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Old 05-23-08, 10:26 AM   #1
zeppinger
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Suggestions for my first touring trip?

Hello, I have recently begun commuting to and from work/school and have discovered the wonders of cycling! Lately I have been ditching class just to go for rides. Been commuting about 10-20 miles a day depending on my schedule for about six months and I cant get enough of it! However, my original rig was bought with only commuting in mind. I ride an 07 Giant FRC with full fenders, read rack, and rear transit epic panniers. I would like to start touring sometime and eventually go across country. However, for my first tour I was not sure if i should just upgrade my current bike for a short trip from Sacramento to Seattle to see if I enjoy the sport, or if i should run out and buy a real touring bike? I have been looking at the Raleigh Sojourn because it is very pretty and i like the brooks saddle and all the other goodies. Though, a lot of my riding will still be commuting so i am not sure about bar end shifters... I also like the Fuji Touring a lot and my LBS has an 07 on sale for $600! I dont like the LHT because i am only 5'7" and dont want to have to use 26inch wheels, i like 700s much better. Any suggestions? Should i do a short tour with my hybrid or upgrade now? What would a good entry level touring bike cost me that would also be reasonable to commute with? My max brice for the bike is about $1,300.
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Old 05-23-08, 10:33 AM   #2
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Hello, I have recently begun commuting to and from work/school and have discovered the wonders of cycling! Lately I have been ditching class just to go for rides. Been commuting about 10-20 miles a day depending on my schedule for about six months and I cant get enough of it! However, my original rig was bought with only commuting in mind. I ride an 07 Giant FRC with full fenders, read rack, and rear transit epic panniers. I would like to start touring sometime and eventually go across country. However, for my first tour I was not sure if i should just upgrade my current bike for a short trip from Sacramento to Seattle to see if I enjoy the sport, or if i should run out and buy a real touring bike? I have been looking at the Raleigh Sojourn because it is very pretty and i like the brooks saddle and all the other goodies. Though, a lot of my riding will still be commuting so i am not sure about bar end shifters... I also like the Fuji Touring a lot and my LBS has an 07 on sale for $600! I dont like the LHT because i am only 5'7" and dont want to have to use 26inch wheels, i like 700s much better. Any suggestions? Should i do a short tour with my hybrid or upgrade now? What would a good entry level touring bike cost me that would also be reasonable to commute with? My max brice for the bike is about $1,300.
Be like the Nike add and 'Just Do It.' Ride to a friend's house and back the next day. That's a tour. Or ride to a campground or motel and back the next day. Start with what you have, and get new gear as you need or want it.
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Old 05-23-08, 10:38 AM   #3
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I think it depends on how soon you are planning to go cross country. If you might head out next summer, it might be wise to upgrade now, before your tour from Seattle to Sacramento. If you aren't expecting to do a cross country type tour for several years, you might be better off waiting for a few seasons before investing in a major touring bike.

I think you could probably get away with doing a cross country on your Giant with only a few modifications, if you were so inclined. I prefer drop handlebars, but you can really tour just fine on that bike.
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Old 05-23-08, 10:53 AM   #4
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Sacramento to Seattle is a short trip?

Oy!
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Old 05-23-08, 11:27 AM   #5
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Your first touring trip can be as long as you like
My first tour was a four month ride from Alaska to Panama
The longest distance I biked before leaving on that trip was maybe 25 miles!
If you have the will to do it and refuse to give up, I assure you that you'll manage just fine
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Old 05-23-08, 11:27 AM   #6
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You've already got a bike that you clearly enjoy riding, and that's 99% of what selecting a touring bicycle is all about. You're all set! The $1,300 touring bikes are for rich fragile old people like me. (Wait; one of those adjectives doesn't apply . . .)

The money you save finances half a dozen week-long tours that will otherwise never happen.

I toured cross-country in college on two bikes (I wrecked the first one about halfway). The first cost $60, and the second was free (but I had to buy about $20 in parts to make it go). It was an absolutely fantastic adventure, but it probably wouldn't have happened if bikeforums.net existed back then -- I'd have developed the conviction that such a thing was impossible without the purchase of more equipment than the whole trip actually wound up costing.
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Old 05-23-08, 11:28 AM   #7
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I think it depends on how soon you are planning to go cross country. If you might head out next summer, it might be wise to upgrade now, before your tour from Seattle to Sacramento. If you aren't expecting to do a cross country type tour for several years, you might be better off waiting for a few seasons before investing in a major touring bike.
+1. I leave for a tour in less than a week, and I'll be riding a bike I bought last week - not my choice, believe me. I'll be breaking it in on a 340 mile ride. I'm also switching to drop bars from flat bars at the same time. This is an extreme case, but I would have asked that car to dart in front of me maybe a few months earlier, if they were gonna do it anyway.

