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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 03-02-10, 01:32 PM   #1
zbikem
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touring for dummies

I have been thinking about doing a 2-3 day long tour for quite a while. I know, it's not much, but figure it will be a good way to break myself in. Clearly, I'm a newb...any good books on touring that anyone can recommend?
I am thinking of a short tour in northern MN or WI in the summer.
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Old 03-02-10, 01:33 PM   #2
zbikem
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ok never mind...i just saw the sticky. must be losing my eyes already...could've sworn that thread didn't exist a few mins ago
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Old 03-02-10, 08:22 PM   #3
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My advice:

Some research and planning is always good, but don't over-plan or convince yourself that you'll only set-off on the trip once you know everything there is to know; you'll never end-up going. Most tourers' first trips contained numerous small mistakes which were learnt from.

Take enough (and the right amount of stuff) to eat, repair your bike, wear etc. You'll learn more about what works/feels right by doing than by reading. Learn and read as much as you can, then set a date and GO!

I always feel the hardest part of the trip is the first five minutes. Actually starting the tour. Thinking is easy. Riding may/may not be easy. But that first step is the most important, and the most difficult

Goodluck.

Last edited by mattbicycle; 03-02-10 at 08:24 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-02-10, 11:33 PM   #4
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Your in SF, CA? I would do some bike camping in that area and test it out.

I love the 3 dollar hiker campsites.
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Old 03-03-10, 08:17 AM   #5
JohnyW
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I checked where I want to go. Packed things on my bike and started.

Yes it was possible without Internet and reading books.
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Old 03-03-10, 08:28 AM   #6
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I agree, making the first tour be from home makes it a lot easier - you don't have to deal with packing the bike & if things go drastically wrong you can get a ride home from a friend.

How about drive to Santa Cruz, ride to Monterrey, camp, then ride home the next day? Moderate distance, enough services, decent views, pretty flat. Or any loop up in the wine country would be nice.

Bicycle OUtfitter in Los Altos is very touring friendly, they might even have a clinic, I think they used to.
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Old 03-03-10, 08:44 AM   #7
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I've also noticed that REI in my area has had some touring clinics... Don't know if they are any good since I'm not interested but.... For someone who wants to get the basics they may be worth the time. Most times the clinics are free. Just a thought.

They also tend to have some mechanical clinics as well. I think they call them something like 101 and 102. Reminds me of college.

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Old 03-03-10, 08:44 AM   #8
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I, too, live in SF (assuming you mean San Francisco). The first overnighter I did was to Samuel P. Taylor state park past Fairfax. It is about 35 miles from my place, has a hiker biker site, showers, and it a nice ride.

The best route there can be found on the Marin County bike map, available at most bike shops around here.

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Old 03-03-10, 09:01 AM   #9
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Here I go again: Take a pen and notebook. Take notes about what you broght that was invaluable, what you brought that you didn't need, and what you wish you had brought. Have fun!
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Old 03-03-10, 10:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I, too, live in SF (assuming you mean San Francisco). The first overnighter I did was to Samuel P. Taylor state park past Fairfax. It is about 35 miles from my place, has a hiker biker site, showers, and it a nice ride.

The best route there can be found on the Marin County bike map, available at most bike shops around here.

Ray
+1 I love Samuel P Taylor park. If you want longer ride and don't want to take camping gear then you could ride to the point reyes hostel, which was my first overnighter.
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Old 03-03-10, 10:21 AM   #11
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+1 on SP Taylor. If you don't live exactly in SF then you can take BART and ride from the Embarcadero station across the Golden Gate Bridge and through Marin.

Another overnighter would be to go to Del Valle Region Park near Livermore. Take BART east to Dublin-Pleasanton station and then bike 20 miles (big hill though) to the park.

A good springtime multi-day trip is to go to Yosemite...Perhaps take the BART east to the Dublin-Pleasanton station and go from there...About two nights/three days one way.

To learn bike touring, a good idea is to take a couple of single overnighters to shake down your equipments and methods. As was suggested, make lists of what you took and used, didn't use, and shoulda/coulda used.

You will quickly get the hang of it.
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Old 03-03-10, 10:42 AM   #12
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As has already been said, rides from home are easier. Nice thing about short tours from San Francisco is that you'll almost certainly be within convenient reach of services, should you have forgotten some essential. From San Francisco, southbound 1 is nice, but the return trip is often into a pretty stout headwind if you don't set out early. A short-ish run to the hostel at Pigeon Point light puts you near Pescadero for food options. Then a run down to Santa Cruz or the hiker-biker campground at New Brighton in Capitola before returning would be a nice introduction. Not too hilly, challenging enough, and not particularly remote. The stunning scenery is a bonus.
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Old 03-03-10, 08:42 PM   #13
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Doing your shakedown tour locally makes more sense. Northern WI and MN can be pretty damn cold at night, even in the summer. I've seen about 30F lows in the Boundary waters before. In August. More than once. Not on the same trip. Locals swear it's unusual, but... In my opinion, the locals have had their brains frozen a few times too many . (I'm hoping that for once I get to see it trying to be hot in the Boundary Waters, but I'm not holding my breath...)

Things will be warmer near Lake Superior or Lake Michigan, but if it's a cold summer, not all *that* much warmer. And unfortunately, a cold summer does not dissuade the fearsome state bird. You will want DEET.

San Francisco winter conditions are probably decent prep for a cold summer up here. A cold LA winter is definitely comparable. LA will have more rain, and perhaps slightly sharper temperature swings, but otherwise is very like. (desert in rainy season vs giant bog in dry season)
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