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  1. #1
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    New Biker, with a long journey ahead.

    Although, biking (technically) since way young. I've never competed in a tour quite like the one i'm doing next summer. It's called Journey of Hope it's a bicycle ride for people with disabilities, from San Fransisco to Washington in the matter of 64 days.

    but like i said, i'm really new to this, i need help with everything from what kind of bike i should get, to what are some good idea's to prepare. to see the ride i'm doing it's right here:

    http://pushamerica.org/events/routemap/?show_south=yes

    it's an average of 80 miles a day, with friendship visits at night.

    any suggestions would be awesome,
    but the main thing i need is info on what type, brands, setups and what not i would need

  2. #2
    Junior Member thrownaway's Avatar
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    Start with this thread, which has all kinds of great info for newbies like us. Bikes are about strength to carry a load or make the distance without falling apart. The same goes for the gear, really. Here's another thread that will help, tips and tricks and things to be aware of.

    I assume this is a supported tour?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrownaway View Post
    I assume this is a supported tour?
    yeah, kinda i think. i'm new to this i'm not sure what that means but we have a "crew" who carries our stuff and we have people who let us stay at there houses (which is huge for a group of 40 smelly and sweaty guys) but at the same time i have to raise $5,000, buy a bike, and also get out to california

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    Junior Member thrownaway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TyluhS View Post
    yeah, kinda i think. i'm new to this i'm not sure what that means but we have a "crew" who carries our stuff and we have people who let us stay at there houses (which is huge for a group of 40 smelly and sweaty guys) but at the same time i have to raise $5,000, buy a bike, and also get out to california
    Yep, that's a supported tour, meaning the riders aren't hauling their own gear and if something happens there's a vehicle around to help out. It sounds like a good ride for a good cause. Looking at the website it looks like this ride has happened before? Maybe getting in touch with past participants will give you a better idea of what kind of gear you'll need. If it's totally planned out and on pavement AND you won't be hauling any gear at all, a true touring bike may be too heavy. Strength is still a good trait, but hauling a heavier bike built for loads might not be as practical as a light swift bike.

    What kind of pace is going to be set, do you know? km/day or miles/day?

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    yeah, it's with my fraternity we're the one's who put it on and run the whole Push America thing. My "Big" and two of my friends are doing it this year actually. but they all have money and spent like 1,300 on bikes, i do not have that much. i'm borrowing a trek 400 (http://www.vintage-trek.com/images/t...Trek89_400.jpg) right now that i'm "training on" but i def. need something a lot better.

    i'm guessing the pace is going to be a pretty fast and steady pace, we have to be on the road most days by 6am and getting their by 12 and with an average of 80 miles a day that's 15 mph. what makes it difficult is that we have New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas to where it was described as:
    "we road 115 miles through Arizona today, with the temperature constistant higher than the mileage"

    go 64 days, riding average of 80 miles a day, at 15 mph.

  6. #6
    Junior Member thrownaway's Avatar
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    Will you be carrying any gear at all or just water? Because a decent road bike will get you there. A common saying around this forum is "You can tour on anything" and it's true, especially if you're not loading the bike.

    Another question would be, will this be your only tour? You might get bit by the touring bug like so many have and want to invest in quality equipment that will take you cross-country many times over. Or you might hate it and wish you'd never spent anything on it that didn't benefit your charity.

    Look through your local paper or Craigslist for a used commuter bike or something. Probably not a racing rig although I could be wrong about that. Is there something not great about the bike you're training on? If it's an '89 like your link suggests, has it been overhauled or is it all original parts?

    Also, does it fit you? Even mediocre bikes can be a pleasure to ride if it's the right size for your build and height.

    There's lots of different points to consider, but a lot of it stems from how much you want to invest, both time and money.

    I've been lurking these forums for some time now, and I drop keyword searches of whatever I want to know into the Touring forum search function. Chances are, someone's already asked about it and there's been lots of answers and sometimes some spirited debate. It's been highly informative and very entertaining, to say the least.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TyluhS View Post
    they all have money and spent like 1,300 on bikes, i do not have that much. i'm borrowing a trek 400 (http://www.vintage-trek.com/images/t...Trek89_400.jpg) right now that i'm "training on" but i def. need something a lot better.

    go 64 days, riding average of 80 miles a day, at 15 mph.