I'm gonna be having the new-drivetrain blues real bad.
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Old 05-24-08, 04:17 PM   #8
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys, its good to know i dont have to spend a fortune to do my first tour! Anyone ever done a Seattle to northern Cali trip before? Route suggestions? What do you guys think a good gear ratio would be for that kinda of hilly tour? I just have the stock gears right now that came with the 07 Giant FCR3. I am 5'7" and 150 pounds. I usually pack pretty light but as it is, unloaded, it can sometime be hard to get up REALLY steep hills. Suggestions?
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Old 05-24-08, 08:31 PM   #9
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys, its good to know i dont have to spend a fortune to do my first tour! Anyone ever done a Seattle to northern Cali trip before? Route suggestions? What do you guys think a good gear ratio would be for that kinda of hilly tour? I just have the stock gears right now that came with the 07 Giant FCR3. I am 5'7" and 150 pounds. I usually pack pretty light but as it is, unloaded, it can sometime be hard to get up REALLY steep hills. Suggestions?
Get this book, it outlines the trail turn by turn as well as neat stuff to do along the way
http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Paci.../dp/0898869544

As for the gearing, I'd leave it stock, the Pacific Coast of the United States is very flat compared to many other areas
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Old 05-25-08, 01:07 AM   #10
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I am going to do my first tour this summer, with my 76 year old father: The Fiver Rivers Trail in Germany: 200 miles in four or five days, depending on how good the beer is
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Old 05-25-08, 06:51 PM   #11
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I agree - just go. I've toured thousands of miles on just a standard mountain bike (just upgraded to a "real" touring bike and I"m sure how it'll work!). If you really like it, you'll have a better idea of exactly what you are looking for in a bike and will be able to make more educated decisions. Go and have fun!!!
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Old 05-27-08, 12:43 AM   #12
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One thing that noone's mentioned here... you bought the bike for short distance riding. When you bought it, was it fitted properly?? If not, you could have serious problems with discomfort on a long ride. Test it on a 50 mile ride (or whatever may be your average) one day before you leave to make sure there's no problems.
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Old 05-27-08, 10:10 AM   #13
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Yes, I was fitted for the bike when I bought it. I did not know much about bikes at the time which is why i decided to buy one new, knowing only that I didnt know how to fit myself! The longest ride I have done is 30 miles and the only comfort issue i got was from on my hands and have since bought a nice pair of riding gloves for that. Thanks for the input, i think i will take a weekend and load up the panniers with bricks or something and go for a nice long ride and see how everything holds together, great suggestion! That way i can also decide if I need to get different gearing for when i am loaded. As it is, I hardly ever use my biggest crank ring.... There are times when i could use it, but they are usually short downhills and its not worth shifting in and out most of the time, does that mean i have some room to go lower? when loaded i really wish i had about 2-3 extra low gears, is that a lot? How much weight should i be practicing with by the way?
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Old 05-27-08, 11:15 AM   #14
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Over a few weeks build up the gear weight to a value close to what you'll be carrying to Seattle. Gear weight is a very individual decision. Some get by with 30lbs or less and some of us tend to go a tad over board and tip the scales at much higher values. When you get to your anticipated gear weight go find a nice series of hills and see how your gearing works. I like lower gears than some. The low gears allow me to spin the cranks at a nice cadence (90 or so). This helps with endurance and knee comfort. The choice of gearing is like many things in bike touring (and life) and it is a personal decision - go with what you find to work for you. One benefit of doing some short trips before you head to Seattle is to learn what you like, what you don't like, what works and what doesn't work.
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Old 05-27-08, 12:02 PM   #15
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You could put on mountain bike chainrings at the front - 22 36 46 or 24 38 48. I dont know if this would require new cranks. This would allow you to make more use of the big chainring. The front derailler would have to be lowered to put it nearer the big ring, and the chain shortened. Bar ends would help for hand comfort, allowing you to change hand positions. Get a bag that hangs in front of the bars, so you can carry snacks that you can eat while riding - also your maps, camera and wallet.
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Old 05-29-08, 12:01 PM   #16
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A word to the wise - make sure your saddle is adjusted right. On my first tour, due to an improperly adjusted saddle (tilt was off) I compressed the blood vessels in certain...ahem..areas. It took 3 weeks for things to "uncompress." Definitely not cool.
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Old 05-29-08, 01:38 PM   #17
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A word to the wise - make sure your saddle is adjusted right. On my first tour, due to an improperly adjusted saddle (tilt was off) I compressed the blood vessels in certain...ahem..areas. It took 3 weeks for things to "uncompress." Definitely not cool.
+1

This is especially true with non leather saddles as they aren't as "slippery" as a leather one. You can stay on it even if it's badly tilted. The leather saddle won't let you do that as your arse will tend to slip forward or backward depending on the superfluous tilt.
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