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  1. #1
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    Hello, need some tips and advice...

    Well, this summer, I plan on hitting Washington to New York. Its 4,200 miles I believe, and I have never done a trip this long before. I've always loved riding my bike, ever since I was in first grade. Each summer I rode everyday, and finally, at 18, I mentioned the idea to my friends. They thought I was nuts, and that I wouldn't do it. However, I would really really like to try and attempt this, for my old goals I set back in first grade. I don't have a bike either, well I have an old 1992 Schwinn High Plains, which gets me to school and back, I don't think it'll live state to state. So any good bike recomendations would be good. I would like to use a mountain bike, and keep it under $1,500. Also, from what I read, people are taking light weight sleeping bags, tents, can openers, pads, and things like this. Is there a back pack big enough for all of this? I don't really like the panners, and I'd rather just lug everything on my back, if its not too bad... Any input and suggestion would be really nice. Thanks.

  2. #2
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dennisk
    Well, this summer, I plan on hitting Washington to New York. Its 4,200 miles I believe, and I have never done a trip this long before. I've always loved riding my bike, ever since I was in first grade. Each summer I rode everyday, and finally, at 18, I mentioned the idea to my friends. They thought I was nuts, and that I wouldn't do it. However, I would really really like to try and attempt this, for my old goals I set back in first grade. I don't have a bike either, well I have an old 1992 Schwinn High Plains, which gets me to school and back, I don't think it'll live state to state. So any good bike recomendations would be good. I would like to use a mountain bike, and keep it under $1,500. Also, from what I read, people are taking light weight sleeping bags, tents, can openers, pads, and things like this. Is there a back pack big enough for all of this? I don't really like the panners, and I'd rather just lug everything on my back, if its not too bad... Any input and suggestion would be really nice. Thanks.
    Wow! You've bit off a big bite! No bike yet, and you want to tackle the big one? Okay, you can do it, you're young, but I think you might be at a disadvantage. First, a backpack probably won't work for you in the long haul. It's going to be heavy and bulky. I think it might be the biggest threat to your success followed very closely by a lack of long-range training. Add the two together and the threat is doubled. The weight on your butt will be mocho-bad.

    A mountain bike is okay, but you want to make sure you've got some road (slicks with tread?) tires on it versus the normal mountain bike tread. I think there are plenty of MTBs that are in your price range or lower that will be sufficient for your plans.

    I'm sure there will be plenty of advice coming your way on this forum. Welcome to it! Keep us up to date on your pre-ride progress.
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  3. #3
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    Ahh yes, tonight, I talked with one of my friends. He says that he can do the trip with me in the summer of 2003, so I took him up on the offer. That means this summer I can work and make some money, and start riding a lot more. So that gives me some time to train for long rides. And I see how the backpack can be a hinderance... I decided that I could do with a bike rack, and just bungee a back pack with my stuff on to that, then when I need the back pack I can pull it off and the majority of the things I need are with me. But in terms of bikes, I haven't been looking or reading very much, so any suggestions, on manufactures, or even types of tires would be helpful. Thanks though, for the advice on the back pack..

  4. #4
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    Tires i use Continental top touring and had one flat tire in 8,000 miles I do rotate them every 600 miles maybe that helps but they are good sturdy tires . They cost alittle more but you will save in the long run.

    Bikes and gear are a matter of preferance. and opinion. On long extended tours cheep gear doesnt hold up

    the Bike I use is a trek 520 $999.00 I made changes to the stock gearing to get a lower granny and a bigger top gear. V brakes are good for slowing down and stoping with weight on the bike. I built bontregar clydsdale rims , 3 water bottle holders, a rear rack and pannieers and frount rack with pannieers gett ing ready for a tour is almost as exciteing as the tour itself. here is a pic of my gear, the stack onthe rear rack holds he tent sleeping bag and pad not much weight but looks like a big load. everything has several uses or doesnt go.
    Last edited by catfish; 01-08-02 at 10:20 PM.

  5. #5
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    Sweet, good example, keep em coming!

  6. #6
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    Hi,

    Backpack will not do. You need panniers for long distance tour.

