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  1. #1
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    First century... planning ahead

    This summer I will be going on vacation at the other side of the country. As I don't want to be trapped in the car all the way, or in the train, which may be even worse, I am planning on riding the bike there.

    The total distance is 155 miles. For some of you that may be a piece of cake. For some even, a very small piece... For me on the other hand, being a bike commuter who ride a mere 30 miles a day, it's quite an adventure.

    Weather will probably be comfortable, maybe a soft breeze and temperatures between 68F-86F. I usually ride at an average speed of 17 miles an hour which results in a 9 hour bike ride. Whether I will make it one day is still a riddle, but I'm willing to make a stop overnight at a hotel.

    There are some things I am not certain about, and you may be able to tell me a bit more.

    What do I need to pack?
    All my clothes for the vacation will be transported by car, so I'm not worrying about that.
    What are the essentials I need on a 9 hour bike ride?

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    Traveling with a bike can be troublesome and sometimes expensive. So if you only plan 155 miles, you might want to see if you can rent.

    Next, you have to decide whether you are going to do this in one day or two. What you need to take will vary a lot between these two plans.

    If you will do it in one day, start early. Study some maps to figure out where you will be able to get food and water. If the weather is good, you probably won't have to carry much more than some snacks, some water, flat repair stuff, a cell phone, and some money and an ID.

    If you will do it in two days, do everything above, plus figure out where you will be staying overnight. Make a reservation at the hotel if necessary. Take along some clothes to change into for the overnight. You can wash out your cycling clothes in the sink and hang them up to dry--if the climate will be arid enough that the clothes will dry overnight (perhaps with a bit of help from a heat lamp or hair dryer), then you won't need a change of cylcing clothes. You'll also need to take along some toiletries and sunscreen. How you carry this depends. You might consider a seat-post mounted trunk bag, or a small pannier if you have a rack on the bike.

  3. #3
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    It's not just the 155 miles I will be doing. I'll ride another 155 miles back as well
    But besides that I know the area I'm going to has awesome scenery, so I was planning on riding for several days during the vacation as well.

    It's basically a road bike, without any eyelets for a rack or whatever. So I will be using a handlebar bag I have, and might get a seatpost trunk bag as well.

  4. #4
    rhm
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    You might want to post this in "long distance cycling" rather than touring; this is the kind of thing long distance riders do all the time. But really, all you need is sufficient water and food, tools to repair flat tires etc., some basic toiletries, sunglasses, and the pain killer of choice (aceteminophen, ibuprofen, your call). If you're not used to 9 hours in the saddle, your neck will be pretty tired by the 100 mile mark, and will only get worse after that.

  5. #5
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    I don't know what kind of shape you're in, but 155 miles is a hell of a long day's ride, especially for a first attempt. You won't be carrying much of anything, so you should be able to make pretty good time, but i think 9 hours might be rather over-optimistic. I'd say you'd be doing well if you were on your bike for only 12 hours, not counting breakfast, lunch, dinner & breaks time. If you're set on doing it in a day, i'd suggest leaving a couple of hours before dawn and expect to arrive well after dusk. I'm not trying to disuade you, because it is do-able; I've done over 200 in a day with loaded panniers, but that was in a 24 hour period when I was a lot younger. if you are into athletic challenges, I'd say go for it.

    On the other hand, you might actually enjoy it a lot more if you were to do it over two days.

    in addition to JN's advice on what to bring, I would suggest not only studying maps, but to bring them along. cities can be tricky to navigate at times, and roads can be closed. a basic first aid kit would be prudent, and some high-energy tunes can help keep you motivated.

    have a good ride!


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    I think that you need to plan for Two Days.

    Your body starts to feel Wear at about 40 miles if your not used to Long Distance riding.
    Hands, arms, back, butt, foot problems begin to develop.

