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  1. #1
    Senior Member BesidesDaniel's Avatar
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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!

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Good Plan. Have fun.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  3. #3
    Armstrong
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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

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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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.
    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

  5. #5
    Bike touring webrarian
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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
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  6. #6
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    60 miles a day, he won't need a rest day.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  7. #7
    Senior Member BesidesDaniel's Avatar
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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

  8. #8
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BesidesDaniel View Post
    Oh and.... any place to get some good panniers?
    Stop by the REI on the way out of town.

  9. #9
    Armstrong
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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 06:58 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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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.

  11. #11
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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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.

  12. #12
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Sounds like a lot of fun.
    One Foot Less

  13. #13
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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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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  14. #14
    Zweckentfremdung enigmagic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mparker326 View Post
    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.


  15. #15
    Zweckentfremdung enigmagic's Avatar
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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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