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  1. #1
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    First time tour on the cheap

    I am planning a 1000 mile ride from Myrtle Beach, SC to Greenfield, MA next month. This will be my first bike tour, and I need to do it pretty cheap.

    A little background info: I'm 26, I'm in pretty good shape physically. I hiked the Long Trail end to end earlier this year, so I already have a good set of lightweight camping gear. I'm going to stealth camp/couch surf the whole way, so no camping expenses. I have a camping stove and will use it often. I'm thinking I'll be able to spend about $20 a day, with a couple hundred saved for emergency gear/repairs along the way. Excluding this last month I haven't ridden a bike in 8 years or so.

    I decided I was going to do this, and started snooping around for a cheap bike. I bought an older cannondale aluminum framed road bike for $10 from a friend of a friend. I haven't a clue what model it is, but in riding it this last month I think it will do the job. I bought 2 tubes and a chain. Had a friend help me adjust the derailers and brakes.

    I figure if I can average 11mph for a minimum of 3 hours a day I can do this in under a month. I've started riding daily, and have gone 40 miles on 2 occasions, without too much trouble. I am truly determined to do this, but I could use some expert advice I need to purchase everything else I will need for this trip for $200-$300, preferably less, as every dollar I spend comes out of my daily riding expenses.

    1. Tires - I can tell this bike was sitting for a while, the rubber is pretty dry. What do you folks recommend?

    2. Panniers/Trailer - I'm not set on either, although it appears panniers will be more economical. It seems to me that most pannier sets will be to small for me, I used to carring a 3600ci pack, but I could get my camping gear in less that 2000ci easily. I'm perfectly happy dirtbagging it on this ride, and if i can get really cheap panniers that aren't waterproof, I have no problem wrapping them in garbage bags.

    3. Maps - Are these Adventure Cycling maps really worth 78.00? I had planned on using some atlas pages, along with some google maps, and I have someone I can call practically 24/7 to look up directions for me.

    4. Cycling apparel - My local bike shop has far too much to comprehend. How much of this is a necessity? I allready have polypro shirts, and I bought a columbia wind/water proof jacket and pants at a thrift store. Do I really need cycling shoes? I am also planning to buy more clothing as I get further north.(It can get pretty cold in New England in December.)

    5. Tool Kit - I allready have a multi-tool that fits every nut and screw on the bike(came with the bike)
    . I figure I need a patch kit and a pump at the least.

    So, my question is, if you had only $300 to buy these things how would you do it? Did I miss any essential piece?


    Thanks for your help,

    --Ryan

  2. #2
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    bike tour

    I forgot this too:
    6. Bike computer - I think I just need a simple speedometer/odometer.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zoeglassjd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excitedidiot View Post

    1. Tires - I can tell this bike was sitting for a while, the rubber is pretty dry. What do you folks recommend?

    2. Panniers/Trailer - I'm not set on either, although it appears panniers will be more economical. It seems to me that most pannier sets will be to small for me, I used to carring a 3600ci pack, but I could get my camping gear in less that 2000ci easily. I'm perfectly happy dirtbagging it on this ride, and if i can get really cheap panniers that aren't waterproof, I have no problem wrapping them in garbage bags.

    3. Maps - Are these Adventure Cycling maps really worth 78.00? I had planned on using some atlas pages, along with some google maps, and I have someone I can call practically 24/7 to look up directions for me.

    4. Cycling apparel - My local bike shop has far too much to comprehend. How much of this is a necessity? I allready have polypro shirts, and I bought a columbia wind/water proof jacket and pants at a thrift store. Do I really need cycling shoes? I am also planning to buy more clothing as I get further north.(It can get pretty cold in New England in December.)

    5. Tool Kit - I allready have a multi-tool that fits every nut and screw on the bike(came with the bike)
    . I figure I need a patch kit and a pump at the least.

    So, my question is, if you had only $300 to buy these things how would you do it? Did I miss any essential piece?


    Thanks for your help,

    --Ryan
    I am not a regular poster here but a habitual lurker, your post caught my eye, . First there is a great little interview with a guy from Pittsburgh re: touring on the cheap on dirtrag. I wouldn't recommend everything in it, but he shows how "stripped down" touring can be.

    There is, of course, a lot to throw out here. First, spend decent money on a comfy helmet that fits, get a light set (front and rear), and do some good riding before your trip. Saddle time will make all the difference. I do think you will find that as you go three hours of riding a day will not be much as you get stronger (unless of course you want to keep it to 3 hours a day).

