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Old 09-05-08, 08:50 AM   #1
BikinCanada
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Biking Across Canada (Need Help)

Hi I already posted in another section before I saw this one (forgive me ). I will be biking Canada in about 10 to 11 months (june or july) Me and my friend haven't fully figured out exactly when were starting yet but its in the works. And in this time I need to get equipped for such a ride!

Now before earlier this morning (3ish) I didn't even know that a Touring Bike was the bike I needed (just thought Road Bike). So I am clearly very new to this and could use any and all suggestions Greedily! haha.

So I haven't had much time since earlier this morning to really fully look into this but I'm not sure if it's really important to buy new for such a ride or if used is OK (clearly would have to be in good condition if I'm not mistaken).

I have seen this one and am wondering if this is a suitable bike for such a Trip and whether or not it is actually a good deal!
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

Thanks for any and all help to help me start this adventure!
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Old 09-05-08, 12:00 PM   #2
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I've seen people touring on all sorts of bicycles. The majority I have seen, and what I ride myself is a road bike that can take a rear rack. Mostly it is a matter of comfort and handling. If you are heavy, and loaded you might risk braking a light frame. Touring bikes are usually steel, and a bit tougher, with a more upright position, and can fit a front rack as well and an extra water bottle on the downtube.
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Old 09-05-08, 12:18 PM   #3
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First off, you can tour on pretty much any bike, but a dedicated touring bike will make your tour a lot more enjoyable. They're designed to haul loads, climb hills in a goat-like fashion, take racks, bottle cages, and so on.

The "big three" popular touring bikes aroudn here seem to be the Trek 520, Surly Long Haul Trucker, and Novara Randonee. (The Novara is sold exclusively by REI, and they don't have any stores in Canada, unfortunately.) Each LHT is a partially custom build, and the bike almost havs its own cult. Trek... you can't go wrong with a Trek, really, and there are Trek dealers all over the place. All three of these have tons of threads about them.

The prices for these three hover around $1k. You'll probably spend another several hundred on racks, bags, et cetera. If you're planning to camp, that's another outlay.

More important than equipment is experience. It sounds like you haven't toured before. I'd recommend a few shorter trips so you can learn what your needs are.

It sounds like you have many, many questions. I envy you! Getting into touring is a truly awesome experience.

What's your budget for the bike?

Will you be camping, staying at hotels, or combining the two?

Are you going on your own or with a group?
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Old 09-05-08, 12:43 PM   #4
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Hi BikinCanada, there was just a thread a while back about the Windsor.
HI Help picking touring bike
I am sure that if you do a search you will find lots of info, good and bad, on the Windsor and buying a bike that you have not ridden online.
Where do you live, where and when are you starting from? Do you have a route figured out yet?
Best of luck and happy touring!
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Old 09-05-08, 01:48 PM   #5
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I am from London (area), Ontario, Canada. I'm turning 19 in a couple of weeks. My friend is a Vegan / Hippy (self described haha) and We are both excited for this trip and plan on doing more biking immidiatley after.

Well me and my buddy are starting in British Columbia after a camping trip that me him and another friend have planned sometime in june or july. I'm from Ontario so I'm going to have to Mail my bike and bags / racks to BC, since me and the other friend are Hitchhiking / Wwoofing (google it if you don't know what it means) out there from Ontario.

So all the camping stuff we need will be with us. We will be camping along the way and staying with friends cause we know people all across the country so where we will be sleeping will not be a problem. Pretty much the only thing that will be an expense after we start going will be Food (and if we can't do them ourselves any bike repairs / parts).

Our route at this point (which we haven't decided any exact roads) Will be Vancouver - Calgary - Saskatoon (I think) - Winnipeg - Thunder Bay - Sudbury - "Lots of Southern Ontario" - Montreal - "The Maritimes" (Nova Scotia / PEI / New Brunswick).

And many stops in between but all of those places we have friends (excluding Sudbury)

That is so far some of the assumed plans.
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Old 09-05-08, 01:52 PM   #6
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List of Things I so far plan for this Bike Tour:

Bike Related:

-Touring Bike [Need]
-Racks [Need]
-Saddlebags [Need]
-Some Bike Repair Equip [Unsure] - Not sure if I need to purchase any specialty tools?
-Helmet [Need]
-Bike Lock [Need]
-Bike Lights [Need]
-Possible Biking Shoes [Unsure] - Are they worth buying?

