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Old 06-27-10, 08:01 PM   #1
LiveFree
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New Touring Tips

I'm looking to ride from Florida to Indiana and need some suggestions. The trip is 1,100 and I have been thinking about 100-150 miles a day. Maybe less in the hills of Tennesse. Does this seem reasonable? I have been training mainly by commuting 18 miles six times a week. I also make one or two rides a week about 30-40 miles. I plan to do at least one longer ride (200 miles in 2 days) before I go in the fall. My plan is to camp mostly. I plan to use a bivy tent. I'm use to camping using only a blanket next a fire so a bivy tent is a step up. I thought I would mainly buy my meals since the route is mostly cities. Credit cards weight a lot less than carrying food too. I'm using a Trek 7500 that I'm going to put rear panniers and a handle bar bag on. So does this sound like a reasonable plan? Any suggestions? Also, if anyone has done this route I'm up for suggestions.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:07 PM   #2
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75 to 80 miles a day would be my guess as to real mileage.
One has to consider, rain, heat, high winds, rough roads, flat tires, food stops, getting lost, sore butt, legs, other pains.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:24 PM   #3
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While doing 100- 150 miles a day is doable if you train yourself to handle such distances, it won't be as enjoyable as doing less mileage every day.

Also, if you plan to do this kind of distance, you have to make sure to carry enough repair gear (and know how to use it) to get back on the road quickly should something break on the bike.

In my experience, it can be hard to coordinate places to camp with restaurants. If you plan on doing high mileage, you will need to eat lots of food before, during and after your day's ride. Since you aren't going to carry cooking gear, you will need to find a place for breakfast soon after starting out or risk running out of energy at the beginning of the day. Of course, you can carry breakfast foods that require not cooking but you said that you didn't want to carry food. If you are going to have to carry food, you may as well carry cooking gear and eat well.

Good luck,

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Old 06-27-10, 08:37 PM   #4
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One could do 150 a day if they biked for 10 hours a day, but most touring people like to go at a bit more relaxed pace. 18 miles a day is way different than 100 or 150. That's 700 - 1050 a week compared to the 108 you're doing now. I ride about the same amount per week as you, and I don't think I could do 150 two days in a row. Maybe 100, but I don't think I'd enjoy it very much. Most people that I've talked to typically do around 50 miles a day, some a bit more. Touring is supposed to be fun, not a brutal training exercise. Those come in the months prior I think you should train a bit harder, try to do a couple 50 milers a week if you have the time.

And good luck
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Old 06-27-10, 08:52 PM   #5
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No way would I want to do that kind of miles. I am in great shape and ride many more miles then you but would never think of riding that many miles each day. I think you better rethink your plans.
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Old 06-27-10, 09:00 PM   #6
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I'm looking to ride from Florida to Indiana and need some suggestions. The trip is 1,100 and I have been thinking about 100-150 miles a day. Maybe less in the hills of Tennesse. Does this seem reasonable? So does this sound like a reasonable plan? Any suggestions? Also, if anyone has done this route I'm up for suggestions.

How many times have you ridden 100-150 miles in the past 5 years or so?
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Old 06-27-10, 09:14 PM   #7
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If you plan on averaging 100/150 miles per day, you're going to have to put in some even higher mileage days to make up for rest days and the the occasional bad day you're bound to have.

Makes my head spin just thinking about it. Here's wishing you luck.

Last edited by Louis; 06-28-10 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 06-27-10, 11:18 PM   #8
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I like to limit my weekly touring miles to no more than three times what I normally ride at home. I have just found that anything over that leaves me feeling brutalized rather than strengthened. If you want to average 150 miles per week, you need to get more saddle time. Also, I try to not raise my weekly mileage by more than 5-10% per week. So, from where you are I would want 10 weeks to prepare.

If you are young, go for it anyway. If you are an old fart like me, try to find a way to take more days. I've gone from just commuting (50 mile round-trip) to averaging over 100 miles per day on tour, but my body always wanted a break after about 25 miles and my bum was usually no longer on friendly terms with the saddle after 4-5 days.
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Old 06-27-10, 11:51 PM   #9
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I'm fit, and I consider myself to be a fairly experienced cyclotourist. I tend to ride 60-90 miles a day on tour, depending on weather, prevailing winds, and the nature of the roads. If I'm riding more than 150 miles in a day, I'm not going to be able to keep it up for a week. Granted, you may be more fit then I am, but from what you wrote, it wouldn't seem as if you're training any harder, or any more experienced.

That said, I'd second these other fellas in saying that you might be getting a bit overzealous with your daily mileage plans. Its not that it wouldn't be possible, you just might end up disappointing or hurting yourself if you think you can keep that up without some serious training beforehand. Just remember that you want your tour to be a fun vacation, not a suffer-a-thon.
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Old 06-28-10, 06:56 AM   #10
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We seem to get this kind of question pretty often, not sure if they are genuine. It seems odd that an inexperienced cyclists would suggest these kind of very high tour miles. Cyclist that do have that kind of high mileage experience don't need to ask us about their capabilities. Just seems odd to me.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:27 AM   #11
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We seem to get this kind of question pretty often, not sure if they are genuine. It seems odd that an inexperienced cyclists would suggest these kind of very high tour miles. Cyclist that do have that kind of high mileage experience don't need to ask us about their capabilities. Just seems odd to me.
You are not the only one who finds such posts odd.

