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Old 05-24-08, 02:59 AM   #1
Dan The Man
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First Weighing

I have finally gotten most of my stuff together. I put a rack and panniers on my bike, my tent, air mattress, cooking gear, some cord, first aid kit, rain gear, rain covers, spare tire/tube, and tools. The total weight so far came to 193 lbs, about 155 of which is me (wearing normal clothes, but not shoes). I am pretty happy with that number.

The main items left are clothes, sleeping bag, food and water. I am hoping it will come in close to 200 lbs total.

P.S. this is a totally separate question, but I am wondering how to plan my daily distances for the start of a tour. I am in reasonable general shape, no bulgy fat or anything, but have only been cycling very much for about 3 weeks. Usually I will go about 30 km. The longest day I've done was 55 km, about 2 hours. Would 100 km a day sound like a reasonable starting distance?

I am going to toss a third question in here as well: Does anybody know of a good way to get from Los Angeles to Chihuaha (Northern Mexico), without dying of heat exhaustion in the mid summer? If that is not possible, then maybe from L.A. to El Paso, and catch a bus or bum a ride down?

Last edited by Dan The Man; 05-24-08 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 05-24-08, 03:51 PM   #2
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The weight number seems like a good one to me. The lowest I ever get out door with is about 45lbs and the most is almost 3 times that. How much gear one takes is a function of many variables but it all comes down to a personal decision of what is right to take - there isn't a good or bad answer. If you have what you need when you need it - it's good. After a few tours one learns what can be left at home or what needs to be included.

With respect to daily distance, 100km seems reasonable, though you may want to increase the distance you're riding before you depart to get ready for higher distances once on tour. You might consider putting weight in your panniers even when riding around town, doing errands, etc. to get used to the feel of the bike loaded. As you increase your daily distance it becomes more important to be sure you're meeting your nutrition, hydration and electrolyte needs.

I have no clue on getting from Los Angeles to Chihuaha (Northern Mexico).
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Old 05-24-08, 04:08 PM   #3
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What you can do on a single day and what you can or should do on a day in day out basis may differ greatly. Thinking about 40 to 70 miles per day is not out of order once you are in some degree of shape and even occasionally an 80 to 100 mile day, but you'll have to be tough to do this consistently. Most importantly you are proposing to ride through the west where distances between water, food, or lodging are often greater than whats convenient to ride sometimes. This is especially true for summer when temperatures are too high to allow riding around mid day. Definately have some idea as to where you are likely to stop and what services will be available. You can always change that schedule, but you can't produce water or food where none exist. We are starting into warm weather here in NM so Chihuahua and AZ have to be heating up as well. I know folks come from San Diego across through Yuma and further East but they definately have to watch the heat through the day - winter time would be much preferable. tom
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Old 05-24-08, 04:23 PM   #4
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I would strongly recommend checking with the State Department (or Foriegn Office if you're in GB) before traveling through many parts (most?) of Northern and Central Mexico. There's been a recent upswing in serious criminal activity with the drug gangs. Word I've gotten is that some areas are not safe to travel without an armed escort, similar to the conditions in Central America in the 80's. Might be exageration, but extra caution sure beats dealing with a very bad situation.
Good luck!
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Old 05-24-08, 04:32 PM   #5
Dan The Man
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Just to clarify, my main trip this summer is from Vancouver to Los Angeles. I have some friends in Chihuahua that I would like to visit, so I was hopping to add another leg onto the journey to get down there. If it isn't safe to bicycle alone, I would look into some other way.
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Old 05-24-08, 04:37 PM   #6
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I, uh, think that your sleeping bag, clothes, food and water are going to take much more than 7 lbs, especially if you're riding in the hot sun. Just a guess....

I'd say go slow, and more importantly since it sounds like you aren't riding until summer, start training now. Bump up your weekly total mileage by 10%, and make sure to do several rides with all your gear on the bike (e.g. do a short weekend tour). I'm usually in good shape when I go out the door, and I carry about 40 lbs of gear. Usually aim for 40 miles on the first day, 50 miles most days, 60 or 70 infrequently.

You'll have to find out your own tolerances for exercising in heat. The critical elements are 1) to drink not just water, but replenish electrolytes (especially salt) and 2) learn the signs of and methods to handle heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Energy drinks are a good choice, and you can get things like powdered Gatorade. A Dromedary bag and multiple water bottles may also be required.

Vancouver to LA should be a good trip, I've done parts of it. You could easily extend it to San Diego and see how you handle the heat. If you haven't done so already pick up the Adventure Cycling maps.

Normally I'd say Mexico is fairly safe, but sam21fire is correct that there is a very nasty drug war going on in Mexico right now, particularly Chihuahua. I assume you're not in the narcotics trade so you should be safe, but I'd be careful and keep someone regularly notified of your whereabouts. Also the situation could be totally different in a few months, so just keep an eye on the news and talk to people on the road.
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Old 05-24-08, 05:39 PM   #7
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As far as what you are ready for: with me the limiting factor in riding exertion/work capacity in the early part of a tour is the various tendons and ligaments of my knees. Your muscles and cardio fitness evolve much faster than your connective tissues. Listen to your body, don't let pride give you a strain that may take weeks to heal.
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Old 05-24-08, 08:12 PM   #8
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Are you saying 40 lbs including a bicycle, or 40 lbs of gear plus a bicycle? The 200 lb (probably more like 207) target is for everything including me and bicycle.
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Old 05-24-08, 09:22 PM   #9
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Hi, Dan. I can`t talk about the weights because I`m a definite newbie to bike touring, but I wanted to speak up about Chih. That`s part of my dream trip- Reno to Guadalajara via Phoenix and Chihuauha and passing a string of relatives along the way. Anyway, yeah- it seems that in the last year or so a big chunk of the narco-traffic violence has migrated from Laredo/Nuevo Laredo to El Paso/Cd Juarez. I can`t say it`s dangerous once you get out of the border zone, but it really would be worth checking on State Department alerts, like Sam says, and doing a lot of Googling beforehand. All I`ve heard about is along the border, but ya never know- good to check on what you`re getting into beforehand. Comming from LA, you might be able to avoid hot spots by crossing into Sonora and hanging an East in Hermosillo. For travel logistcs, have you checked on CGOAB? Here`s a great tour diary from a lady who did a solo self supported trip that included about six weeks in Chih:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...oc_id=998&v=q0
There` also an ongoing diary form an Alex something-or-other who is now in Central America, I think, but has pretty good info on biking Chihuahua. It`s a beautiful state and the city of Chihuahua is VERY beautiful. Hope it works out for you.

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Old 05-25-08, 01:57 AM   #10
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I've been touring quite a while now, and 100 km is definitely not a "starting off" distance. After a few days into the tour, 100kms is my average.
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Old 05-25-08, 07:30 PM   #11
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Holy cow! I just loaded up my LHT for it's first tour - an overnighter so only one set of clothes. I have a bathroom scale now so I lifted the loaded bike and stepped up. The total was 285! (of which 208 was me!) Your whole rig weighs less than my whole me!
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Old 06-03-08, 05:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becnal View Post
I've been touring quite a while now, and 100 km is definitely not a "starting off" distance. After a few days into the tour, 100kms is my average.
Well I'm at a public library on day 4 and have been averaging about 120-130 km per day. Maybe I should have mentioned that I am 21 years old and riding a road bike. I passed by an older couple going the other way that looked like they had 80 lbs each: rear panniers piles up almost to their shoulders, and fully packed front panniers. They probably weren't making 100 km per day, and I have no idea how they managed the 300m "hill" that I just came over.
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