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Old 02-20-10, 05:09 PM   #1
BesidesDaniel
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First tour-Touring from Atlanta to Chicago. Tips?

Hello all, So I'm setting out this May (2010) for a two week tour up to Chicago from my home here in Atlanta. This is an ambitious undertaking as my first tour, so I'm seeking some tips and some pointers. I biked exclusively here in Atlanta as I did not have a car for over a year so I feel somewhat qualified to speed this amount of time on my bike. At the same time I feel as if I'm taking a large risk doing this alone, but with the right preparation and information I feel there is no reason why a 27 year old male can't go out and kick some a#% for two weeks on his bike.

I'll be stopping every 60 miles or so to do an intimate house show (i play folk music). Guitars will be provided wherever I go, and I'll have a place to crash & shower every night. So maybe this is not a "real" tour... So there are a few things I will not need as far as cooking supplies and sleeping gear. The journey will be about 800 miles & it will take me 15 days to pedal it all. I plan on flying home from Chicago after I've sold my bike to someone there in the windy city (God Bless Craigslist). I will leave on May the 26th from Atlanta & fly home on June the 12th from Chicago after a few days of biking about Chicago & seeing some old friends.

while I'm posting...
This is my route. Do you or anyone you know want me to stop in & play a show for you?

May 26th - Rome Ga
May 27th - Chattanooga TN
May 28th - Manchester TN
May 29th - Murfreesboro TN
May 30th - Nashville TN
May 31st - Bowling Green KY
June 1st - Owensboro KY
June 2nd - Evansville IN
June 3rd - Vicennes IN
June 4th - Terra Haute IN
June 5th - indianapolis IN
June 6th - lafayette IN
June 7th - kentland IN
June 8th - Gary IN
June 9th - Chicago IL

So do you veteran tourists think I'll be crushed by this schedule? The four days between Roma Ga to Nashville Tn will be full of mountains so I'm looking into what that will mean as far as ride times & all.

I'll be riding a mid 90s Giant Kronos ten speed.

Please check out this Google map of all my stops if you have time and would like to offer some words of encouragement, sanity, or wisdom.

http://besidesdanielband.blogspot.com/

THANKS FOR ANY HELP!
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Old 02-20-10, 05:16 PM   #2
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Good Plan. Have fun.
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Old 02-20-10, 05:55 PM   #3
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I recently cycled from Rome,Ga to Aurora,In. Have you checked out: WWW.CRAZYGUYONABIKE.COM , Couch surfing, Warm Showers? What's your gearing on the bike/tires? I used Bontrager Hardcase with no flats. Make sure your brakes are in order/Coolstop pads would be nice.. Please feel free to Contact me at FranceArmstrong@gmail.com. Glenn
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Old 02-20-10, 05:57 PM   #4
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Great plan you've got there. Sounds like lots of fun. Hope it all works out for you.

You mentioned that you felt it was risky riding alone? How's that? It's a lot riskier pedaling around a metropolitan area than on the open road. BTW, it is a real tour.
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Old 02-20-10, 05:58 PM   #5
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You haven't allowed any rest days.

I usually plan one rest day for every 4 riding days. I don't always take them but I often look forward to a day off the bike.

Ray
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Old 02-20-10, 06:08 PM   #6
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60 miles a day, he won't need a rest day.
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Old 02-20-10, 06:24 PM   #7
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Ray, great point... noted... I should be on my bike about five to six hours a day @ 15 mph So would anyone call this a strenuous tour? average? or wimpy?

I'll most likely need a rest day but as I've already plotted everything out I might not get one. perhaps I could get someone to pick me up halfway in order to get a rest day in... or a semi rest day... but prolly not.

Cyclebum, Thanks for the encouragement. I thought it might be risky, but as I've never really done anything like this, I really don't know. That is what brings me back to this forum.

France/Glenn, what was the ride like through the mountains? did you go through Chattanooga?

Oh and.... any place to get some good panniers?

thanks!
-Daniel
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Old 02-20-10, 06:28 PM   #8
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Oh and.... any place to get some good panniers?
Stop by the REI on the way out of town.
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Old 02-20-10, 07:49 PM   #9
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Daniel, I went south and west of Chattanooga from Rome,Ga..Big Texas Valley Rd,Friday Rd, 100,48,117,11,41,28,111,127 and so on to Aurora. The first good climb was just out of Menlo on 48 up cloudland to the Ala. line. Next good climb was @ Dunlap,Tn heading nw on 111. Put the biggest cassette/freewheel that you can on your bike. Much more info available.. I use the Nashbar waterproof panniers bought from ebay/50 bucks a set shipping included. Glenn

Last edited by France; 02-20-10 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 02-21-10, 11:51 AM   #10
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To me, 60 miles a day is a lot, even without a big load. Maybe I'm a wimp, maybe I'm just trying to be the voice of caution. I try and "bank" rest days, meaning I allow for them in my itinerary, but take them as the mood or circumstances strike me, not according to some predetermined schedule. Sometimes I'll ride two weeks without a rest day, and sometimes I'll take one on the third day of a trip. It all depends.

This sounds like a great trip. Have fun.
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Old 02-22-10, 08:18 AM   #11
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Sounds like a great trip. I think 60 miles/day is very doable if you are in shape and the weather cooperates. However, it might be tough to ride 60 miles if you have some rough weather some days.
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Old 02-22-10, 01:48 PM   #12
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Sounds like a lot of fun.
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Old 02-22-10, 01:59 PM   #13
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To me 60 miles is easy and I wouldn't want to take a rest day on just a two week tour. Everyone here has a different idea of comfort and distance. Fitness and how much rose smelling they like to do. Even if you only average 10 mph it's only 6 hours out of a day.. Plenty time to see what is around you and take breaks throughout the day.

If you've spent the last year car free and are in pretty good shape. The miles you intend should be more than reasonable. If you can keep a 15 mph average with a loaded bike.. It will need to be pretty flat riding. Plan on 10-14mph and anything higher is a bonus.

Have a safe trip.... but by all mean do it!
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Old 02-22-10, 06:53 PM   #14
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Stop by the REI on the way out of town.
You could come stop my shop, as an alternative. Bicycle South in Decatur, we have all sorts of touring equipment, and are new Ortlieb and Tubus dealers. I can set you up with what you need.

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Old 02-22-10, 06:54 PM   #15
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That schedule is pretty doable, especially for a first tour. Depending on your route the blue ridge and appalachians can be pretty brutal.
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