    Backpack increases your center of gravity. It may lead to a crash in strong wind and slippery road condition. You will have enough difficulties without this problem.

    I know one cyclist who needed medical treatment of his shoulder after long bike trip with heavy backpack.

    It is 10-minutes job to mount panniers. You definitely should use panniers, instead of trying to fix a backpack to where it does not belong.

    Try to pack your equipment and have the test ride before departing to the long distace trip.

    You may find useful information on the http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/index.htm site.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Bruce Gordeon BLT (basic loaded tourer)is the best purpose built touring bike in the sub 1200 range. It is available with MTB sized wheels if you want trail riding capability, but is definately a touring bike, much more comfortable and stable, and the gear changers have non-indexed backup mode, very useful in the event of a prang.

    Backpack on your back is absolutely the wrong way to go. For camping you NEED either a trailer or 4 panniers, front and back. You can take a lightweight daysac for hiking.
    I toured Irish hostels for a week using only a 25l daysac bungy strapped to the rack of a hire bike. I did it, but it is not stable enough for heavy loads. Putting the rucsac on a Yak trailer may work.

    There are some touring packing lists around the web.
    I suggest a shakedown tour, starting with a weekend, using your full kit and milleage, but travel locally. See what works and what you dont need.
    For preparation, just get lots of saddle time on the bike you intend to use. Commuting/shopping etc as well as "training rides"

  8. #8
    sandcruiser thbirks's Avatar
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    the best advice that i can give is to have a look here. www.kenkifer.com

    Good luck with your tour. I hope to being touring soon myself.
    "only on a BIKE"

  9. #9
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    All the above is good advice and you would do well in looking carefully at the picture Catfish has attached to his post.

    That's what a well equipped tourer looks like, particularly in Europe. That looks like my audax bike albeit I don't often find the need for front lowriders as I tend to B & B (the wife is a softy!!) when touring. Over here we tend to use wider ratio gears rather than 1/2 step and granny.

    If you want to discuss touring with a modified mountain bike, wait until Toolfreak gets back to the forum after his tour of the north of England and the Highlands of Scotland and pick his brains. He's done that taking a big load on a backpack and trailer (in some really bad weather -pass of Glencoe last weekend) , so you might find that of interest.

    There's nothing more satisfying than going on a tour and nothing better looking than a fully loaded tourer.

    Good luck. :thumbup:
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

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  10. #10
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    Ok... Panniers.... ok... I'm doing this with a friend... So tent wise, how good is a 2 man tent, for 2 people? Any recomendations? Lots of people seem to dislike 1 man tents.....

  11. #11
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    if it is your girl friend, both people in one tent if it is your buddy, get your own tent. 2 man of course is better. There are light weight 2 man tents mine is just over 3 lbs. you will have enough room for your self to be comfortable and some of your gear also.

    with your own tent youget a little privacy and, If you and your friend are not compatable after a while you can part ways and still have shelter.

    so many choices and decisions I try to be as independant and self sufficient as possible out on the road.
    catfish

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by catfish
    if it is your girl friend, both people in one tent
    Yes, I wish. I guess if the tents are that light, it doesn't even matter, might as well get two. I've been reading 2 mans from REI are good. What about sleeping bags?

  13. #13
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dennisk

    Yes, I wish. I guess if the tents are that light, it doesn't even matter, might as well get two. I've been reading 2 mans from REI are good. What about sleeping bags?
    Again I'd get your own unless you're sharing with a girlfriend

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  14. #14
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    With tents, you have to remember the relationship between surface area (ie the amount of material) to volume. As you double the surface area, you square the volume. This means that big tents are more weight efficient than small tents.
    Cycling as a group means that heavier tools, cooking equipment etc do not neeed to be duplicated, and you need only carry one frame pump, with a small emergency backup.

    Just remember, there is no I in teime.

  15. #15
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    What about sleeping bags?

    think about the time of year and What weather will you face . I have a kelty bag stuffed into a sack and quite light weight. Its a synthtic material , and warm to about 20 degrees F. A good pad is worth the extra money Shop arround and keep asking questions. gearing up for a tour is important make smart choices and don't waste money.

