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  1. #1
    meaculpa
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    Getting a kit together...

    Hi folks. Its gotta start somewhere so let the pre-tour planning begin!
    I have scoured this forum for helpful hints on many cycling issues, mechanical problems and gear recommendations to make my year-round 6 mile commute go smoothly. Now I'll be hitting you folks up for touring planning so you've been warned...: )

    So I am planning for an overnight ride from Pittsburgh to the north along the Underground Railroad spur. I would like to get to Lake Erie. Following that, if things go well (which I expect them to), I will do a ride to DC. But first things first.

    The bike is a 2006 Bianchi Volpe which I bought for commtg/touring. Last June I took it on a 115 mile 2-day MS ride w/ a few friends. My knees suffered problems & arthritis was the diagnosis. A cycling expert found a leg length discrepancy & some pronation. He recommended clipless pedals w/shims and maintaining 90 rpm cadence as a minimum. I've been riding on Wellgos SPDs since early July. I am still mulling over Time Atacs (recommended by crazyguyonabike) and Speedplay X (recommended by a local shop who told me to get away from SPD systems) as well as others like Look KEOs (but the cleats just look huge!).

    I am assembling a list of equipment that I will buy or borrow. Hopefully, I will get to try some friend's stuff for comparisons sake.
    REI's sales/Outlet might be the best bet for putting together a camping kit (for example, I just saw this stove on sale:<http://www.rei.com/REI-Outlet/product/770295>, has anyone tried this setup?).
    Second choice maybe Campmor (bigger selection, better prices but without REI's easy return policy).

    Anyway, lots of stuff I'm working on here. Please comment on whatever your experiences have been. I expect to be hitting this sub-forum a lot in the next two months (not to mention training & mechanics!).
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    nun
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    As a starting point here is my equipment list. It's on the ultralight side of things,
    but I've found that it covers most situations.

    CAMPING
    Tent, Tarptent Contrail
    Summer down Sleeping Bag, Jacks R Better
    Big Agnes Sleeping Pad
    Trianga stove and Fry pan
    Denatured Alcohol
    Pot, cup, Antigravity Gear
    Ti Spork
    BIC Lighter
    50' Cord

    CLOTHES CARRIED
    MTB Shorts
    Convertible Long Pants
    Wool Long Underwear, Smartwool
    Padded cycling Underwear
    Regular underwear
    Wool Short Sleeve T-Shirt, Smartwool
    Long Sleeve "Adventure" Shirt
    Microporous Rainsuit
    2 x Socks
    Flip Flops
    Gloves
    Insulated Primaloft Jacket
    Windshirt, Marmot
    Beanie hat, REI

    TOILETRIES
    Mouthwash
    Razors
    Sunscreen
    Microfiber Towel
    Shampoo
    Toothpaste and Brush
    DEET
    Dental Floss
    Toilet Paper

    BIKE STUFF
    Bike Cable Lock
    Multitool
    Leatherman, Juice
    2 x Kevlar Spokes
    Chain Lube
    2 x inner tubes
    Pump
    2 x Patch Kits
    Tire boots
    2x Powerlink
    Brake cable
    Gear cable
    Brake Pads
    Misc Nuts and Bolts
    4x AA batteries
    Plastic Bags
    Duct tape

    MISC
    Wallet
    Map
    Umbrella
    Notebook and pen
    First Aid Kit
    Sewing kit
    MP3 player and small FM radio
    Cell phone/camera and charger

    CLOTHERS WORN
    Padded Underpants
    Long Sleeve T-Shirt
    Cycling Knickers
    Socks
    Cycling Shoes
    Helmet
    Bandana

    BAGS
    Carradice saddlebag, small handle bar bag and 2x silnylon compression sacks

  3. #3
    meaculpa
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    I have Carradice's Nelson Longflap (18 liters). It serves as my commuter bag but may do for an overnight if I keep the equipment to a strict minimum.

    Another thought just occured to me: considering my 42.5cm chainstay, maybe I should look into a BOB trailer over touring w/panniers.

    I have an roughed up set of panniers that I used before the saddlebag. I'd lash them to stay as far back as possible on the rack so I could avoid hitting them. This has worked ok. Howevere, I should plan to ride other rigs/setups (lbs that sells BOBs for example) in order to do some comparisons, to get a feel for what I am losing in the handling versus any gains.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    A piece of chalk or crayon to mark the spot where the nail went through your tube.
    Last edited by RalphP; 02-05-08 at 06:44 AM.

