Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    First tour ever; your insights greatly appreciated

    Hi all,

    I am planning on doing my first bike tour ever starting Monday August 11th. The intended route is from Madison, WI to St. Paul, MN for a total length of ~280 miles; google suggests there is roughly a mile total climbing.

    I will be riding with my girlfriend and we intend to go 70 miles per day, for four days total.

    So the complications that make my planning a little hard:
    1) I'm a substantially stronger rider than she is, so what seems to make the most sense is for me to carry all the gear.
    2) We both only have road bikes. I'm on a Trek 1500, which has eyelets right above the wheel dropouts, so it should be able to accommodate a rear rack, but a front rack probably isn't happening. My bike has a 20 front/24 rear spoke count, and I weigh 185. So it seems like I'd be wanting to keep the load to under 30 lbs or so in order to keep the bike happy.
    3) We don't own ANY touring equipment, besides sleeping bags.

    But a few things work in our favor:
    1) We will pass near or by ~ 2 bike shops each day, so as long as nothing goes horribly wrong mechanical problems shouldn't be that bad.
    2) Likewise, we'll probably stop at restaurants for meals, and only carry snacks.

    So my main question is:
    Provided we're willing to spend some money on decent gear (but not incredibly lightweight super-stuff), is there any way I'd be able to outfit my bike to carry all the usual things we'd need for the tour, provided we were camping out? Or would life be a lot easier if we did credit card touring?

    If we were to go the camping option, we'd need sleeping pads and a tent, right? Does anybody have experience with a 'Bug hut' style thing? (http://www.rei.com/product/724388)

    Thanks so much for any input.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    198
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    70 miles a day may be a lot for your friend if she is not a good rider, especially days 2-4. Your goal is for her to look forward to more cycling not to hate it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    125
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tails2k5 View Post
    Hi all,

    I am planning on doing my first bike tour ever starting Monday August 11th. The intended route is from Madison, WI to St. Paul, MN for a total length of ~280 miles; google suggests there is roughly a mile total climbing.

    I will be riding with my girlfriend and we intend to go 70 miles per day, for four days total.

    So the complications that make my planning a little hard:
    1) I'm a substantially stronger rider than she is, so what seems to make the most sense is for me to carry all the gear.
    2) We both only have road bikes. I'm on a Trek 1500, which has eyelets right above the wheel dropouts, so it should be able to accommodate a rear rack, but a front rack probably isn't happening. My bike has a 20 front/24 rear spoke count, and I weigh 185. So it seems like I'd be wanting to keep the load to under 30 lbs or so in order to keep the bike happy.
    3) We don't own ANY touring equipment, besides sleeping bags.

    But a few things work in our favor:
    1) We will pass near or by ~ 2 bike shops each day, so as long as nothing goes horribly wrong mechanical problems shouldn't be that bad.
    2) Likewise, we'll probably stop at restaurants for meals, and only carry snacks.

    So my main question is:
    Provided we're willing to spend some money on decent gear (but not incredibly lightweight super-stuff), is there any way I'd be able to outfit my bike to carry all the usual things we'd need for the tour, provided we were camping out? Or would life be a lot easier if we did credit card touring?

    If we were to go the camping option, we'd need sleeping pads and a tent, right? Does anybody have experience with a 'Bug hut' style thing? (http://www.rei.com/product/724388)

    Thanks so much for any input.
    That is a pretty ambitious schedule for a first unsupported tour.

    The "Bug Hut" will be a real let down if it rains - There is NO rain fly, you want a real tent. Here is a relatively inexpensive model http://www.rei.com/product/747994 Basic 2 person self supporting tents will weigh about 4 - 5 pounds. You can cut the weight in half, but not cheaply. http://www.tarptent.com/products.html

    Realistically it will be very difficult to keep gear for 2 persons under 30 lbs. And making it small enough to fit in one set of panniers even more difficult. You might consider a trailer like a BoB or even one of those kiddy trailers (You might even be able to rent or borrow one) A trailer make sense in your situation, it will afford you enough volume and load carrying capacity and reduce the weight load on your bike. 24 spokes is VERY light for touring. The stock gearing on your bike is pretty high and even with the triple crank. If you have headwinds you be wishing for some lower gearing (A LOT lower)

    Go for it

    Doug

  4. #4
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tails2k5 View Post
    Hi all,

    ...
    So my main question is:
    Provided we're willing to spend some money on decent gear (but not incredibly lightweight super-stuff), is there any way I'd be able to outfit my bike to carry all the usual things we'd need for the tour, provided we were camping out? Or would life be a lot easier if we did credit card touring?