    Maps: I generally use mapquest and more so maps from a road atlas/AAA. These can be cut up (or copied and resized), put together and home laminated. No need for $80 maps. Make a route and post it on Bikely.com and ask people around here what they think of your route. May get some helpful replies.

    Tools: I would throw in a set of tire levers, a chain tool, a spoke tool, and patch kit to what you have. Also, cable ties can do wonders in a pinch. Consider fenders to get you on your bike the days it is raining.

    Attire: fit and comfort. Shorts w/ chamois or gel may be nearly necessary. Although I have a friend who tours on a brooks saddle and cutoff dickies.

    No need for cycling shoes. But I would recommend at least toe clips (cages on the pedals) which the c'dale may already have. (I prefer these on tour to clipless pedals 9 times out of 10)

    I hope this is a good start to help. I am excited for you! Be safe.
    zgjd

  4. #4
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    FWIW, I am not a big fan of the "ultra dirt cheap" touring mentality or stealth camping (in the US that is). And normally I'd advise you do some touring first to get some experience. I kind of doubt that will happen though, so...

    A) Don't skimp on fixing up the bike. Get the widest tires you can fit on the bike, a full tune-up, and replace parts as necessary.

    B) Basic repair gear:
    - spare tube
    - spare tire (get a folding tire by the way)
    - spare spokes (optional)
    - multi-tool
    - tire levers
    - frame / mini-pump
    - patch kit
    - chain tool
    - extra chain links or "master links"
    - lubricant

    C) "Trailer" vs "Pannier" depends on preference. You can likely get a BOB trailer used for the same as panniers and a rack, and that may be a better choice if your bike does not have eyelets for racks. Just keep in mind that trailers are huge and will encourage you to drag along stuff you may not need.

    D) Yes, the Adventure Cycling maps are worth it, as long as they go where you need to go.


    E) Get some real cycling shorts (2-3 pairs). You can get running shirts for $15 a pop at Target (the Champion stuff). It's not as good as a $50 cycling jersey, but will be more than sufficient for your uses.

    F) If you're going to stealth camp, check the state / local laws about trespassing first. I'd expect that some states are more tolerant than others in this respect.

  5. #5
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    Tires: Unless the wheels are an exotic size, you can get these easily on the road, so you may want to see whether the ones you have will do the job for you.

    Panniers/Trailer: Panniers can often be had cheap on Craigslist or eBay or via bike shop bulletin boards. I have a BOB Yak trailer and love it for hauling stuff around town, but consider it overkill for touring unless you're supporting a group -- you simply don't need to carry that large a volume of stuff to tour comfortably. The kinds of used trailers you'd get on your budget would be heavy and clunky.

    Maps: I've never used special map sets published for bicyclists. Where's the fun in that? You can do fine with official state road maps (Google to find the 800 number in each state where you can ask them to mail you a free copy). It doesn't take long to figure out what roads are going to be pleasant for biking and will take you past places that will be good for camping.

    Clothes: The first time I toured across the country (at age 20) I just wore regular shorts and underwear and it was fine. (I wear "real" bike shorts now because I'm old and tender.) Why not start with the clothes you have and pick up a pair of bike shorts on the road if you're having problems with chafing? If you experience any soreness or numbness in your hands or wrists, pick up some real bike gloves (chafing is one thing -- don't mess with nerve damage). All the other clothes at the bike shop run from unneccessary to ridiculous in my view.

    Tools: Patch kit, pump, spoke tool (if your multi-tool doesn't provide that). You're touring well within civilization and can rely on hardware stores or bike shops if things get any more complicated.

    I think you'll do fine and have a great time. The one luxury I'd recommend is continuing to be frugal enough on all other fronts to be able to afford a motel room when you're cold and sore and feel sorry for yourself -- a few of those sprinkled in can make a huge difference.
    Last edited by Takara; 10-03-07 at 11:40 AM.

  6. #6
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takara View Post
    Why not start with the clothes you have and pick up a pair of bike shorts on the road if you're having problems with chafing?
    Because by that time, it's already kind of late to address the issue.