    Not sure what you mean by "you need something better"- unless that Trek 400 is not mechanically sound. It is a 7 speed cassette which is a bit dated- but for a supported tour it should be adequate. If you want something newer- with a bit more gear selection- and a more comfortable ride (and not break the bank) I would suggest you look into the new Trek Hybrids. They start at $360 and would give your body a more relaxed position for day after day of riding- and still be able to manage the 15 mph easily.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...h/hybrid/7000/
    Last edited by lifeguardsteve; 05-24-09 at 12:26 PM.

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    I do a lot of hiking/backpacking (New mexico/colorado) so i have a camelback i'm going to wear that holds my phone, water and what not. but other than that everything is in the chase vehicle. Because we visit with people with disabilities, and take them different places we need a wide range of clothes for when we go to the movies or at one point we play wheelchair basketball with them.

    I'm not sure if this will be my only tour, i'm doing Bike to the Bay which is a short ride just as a bit of training and i used to be a Cross Country runner for high school and i'm a lifeguard (shout out to steve) so i'm thinking i might try a triathelon next spring ( or there is one in cincinatti this coming fall if i'm ready)

    I actually, just picked up the trek maybe half hour ago, i haven't gotten to fully try it out yet. the bike i had before that was bianchi(sp?) bike i bought for 100 bucks off craigslist. The main problems with it are, the tires where installed with a wierd tube that requires a special pump piece. the way the brakes are set (like the in picture) it's hard to stop and expecially with the roads i'm riding on are necessary. It's a lot of small problems that add up, but it was a freebee so i'm far from complaining plus i've owned dirtbikes for almost as long as i've rode bicycles so i'm hoping to be able to change the brakes and maybe just buy new tires.

    thanks for all the advice, it's really helping. i've been lurking on these forums all day. wishin it wasn't sunday so i could get this bike fixed up.

    and definitely looking at ebay and craigslist, have been for a little while

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    Quote Originally Posted by TyluhS View Post
    I actually, just picked up the trek maybe half hour ago, i haven't gotten to fully try it out yet.
    My number one suggestion to you would be to use a bike that "fits you properly". Regardless of type, or price- the number one thing to concern yourself with- especially on a bike tour of this length, is bike fit. A $100 bike that is the right size will out perform a $5000 bike that isn't (comfort wise, that is- and comfort is KING on a tour such as you have in mind).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifeguardsteve View Post
    A $100 bike that is the right size will out perform a $5000 bike that isn't (comfort wise, that is- and comfort is KING on a tour such as you have in mind).
    you know... that makes one heckuva lot of sense. i just got off the phone with my big asking a few questions as i finish up this application. and apparently it's more like 20-30mph, and i think this bike will be good for training. but the gear ratio on this is strange, and not smooth. so my idea right now is to get a better gear system, then buy a better (lighter but stronger) frame, forks, and handlebars, then transfer the pedals, new gears and tires to that one.

    do you think this would work? or with it being an older bike the sizes and what not will be different (mainly for the gears, b/c i'm probably going to get fresh tires before the trip)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TyluhS View Post
    you know... that makes one heckuva lot of sense. i just got off the phone with my big asking a few questions as i finish up this application. and apparently it's more like 20-30mph, and i think this bike will be good for training. but the gear ratio on this is strange, and not smooth. so my idea right now is to get a better gear system, then buy a better (lighter but stronger) frame, forks, and handlebars, then transfer the pedals, new gears and tires to that one.

    do you think this would work? or with it being an older bike the sizes and what not will be different (mainly for the gears, b/c i'm probably going to get fresh tires before the trip)
    The modern components (for the most part) will not easily fit on to a bike that old. And purchasing piece by piece is usually more expensive than buying the same things all together on a "complete" bike. My suggestion to you would be to train on whatever you have now- find out what your proper size is for various "complete" bikes you may be considering- and then purchase the one that best suites you needs (for this trip and future use) when you have the money for it.