  5. #5
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    I have Carradice's Nelson Longflap (18 liters). It serves as my commuter bag but may do for an overnight if I keep the equipment to a strict minimum.

    Another thought just occured to me: considering my 42.5cm chainstay, maybe I should look into a BOB trailer over touring w/panniers.

    I have an roughed up set of panniers that I used before the saddlebag. I'd lash them to stay as far back as possible on the rack so I could avoid hitting them. This has worked ok. Howevere, I should plan to ride other rigs/setups (lbs that sells BOBs for example) in order to do some comparisons, to get a feel for what I am losing in the handling versus any gains.
    Once you have an idea of your style of touring, ranging from "kitchen sink" toting to ultralight you'll be able to decide on the bags you need. Go to

    http://www.fullyloadedtouring.com

    for lots of examples of how to set up a bike in a traditional way. Also look at the sticky of the touring bikes on this site and check out this thread for some different thoughts and ways to pack.

    I did it, gear is under 20lbs
    Last edited by nun; 02-04-08 at 05:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Dirty old man in training
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    Look at Speedplay Frog pedals along with MTB or touring style cycling shoes. Frogs are free floating MTB pedals with 20 degrees of rotation, very knee friendly. I have occassional knee pain from an injury and went with Frogs because they sounded like the best option in an MTB style pedal for people with knee problems.

    Speedplay X is a so called "road bike" cleat system, the cleat sticks out from the bottom of your cycling shoes, this makes walking off the bike awkward. I can attest to this as I used Look cleats and road bike shoes in the past.

    MTB style cleat systems have a recessed cleat, it is much easier to walk around wearing MTB or touring shoes with cleats than road shoes with an exposed cleat.
    Last edited by Chuck G; 02-04-08 at 09:21 PM.

  7. #7
    meaculpa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck G View Post
    Look at Speedplay Frog pedals along with MTB or touring style cycling shoes. Frogs are free floating MTB pedals with 20 degrees of rotation, very knee friendly. I have occassional knee pain from an injury and went with Frogs because they sounded like the best option in an MTB style pedal for people with knee problems.

    Speedplay X is a so called "road bike" cleat system, the cleat sticks out from the bottom of your cycling shoes, this makes walking off the bike awkward. I can attest to this as I used Look cleats and road bike shoes in the past.

    MTB style cleat systems have a recessed cleat, it is much easier to walk around wearing MTB or touring shoes with cleats than road shoes with an exposed cleat.

    Chuck, I am confused by this. I spoke with one local lbs owner who assured me that a Speedplay Zero will fit my mtb shoes and not get me problems walking around. Two other shops stated that the pedals would NOT fit my shoes and that I would have to buy road shoes for them. The first shop has told me that Crank Brothers Mallets would be best for mtb shoes.

  8. #8
    meaculpa
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    Once you have an idea of your style of touring, ranging from "kitchen sink" toting to ultralight you'll be able to decide on the bags you need. Go to

    http://www.fullyloadedtouring.com

    for lots of examples of how to set up a bike in a traditional way. Also look at the sticky of the touring bikes on this site and check out this thread for some different thoughts and ways to pack.

    I did it, gear is under 20lbs
    Thanks nun, that is an excellent discussion of how to cut down weight and still cover your needs.
    Its also reassuring that you do this with the same bag. Instead of the Bagman support, I could try to fit some equipment between the rear rack & the bag thus giving it support...that is if I decide its necessary to keep the rear rack.

    Also, how does the bike handle for you with weight up high both in the front & the back? The usual plan is to set up panniers down low next to the hubs, I believe for stability.

  9. #9
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    I am a great advocate of Time Atac pedals, which you mentioned in your OP. The trap-style pedals all are pretty good, I think, because they don't rely on any mechanical mechanism to operate -- just springs.

    If you have heelstrike issues, rather than getting a BoB, think about putting a front rack on the bike and carrying your stuff up there in panniers. It disposes of the heel-strike issue and may actually improve the handling and feel of your bike. The Volpe would have eyelets at the axle?

    From what I am reading in your OP, your first venture will be an overnighter? A BoB would be overkill, unless you want to invest in one for many miles of touring later on (hopefully). But then BoB has a habit of encouraging people to overpack gear with stuff they may never use on a tour.

