After several years of urban commuting on an old hybrid, I recently got a new touring bike, and, well, went on a tour, from Seattle to the San Juan Islands via Whidbey Island, down to Port Townsend, and back to Seattle, a distance of about 220 miles in seven days, and it was a blast. Here's what I've learned, though I'm sure I have even more to learn on future tours:
1. Don't drink five beers the night before you start.
2. One water bottle is not nearly enough.
3. It's not mandatory to cover 95 miles in a single day, especially if those 95 miles are full of hills.
4. It's okay to ride a little more slowly.
5. A state map isn't nearly detailed enough.
6. It's totally worth it to take long detours to avoid busy highways.
7. Eat something before you get dizzy.
One thing that pleasantly surprised me was that, on those stretches where I had to ride on narrow, high-speed highways with no shoulder, people in cars and trucks actually went to some effort not to kill me. Of course, no one was willing to actually slow down, and in a few instances, when there was a lot of oncoming traffic, the margin of error could have been measured in inches, but even so, it was still a bit of a relief to discover that it was impatience, rather than animosity, that motivated people to come so close.
Additional comments/advice are welcome.