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  1. #1
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    I salute all you touring cyclists

    I rode 70 miles roundtrip last Friday. Me and my cousin went to the beach. I was carrying 12 lbs. on my 24 lb. 'cross bike. I had my backpack strapped to the rear rack. I also had (3) 24 oz. water bottles on the frame. My gearing was a 1x9 setup. It consisted of a 36T chainring and a 12-26T cassette. The gearing was perfect for the hills and flats.

    I was sore on the way back. The weather was around 95 degrees. I found out what I needed to adjust and replace on my bike. It being a stock 'cross bike, it wasn't setup for a trip like that. But I did make it without walking the bike.

    I am yet to go on a official tour. You guys/gals must be in tip-top shape to ride for long distances carrying all that weight. Whether it be light-touring to full on heavy loads. I guess I'm trying to say that I'm out-of-shape. I've ridden long distances before, but no 70 miles. I never thought about giving up. I enjoyed every minute of it.

    Whether it be a weekend tour, 1 month or a whole year, you have to be in great shape to do it. And that is why I salute you.

  2. #2
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    Tip-top shape . . .

    I wouldn't say that. Just persistence and the motivation of enjoying the ride. I met many very fit riders on my last (and so far only, but that will change!) tour, and my legs got strong, but no one would mistake me for an Olympic athlete. Oh yeah, and littler gears! I had a 28/38/48 with an 11-34, and my next tour I want a 24 or even 22 granny. Just so I don't fall over as I grind away up the hills!

    All this just to say, you don't have to be someone special to tour, just appropriate preparation.
    2007 ICE Trice T
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  3. #3
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J B Bell View Post
    All this just to say, you don't have to be someone special to tour, just appropriate preparation.
    Well said.

  4. #4
    Sloth Box
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    All about the tiny granny....

    Seconding the notion of the tiny granny gear!
    Having proper gearing makes all the difference in the world for carrying heavy weight. Definitely get an 11-34 mountain bike cluster for your rear wheel. You can take a 100-lb. bike up a steep grade without breaking a sweat if you have a small enough granny gear... just don't expect to reach the top particularly quickly

    Sam

  5. #5
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by splandorf View Post
    Seconding the notion of the tiny granny gear!
    Having proper gearing makes all the difference in the world for carrying heavy weight. Definitely get an 11-34 mountain bike cluster for your rear wheel. You can take a 100-lb. bike up a steep grade without breaking a sweat if you have a small enough granny gear... just don't expect to reach the top particularly quickly

    Sam
    I was thinking the same thing.

  6. #6
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    I did a credit-card type tour last week. 62.8 miles with a 42/52 front, 14/28 rear, and 27 x 1 1/4" tires. I agree, it is in the preperations that have been made. I want to make this a compact double, but it the cranks are 120 BCD (yes, it does exist, and yes, it is beyond rare at this point) and I can't commit to modifying it since I'm going to buy a new road machine within a year or so. The bike (25#) and the gear (~25#) weighed 50# including water bottles.

    Unfortunately, I hurt my knee six hours after I got to my destination (running an errand), so I had to sag back home.

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    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  7. #7
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    Whether it be a weekend tour, 1 month or a whole year, you have to be in great shape to do it. And that is why I salute you.
    Maybe you should visit some of the hike/bike sites around nor cal. You will see plenty of old guys with big guts that are doing 50-70 miles a day.

  8. #8
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Actually no you don't really need to be in great shape. It is amazing how many not so fit looking folks successfully do even long tours. We met transcontinental cyclists with big guts.

    Our group started out our cross country tour in diverse shape; I was if fair shape and had a good bit of base miles under my belt; one of us was a runner and in generally good shape, but almost no bike miles in; and one of us had been pretty sedentary in the year before the trip. FWIW: trhe one who had been sedentary was kicking our buts after 10 days to 2 weeks. Arguably we were in pretty good shape after crossing the country, but we didn't need to be to start out.

    What it really takes is just determination and commitment to the trip.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, I agree with all the previous posts. I just got done with a 5000 mile tour from Portland, ME, to Portland, OR, with 3 other friends. The first day we rode 43 until our bodies gave out. I never thought I was in bad shape, but I didn't realize it would be that difficult. Needless to say, we eventually made it across the country. It took 3 weeks to get our daily average up to 70-80 miles. In SD we even got a 167 mile day in there. So I am convinced anyone who sticks with it can do it.

    Don't wait to get in great shape. Jump on the bike and start touring. Good luck!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lamplight's Avatar
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    I salute you all, too. I read this forum and dream of riding in distant, beautiful places I've never been for weeks at a time, and then I realize that I only have a week's worth of vacation time until next July and even at that, I don't even have enough energy to ride 30 miles at a time on the weekend. So I'm starting to think I'll never get to do it, but I can still read about it here and look at all the lovely pictures you all post.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    While cycletourists don't have to be in great shape ... it sure helps!

  12. #12
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
    ...So I'm starting to think I'll never get to do it, but I can still read about it here and look at all the lovely pictures you all post.
    If you haven't allready, check out: Crazyguyonabike. Carefull though, it's an easy way to make your lunch hour/free time disapear!
    mmmm coffeee!

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

  13. #13
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I'm 198 lbs, and pretty much keep in shape by a 3-mile RT commute. In other words, I bike myself into shape with some a few long rides before a tour. That said, it's usually not pre-tour saddle time as I would like, and I usually end up at least partially riding myself into shape on tour.
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  14. #14
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    So what if someone "only" managed x miles in the first day. Big deal, who's counting anyway? If your goal in touring is to see places, you're doing just that, even at x miles per day.