    If we were to go the camping option, we'd need sleeping pads and a tent, right? Does anybody have experience with a 'Bug hut' style thing? (http://www.rei.com/product/724388)

    Thanks so much for any input.
    Reading this makes me think you haven't camped much either. One suggestion. Try the camping gear before the trip. Even if all you do is set it up in the back yard. Do it during the day. Break it down and then do it again after dark! No fair using the porch lights. Better to find you want a better flashlight or the one hard thing at home first.

    Also others have mentioned 70 miles being a bit much. I'm not sure on that. BUT do take a weekend first and try 70s back to back, or at the very least 70 followed by 30. Better to find out this way than day 2 or 3.

    Add in being sure of bail out points. E.g. a place to stop before the planned end.

    Far better to plan for headwinds and have a tailwind than the other way round.

    (Oh and being ready to switch over to credit card touring is not a bad idea.)

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Okay, thanks for all the advice. We're both 21 so I think we should be fairly resilient; the advice to keep the mileage flexible is duly noted though. The main issue is that we have a hard cap on time due to college classes starting, although I am of course grateful that I don't have a job or anything. One thing that's good is that our destination is to visit my parents, so I can always call and have them pick us up a ways out if so necessary (I -think- I can handle the blow to the pride that would be).

    I actually do have some camping experience, I was in Boy Scouts as a kid, etc. I tended to use my dad's equipment, none of which I brought to college. I'll definitely make sure to practice pitching the tent though, as my experience is pretty much all A-frames.

    Thing about the trailer is I'm a college student ... seeing as they all run at least $200, I'm hesitant to put that much money into my first tour. Of course I can expect to spend, what, $100 or so on a rack + low-end panniers?

    I guess I'll just go ahead and buy a tent and sleeping pad online, as it seems like those are things that I'll use at some point in my life (I'm pretty confident I'll love bike touring). From there, I'll see what fits on my bike reasonably and decide if credit card touring is really the way to go for this one.

    Doug, is the tent you linked to (the Kelty Teton) known to be a good performer at it's price point? I was looking at http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Sundom.../dp/B0009PVTLU, which is a lot cheaper--but I guess it'd be a lot heavier?

    The reason I was looking at the Bug Hut is people said good things about its weight if you couple it with some sort of home-made tarp to use as a rainfly on wet days, as well as it's drying capacity and general coolness of feeling more 'outside'.

    Getting outfitted is starting to look pretty expensive...

    Oh, final question: I weigh 185, the bike's total weight is ~21 lbs, so if I had 30-40 lbs in the panniers, that wouldn't be utterly insane or anything, right?

    Thanks so much,
    Damon

  6. #6
    Slowpoach
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, AU
    My Bikes
    Cannondale T800, Northwood tandem, 1970s Gitane fixxed 45x16
    Posts
    1,088
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Can you hire a tent? That's what I did for my first bushwalk. I ended up getting one smaller and lighter than the one I originally thought I wanted, after experiencing carrying it.

    You will need very compact gear to be able to fit sleeping bags, sleeping pads, clothes and supplies for two people into two panniers.

    How far do the two of you usually ride? 70 miles is a lot if you're not used to it. It isn't just fitness, it is also how sore you can feel the next day.

    My feeling is that you might be better off not camping for this one. Then the road bikes become an advantage (lighter, faster) rather than a disadvantage. You can cover the distance each day in 3-4 hours, you won't have to worry about unfamiliar equipment or the time it takes to pack up in the morning, also the cost will be pretty similar. If you love touring you can start getting gear, starting with things that will always be useful eg. racks/panniers first and camping stuff later, buying what you need when it goes on sale rather than in peak holiday period.