    You will need lights if you do not have any.
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  7. #7
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    You might also call ahead if you know where you'll be staying, to make sure they'll let you keep your bike in your room. I've been denied this by both a fleabag motel in Santa Fe, NM, and by a Best Western(IIRC) in Corpus Christi, TX. The one in Corpus took place immediately after a rain soaked, 40 degree, 158 mile ride. I about went nuts, especially since we told them we were bringing bikes in when we made the reservation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreddyV View Post
    I usually ride at an average speed of 17 miles an hour which results in a 9 hour bike ride. Whether I will make it one day is still a riddle, but I'm willing to make a stop overnight at a hotel.


    What do I need to pack?
    All my clothes for the vacation will be transported by car, so I'm not worrying about that.
    What are the essentials I need on a 9 hour bike ride?
    If I understand you correctly you are accustomed to a 17mph pace for 15miles with the whole day and night to recover before repeating the same pace.

    Have you ever ridden 30 miles nonstop at an average 17mph pace, or 50, 100? If you haven't I would suggest your math may be correct but it's not based in reality.

    Break it up into three comfortable days, or two with an option of three if you've never experienced an 80 mile day. When I was 25 I was very fit and rode 170 miles in eleven hours with five or so ten minute stops. That 17mph average was bracketed with climbing fast up big hills at 10mph and flying on flat downwind stretches at 25mph and downhill as safely as gravity would take me. It was not the same as eleven 15miles bike rides added together, it's harder.

    All you need to bring are the things you need for the ride and time on the bike. Clothes for the ride temps you'll experience , toothbrush, water, snacks, two spare tubes,patch kit and allen wrenches. Don't do any work on the bike for a weeks worth of riding before the trip. Get off the road before dark and give yourself time to rest for the next day. Turning it into a slug fest might be to your taste but it's also a great way to get injured if you pile on too many "firsts".

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Maybe your motivation for this idea is to test yourself, or perhaps wow ppl with your endurance. If so, go for it.

    Proper nutrition and hydration will be very, very important. If you won't have at least 12 hours of daylight, better outfit the bike with proper lighting. A seat post rack and bag should hold all you'll need, mostly high energy food, unless there are plenty of stores along the route.

    Eat a bunch of carbs and don't ride at all the day before to allow your body time to store glycogen. Cadence no lower than 60 rpm, higher being better. Target a pace of about 15 mph. Pray for a tail wind.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  10. #10
    nun
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    155 miles in a single day, result, agony!
    155 miles in two days, result joy!

    If you aren't a long distance rider and accustomed to doing 100 mile days then I strongly advise you to split your 155 mile journey into two days and stay in a hotel for one night. I recently rode 90 miles to visit friends and it took me 6 hours of pedalling with 2 hours for rest and eating, so 8 hours total and I was ready to rest at the end. Most cyclists can work up to 100 mile days, but it takes a few months and then the next step to 100 plus mile days is difficult. Go over to the "Long Distance" forum and ask what they think.

    http://wheelsofchance.org/2009/11/08...with-pleasure/

    If most of your stuff will be going by car you don't need much on the bike. maybe the following

    Usual tools and spare parts, tubes, bike lock etc.
    phone, wallet
    First aid kit
    change of clothing
    wash kit
    rain gear
    food and water bottles

  11. #11
    Numb Member asphalt junkie's Avatar
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    I can tell you from experience that a 100-mile day, even if you're in decent shape, is a big deal. A 75-mile day also is a very serious ride, though most people who do some regular riding and are in good health can do it if it's not too hilly. I think the poster who suggested three days is onto something. If you plan to do it in two, I recommend you train consistently through the spring to make it enjoyable.

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    Slightly off topic but how challenging do you (all) think averaging 60-65 miles a day is on the TransAmerica fully loaded? What kind of endurance should you have before leaving?

