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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 10-24-09, 09:26 AM   #1
karjak
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Anyone Tour Old School?

Don't know what the true definition of old school might be, but interested in what others may have done in the way of touring with primitive equimpmet and gear. My first ever tour was in May 1971 after just getting out of the Marines.

My route was from my base in South Carolina to my home in Michigan. My bike was a hardware store 5 speed Murray ill- fitted and ill-equiped. I rigged with a very primitive aluminum tubed rear rack and made a piece of T shaped metal brace in front on which to mount a vinyl satchell. Carried a mummy bag, sterno stove, space blanket, large tarp and a full size air pump amongst other things. On the two week journey I stealth camped all but 3 nights using the tarp wrapped around the bike as a tent when it rained.

Bike was not big enough for me and remember having to basically peddle on one leg for a time when right knee made a creaking sound every revoulution. Hardest part was going up through Chatanooga and through Smokies and also the most thrilling. One night pulled off onto a drive going into woods to camp and scared up a black bear. Got back on bike and kept pedaling through the night (without lite) tell I got on the outskirts of a town. Other thrilling and unique experiences along the way.

If I recall correctly I did not see another cyclist out touring my whole trip. Interested if there are others who remember touring way back when or who have toured with low tech equipment.



Permission needed to cross Savannah River Plant in Georgia - Carrying bag mouted on front


Somewhere in the Smokies


Tarp used as tent for overnight thunderstorm


Stealth camping along the trail

Last edited by karjak; 10-24-09 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 10-24-09, 10:05 AM   #2
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I love the B&W pic.
Seems like it was only a couple of years ago, eh?

Great story, thanks mucho! - - J
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Old 10-24-09, 10:15 AM   #3
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Do you know how far you rode? How many days? I think that this should be mandantory reading for all who are torn between the LHT and whatever and believe if they make a wrong choice it will ruin their ability to tour forever. Good job.
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Old 10-24-09, 11:05 AM   #4
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Do you know how far you rode? How many days? I think that this should be mandantory reading for all who are torn between the LHT and whatever and believe if they make a wrong choice it will ruin their ability to tour forever. Good job.
Using road maps for approx. milage, I came up with a little over a thousand miles. I got back to my homeplace in 14 days. No one knew I was doing it as I lied and shipped my seabag home telling family members I was hanging out with friends a few days and doing some travelling by car. Was a big suprise for my mother as she was hanging cloths on the line when I pullled up the driveway.
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Old 10-24-09, 11:13 AM   #5
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I love the B&W pic.
Seems like it was only a couple of years ago, eh?

Great story, thanks mucho! - - J
Thanks - I had called ahead to get permission to ride through the plant sanctuary to save miles. Made radioactive material there and highly restricted. When I got to the exit gate they had a reporter and photographer there who took pictures of me and did a story for their newspaper. They were nice enough to mail me copies to my home. Yeah seems like yesterday, don't know where the hair went!

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Old 10-24-09, 11:32 AM   #6
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I think that this should be mandatory reading for all who are torn between the LHT and whatever and believe if they make a wrong choice it will ruin their ability to tour forever.
Yes! This is what it's all about. Man(or woman) + bike + journey = wonderful experience.

Thank you Karjak for sharing your story, this brought back fond memories of my early teens. It was '72-'73, pre-drivers license, I'd head out on a cheap French 10-speed with twin rucksacks slung over a Pletscher rear rack. Bag, pad, and pup tent was bungeed on top. Food was bread, Spam, and gorp. Navigation equipment was a gas station road map, entertainment was a book and a collapsible fishing pole.

It is amazing how complicated things have become.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:41 PM   #7
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1973 out of highschool, draft ended a month before so I missed out on that. I had bought a 10spd Nishiki with half step gearing, 44/48 chainrings. 14-36 teeth I think. It was the least expensive model with aluminum rims. Panniers were made of waxed cardboard backing about 3" wide. I had a plastic tube tent, army surplus poncho, down bag, 1qt pot no stove . Rode and hitched from LA to Seattle, took the train back from Oregon. Made the mistake of starting a small fire while camping in Vandenburg Airforce Base. First lesson about stealth camping, don't start fires, they make smoke.
Further north it was a real treat to see the bridge over the Albion River. The last time I was there I was 9yrs old and here I was a month from 18yrs riding up the coast. Did about 90miles against the wind and had to stop for two days in Russian Gulch Park as my lungs were dried out from breathing so much, felt like I was breathing through a wet wash cloth. Six years later a friend and I opened a bike shop in Mendocino for six years.
I had been riding a 5spd Schwin for 5yrs all over LA and was ready for a few more gears and get "north".
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Old 10-25-09, 12:42 AM   #8
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I recently heard a story of a guy who went around the world on a Varsity? Not sure who it was.

My first tour took us two weeks to do 400 miles(through mountains mind you), with a rainfly (no tent) slung over my buddy's huge bike. A bike we found in an allyway 3 days before. Of course, that was last year

I love hearing these stories! I truly believe you don't need half the things they say you need on tour, I go super simple, and am loving it.
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Old 10-25-09, 03:23 AM   #9
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Great story, great pics...!
Sage & Cooper are riding single - speed bikes around the world ...

http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2009/...ycles-bikes-1/
http://http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2009/08/19/around-the-world-2-sage-co-are-somewhere-else-on-workcycles-bikes/
http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2009/...ive-in-london/
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Old 10-25-09, 04:41 AM   #10
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Dude I totally want some handlebars like those on your old bike. How totally rad?!
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Old 10-25-09, 04:02 PM   #11
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Back in the late 80's my brother rode from Waukegan to Macomb, IL on a single speed Huffy. About 275 miles. It was mid-summer so he used a tarp for shelter and a sheet to sleep in. I don't recall how many days it took.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:08 PM   #12
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Back in the late 80's my brother rode from Waukegan to Macomb, IL on a single speed Huffy. About 275 miles. It was mid-summer so he used a tarp for shelter and a sheet to sleep in. I don't recall how many days it took.
Now that is about as low-tech and old school as you can get! Have also enjoyed reading all the other primitive journey accounts.

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Old 10-26-09, 01:08 PM   #13
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Brings back alot of fun times.I had a better bike but everything else is the same,even the old army mountain bag and Boy Scout mess kit.

I still ride my same bike from 1978 though.....
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Old 10-26-09, 02:45 PM   #14
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Dude I totally want some handlebars like those on your old bike. How totally rad?!
You can still get them, it's what I'm using, photo and link below.


http://www.bikepartsusa.com/bikepart...ategory=search
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Old 10-26-09, 03:52 PM   #15
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yep,
you know, the thing I believe is that if you are out camping and you want to take lots and lots of stuff..........let me make a suggestion......why not go on a package tour and stay in a hotel for two weeks.....camping I believe is getting away from all that stuff....well for me anyway....little is best
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