    Edit- Are you doing the 2009 or 2010 ride? If it's the 2009 ride (which I'm guessing it is), aside from proper fit- the next best thing you can do is to put in as many miles in daily as possible. With only two weeks or so before the trip begins you are well "behind the curve" for being ready and trained for such a trip. You have no choice at this point than to "shape up" DURING the first week or two of the tour (not physical shape- but distance bike riding shape)- but not to worry- I'm sure you won't be the only one in that group that will suffer a bit in the beginning- and you'll still enjoy it.

    Second Edit :-) I seen now that you are doing the 2010 ride- good thing! :-) You have plenty of time to get it all set up right since you have started early in preparing :-)
    Last edited by lifeguardsteve; 05-24-09 at 01:36 PM.

  12. #12
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    HAHA, def. wouldn't be ready in two weeks. i'm going to be doing it next year. i should be up on the site by the end of June, just between work and summer applications and the 3 essay's this is taking a while to compete.
    (if you look though, you can see Scott Brenstuhl who's my big that i was talking about earlier)

    yeah, i'm trying to get everything in shape and ready because i don't want to be "THAT GUY" holding everyone up. plus i really enjoy the outdoors, and i don't want to be so tired i can't watch my surroundings.

    but i'm taking your advice to heart for real, i've been looking at bicycles all day. i plan on visiting a few bike shops this week. and just seeing what fits, then once the application is done i'm going to start the fundraising process. if it wasn't for such a good cause i don't think i'd bother with the 3 essay's, fundraising plan, and the rest of the application process.
    ... i didn't apply to some colleges because the application was so long and here i am doing one that's taken over 4 hours already

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I have two road bikes: a Surly LHT (touring bike) and a Specialized Allez (racing-style). For the ride you describe I'd definitely take the Allez, mainly because it's so much lighter. I did the RAGBRAI years ago in Iowa (supposedly pretty flat) and averaged a bit over 80 miles a day and it was tough! If I were you I'd look for a light, fast road bike. You can often find a good deal on a Specialized Allez or Trek 1000 or 1500 on Ebay. Others here or on the road bike forum might be able to recommend some good, entry-level road bikes to look for.

    Others have suggested you consider getting a "real" tourer in case you get the touring bug. This isn't bad advice, but touring bikes, like my LHT, are usually heavy. My recommendation would be to get the best bike for this ride - it's a long, hard, challenging endeavor, and you'll want to be on a bike suited to the task. If you do get the touring bug, you'll find a way to get a real touring bike later.

    Put some thought into what saddle to use. Your butt will probably give you more trouble than any other body part on a long ride like this with many successive long days. Consider a Brooks. Not everyone likes them, but I'd say they're the most popular choice on this forum. I have a Brooks Champion Flyer on my touring bike and it's the best saddle I've got (and I"ve got a lot.) It's heavy because of the springs. More people choose the B-17, which is the same saddle without the springs.

    Consider padded Spandex bike shorts - not just for the padding, but also because they prevent chafing, which can be another problem on long tours. I'd rather be comfortable and look dorky than look cool and have burning, chafed nether regions!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TyluhS View Post
    I do a lot of hiking/backpacking (New mexico/colorado) so i have a camelback i'm going to wear that holds my phone, water and what not. but other than that everything is in the chase vehicle. Because we visit with people with disabilities, and take them different places we need a wide range of clothes for when we go to the movies or at one point we play wheelchair basketball with them.

    I'm not sure if this will be my only tour, i'm doing Bike to the Bay which is a short ride just as a bit of training and i used to be a Cross Country runner for high school and i'm a lifeguard (shout out to steve) so i'm thinking i might try a triathelon next spring ( or there is one in cincinatti this coming fall if i'm ready)

    I actually, just picked up the trek maybe half hour ago, i haven't gotten to fully try it out yet. the bike i had before that was bianchi(sp?) bike i bought for 100 bucks off craigslist. The main problems with it are, the tires where installed with a wierd tube that requires a special pump piece. the way the brakes are set (like the in picture) it's hard to stop and expecially with the roads i'm riding on are necessary. It's a lot of small problems that add up, but it was a freebee so i'm far from complaining plus i've owned dirtbikes for almost as long as i've rode bicycles so i'm hoping to be able to change the brakes and maybe just buy new tires.

    thanks for all the advice, it's really helping. i've been lurking on these forums all day. wishin it wasn't sunday so i could get this bike fixed up.

    and definitely looking at ebay and craigslist, have been for a little while
    If the Trek fits, ride it into the ground and learn all you can about bicycles before you spend money replacing it. If it fits and is in decent condition, and if you've got a support vehicle to carry most of your gear you should be able to ride it across the US.