    If I go I would leave in June. The most I have ridden so far is 32 miles on an old bike that doesn't fit me and 1/2 the gears don't work (could have easily gone further and felt fine next day). My LHT arrived yesterday and I'm picking it up today so going to start stepping it up. I have a lot of mountains near me and one route I plan to train with is riding over the Santa Monica Mountains to the beach from the San Fernando Valley if anybody is familiar. To/From the beach taking Topanga is 30 miles from my house round trip (can easily be made longer). Will also do a few 3 day rides prior to June and potentially SF to LA.

  13. #13
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubermensch84 View Post
    Slightly off topic but how challenging do you (all) think averaging 60-65 miles a day is on the TransAmerica fully loaded? What kind of endurance should you have before leaving?

    If I go I would leave in June. The most I have ridden so far is 32 miles on an old bike that doesn't fit me and 1/2 the gears don't work (could have easily gone further and felt fine next day). My LHT arrived yesterday and I'm picking it up today so going to start stepping it up. I have a lot of mountains near me and one route I plan to train with is riding over the Santa Monica Mountains to the beach from the San Fernando Valley if anybody is familiar. To/From the beach taking Topanga is 30 miles from my house round trip (can easily be made longer). Will also do a few 3 day rides prior to June and potentially SF to LA.
    You start having problem after 40 miles. Last year I had 226 rides, and averaged 70.45 miles per ride.
    65 miles a day fully loaded is about equal to a no loaded 100 mile day.
    The hills, winds and the heat wear you down.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    I am always amazed by folks who think that because they have ridden X miles with no problem, that 2X or 3X (Heck, now we're talking 5X) should be doable. My advice (and I have done as many as five 100 miles days in a row) is that if you have not trained to do a 155 mile day, you have virtually no chance of pulling it off...at least not without some serious discomfort or injury. The only way you'l pull this off without being miserable is to train for it.

    I'll give you an example of what happened to me. While I was training for a transamerican tour, I was doing 50-60 mile days with zero issues. Since my tour average was to be 85miles/day, I really felt that I needed to put in some 80-100 mile days before I left. On my first training century, at 80 miles I developed incredibly painful hot spots on the balls of my feet. I was able to solve the problem with different pedals, but this was something that I would never have found until I stressed the system. If I'd had anther 55 miles to go I would have quit.

    Until your body gets acclimated to riding long distances, a ride well in excess of what you're used to will expose all of your weaknesses. Not what you want to discover while on your 155 mile ride.

    Better to train for it and then enjoy the feeling of knocking off that monumental ride on the day it happens.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it. I have incredible amounts of respect for anyone being able to pull off 80+ miles a day. I am splitting up the trip into several days.

    Now, what I still need some more info on, is what do I need to pack for a two, maybe even a three day trip?

  16. #16
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    Minimally:

    Bike repair stuff: Puncture kit, multitool, pump.
    Off-bike clothes: 1 set
    Riding clothes: 1 set, hand wash and hang dry nightly in hotel room
    Nutrition and hydration as necessary depending on resupply possibilities on route - the fewer the stores you'll have or stops you care to make, the more you'll need to carry. Minimally, I like a full bottle of water or sport drink every 25-30 miles on a warmish day.

    Be aware that you can lose a lot of time, finding, stopping and shopping at stores, but that's where your possibilities for rich interactions with locals happen

  17. #17
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreddyV View Post
    Now, what I still need some more info on, is what do I need to pack for a two, maybe even a three day trip?
    Where will you stay? (friends? motel? camp?) What will you eat? If you want to do a camping trip you need a tent, sleeping bag, and if you want to cook your own food a stove with fuel, a pot or pots, utensils. Add riding clothes, bike tools, and enough water bottles you can make it between water refuellings.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Freddy,

    Smart decision. Describe the style of trip you plan....hotels and restaurants or camping and cooking?

    I think that there are numerous packing lists hidden in the archives here somewhere. But you should start with what style of tour you plan.