  7. #7
    Slowpoach
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, AU
    My Bikes
    Cannondale T800, Northwood tandem, 1970s Gitane fixxed 45x16
    Posts
    1,088
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There are plenty of camping gear threads on the forum, if you do a search. Plenty of opinions on tents. Also a couple of threads on lightweight touring/packing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I agree with what Cave says. It takes a while to learn how to tour by bike. You need to figure out what you're doing and you need to condition yourself since cycle touring isn't the same as unloaded road riding. Start with an overnight, relatively close to home and in a place where you can take a room for the night if something goes wrong with the camping gear. Then try some more overnights before trying a short multi-day ride.
    Life is good.

  9. #9
    Dismember Lou627's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Queens
    My Bikes
    LHT/72 Schwinn Letour SS
    Posts
    229
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Why not camp? The tent and sleeping bags wont weigh more than 10 pounds. Get 2 cheap rear racks, 2 sets of cheap panniers, and figure out the best way to fit all the gear on both bikes with the heaviest stuff on your bike. Check out ebay for the panniers and tent, there is some quality cheap stuff. Just keep it simple by buying your meals, so you wont need cooking gear. All that really leaves is the tent, bags and clothes. Think of all the crap you can buy with the money you saved on the twin motel rooms.

  10. #10
    Dismember Lou627's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Queens
    My Bikes
    LHT/72 Schwinn Letour SS
    Posts
    229
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Clothes and misc in the panniers, and the tent/bags strap on top of the rack with bungie cords.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Frisco, CO
    My Bikes
    '93 Bridgestone MB-3, '88 Marinoni road bike, '00 Marinoni Piuma, '01 Riv A/R
    Posts
    1,059
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    First tour, traveling with your girl friend, don't have any camping gear, lightweight road bikes. I would suggest that you forget about camping this time around and go the motel route.

  12. #12
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Waltham, MA
    My Bikes
    Waterford 1900, Quintana Roo Borrego, Trek 8700zx, Bianchi Pista Concept
    Posts
    1,541
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post
    First tour, traveling with your girl friend, don't have any camping gear, lightweight road bikes. I would suggest that you forget about camping this time around and go the motel route.
    +1!
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    158
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    +2!

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Okay, looks like we'll probably be doing the motel route! I think I'll see what chances I have of being able to make the kitty litter bucket panniers, since those seem like a good way to try out touring without a large initial investment.

    Then the road bikes become an advantage (lighter, faster) rather than a disadvantage
    Thanks for phrasing it that way, Cave--makes a lot of sense. Always bad to be working against your equipment rather than with it.

    Again, thanks for all the advice, every bit is useful.

  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Parkville, Md
    Posts
    7,694
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My advice, which is just my opinion, regarding mileage is always:
    1. If in any doubt at all start with low mileage days in the beginning and build up mileage as you go.
    2. Allow more time than you think you need, firm deadlines suck even when you are on schedule. It is easier to enjoy a trip without having a firm must do schedule.
    3. If you follow rules 1&2 first timers can enjoy a long tour. Three of us did the TA (73 days 4244 miles) last year as a first road tour (one of us had done a trip in the C&O). Two had never been on a long day ride (one had done 31 miles and the other 42). We all were very experienced campers though.
    4. Others will not agree, but days off are counterproductive so stick to a pace you can maintain without days off. Days off if any should be spent doing something cool and NEVER vegging out in camp or a motel unless it is a forced break due to illness or serious injury.

    Take this advice as worth what you paid for it, but It works for me.

  16. #16
    Mature Cyclist
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    About as far south as one can get in the continental U.S.
    My Bikes
    Bianchi Milano Jamis Aurora
    Posts
    59
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    some suggestions

    Hey Damon,
    These suggestions are probably more esoteric. And you probably already know this stuff.

    1) Bicycle touring isn't about the destination, it's about the journey

    2) Your daily mileage should be a suggestion, NOT written in stone!

    3) If you find some place interesting to stop? STOP enjoy!

    4) Listen to your body, don't push too hard.