    What's wrong with the way the brakes are set up? The picture looks like a standard set up for brake levers. You should be able to ride on the drops (lower part of the handlebars) for long periods, especially when riding into the wind or cranking up long hills, especially at the pace you say you'll be traveling at.

    The tubes seem to have Presta valves, which are not "weird" for good quality road bikes or mountain bikes. Lots of pumps can be switched from Presta to Schraeder valves pretty easily (Schraeder valves are the car tire valves found on most low priced bicycles that let you fill the tire and blow it off the rim at gas stations). I would be very surprised if a lot of the bikes on the ride didn't have Presta valves, they're pretty common on better quality bikes.

    The Trek in the picture wasn't at the top of Trek's line up when it was made, but it certainly wasn't the cheapest, either. Based on the pictures and specifications, the frame is certainly high quality. I have a feeling that it could be a much better bike than you realize for what you have in mind. Find out what other people have used on this ride, and learn as much as you can before you spend too much money on equipment.

    Definitely invest in a couple pair of good padded cycling shorts if you're going to ride serious distances. If you change saddles, look for something fairly narrow and firm, and let the padding in your shorts do the cushioning. Brooks saddles are nice (they're on two of my bikes) but they do cost, and there are lower priced options that work quite well.

    If you don't have clipless pedals, train on a pair of shoes with reasonably stiff soles until you can get a decent set of shoes and clipless pedals. Before clipless pedals were invented in the mid '80s, people won the Tour de France, rode across the US, and did everything else on ordinary pedals with toe clips and straps, just like the ones on the bike in your link. So don't feel like you have to run out and buy new shoes and pedals just yet.

    You seem to be young enough and fit enough to overcome any minor shortcomings in your equipment, so don't get too hung up on having absolutely perfect equipment.
    Last edited by markf; 05-25-09 at 11:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    Consider padded Spandex bike shorts - not just for the padding, but also because they prevent chafing, which can be another problem on long tours. I'd rather be comfortable and look dorky than look cool and have burning, chafed nether regions!
    yeah i'm looking at the narrow bike seats the ones that NEED to wear padded bike shorts on. but for now i believe it is the "stock" seat.

    and yeah, i've been dirtbiking (motorized not biking in the dirt) for a long time and have never seen the presta(sp?) valves till yesterday but now that i figured them out they aren't bad, only problem is the back tire is flat and all bike shops are closed today so i just cleaned it up a bit and took off the front basket, the old spedometer, and put on a thing for a water bottle.

    as for the brakes, yeah well searching i realized most bikes have the brakes like that i guess i never really saw many touring bikes and i just thought this was strange, definitely something i will have to get used to.

    the pedals are already the clip in kind, i think they're called quick release. relatively small and the front just clips in.

    basically so far, i'm just trying to get everything ready. i'll probably be heading to the a bike shop tomorrow and getting a spedometer, a tube for the back tire, and just some overall tools incase of a flat.

    any suggestions on a bicycle computer/odometer or whatever they're called? i want one that can calculate the cadence as well ( been doing my research)

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    http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/407 makes good computers.

    http://www.avocet.com/cyclopages/cyclo.html are good computers too. I've got the Avocet 45tt on my road bike, I like it.

  17. #17
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    second question:
    found some tubeless tires online and they're not too expensive. is that a good thing to do on a ride of this distance? i used the search function and read this

    Tube vs. Tubeless

    but i still am pretty confused. do these normally go on mountain bike tires because that's what everyone in that part was talking about

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TyluhS View Post
    second question:
    found some tubeless tires online and they're not too expensive. is that a good thing to do on a ride of this distance? i used the search function and read this

    Tube vs. Tubeless

    but i still am pretty confused. do these normally go on mountain bike tires because that's what everyone in that part was talking about
    Tubeless bicycle tires were developed so that mountain bikers could run their tires at lower pressures for better flotation and grip in loose stuff without worrying about pinch flats. I don't think they're widely used, if they're used at all, on road bikes.I can't think of any advantages to using them on a road bike. At any rate, they require a special rim which I doubt that your Trek has, or something to seal up all the spoke holes on a regular rim.