    After your bike I concider the most important piece of equipment on a self contained tour tobe the tent. remember it rains and the wind blows when you are out there staying dry and comfprtable is the goal

    Your right REI has some good tents and many other places do also I used a REI "clipper" one year its light and roomy priced about $160 easy to set up. The only thing I dont like on many of the new tents now is they put a window in the rain fly. I look at it as another potential leak and takes away a bit of privacy. however make sure you get some seam seal and seal all seams on what ever tent you buy.


    catfish

  16. #16
    Senior Member diamondback's Avatar
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    While your at REI, Cannondale has two touring bikes. The T2000 and the T800. They have all the connections for rear and front bags. Put some miles on the bike first and have the bike serviced before leaving on your big ride.

  17. #17
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    1. Get a 2-man tent each, unless you want to leave all of your food and stuff outside at night (not something I'd recommend doing).

    2. Forget the backpack and go with panniers. I used to carry a backpack on single day rides, and even though it had bugger all in it, it used to make my back sore after a few hours and it got HOT underneath it.

    3. In choosing your panniers, ignore any claims about them being "waterproof". I learned that one the hard way in a sudden downpour at Stanthorpe a couple of years ago. You're better off to keep your stuff inside plastic bags inside the panniers. Even if there was such thing as a waterproof pannier, you'd need the plastic bags to separate anything that got wet (such as clothing) from the stuff you wanna keep dry.

    4. A mountain bike with slick tyres will be fine. In fact, it would be my preferred choice because, in my view, they can go more places which is useful if you decide to take any side trips along the way.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  18. #18
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    Originally posted by Chris L
    4. A mountain bike with slick tyres will be fine. In fact, it would be my preferred choice because, in my view, they can go more places which is useful if you decide to take any side trips along the way.
    yes, I agree, I like the versatility.

    What type of paniers do you recomend? Anyone?
    Thanks for all the relpies, very very helpful.

  19. #19
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    Ok, I looked up some panniers, Ortlieb Bike Packer Lite Panniers...... Pricey, but are they good? Is there a good resourse which compares these type of things?

  20. #20
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I've never used Ortleibs, so I can't comment on them. However, I've heard others say not very nice things about them. Basically, I'd go for durability rather than waterproofness, because water will always find a way in if it rains heavily enough.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  21. #21
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    What do you use? I just don't know whats reliable and everything...

  22. #22
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I use the Deuter Rack Pack 2. They claim to be waterproof but they aren't. However, they have done two tours and over 1,000 commutes, so they have reasonable durability.

    Another point I will make on pannier racks, a Blackburn MTN rack is very, very good.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  23. #23
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dennisk
    What do you use? I just don't know whats reliable and everything...
    I've been using a pair of Altura panniers for the last three months for commuting, carrying heavy groceries, timber etc. and they seem to be holding up well.

    One thing to be careful of with large panniers on a mountain bike is heel clearance - if your frame is fairly compact you might have problems - check before you buy.

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  24. #24
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    Roadified MTBs can work, but they often have front forks too stiff, and with no mounting for front pannier racks.
    Sporty cross-country racing bikes are often too agile and tight to handle luggage. Mid-range bikes often make better tourers than more expensive models.
    MTB wheels are definately good on a tourer, thats why I recomended the Bruce Gorden.


    Blackburn racks are the industry standard.
    Ortleib are fine panniers, but in tropical damp conditions, can get manky inside from mildew.
    Look for heavy duty fabric, good stiffening and rack mounting clips, and few zips,pockets or dividers (ie not too many features). One external pocket is sufficient.
    Remember that touring is very hard on equipment, so you need tough bags. Check out the cheapest thin floppy bags in the shop for what not to get.

  25. #25
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by catfish
    [B]Tires i use Continental top touring and had one flat tire in 8,000 miles I do rotate them every 600 miles maybe that helps but they are good sturdy tires . They cost alittle more but you will save in the long run.

    Catfish. I am curious. That is some fine looking machinery and gear you got there, but how do you lock that stuff up while on your tour? Maybe secure would be a better word.

    Thanks,
    Dave
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    Prudoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina by bike...eventually. (2/3 done!)
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