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  1. #1
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    first tour, first day

    Hi all,

    I will begin my first tour in about six weeks' time.

    I am hoping people can give me some general advice about what to expect and how to stay positive on the first day. I imagine that poor weather, getting lost, finding that equipment isn't suitable and other inconveniences could be discouraging and cause one to think "what am I doing here".

    I imagine that getting through the first 24 hours would be the biggest challenge. Any wise mottos, creedos or advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,


    Matt

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Your first day shouldn't be any different from your usual weekend ride.

    You go out and ride relatively long distances (at least about the distance you would ride on a tour) right now, right? You use the bicycle you will use for your tour, right? And you carry tools, food, a jacket etc. with you on those rides. Since you've been doing that for a while, you've likely had to change a flat tire, and deal with various other equipment issues. You've also likely ridden in all sorts of weather, and chances are you've had to use a map to figure out some new and interesting routes. If you have done all this, you've got your first day covered.

    You've also done a weekend tour by now, haven't you ... where you ride out on a Saturday to a local campground 50-100 kms away, pitch your tent, make your meal, take photos, etc., then pack it all up and ride home on Sunday. If you've done that at least once, if not more often, then you've got your first two days covered.


    If, for some reason, you haven't done any of this, go do it .... you've got 6 weeks! The first 24 hours is usually not the "problem time" ... the first 24 hours isn't much different than what you'd normally do and experience on your daily rides ... plus you've got the excitement of starting something new and different. It's several days or weeks or months into where you have moments where you think, "What am I doing here?"

  3. #3
    Hi. I'm in Delaware. Robbykills's Avatar
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    I found this summer on my cross country tour the first day was the day where I learned what I needed and didn't need. I got rid of lots of spare clothes and one heavy ass book and I learned how much water I needed a day to not get dehydrated on my loaded bike.

  4. #4
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    Hey matt, congrats on getting ready to go, you must be PSYCHED!!!!

    Just give yourself plenty of time on the first day. Your first few days, even. You're going to have to go through a period where you figure out what stuff you need and how to best carry and distribute it. I use panniers, and everything lives in a particular pannier, so I always know where it is. You'll have to work out your packing systems. Try to keep it organized some way that makes sense, like all on-bike clothes (layers, gloves, jacket, warmers) are in the same pannier, so you'll always go to that one for clothes adjustments.

    After a week or so, mail home all the stuff you aren't using (except rain/cold gear, of course, if you expect rain/cold later in your trip). Be brutal. Light is right.

    Also, I would recommend making the first 4 or so days shorter than your intended touring average, in order to have plenty of time for messing around with your equipment and for your body to adjust, without time pressure. Then take a day off, then start ramping up the mileage if your body feels ready.

    Have a great trip!
    ...

  5. #5
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Even though I've done lots of touring, I always feel like a wimp for the first few days. After 20 miles I start longing for the campground! I usually allow myself to quit early for about the first three days. I'd say 30 miles is about average during my wimpy stage. By about day 4 I'm ready to push myself a little more, and settle into about a 50 mile per day average, with 60 and 70 mile days not that uncommon. I've done 80 mile days rarely - my longest day was 88 I think - but I don't enjoy them. Part of my problem is I carry too big of a load.

    I make day-to-day decisions on how many miles to push. Some days I feel like making a lot of progress, other days not so much. I try never to feel guilty about the wimpy days. I'm touring to have fun, after all.

    Have a great trip.

  6. #6
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I find the best part of touring is meeting new people. It's remarkably easy to get a conversation going with a stranger when you're pushing a loaded bike.
    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    I'm in my native Australia now. I've read so much stuff online about touring over the past 18 months and have been busy planning & getting a kit prepared. Told my girlfriend I'd fly back to Shanghai ASAP after the Olympic Games visa restrictions ended. But I've booked return flights from Australia to Hong Kong and plan to ride from HK up to Shanghai.

    I'm doing a good amount of riding here beforehand, but it's the language, food, traffic, pollution etc that all combined may amount to an interesting two to three weeks. I had it in mind the first 24 hours would leave me questioning my sanity and ability to finish the trip. Thanks to all so far who have offered suggestions.

    Matt

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbicycle View Post
    I'm doing a good amount of riding here beforehand, but it's the language, food, traffic, pollution etc that all combined may amount to an interesting two to three weeks. I had it in mind the first 24 hours would leave me questioning my sanity and ability to finish the trip. Thanks to all so far who have offered suggestions.

    Matt
    Just relax ... don't plan to do too much in the first few days. In fact, when I arrive in a new country I like to stay in one spot for a couple days to get over jet lag (which you won't likely experience because your Australian time zone isn't far off Hong Kong's), and to get my bearings.

    Then my first day of cycling is usually quite short, and may be combined with other methods of transportation, such as trains.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    Australia to anywhere usually involves long travel and jet lag but we're pretty lucky with trips north to China, Singapore, Japan etc. Machka, I appreciate that advice. It's just the sort of advice I was looking for. I've booked 2 nights in HK first. Am starting to feel nervous + excited at the same time. It's a weird feeling.

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