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    what a bunch of lame responses. but what do you expect from a bunch of weak tourers is their 50s. i say, if you want do it, go for it. 150 is a day isn't impossible. especially if you prolong the ride and take some breaks to rest throughout the day. hell, i did around 230 miles in a day without a bunch of endurance training or any of that bs, just riding from 6 am to midnight. don't let these guys get to you. i am of the opinion that the touring forums on bf are full of middle-aged pansies.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Whether you can make it in one day, or two days or more, totally depends on you. Just because you haven't done it before doesn't mean that you are not perfectly capable of doing it. Just because you "only" commute 30 miles a day doesn't mean you can't do a long ride. Don't listen to the armchair internet experts. If someone doesn't know you, they can't tell you what you can or can't do, they are just relating to themselves.

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    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    vegenaise sniped me....

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    155 miles (250 km) in a day is very doable .... even comfortably doable, if you've built up to it. Since you're not planning to do this ride for a while, you can build up to it.

    In 2003, for example, I did a relaxed and comfortable (and remarkably fast) 380 km ride all in one day around Manitoba. I stopped to take breaks, stopped to take photos, and just enjoyed the day.

    In 2004, a friend and I cycled to a beach about 115 km north of Winnipeg. By the time we counted in the ride to downtown Winnipeg at the start and cycling out of Winnipeg, the whole day worked out to 327 km (202 miles). It was a lovely day. We cycled to the beach, spent some time at the beach, and then cycled back.


    Freddy - go to the Long Distance forum for questions like this. This is the Touring forum. People here don't generally ride more than about 100 km a day ... but they may do that for several days in a row. The Long Distance forum is mainly for ultra-long one-day rides like centuries, double centuries, brevets, and so on. The rides talked about in the Long Distance forum may be organized and structured rides ... or they may be just someone deciding to do a double century with a beach as a mid-point destination. The Long Distance people will understand your desire to do this ride better than a lot of strictly Touring people will.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegenaise View Post
    what a bunch of lame responses. but what do you expect from a bunch of weak tourers is their 50s. i say, if you want do it, go for it. 150 is a day isn't impossible. especially if you prolong the ride and take some breaks to rest throughout the day. hell, i did around 230 miles in a day without a bunch of endurance training or any of that bs, just riding from 6 am to midnight. don't let these guys get to you. i am of the opinion that the touring forums on bf are full of middle-aged pansies.
    why you whippersnapper....

  24. #24
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    Whether you can make it in one day, or two days or more, totally depends on you. Just because you haven't done it before doesn't mean that you are not perfectly capable of doing it. Just because you "only" commute 30 miles a day doesn't mean you can't do a long ride. Don't listen to the armchair internet experts. If someone doesn't know you, they can't tell you what you can or can't do, they are just relating to themselves.
    The OP gave a general description of his/her abilities and regular commute and from that I think that doing 155 miles without a few months good training will be a big challenge. Those sort of daily distances are easily done by randonneurs and stage race cyclists. But not every cyclist laughs at BMB or PBP and for the novice I think it's dangerous to indicate that all you have to do is get on the bike and ride. Some of us can knock out long miles without thinking about, but some empathy/caution for how a 30 mile a day cyclist might do on a 155 mile is only sensible.

  25. #25
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegenaise View Post
    what a bunch of lame responses. but what do you expect from a bunch of weak tourers is their 50s. i say, if you want do it, go for it. 150 is a day isn't impossible. especially if you prolong the ride and take some breaks to rest throughout the day. hell, i did around 230 miles in a day without a bunch of endurance training or any of that bs, just riding from 6 am to midnight. don't let these guys get to you. i am of the opinion that the touring forums on bf are full of middle-aged pansies.
    A bit OT, but I'm not really comfortable doing more than 100 miles in a day when touring just because I have other stuff to do besides riding, like laundry, making camp and sightseeing and I like to do that stuff while there's still plenty of daylight. If I have to do a longer day I will, but I find that multiple, back to back days over 80 miles just start to wear me down and take away from the other stuff I want to do. If the OP had some experience of century riding I would encourage him/her to go for the 155 mile single day.

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