    5) Have fun!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've been thinking about the route. There's only a mile of climbing, but how's the wind in that part of the world? I'm asking because I grew up in southern Manitoba, which is flat but almost always windy. In that area, the best time to head west was in the early morning, before the wind picked up. Heading east, the rides were a lot of fun because of the tailwinds.
    Life is good.

  18. #18
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    My Bikes
    LeMond Buenos Aires, Trek 7500, Scattante CFR, Burley Hudson
    Posts
    498
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Tails,
    Here is how I read your post:
    I am going on a tour of 70 mi/day and plan to camp out. I am a strong rider. Oh yes my girlfriend is going along.
    i hope that your girlfriend is very comfortable camping out. And I hope that she is a strong cyclist. Or she will be your ex-girlfriend. Was this trip her idea, or yours? Is she as enthusiastic as you are?
    I agree with an earlier poster that you describe an ambitious first tour for yourself. An especially ambitious first tour for your girlfriend.

    If the two of you are not now riding 70 miles each day and you are both not avid campers then you may want to look at some variations of your plan. Maybe just ride this one and do motels/B&B. Maybe shorten your days if you are set on camping.
    In any event, have a good time.
    Suntree, Fl.
    Burley Hudson (n+3)
    Scattante CFR (n+2)
    LeMond Buenos Aries (steel)(n+1)
    Trek 7500 (n)

    crazyguyonabike.com/lighthorse

  19. #19
    Banned.
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hello, this was the right thing that you have done. I donít think that you were wrong.
    All the best!

  20. #20
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Fairhaven, Massachusetts
    My Bikes
    Novara Randonee, Felt Z45, Marin Belvedere Commuter
    Posts
    1,723
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Bike touring is not very physical, but can be very mental. For four days, one change of clothes is fine. The weight of all your essentials should be around 30lbs split between the two of you. First tours, we all seem to take much too much stuff.

    The craziest part of self supported touring is how grungy we get. Have a great ride. It'll be easy.

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    I've been thinking about the route. There's only a mile of climbing, but how's the wind in that part of the world? I'm asking because I grew up in southern Manitoba, which is flat but almost always windy. In that area, the best time to head west was in the early morning, before the wind picked up. Heading east, the rides were a lot of fun because of the tailwinds.
    I've never done too much riding in western Wisconsin. Biking around Madison, it feels like the wind is pretty random--but there's two lakes which changes things a lot from what they might be farther away. The wind was definitely worse in the spring, though.

    So I'll let you know if there are lots of winds in a certain direction in a few weeks

  22. #22
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by lighthorse View Post
    Tails,
    i hope that your girlfriend is very comfortable camping out. And I hope that she is a strong cyclist. Or she will be your ex-girlfriend.
    Thanks for the laugh! The trip was in fact more her idea than mine. We are definitely going to go into it with a flexible mindset on mileage and such (and if we make it to the destination!), though, and you're right that I'm definitely going to have to take care to accommodate her pace. Of course with the expected 30 lbs of gear I'll have, maybe she'll have to work with MY pace.

    I guess I just thought 70 miles / day was pretty reasonable, because if I can go 50 miles solo in 3 hours on bike, with a backpack, then I can do 70 miles in, oh, 5-6 hours on bike if I have a bunch of stuff to carry.

    Sounds like it doesn't quite work like that!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Nycycle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Taylorsville Utah
    My Bikes
    Long Haul Trucker
    Posts
    782
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Tails2k5,,Danger,,,Warning,, don't go, it will just make you want to go more.......
    I hate cars,

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    653
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Use a trailer. You'll break spokes on your back wheel. Or buy a new much stronger back wheel.

  25. #25
    Senior Member grayloon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Kingwood, Texas
    My Bikes
    1983 Nishiki Cresta (original owner), 1987 Centurion Lemans RS, 1996 Gary Fisher X-Caliber, His and Hers Trek 800's, Schwinn beach cruiser woman's frame, and grandson's Huffy learner bike.
    Posts
    619
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    How about a shorter camping trip. Maybe a 50-75 mile out and back. Time to play and whatever in the woods. Your girlfriend won't be too exhausted for all the fun activities you could do together.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •