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Old 04-10-08, 05:25 PM   #1
Jamtastic
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400 Mile texas tour. Need tips for first long ride.

I've been planing a ride from Gainesville->Corpus Christy texas for quite awhile but I finally have the time to do it this June. Only other long rides ive done have been centuries.

It will be a 6 day ride at only about 80 miles a day so i can see as much of the state along the way .I have my route planned but I'm not 100% certain what i need to take. It will be a fixed gear ride, which is just a personal goal thing.

For example,

Do I need a tent? If so where do you find one small enough to carry?
How much water do i need to always have on me for stretches of 80 miles without towns?
What tools do i need to take?
Right now i have frame pump, allen wrench set, scissors, 15mm wrench.
for such a small trip do i need to take a mini-stove, or do i just need to take plenty of power-bars etc...?

I guess the biggest problem im having is not route, locations, etc... just unsure what to load the panniers with is all!

Thanks for any and all tips you might have
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Old 04-10-08, 05:51 PM   #2
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You need to decide what kind of trip do you want to do: soft and cushy, staying in hotels, eating out, etc ("credit card touring"), or more hardcore, stealth camping in forests, buying your food a day or two in advance of each meal.

>Do I need a tent? If so where do you find one small enough to carry?

If you don't want to stay in a hotel of some kind, then yes. From a camping shop.

>How much water do i need to always have on me for stretches of 80 miles without towns?

Enough but not too much. If there will be houses and such along the way, and plenty of traffic, take as much water as you think you will drink in that time (probably 3 litres) plus a slight margin of error. If it's really hostile territory, take a lot more, in case you get stuck somewhere for an extended period.

>What tools do i need to take?
>Right now i have frame pump, allen wrench set, scissors, 15mm wrench.

A chain tool and spare links maybe? Spare tube obviously.

>for such a small trip do i need to take a mini-stove, or do i just need to take plenty of power-bars etc...?

You'd get sick of food like that pretty quickly, but if you're going through towns you can get dinner and maybe lunches there. I've personally camped several times without a stove, but others find cold dinner and breakfast demoralising. If you don't take a stove, sandwiches are good, with fresh bread, meat, cheese, tomatoes etc.

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Old 04-10-08, 06:06 PM   #3
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80 miles a day on tour, with 30-50 lbs of gear, is pretty ambitious. Fixed should be fine since the route is fairly flat. But it's going to be more like 450 if I'm measuring properly. I'd either start further south or allot more time.

Re: water, you want 750ml per hour of riding. Possibly more since it's gonna be hot in June. More critically, you need electrolytes and calories (~250 per hour). I'd get some powdered Gatorade, so you will get your salt, potassium and energy. A "dromedary bag" may be in order.

I'm sure you know TX better than I do, but it does seem that there are towns about 10 miles apart most of the way, 20 max? There should be restaurants, truck stops and so forth on a regular basis.

If you don't feel like investing in a portable GPS, you can spend some time with Google Maps figuring out smaller roads and the locations of restaurants, hotels and campsites along the way.

Camping or a tent is optional, depending on your comfort level. You could stay in hotels if you have the budget; otherwise get a tent (5 lbs or less). You could use a bivy sack as well, if weight is really an issue and you're comfortable with that. I'd also use a sleeping pad.

I wouldn't stealth camp in TX -- or to be more precise, don't camp on posted or fenced-off property, trespassing laws are pretty strict there. Ask permission before setting up a campsite on someone's property.

Bike Tools:
- multi-tool
- tire levers
- pump
- spare inner tube (at least 1)
- patch kit
- chain lube
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Old 04-10-08, 06:47 PM   #4
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time isnt really an issue. 6-10 days is fine. I do know texas well and know the route. Mostly chosen because every 75 miles i have family. Frisco, Arlington, fairfield, leonna, huntsville, conroe, houston, Corpus.... works out ok in case something goes wrong. I think the longest strech on the farm road route i chose is 38 miles without civilization so not bad.

Yeah i wont make any property mistakes, many lessons learned from mountain biking and camping few years ago. Thank you guys so much for the nutrition tips. I wasnt going to be taking in nearly enough calories... or water really. I need to figure out what im going to eat now
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Old 04-11-08, 05:24 PM   #5
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Jamtastic, there are no stretches of eighty miles between towns anywhere near the territory you'll be biking through, so don't worry about carrying expeditionary quantities of water. I'd carry a couple of quarts and buy a third quart at a grocery store if it got hot.

Tools: Add a small adjustable wrench, phillips and standard screwdrivers, tire irons, and a patch kit.

Tent and stove? No right or wrong answers -- it depends on the experience you want to have. It sounds like the rest of your plan tilts to the lightweight and improvised, so definitely consider leaving them home.

It's OK to tour with panniers that aren't full! It leaves room for buying roast chickens, bottles of wine, watermelons, and layer cakes, which are more fun than Power Bars after a long day on the road.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:41 PM   #6
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Are you riding this bike? http://velospace.org/node/1130

Kev
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Old 04-15-08, 03:08 PM   #7
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I wouldn't ride through Houston to get to Corpus. For that matter, I wouldn't ride through Houston at all. But since you're visiting family, you're probably kind of roped to the route. Tents can be had at REI, Dicks, Sporting goods, about 10 places on line. Shoot for something under 5 pounds.

For stoves, on our Texas tour last month, we had good luck with pepsi can stoves and cat stoves, you can find 20 easy ways to make those online too. If you're staying with family, you'll only need one for occasional coffee, oatmeal or cocoa, right? Even between towns, we found food and water available at remote churches, gas stations and public buildings. If anything, I carried too much food with me.

YOur route is pretty flat. If you're focused and leave early in the day, 80 mile days won't be too bad. If you dawdle, seeing sights and so forth, sunset will creep up on you fast. You'll have a lot more time to play if you shoot for 60-70 mile days.

Powerbars are interim food. Plan to eat real meals every day, and only supplement with the sawdust pucks when you feel bonky.

Take a couple of spare tubes. Not every puncture can be patched.
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Old 04-15-08, 04:12 PM   #8
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Are you riding this bike? http://velospace.org/node/1130

Kev
No, Im riding a modified road frame for fixed so I can have racks etc... and front and rear brakes

Oh and thank you guys so much for the tips. Im taking it all in and getting ready
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