    In my case, constantly trying to push my limits on tours results in one of three things:
    - I get in better shape faster
    - I burn out (as in lose interest in touring, get generally fatigued and cranky)
    - I injure myself because of excessive strain

    It seems pretty much a lottery game which one of the three will occur at any given time. So I'd rather ride a bit slower, somewhere in the upper limits of my comfort zone but not much beyond. I'll get in shape slower, but I'll also avoid the negatives.

    Then again, if your goal in touring is to clock a lot of miles as quickly as possible, by all means have a go at it. Different strokes etc.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    I'm 198 lbs, and pretty much keep in shape by a 3-mile RT commute. In other words, I bike myself into shape with some a few long rides before a tour. That said, it's usually not pre-tour saddle time as I would like, and I usually end up at least partially riding myself into shape on tour.
    Personally I think that works fine as long as you have some reasonable amount of saddle time in. it only needs to be enough so you aren't sore and can ride at some pace for a long enough amount of time. Being fitter than that is nice, but not required.

    The longer the tour the more this is likely to be true. If the trip is a week long you won't have too much time to ease into it. If the trip is several months long, taking it easy for the first 10 days or two weeks doesn't have much impact on your overall time to do the trip and it is therefore easy to train as you go.

    The key in my mind is to do mileage that you can maintain day in and day out and to not take rest days. If you need rest days you are pushing too hard. Days off to do something fun are great, but days sitting around resting are a huge waste.

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    I rode 70 miles roundtrip last Friday. Me and my cousin went to the beach. I was carrying 12 lbs. on my 24 lb. 'cross bike. I had my backpack strapped to the rear rack. I also had (3) 24 oz. water bottles on the frame. My gearing was a 1x9 setup. It consisted of a 36T chainring and a 12-26T cassette. The gearing was perfect for the hills and flats.

    I was sore on the way back. The weather was around 95 degrees. I found out what I needed to adjust and replace on my bike. It being a stock 'cross bike, it wasn't setup for a trip like that. But I did make it without walking the bike.

    I am yet to go on a official tour. You guys/gals must be in tip-top shape to ride for long distances carrying all that weight. Whether it be light-touring to full on heavy loads. I guess I'm trying to say that I'm out-of-shape. I've ridden long distances before, but no 70 miles. I never thought about giving up. I enjoyed every minute of it.

    Whether it be a weekend tour, 1 month or a whole year, you have to be in great shape to do it. And that is why I salute you.
    No, you don't. I'm 275, with a big gut, poor flexibility and muscle strength, and mild scoliosis, and I did a nine day tour two weeks ago.

  17. #17
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for your input. I guess I am in shape to do a tour. Rather, ready for one. By no means am I trying to do 50-70 miles a day while on tour. I was just saying I felt out-of-shape on my last ride. Maybe I was just having a hard time due to fatigue and the weather.

  18. #18
    Kwisatz Haderach fillthecup's Avatar
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    By the end of a tour I'm in good shape, usually not at the beginning. Getting your butt used to saddle time (and your saddle) is helpful. Good bike fit can go a long way too. Some of that soreness, especially if it's in the back, arms, or knees can come from suboptimal saddle height, stem angle, or etc. Many of my aches and pains when I started touring were because I had my seat way too low, and my bike had a stem more suitably angled for aggressive mountain biking.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    For the first three days of my tour I"m usually tired after 30 miles. I''ve gone as little as 26 on the first day. I work my way up after that to about a 50 mile a day average. That isn't much compared to some people, but I like to get someplace and relax. I'm all about enjoyment. Proving things to myself or setting lofty mileage goals are no longer what I'm about. (Of course, I've always toured in the hilly west. Maybe in the midwest with a tailwind I could get a 100 mile day or two in.) To each his or her own. Enjoy!

  20. #20
    Bike touring webrarian
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    To me, knowing that I can do 50 - 60 miles if I keep eating, drinking and pedaling all day is the most important thing about doing that kind of mileage. Most people have never done that kind of distance on a bike and assume that it is something Herculean. But, in fact, at 10 MPH, it is more a matter of time in the saddle than extraordinary physical shape.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  21. #21
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    But, in fact, at 10 MPH, it is more a matter of time in the saddle than extraordinary physical shape.
    I couldn't agree more.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    Thank you everyone for your input. I guess I am in shape to do a tour. Rather, ready for one. By no means am I trying to do 50-70 miles a day while on tour. I was just saying I felt out-of-shape on my last ride. Maybe I was just having a hard time due to fatigue and the weather.
    Well you can build up to it. Even just riding 20 miles a day during the week, and longer rides on weekends during your non-touring time can help.

    Lots of cycletourists commute to work regularly, so that's one way to get the miles in.

    And Rowan and I participate in Century-A-Month challenges to keep up the motivation to ride year round.

    This is the BF Century-A-Month challenge, in the Long Distance forum ... you might consider trying it out for 2009.
    Century-A-Month 2008

  23. #23
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Hey Machka. Me and my cousins have talked about doing a century. On average, we usually do a 40-50 mile ride on the weekends. Sometimes a 10-20 during the week. I'll ride 20-30 miles solo around town. What was I thinking? Of course I'm ready for a tour.

    By the way... congratulations to you and Rowan on your Holy Matrimony.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    Hey Machka. Me and my cousins have talked about doing a century. On average, we usually do a 40-50 mile ride on the weekends. Sometimes a 10-20 during the week. I'll ride 20-30 miles solo around town. What was I thinking? Of course I'm ready for a tour.

    By the way... congratulations to you and Rowan on your Holy Matrimony.

    Thanks!

    And if you're interested in riding a century, I wrote an article with some tips for a first century here:
    http://www.machka.net/century.htm

  25. #25
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Almost forgot: The biggest exception to the tour-yourself-into-shape school of thought is hills. Getting good at climbing takes a little longer than just training for distance. I'd train on hills if you're going to tour in a hilly area.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

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