    You can get by on 2 pairs. You'd just have to wash one pair every night. You can dry your clothes by hanging it off the panniers by the way, just bring some clothespins


    Quote Originally Posted by Takara
    If you experience any soreness or numbness in your hands or wrists, pick up some real bike gloves.
    Actually I'd highly recommend starting with gloves. It will make your ride MUCH more comfortable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Takara
    All the other clothes at the bike shop run from unneccessary to ridiculous in my view.
    I think that depends on the individual. If you sweat a lot and/or don't find cotton t-shirts to be all that comfortable when riding, bike clothes make a lot of sense.

  7. #7
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I vote for panniers unless they won't work well with the frame you have. The cheap ones from Nashbar or Performance are fine. Ditto for racks. They got the people in my group across the US this summer and look like they could do it again several more times at least.

    Adventure Cycling maps... They were worth it to us on the TransAmerica. I have no experience with the maps for the east coast but I am sure they are good and well thought out.

    Get at least one pair of good shorts, two if you can't stand to put on damp ones in the morning. I found the Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor shorts to dry quickly and be quite comfortable if still damp. I wore them on consequetive days after washing them out in a sink. Cheaper shorts from Performance were OK, but dried more slowly and were less comfortable when damp. The padding was also less comfortable.

    Bike shoes with cleats and clipless pedals are worth it to me, but not everyone agrees. You can certainly survive without them if the budget is tight.

    My best advice is to just do it. You will quickly learn what works for you and what doesn't.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jcbryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I vote for panniers unless they won't work well with the frame you have. The cheap ones from Nashbar or Performance are fine. They got the people in my group across the US this summer and look like they could do it again several more times at least..
    I'm still using my Performance brand front panniers I bought just to see if I wanted to tour. That means they are about 15 years old. (Not as nice as my Arkel GT-54's but certainly priced right and durable!)

    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Adventure Cycling maps... They were worth it to us on the TransAmerica. I have no experience with the maps for the east coast but I am sure they are good and well thought out..
    Might check the Crazy Guy On a Bike website classified, sometimes I've seen them there.

    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    My best advice is to just do it. You will quickly learn what works for you and what doesn't.
    Yea, just go!

    Best, John

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    November puts you right in the prime of deer hunting season. Not a time I would want to be stealth camping. At least not up here in Michigan anyway. Not sure about where you will be passing through but something you should look into.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoeglassjd View Post
    I am not a regular poster here but a habitual lurker, your post caught my eye, . First there is a great little interview with a guy from Pittsburgh re: touring on the cheap on dirtrag. I wouldn't recommend everything in it, but he shows how "stripped down" touring can be.
    Thanks for the link, very inspirational after a day of looking at alot of gear I can't afford.

    There is, of course, a lot to throw out here. First, spend decent money on a comfy helmet that fits, get a light set (front and rear), and do some good riding before your trip. Saddle time will make all the difference. I do think you will find that as you go three hours of riding a day will not be much as you get stronger (unless of course you want to keep it to 3 hours a day).
    I figured this trip would be shorter than the whole month, but that's how much time I have.

    Maps: I generally use mapquest and more so maps from a road atlas/AAA. These can be cut up (or copied and resized), put together and home laminated. No need for $80 maps. Make a route and post it on Bikely.com and ask people around here what they think of your route. May get some helpful replies.

    Tools: I would throw in a set of tire levers, a chain tool, a spoke tool, and patch kit to what you have. Also, cable ties can do wonders in a pinch. Consider fenders to get you on your bike the days it is raining.
    Luckily a friend came by today and lent me his bike tool kit, including, tire levers, a chain tool, and a patch kit. I may buy a spoke tool and try to learn to use it, but I have a feeling that if I have a spoke related problem I should just get to a bike shop.

    Attire: fit and comfort. Shorts w/ chamois or gel may be nearly necessary. Although I have a friend who tours on a brooks saddle and cutoff dickies.
    I'll be buying some shorts for sure, my rear end isn't used to this sort of abuse. I'm considering a new seat as well, any recommendations?
    No need for cycling shoes. But I would recommend at least toe clips (cages on the pedals) which the c'dale may already have. (I prefer these on tour to clipless pedals 9 times out of 10)

    I hope this is a good start to help. I am excited for you! Be safe.
    zgjd
    Thanks so much for your help.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I'm a BIG fan of touring on the cheap!

    1. Tires - Conti Ultrasports run about $14.50 Canadian. Those are the ones I use, and they work just fine.

    2. Panniers - My Lasalles cost me about $100 and they are GREAT!! Not waterproof, but garbage bags work just fine. I've been using them for about 4 years.

    3. Maps - go to your local Canadian Automobile Association (or American Automobile Association) and get free maps from them, if you've got a membership. If you don't have a memberships, get maps from your local tourist info place. Get them as you need them. Chances are you can get free ones from your local tourist info place, or at most you might have to pay $5. I've NEVER used cycling specific maps for touring.

    4. Cycling apparel - you do not have to go with cycling-specific gear. Check Sierra Trading post for some general travelling clothes (and cycling clothes) and Nashbar for cycling clothes. Both are inexpensive. Otherwise just pick up what you need from your local Walmart. Just remember that you'll want materials that wash and dry quickly and easily. For example, I got a pair of zip-off pants (the ones that convert to shorts by zipping off the legs) from Sierra Trading Post for $15 ... they are nylon so they wash and dry easily, and they seem to be quite durable. I ride with them, either with the shorts, or with the pant legs rolled up. I am also a huge fan of cheap basketball shorts when I'm touring. I rarely wear jerseys when I tour anymore, I use inexpensive "wicking" tops, or cheap polypro, or as inexpensive merino wool as I can find. Oh, one good place to look for some of this stuff is your local "Value Village" or Salvation Army. You can often find some very good used stuff for very low prices.

    5. Tools - if I were you, I'd go with a few tubes, a patch kit, tire levers, and a pump.

    6. Don't forget your helmet, gloves, and at least a pair of stiff-soled shoes. You can get the helmet and gloves inexpensively at Nashbar, and you can likely get the shoes at Walmart.

    ------------------------------

    Just a few other tips for finding inexpensive stuff:

    -- look at everything you buy to see if you can think of 2 or more purposes for it ... like the zip-off pants - they can be shorts or long pants. I bring a sarong with me on all my tours, and it has about 5 purposes.
    -- visit your local Dollar store ... they've got a lot of wonderful stuff for the cycle-tourist.
    -- visit your local department stores ... they've also got a lot of inexpensive, but perfectly good stuff for the cycle-tourist
    -- visit your local tourist information place ... in fact, become familiar where they are all located on your trip. They can be invaluable sources of information regarding roads to take, and roads to avoid, inexpensive camping or accommodations (you can often get coupons for accommodations and food and things), and sights to see.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    FWIW, I am not a big fan of the "ultra dirt cheap" touring mentality or stealth camping (in the US that is). And normally I'd advise you do some touring first to get some experience. I kind of doubt that will happen though, so...
    Thanks for not preaching
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    A) Don't skimp on fixing up the bike. Get the widest tires you can fit on the bike, a full tune-up, and replace parts as necessary.
    I have a friend who is pretty knowledgeable about bikes, and he's looked over the bike a few times. He seems to think it'll be road worthy, but I don't know how much of an expert he is. My local bike shop advertises $75 for a tune up. That seems excessive to me, what does that usually entail?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    B) Basic repair gear:
    - spare tube
    - spare tire (get a folding tire by the way)
    - spare spokes (optional)
    - multi-tool
    - tire levers
    - frame / mini-pump
    - patch kit
    - chain tool
    - extra chain links or "master links"
    - lubricant

    C) "Trailer" vs "Pannier" depends on preference. You can likely get a BOB trailer used for the same as panniers and a rack, and that may be a better choice if your bike does not have eyelets for racks. Just keep in mind that trailers are huge and will encourage you to drag along stuff you may not need.

    D) Yes, the Adventure Cycling maps are worth it, as long as they go where you need to go.


    E) Get some real cycling shorts (2-3 pairs). You can get running shirts for $15 a pop at Target (the Champion stuff). It's not as good as a $50 cycling jersey, but will be more than sufficient for your uses.
    I'm assuming the $15 running shirts are the same as the polypro champion t's I got at walmart.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    F) If you're going to stealth camp, check the state / local laws about trespassing first. I'd expect that some states are more tolerant than others in this respect.
    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/camping.htm
    The above link basically claims it's legal to camp in any forest not marked no tresspassing. Of course the writer seems a little... off. Either way I'm pretty resourceful, if I can't find a safe place to camp, I'll ask permission from landowners.

    I really appreciate your input.

    --Ryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Takara View Post
    Tires: Unless the wheels are an exotic size, you can get these easily on the road, so you may want to see whether the ones you have will do the job for you.

    Panniers/Trailer: Panniers can often be had cheap on Craigslist or eBay or via bike shop bulletin boards. I have a BOB Yak trailer and love it for hauling stuff around town, but consider it overkill for touring unless you're supporting a group -- you simply don't need to carry that large a volume of stuff to tour comfortably. The kinds of used trailers you'd get on your budget would be heavy and clunky.

    Maps: I've never used special map sets published for bicyclists. Where's the fun in that? You can do fine with official state road maps (Google to find the 800 number in each state where you can ask them to mail you a free copy). It doesn't take long to figure out what roads are going to be pleasant for biking and will take you past places that will be good for camping.

    Clothes: The first time I toured across the country (at age 20) I just wore regular shorts and underwear and it was fine. (I wear "real" bike shorts now because I'm old and tender.) Why not start with the clothes you have and pick up a pair of bike shorts on the road if you're having problems with chafing? If you experience any soreness or numbness in your hands or wrists, pick up some real bike gloves (chafing is one thing -- don't mess with nerve damage). All the other clothes at the bike shop run from unneccessary to ridiculous in my view.

    Tools: Patch kit, pump, spoke tool (if your multi-tool doesn't provide that). You're touring well within civilization and can rely on hardware stores or bike shops if things get any more complicated.

    I think you'll do fine and have a great time. The one luxury I'd recommend is continuing to be frugal enough on all other fronts to be able to afford a motel room when you're cold and sore and feel sorry for yourself -- a few of those sprinkled in can make a huge difference.
    Have you ever ordered these state maps? How long did it take to get them? I really like the idea of free stuff.

    I really like the idea of an occasional motel day, and if I can save a little on gear and make a little better daily milage, I could afford it.

    Thanks for the feedback,
    --Ryan

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excitedidiot View Post
    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/camping.htm
    The above link basically claims it's legal to camp in any forest not marked no tresspassing. Of course the writer seems a little... off.
    Ummmm ... Ken is no longer with us. He was killed in a cycling-related accident quite a few years ago. His website is being maintained, I believe, but it is possible some of his information could be a little bit out of date.

    You might check my Links page for some other touring sites as well.
    http://www.machka.net/links.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    My best advice is to just do it. You will quickly learn what works for you and what doesn't.
    That about sums up my attitude. It seems my friends and family don't trust my ability to "wing it".

    --Ryan

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excitedidiot View Post
    Have you ever ordered these state maps? How long did it take to get them? I really like the idea of free stuff.

    I really like the idea of an occasional motel day, and if I can save a little on gear and make a little better daily milage, I could afford it.

    Thanks for the feedback,
    --Ryan
    Like I said, you can often pick maps up at tourist information places. They usually have free (or very inexpensive) state maps, as well as detailed county maps.

    Don't forget to check into the world of hostels ... although, I must say that from what I've seen and experienced, the hostel situation in the US is pathetic. Still, you might get lucky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Ummmm ... Ken is no longer with us. He was killed in a cycling-related accident quite a few years ago. His website is being maintained, I believe, but it is possible some of his information could be a little bit out of date.

    You might check my Links page for some other touring sites as well.
    http://www.machka.net/links.htm
    Oh, sorry to hear that. I guess I should be worried about the legalities of stealth camping, but I'm not. It just doesn't seem that risky. I find it very hard to believe a police officer would do anything beyond telling me to move on. They are far too busy to arrest a single night camper. Besides, I have a PBA card

    --Ryan

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excitedidiot View Post
    Oh, sorry to hear that. I guess I should be worried about the legalities of stealth camping, but I'm not. It just doesn't seem that risky. I find it very hard to believe a police officer would do anything beyond telling me to move on. They are far too busy to arrest a single night camper. Besides, I have a PBA card

    --Ryan
    They won't arrest you, but they may very well fine you. Keep a sharp eye out for any signs that indicate the possibility of fines for overnight camping. If you violate that rule, all of a sudden your cheap camping experience could become quite expensive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Like I said, you can often pick maps up at tourist information places. They usually have free (or very inexpensive) state maps, as well as detailed county maps.

    Don't forget to check into the world of hostels ... although, I must say that from what I've seen and experienced, the hostel situation in the US is pathetic. Still, you might get lucky.
    I stayed in a hostel in Rutland, VT. There was a blurb about it in the Long Trail Guide. They failed to mention that it's run by a "religious brotherhood". They were a little creepy, kept asking me if I wanted to stay another night. Everyone had this dead stare, and old testament names like ezekiel and jebadiah. It's run by the 12 Tribes of Israel, and apparently they've sued quite a few papers for calling them a cult.