    As to fitness, discuss here, too. If you're commuting, and you are setting out on an overnighter, you likely won't need to do much training at all. But the trip will certainly give you a feel for consecutive days of longer-distance riding than commuting. Many people, myself included, have started big trips with only a commuting base to work with, and have "ridden themselves" into fitness along the way by gradually building up their daily distances.

    Rest is also important.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    Thanks nun, that is an excellent discussion of how to cut down weight and still cover your needs.
    Its also reassuring that you do this with the same bag. Instead of the Bagman support, I could try to fit some equipment between the rear rack & the bag thus giving it support...that is if I decide its necessary to keep the rear rack.

    Also, how does the bike handle for you with weight up high both in the front & the back? The usual plan is to set up panniers down low next to the hubs, I believe for stability.
    I'd encourage you to try various bag configurations, the way I do things is a bit out of the ordinary. I'm a big advocate for using a saddlebag, but I'm in the minority so see how much stuff you will be comfortable with and try a few things out.

    As you have a Longflap you'll already know how the bike handles. As the weight is centered on the long axis of the bike and close to the center of gravity ie you I feel that it has less effect on the handling of the bike than low down panniers. I can get out of the saddle on long climbs, something I don't feel comfortable doing on a heavily loaded bike. Also there's not need to worry about balancing weight left to right.

    To make the scheme I use work you have to use light weight gear and be careful in what you pack. Having said that I find that I'm comfortable on tour and have all the necessities of life.

  11. #11
    Dirty old man in training
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    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    Chuck, I am confused by this. I spoke with one local lbs owner who assured me that a Speedplay Zero will fit my mtb shoes and not get me problems walking around. Two other shops stated that the pedals would NOT fit my shoes and that I would have to buy road shoes for them. The first shop has told me that Crank Brothers Mallets would be best for mtb shoes.
    Speedplay shoe compatibilty chart:
    http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?f...de.searchstart

    Or talk to them: 800.468.6694

  12. #12
    meaculpa
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    Nun- yes I have carried enough stuff, probably approaching 20lbs, in the Longflap that I feel I can get a decent overnight done this way. It behooves me to try front rack (Chucks suggestion) w/ panniers, maybe REI since they go easy w/ returns.

    One difference in our experience with the saddlebag is that I do not like to climb out of the saddle w/ it heavily loaded. The load shifts side to side when I come off the saddle, pushing the bike side to side and I lose control. Unless the bagman support eliminates this effect, I will have to come up with some kind of stabilizing system (the only idea that comes to mind would involve bungee cords pulling the bag downward).
    Bob trailer is only for the bigger tour ideas Im kickin around.

  13. #13
    Slowpoach
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    The rivendell bikes website has some articles on what they call bikecamping, basically overnighters with light gear. I think you would find their discussion interesting.

    MTB cleats are recessed into the shoe which is what you need if going clipless. Although I guess you could get by with road shoes and a pair of light sandals like Tevas or Crocs. Time ATAC is fine, I use these, but they're not magical. There is a bit of wiggle room but not much, basically with any clipless system your foot is going to be in more-or-less the same spot. Can I suggest searching on the topic then posting a more focussed thread if you need to.

    I think you should have most of your gear before you try an ultralight setup. Then you know how much room you need for each piece of equipment. You can get creative eg. put bottle cages on the forks, strap your (small) tent to the bottom of the top tube, get a big handlebar bag as well as the saddle bag etc.

    I've put some links to ultralight hiking and bike packing on the 200 miles in a day thread, have a look there as well as Nun's excellent suggestions.

    For stoves, either go with a butane stove or an alcohol stove (overnight trip, nothing alpine; for remote areas or the mountains a petrol stove is probably better). For butane you can go pocket rocket or Kovea. For alcohol you can make your own (look up zenstoves on google) or get a mini trangia (comes as a kit so best if starting out; don't go the stormcooker, it is a bulky heavy package) or look up brasslight stoves.

  14. #14
    meaculpa
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    Yes, Cave, I will be assembling as I go. Ultralight is not just product description, it is what I am shooting for in gear overall. My fitness is ok, but not great, so I will be doing short distances for starters, like overnights of less than 200 miles RT I should think. Keeping my load weight low is the rule. And take my credit card, I suppose, if my kit somehow fails.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    There are so many issues - where to begin? I've refined my techniques and packing list over many years and many tours, and I'm still tweaking them. One recommendation I'd make first would be to bring a little notebook and jot down your thoughts while you're actually on tour - what worked, what didn't, what you wish you had, what you could do without, etc. It's always harder to remember afterwards, but very clear when it's fresh in your mind.

