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Old 01-27-08, 09:09 AM   #1
ryansexton
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A few questions

Looking to ride my Douglas crossover bike from Niagara Falls to Montreal (Its about a 6 hour drive/700KM), and I need some tips.

-I want to bring a backpack so that I can have essentials with me when I'm not on my bike, just in case my bike does get stolen and I'll have to hike to the next city (Which could be a few days depending on where I am). I've been told that its an awful idea to bring a back pack with you on tour because it makes you more tired because the weight is on your body, not on the bike. I'm looking to find a system in which I could leave my backpack on my bike (front or back panniers) while I ride, and then able to take it off. Its a Vaude 50 litre backpack. Post pictures or general ideas on how to do this best.

-Secondly, Food. What kind of food do you guys usually bring with you? I am a vegetarian so meat products are out of the question for me. Where do you store the food so that it doesn't get damaged/doesn't mix in with your other items? I'm looking to do minimal cooking throughout the whole trip, because that requires bringing more cooking supplies. Also, do you bring coolers to keep your food at a more preferred temperature?

-Thirdly, Panniers. I'm looking to get a decently sized panniers, front and back to hold all my supplies. I don't have a front rack yet, so post a decent one up as well.

-Fourth, Any additional tips on what to bring? I have covered a lot of stuff, but I'm not entirely sure if I have it all.

If you help, thanks.
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Old 01-27-08, 09:39 AM   #2
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I can't say I've used a backpack for touring -though I have worn a small one on a bike for commuting and found it very uncomfortable very quickly. My recommendation is to go for a set of panniers that have an integrated shoulder strap in them, and to take the panniers (or perhaps just one of them, leaving unwashed clothing or least valuable stuff in the other one on the bike) when the bike is out of sight. I'm not sure how you could secure your current backpack as I'm sure it depends on how big it is, the kind of pannier racks you have, the size of your rack, available fastenings, etc.

I'm also a vegetarian (not vegan) and take macaroni and cheese packets, dried rice/pasta packets, nuts and raisins and stock up at a store closest to where my ride is ending for fresh fruit. Pretty much anything that is dehydrated food to save weight -though of course it means taking a stove and pots. I'm sure peanut butter is a good idea too, though I tend not to like it (I'm thinking of going the Marmite route next time). I've never bothered with coolers as that tends to mean you have food that is fresh (usually heavy) and tends to go off, need ice or an icepack (all extra weight) or some sort of power source, and that's not something I'd deal with. One tip I've read to keep your water bottle cool is to put a wet sock around it to cool it by evaporation, and I always intend to try it but always forget.

From what I've seen and heard, upper end Axiom panniers appear to be very good value, but I've never used them but am planning to get some (probably Lasalles or Kootenays). Check the boards and I think the generally recommended ones are Ortlieb/Arkel/Lone Peak in approximate descending cost.
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Old 01-27-08, 02:35 PM   #3
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Don't be scared children, don't be scared.
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Old 01-27-08, 02:43 PM   #4
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Backpack AND panniers? That's way way overkill.

Use Ortlieb panniers, and get the backpack shoulder straps that let you attach the pannier and carry it as a back pack.
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Old 01-27-08, 02:50 PM   #5
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Use Ortlieb panniers, and get the backpack shoulder straps that let you attach the pannier and carry it as a back pack.
This thing here: http://www.rei.com/product/737836
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Old 01-27-08, 03:10 PM   #6
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Get a good set of panniers (Ortlieb is good, so is Arkel and Lone Peak) and a good rack. This is so worth the money and you can use them for years. You might not need front panniers - just good-sized back ones plus the top of the rack for light things (sleeping bag, tent). Get a handle-bar bag. Don't worry - your bike probably won't get stolen if you are careful. If you have any doubts about where you are leaving it, lock it (and run another thin cable lock through the panners, wheels, and rack. Weather: Bring wet weather gear and lots of plastic bags for your dry clothes. Wrap your sleeping bag in the tent's ground cloth. Food: Try bringing anything that is dried. Water is easy to find, but food can be hard to find if you get stuck somewhere. Buy fresh food along the way. Make sure to take some tools (chain tool, spare tire and tubes+patch kit, combo bike tool w/spoke tool and some spokes just in case). I never brought cooking supplies on any of my trips, but I was always pretty near civilization. Don't forget maps and a cell phone if you have one. Have a great ride...
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Old 01-27-08, 03:11 PM   #7
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Arkel has the same deal, (http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/bac...asp?fl=1&site=) depends on what type of pannier you prefer.

For a few days, a daypack is no big deal. I've ridden with one many times. In fact, until recently, that is all I have used except for a rear rack to carry a tent and sleeping gear. But, if you're going to buy panniers, it's not a point. Panniers make a pack unnecessary.
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Old 01-27-08, 03:55 PM   #8
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Its going to be about a 3 week ride.
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Old 01-27-08, 04:27 PM   #9
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A six hour/700 kilometer drive equals a three week ride? I'm bad at math.
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Old 01-27-08, 05:53 PM   #10
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There and back my man. I'm going to ride 80-120 Kilometers a day, so its 1400 there and back, plus spending time in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, I'm going to be gone for 3 weeks.
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Old 01-27-08, 07:18 PM   #11
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You don't generally need refrigeration, but make an effort to pack perishables on the non-sun side of the bike. If the sun is dead overhead it may not mater, but I know that route and the southern side of the bike is in for a cooking at times. There are many food stores along the way on that trip, at least lakeside. So you can normally shop several times a day.

