It is pleasant, car-free, and has bicycle-friendly communities.
    http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail/index.html

    That means you have to get to Alton, Illinois
    Then hit out for New Mexico from Clinton, Missouri.
    Depending on where you want to end up in "northern" NM -
    Avoid US 54 everywhere - avoid US 64 from Clayton to Raton, NM
    US 56 is pretty good in west Kansas and the Okla panhandle - great in NM
    OK 325/NM456/NM72 from Boise City to Raton is super - but there is about 35 miles of hardpack

    Feel free to drop me a line -
    I've biked many of the routes west of St. Louis.
    My cycling in Illinois and Indiana is restricted to the southern parts of those states.

    Best - J

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