Everything Else:

-Tent (probably on his bike cause it's his) [Have]
-Sleeping Bag -15 degrees Celsius [Have]
-Sleeping Matt [Have]
- 2 to 3 Changes of Clothes [Unsure] - Not Sure if I should purchase some special Biking Clothes?
-Camera [Have]
-Cell Phone [Have]
-Ipod [Have] - Probably get a Bigger one though.

Last edited by BikinCanada; 09-05-08 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 09-05-08, 01:58 PM   #7
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I am not sure what sort of a Budget I will be having for the bike. It is starting to look like its going to be around $1000 dollars for just the bike!

I already have $1000 but I have to buy some new shoes for my Flat Feet so hopefully I'll have a job on the 15th for my best friends Father's brick laying / masonry Company when I get home from Florida.

So it's starting looking like all in all for all stuff for the bike itself I'll end up spending $1600 hopefully TOPS!!!***

^ Is that realistic?

So it seems to appear all I still have to worry about is the Biking Equipment (which is why I posted here ) though our route will still need some work haha!

Last edited by BikinCanada; 09-05-08 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 09-05-08, 06:20 PM   #8
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If you are buying everything from scratch, $1600 would be pushing it. A lock will be almost $100 if you buy a good one, another $50 for the helmet, maybe $100 for panniers, $100 plus for the sort of rain jacket you can ride in without feeling that it's raining inside when you ride. If you buy stuff that's too cheap for a long tour like that, it's more likely to break/tear/leak and all that. You might want rain pants, bike shorts, stiff mountain bike shoes....

I'd start buying bit by bit, and try things out with a few weekend trips before you even think about touring.

Another resource is www.crazyguyonabike.com, for all the journals of people who have done that sort of trip before.
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Old 09-05-08, 08:18 PM   #9
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Have you thought about your expenses for the tour itself, food etc.?
I think you would benefit by doing a couple smaller trips just to work out the kinks.
Also, I would get familiar with some of the mechanics.

Have fun, sounds like a great trip!!
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Old 09-05-08, 09:41 PM   #10
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Don't think you have to spend a lot of money to do this. The www.vwvagabonds.com site gives a nice summary of how to get yourself a budget bike. Look in the classifieds online or in your paper, cruise the yard sales for a gem for a lot less than $1000

If you are really keen you can even make your own panniers!

http://www.geocities.com/julia_herzog/panniers.htm

I know this probably sounds funny from people travelling on custom built bikes with Ortlieb panniers and so on but we have seen so many different styles of touring. I won't lie and say that sometimes I think money does make your life easier - waterproof bags are nice and our bikes are really sturdy, don't break spokes and such as much as a cheaper bike would. But I wouldn't blow the budget just to go touring. If you don't have a lot, get creative and do a lot with what you do have.
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Old 09-05-08, 10:20 PM   #11
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This is a very ambitious tour - over 6000km. Without a doubt, do some shorter tours before next summer. ("Oh, well, if I must...")

Shoes - I tour in hiking boots. Pay attention to your socks. Cotton socks are fine for moderate weather, but suck in rain or heat. Biking socks work well, but you can't walk in them a lot or they wear quickly.

I use my iPod a lot on tour, particularly when I'm too tired to read and too awake to sleep. Never ont he bike, but that's another thread (or a few dozen threads).

avatarworf is correct. Nice things make the tour easier, but use what you have.

There are regional forums here on BF for both eastern and western Canada, that's a place you can ask for adcice on the route.
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Old 09-05-08, 10:27 PM   #12
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Biking socks work well, but you can't walk in them a lot or they wear quickly.
Never had a problem with this.
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Old 09-06-08, 10:28 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the help guys it really is appreciated! (considering I didn't know anything previous to this thread)

I'm hoping to have a bike buy at least the first week of October, so I can get some touring and practice in before winter!

I'm curious about what you guys think about 26" tire frames? vs 700c tire frames?

And pros and cons to the tires themselves of course.
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Old 09-06-08, 04:15 PM   #14
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26 are more common in a lot of overseas countries, where 700 can be hard to find. Not sure about Canada though.
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Old 09-07-08, 06:49 AM   #15
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700c tires are everywhere up here. I'd be more concerned about the budget because it sounds like even purchasing the bike is stretching it already. Yes, you may have friends all over the place but 6000 kms means you need to know at least 60 friends at every place along the route.