    I'm a Luddite - I use platform pedals and wear running shoes. I just prefer not to be clipped in, though I know I'm vastly outnumbered by the people who will tell you that clipless pedals are a must. One benefit is that I only bring one pair of shoes (saving weight - especially since I wear size 14) and they're really comfortable for off the bike. However, I agree that spinning - using a fast pedal cadence - is easier on your body. If I pushed the high gears now the way I did when I was younger, my knees would explode! A fast cadence is also more efficient. I've discovered that when I'm pedaling along easy and feeling like I'm pedaling pretty efficiently, then shift down and spin a little faster, my speed goes up and I don't get any more tired.

    For camping gear, think lightweight! Get a lightweight tent, even if it seems a little small. Use a lightweight, "summer weight" sleeping bag. Use a 3/4 length Thermarest, not a full length (or use a Big Agness Insulated air mattress - my new favorite. You'll have to blow it up every night though.) Bring the minimum amount of pots, pans, dishes, cups that you can get away with. Bring a small Swiss Army knife and use that for slicing, opening cans, etc.

    I'm an advocate of stoves that run on unleaded gasoline. You don't have to worry about buying white gas (often sold in gallons) or butane cartridges. You can pull into any gas station and "fill up". You only have to carry enough fuel to make it to the next gas station.

    Campmor is great and I buy most of my stuff from them. REI is also excellent, and their return policy is wonderful. They're usually more expensive than Campmor, but when you figure in your member's dividend, it's not that much of a difference.

    If you need panniers or racks, check out TheTouringStore.com. Wayne is a wonderful guy to deal with, and his prices are usually the best (and include free shipping to the lower 48.)

    Try some weekend tours before a big tour. Bring that notebook. You'll find out how your equipment works, what you need to buy, and what you can leave at home. And you'll be close enough to home to be "rescued" if something goes wrong.

    Lastly, I've found that, while training prior to a tour is really valuable, nothing gets me totally ready to tour like touring itself. I always tire quickly the first couple of days, and settle into a routine after that where longer days aren't so daunting. Knowing this, I usually plan on short distances for the first 2 or 3 days.

    Have fun!

  16. #16
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
    Another thought just occured to me: considering my 42.5cm chainstay, maybe I should look into a BOB trailer over touring w/panniers.

    I have an roughed up set of panniers that I used before the saddlebag. I'd lash them to stay as far back as possible on the rack so I could avoid hitting them. This has worked ok. Howevere, I should plan to ride other rigs/setups (lbs that sells BOBs for example) in order to do some comparisons, to get a feel for what I am losing in the handling versus any gains.
    I tour on a 2001 bianchi volpe. I use a Jandd expedition rack, which is totally bulletproof, and a bit longer than most racks, although other companies do make racks of comparable length. Heel strike isn't much of an issue for me.

    I would look into a longer rear rack if you're worried about heel strike issues, but still like the idea of touring with panniers.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  17. #17
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    I too have found that standing up, off the saddle causes big sway issues. I modify my riding style when doing loaded touring so that I don't stand up. If I need a little additional power, I may rise slightly out of my saddle, just a couple of inches, for short stretches. But I never stand up when climbing hills, which slows me down slightly, but it's not a huge problem. If you like to ride out of the saddle for long stretches, a bob trailer would be something worth looking into.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  18. #18
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post

    One difference in our experience with the saddlebag is that I do not like to climb out of the saddle w/ it heavily loaded. The load shifts side to side when I come off the saddle, pushing the bike side to side and I lose control. Unless the bagman support eliminates this effect, I will have to come up with some kind of stabilizing system (the only idea that comes to mind would involve bungee cords pulling the bag downward).
    Many times saddlebag sway issues can be caused by incorrect mounting. It's important to get the bag tight to the saddle, so the buckles should be inside the bag. That way the straps can be pulled tight bracing the saddlebag against the saddle. The next thing to do is to attach the third strap to the seat post or to the bagman/rack you are using. I think that the Longflap should always be used with some support and if you follow these simple instructions I think you'll find it to be stable and easy to get out of the saddle to sprint or push up a hill.

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