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    You better start riding your arse Off if you think your going to average 20-30mph.......

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    @gumballer: Oh i'm well aware. that's why i'm starting over a year early.

    and thanks MarkF, i was just looking at some new tires and saw some for a road bike and just curious how they worked.

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    What do you think?

    this is the bike i'm currently "training" on,
    i need a new tube for the front and the actually treading on the tires. being 20 years old the guy at the bike store referred to them as "wooden" but yeah.

    what do you think?

  22. #22
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    You Trek looks like it would be a great bike for supported touring. I would concentrate right now on making sure it fits right -- that is, the correct saddle height and position, stem height and reach, handlebars adjusted (brake levers look awfully low to me). Find a good mechanic/bike shop that can evaluate your fit and offer suggestions.

    Stay away from tubeless tires. You need some good quality clinchers, preferable folding because they are lighter, and at least 25 mm wide. You might want to consider fenders and a rear rack.

    You seat comfort is also very important. Yours is an Avocet, which are supposed to be comfortable, but saddle comfort is very individual. See if your local bike shop will let you try some different models so you can find one that fits you. If all else fails, lots of cyclists have found that Brooks leather saddles are the most comfortable once you get the properly adjusted and broken in.

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    That bike looks new! either it's hardly been ridden or it's been very well cared for, or both. Usually the brake pads scrub the anodizing off the rims, but that doesn't seem to have happened yet with this bike. The bike still has all the reflectors it came with and it still has the silly stupid spoke guard behind the cassette. I don't see any scuff marks from shoes on the crank arm, either.

    I still have one of those Avocet saddles on my 1988 Marinoni, the one that I keep at my parent's house for when I visit them. They're very comfortable once you adjust the position, I've done up to 150 miles in a day on mine.

    If that bike fits you then I think it's all the bike you need for your cross country trip next year.

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    (brake levers look awfully low to me). Find a good mechanic/bike shop that can evaluate your fit and offer suggestions.
    i thought that too, they're kind of hard to press but i'll probably change them when i redo the tape on it. as for the bike shop, yeah i was goin to today but couldn't make it before they closed

    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post
    That bike looks new! either it's hardly been ridden or it's been very well cared for, or both. .
    it was really dirty, when i got it, but not from use more or less from dust collected from sitting in their garage these past few years.

    what's wrong with this seat? i mean, i was thinking about buying a new one but this is the one i was going to be rocking for a little bit because i can't afford a new seat plus the biker shorts.

    second, maybe this is just because i've only used it once. but HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF THOSE PEGS EASILY! i couldn't get my right foot out for the life of me the other oen just wiggled loose

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    The brake levers look fine to me, they seem to be set up for you to ride on the drops (lower part of the handlebars) more than on the upper part of the handlebars. Try riding that way for a while, you might like that position. Riding on the drops is more aerodynamic and lets you power up hills faster than riding on the upper part of the bars.

    Nothing wrong with the saddle, I've done up to 150 miles in a day on a very similar (maybe identical) saddle. There should be a bolt (6mm Allen key?) underneath the saddle clamping it onto the seat post. You can loosen that bolt to tilt the saddle or slide it back and forth to vary the position and get it just right for you. The brooks saddles that a couple people have mentioned are very nice, but they're expensive, heavy (except the titanium railed models) and need a little more care than your Avocet saddle. If the saddle that's on the bike works, don't mess with it.

    You should be able to get out of the pedals by twisting your foot sideways out of the pedals. If the cleat on the shoe is loose it will turn when you twist your foot and you'll have a horrible time getting your foot out. There's also an adjustment for the spring tension on the pedal.

    How tall are you? That frame looks like a smaller size. Has someone who knows bicycles seen you on the bike and checked the fit?

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