Quick tip, start haunting bike-for-sale sites like CraigsList and eBay. Make sure that you know the proper sizing for you.

Another quick tip, if you're shipping the bike and stuff out...ship it to a friend in Victoria or Vancouver via Greyhound.
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Old 09-07-08, 01:29 PM   #16
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I would start looking for second hand bikes on craigslist and kijiji. People are ending the tour you are planing and some will dump their gear. I have an urbanite for sale.

The most important thing to do is figure out your size. Go to online sizing programs, examine your current bike. Do some long rides. Get fitted at local stores. You can't buy a second hand bike, or other bike, without nowing your size, and you can't completely trust any one person in a bike store. They tend to sell to stock, and they know that a lot of people will need to compromise anyway. It is OK or necesarry to make small modifications, but you should only do it from a position of knowlege.

There are other brands up here than in hte US. Urbanite (http://ucycle.com/node/151), Rocky Mountain, and various Quebec and custom brands. There is a long tradition of domestic bikes in Canada, and anyway, most of the stuff on your touring bike is Aisan and the metal frame is a universaly well made item.

You are planing a tour that will take 3 months depending on what across Canada really means. So you need to work out a sensible timeline if you aren't to be completing it in the snow. Few people would really want to ride across Canada after first hitchhiking it. You will be returning by basically the same route, and all the camping can get to be a trial, unless you are born to it well experienced. Read some travel logs on crazyguyonabike.com to get some ideas. It is amazing the number of people who aren't up for a weekend of camping and cycling who will decide out of the blue to do a cross country, there is something motivating about the bigger trip.

The three most important pieces of cycling gear are a good seat, and that sorta means one you have proven you can ride day after day on, not just one you spent some money on. I have an 80 buck one that I don't find comfortable for all day. I ride a Brooks and do find it comfortable. I strongly recomend cycling shoes and some kind of binding. the improvement in comfort and efficiency is huge. I would get soemthing tour oriented or mountain bike oriented. I ride look touring sandles and find them very comfortable for walking also. I wouldn't choose hiking shoes since they are flexible exactly where bike shoes shouldn't be, but a cycling shoe can be designed for a minor in hiking. Finally, good, heavy, leather cycling gloves or something similar.
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Old 09-07-08, 08:46 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the very informative responses! I am looking into everything, though I am a very very seasoned camper. And it's one of the things I duly look forward to not that everything isn't to look forward to!

One of the things I am curious about is the rarity of 700c tires in other countries because after this trip me and my touring buddy have the possibility of randomly heading to another country ( I know this sounds crazy which is part of the point but this is separate journey and might not happen) and if I was to want to take my bike I would hope that the tires would be "available" for resupply.

Any thoughts again about the tire issue?

Thxs again!
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Old 09-08-08, 11:18 AM   #18
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I had never done any touring or much bike riding before this summer. I started with a $500 entry level road bike that I had purchased used, and I bought about $600 of camping and touring equipment, mostly from MEC. Since then I have ridden about 5000 miles around BC, down the west coast and almost across America. The first bike got stolen, so I shelled out another $500 for a lower quality bike and I've probably averaged about $800 a month in other expenses, food and parts and random things. So it doesn't have to be expensive. I would really recommend not cheaping out on tires though, it is a pain in the ass to fix flats. And get the Topeak Road Morph pump, it is worth 100 times more than the cheaper frame pumps.
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Old 09-08-08, 11:36 AM   #19
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New gear is nice but there is a lot of quality stuff out there that is lightly used and going for decent prices... MEC's regular gear swaps tend to be a good place to look for cycling gear.

If you are not buying a new bike and looking for a used one the Trek 520 is a great choice and Miyata has made some stellar touring bikes... if you could find a 1000 you may never want or need for another.
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Old 09-10-08, 10:32 AM   #20
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I didn't even think about MEC, I hear there is one in Toronto. Does anyone know if there is any more in southern ontario?

Going to go have a look around!
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Old 09-10-08, 03:30 PM   #21
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I didn't even think about MEC, I hear there is one in Toronto. Does anyone know if there is any more in southern ontario?

Going to go have a look around!
Ottawa and Toronto are the only Ontario locations. They have a Burlington location that is set to open late fall 2008. Here's a list of all MEC stores. You can also buy from their online store as well.
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