    One of the highlights of my trip

    --Ryan

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    You can get by on 2 pairs. You'd just have to wash one pair every night. You can dry your clothes by hanging it off the panniers by the way, just bring some clothespins
    I like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excitedidiot View Post
    I stayed in a hostel in Rutland, VT. There was a blurb about it in the Long Trail Guide. They failed to mention that it's run by a "religious brotherhood". They were a little creepy, kept asking me if I wanted to stay another night. Everyone had this dead stare, and old testament names like ezekiel and jebadiah. It's run by the 12 Tribes of Israel, and apparently they've sued quite a few papers for calling them a cult.

    One of the highlights of my trip

    --Ryan
    Well the one in Boulder, CO was filled with transients, street people, and the type of people who talk big talk about big plans ... like they're on the verge of setting up some sort of business which will net them millions of dollars, but in reality they dropped out of school in Grade 5, they have never held a steady job, they've got no money, and they go between living in their car and staying at the hostel.

    The other thing is that there just aren't many hostels in the US for some reason ... maybe they just attract too many of the people described above.

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    It's definitely a good idea to check out American Youth Hostels for what's available on your route. There won't be a lot, but what's there may be quite wonderful. I stayed in a great youth hostel in Washington, DC at the beginning of a bike tour many years ago and couldn't have afforded to stay several days in the city otherwise. Which would have meant missing the amazing Henri Matisse cutouts at the National Gallery and other great museum offerings while I waited for snow to melt and my courage to grow. And I've heard from visitors I'd meet when I lived nearby that the AYH residence in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City is really wonderful -- and again, it's one of the few ways to spend time in an expensive city if you're not rich.

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    My advice: Take most of the advice given here. Listen to Machka and Ken Kifer. They know what they are talking about.

    Just go and do it. Do the best you can but don't fret. Then next year do it all over again and correct all the things that you like.

    If you dig touring in time definately buy a B 17 of Flyer saddle. In the further future look for a good second hand steel frame.

    Tires, Ride the heck out of what you got but inspect them every other day. If they look like they are about to fail or you get a lot of punctures buy a Big Apple or Marathon tire on the road. Especially on the back wheel.

    Panniers are fine as long as you go light, they are decent make and you bring some duck tape and tie rips just in case.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  24. #24
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    All great suggestions here - the one additional thing I'll mention as I don't think anyone has yet is to get very, very comfortable (if you're not already) with fixing the most likely things that can go wrong while you're out on the road. It's one thing for your friends to help you with these adjustments, but if you can you should pick up/borrow a copy of a reference bike mechanic's book like Zinn ($25 well spent) and practice the following:
    - changing a flat tire (practice getting a tire off and tube out 10-15 times in front of the TV before you leave and you'll be glad you did when you flat on a rainy dark night) Also bring along a decent patch kit with NEW cement (and not a glueless patch kit) before you leave and you can re-use tubes as needed rather than buying new ones. (glueless patch kits are light and great and I always carry one around myself but the tube is basically garbage after being fixed once... not so great for touring on the cheap)
    - minor gear adjustments: deliberately screw up your front and rear derailleur adjustments a few times and then dial it back in until you can do this by feel
    - minor brake adjustments
    - regular chain lubing/wiping (a small bottle of ProLink will also be $5-6 well spent on a 1600 km+ tour)
    - at least read over the steps for basic wheel truing, spoke repair/replacement before you leave and carry a spoke tool if you can

    Other very small things based on my own experience:
    - you can get away with 1x pair of bike shorts if you're doing this on the cheap, but I really would recommend not completing 100 km+ days in regular street shorts/pants. You can dry shorts out for the next day by rolling them in a towel a couple of times and then hanging. Same goes for a jersey - 1x should be fine but a cotton shirt will be miserable on a warmer or rainy day
    - +1 on the suggestion of putting a bit of cash aside for motel stays a few times throughout the trip. This can make a huge difference to your outlook (and sanity) during those rainy dark nights
    - if you can, setting aside $20-30 to have your road bike properly fitted at a LBS may be money well spent up front. (they may even do this for free if you're buying some of the above supplies there) A bar or seat position that is off may go unnoticed on your shorter rides, but may cause you nothing but grief during those 3+ hr days

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m42stanle View Post
    - you can get away with 1x pair of bike shorts if you're doing this on the cheap, but I really would recommend not completing 100 km+ days in regular street shorts/pants.
    Not unless you're using a Brooks saddle.

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