I think your reason for wanting a backpack is pretty weak. We all face that every day we tour. If it was that good an idea everyone would do it. Though... in the cities you mention you really can't leave an unattended bike fully loaded with gear. So you have a good point. It really depends where you will be during those times. I live in Toronto and see Montreal and other towns a lot so I don't do the tourist while on that trip. One can certainly shop without bringing everything into the grocery store but a visit to an art gallery requires a lot more planing.

Look up rayjardine.com for his lightweight pack system. He does long trips with nothing more than 10 pounds of gear in his pack. With a light pack like that it isn't a big issue. If you have a 60 pound pack it is another issue.

http://www.rayjardine.com/adventures...Bike/index.htm
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Old 01-27-08, 08:16 PM   #12
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You will always be passing food shops so you wont need to carry more than your next meal. A small insulated lunch bag would be sufficient.
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Old 01-27-08, 08:20 PM   #13
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Am I best off just following that one waterfront trail around lake ontario and then continue up the st lawrence till montreal?
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Old 01-28-08, 04:08 AM   #14
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Hey Ryan, check this out: http://panpack.com/
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Old 01-28-08, 05:42 AM   #15
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Looks awesome, but since I already have a good back pack, I don't want to drop 400 dollars on panniers.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:32 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
-I want to bring a backpack so that I can have essentials with me when I'm not on my bike, just in case my bike does get stolen and I'll have to hike to the next city (Which could be a few days depending on where I am).
Why so concerned about losing the bike and gear? Is the area a high risk for theft or something? I would suggest that you do three things:
1. Don't worry so much about theft.
2. Use reasonable care with regards to the security of the bike and gear.
3. Carry the things that you are most worried about being stolen in a handlebar bag that either has a shoulder strap or converts to a fanny pack.

FWIW: Inexpensive panniers from Nashbar, MEC, or Performance can be had cheaply and they hold up better than many would lead you to believe. Three of us rode cross country with a mix of nashbar (waterproof) and performance (transit) panniers (4244 mile in 73 days) and they held up fine. I think that I could do a long tour every year for the rest of my life and still use the same ones. We caught good sales and got a set of front and rear panniers for about $100.

Nashbar even has a combo backpack pannier, but reviews that I have heard weren't very good. It is on sale for about $65. I think that the complaints that I heard were that it was too big.
Nashbar Special Waterproof Action-Pack 'n Pannier
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%3A%20Panniers
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Old 01-28-08, 01:42 PM   #17
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I'm worried about getting my stuff stolen because I'm going to be in three urban centers. Plus, I am a firm believer in Murphy's Law.
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Old 01-28-08, 02:53 PM   #18
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If you're concerned about theft, carry a good lock and use it. The lock adds a bit of weight, but it's worth carrying. If you're still worried about high-theft areas, go back to your plans and rework your route. You can find your way around the worst areas. Carrying a backpack will cause grief. You should be able to do the trip with just a good set of rear panniers. If you want a front rack as well, go to MEC and look around. They have a good selection and good prices.

For food, you're traveling in the most urbanized part of Canada, so you're never far from a grocery store. You probably could do the whole trip on foods that require no cooking, but I haven't tried it yet.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:42 PM   #19
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It is true, I'm never going to be all that far from food, but I just feel like a sell out if I tour and then check out to go to Sobey's and then continue the tour. You know what I'm saying? Its like camping in an RV or having unprotected sex at an aids benefit event.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:54 PM   #20
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I take a light nylon daypack which folds up into its own pocket and weighs about 150g. To be honest I've only really used it around the city when I'm not carrying panniers (I keep it in the rack trunk bag). Otherwise I take off the rack-top bag, which has a detachable shoulder strap, which I carry my camera/phone/maps/snacks/rainjacket in, and try not to worry too much about the (locked) bike and panniers.

One nice way to browse the forums is to go to the main forum page (that lists the threads by date) and click on the "replies" column.
http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ort=replycount
That way you get the most active threads and can get a lot of starting info quickly.

You can get insulated bags to keep food in but I wouldn't bother. They don't keep things cool longer than an hour or so unless you put a cold pack (or ice or bag of frozen peas or whatever) on top of the other stuff in the cold bag.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:57 PM   #21
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The wet sock on the water bottle trick works really well. Keeps the bottle cool to cold for an hour or so.
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Old 01-28-08, 08:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
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It is true, I'm never going to be all that far from food, but I just feel like a sell out if I tour and then check out to go to Sobey's and then continue the tour. You know what I'm saying? Its like camping in an RV or having unprotected sex at an aids benefit event.
Stopping at the small country stores and fruit stands along the way is one of the good things about bike touring. Each store has its on unique atmosphere. And they will carry good food, although the country stores are often more expensive than the chain store grocers. The experience is not the same as dashing into the Safeway or Superstore when you're at home.
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