Last edited by indyfabz; 06-28-10 at 07:28 AM. Reason: Not clear enpugh.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:43 AM   #12
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We seem to get this kind of question pretty often, not sure if they are genuine. It seems odd that an inexperienced cyclists would suggest these kind of very high tour miles. Cyclist that do have that kind of high mileage experience don't need to ask us about their capabilities. Just seems odd to me.
I suspect there's a lot of wishful thinking going on. Someone reads a book or journal about a similar tour and figures, 'if they can do it, why can't I'?

And, like chasm54 says, I think there is some extrapolation ... they figure that they can ride at 25 km/h for an hour ... therefore they should be able to cover 200 km in 8 hours. 8 hours is a typical day of work. If a person can get up in the morning and go to work for 8 hours, a person should be able to get up in the morning and ride their bicycle for 8 hours. After all, that 1-hour ride is a pleasant, relaxing diversion in the evening, 8 hours of a pleasant, relaxing diversion would be wonderful!!


I keep telling people like this to go do back-to-back centuries or back-to-back 200Ks and see what a pleasant, relaxing diversion it is ... see how it feels to get up the second morning and do it all again ... see how it feels to ride 10 or 12 hours a day ... see how it feels to ride into a headwind for hours on end, or up endless hills, or through a driving rain, or in the cold. Once they've done that, they can decide for themselves if the tour they have in mind is a good idea or not.

Oddly ... I've never had a single person come back and tell me that they did just that. In fact, most of them don't come back at all.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:54 AM   #13
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.... Unless it was a pace line..... good luck with that.

I'd guess 98% of all tourist average less than 100 a day but I'm going to guess it would be closer to 99.5%. It can be done but are you in condition to do it? Even with my 8-12K miles per year riding that includes fast group rides and touring I wouldn't want to average that kind of mileage. Might be possible if I could find three or more equally fit cyclists that I could pace line with day after day.... otherwise... reconsider your mileage.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:58 AM   #14
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Disregarding the physical ability side of the equation, can you see any enjoyment in pounding mile after mile for days at a stretch?
What about bakeries??? Just think of all the baked goods you will missing by running a tight schedule.
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Old 06-28-10, 08:11 AM   #15
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We seem to get this kind of question pretty often, not sure if they are genuine. It seems odd that an inexperienced cyclists would suggest these kind of very high tour miles. Cyclist that do have that kind of high mileage experience don't need to ask us about their capabilities. Just seems odd to me.
I concur.
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Old 06-28-10, 08:28 AM   #16
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I think it depends on the scenery, the company, and how many hours of daylight there are. Nice scenery and nice company makes it more likely to take breaks and have fun off the bike. Longer days give you more time to accomplish your mileage.

If you are by yourself and don't have any interest in what's around you and don't mind doing the same activity all day long, and the days are 14 hours long. 100+ miles a day is simply a matter of mental fortitude and having a butt made of leather.
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Old 06-28-10, 08:59 AM   #17
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I once had a talk with an experienced cycle tour guide, he was in fantastic shape as his job was riding. He rode 100 miles every other day. Didn't matter what the trip that day was, he made sure he got the century done on his ride days. The other days it was his turn to ride in the truck. With that schedule he confided in me that after a month he was too worn out to keep it up. This was a 30 something very fit cyclists riding with out gear (Supported tour) If he couldn't keep up 100 miles a day every other, I think most folk would not be capable of 100-150 every day. I've been riding one way or another for 30 years on a regular basis. I average about 70-80 miles per day on tour, some days I do 100+ some days I do 50.

I'm not saying it can't be done, I know it has been, I'm just saying most folk cannot hold that kind of mileage.
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Old 06-28-10, 10:18 AM   #18
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I just got back from a fully-loaded solo tour from Seattle to Illinois. It was my first real tour, and I averaged about 100 miles/day. I would not recommend this, especially solo. If I had to do it again, I'd do 60-80 miles/day. As other posters have said, inexperienced tourers (myself included) tend to take a riding pace that is comfortable for 2-3 hours and extrapolate, assuming they can keep it up all day. In my case, I was able to keep that pace all day, but that's not to say that it was fun. It turned into an athletic event instead of an enjoyable tour. The word "touring" implies that you experience the places that you're riding through, but I most certainly did not.

Physically, yes, the goal of 100-150 miles/day is attainable if you're in good shape. I would say that I could have averaged 125/day if I REALLY pushed myself. But, this would certainly have been an absolutely MISERABLE experience. Those kind of miles require the sort of mental stamina that not many possess. I would have gone insane.

If you have the time, aim for 80 miles/day and enjoy yourself.
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Old 06-28-10, 11:10 AM   #19
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I'm looking to ride from Florida to Indiana .....
Yippee! ANOTHER TOURING cyclist! Can not have to many of those. Just a couple comments...

Maye your mileage per day is too high. Relax and enjoy the scenery. The hills in interior north Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky can be fierce and the 'hollers' can get real humid. I found folks in Tenn and Ky to be real friendly, I have never pair for a cup of coffee in a diner in horseracin' country of central Tenn and Ky. Wild camping is everywhere but of course this is tick country, so keep an eye out for the buggers and get em off as soon as ya can.

Even though you don't pack cooking gear, buying food in stores can still be pretty cost effective. Breakfast can be rolls, yogurt and juices; lunch can be sandwiches and cookies; dinner can be cooked chickens or $5 footlongs.

And if things get a bit showery, wet, and tough sledding...don;t forget a bad day cycling beats a good day workin.'

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Old 06-28-10, 11:41 AM   #20
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I'm not an experienced tourist, and I think that's optimistic. The greatest distance I've ridden in one day was 165 miles, on a racing bike with no cargo, and it left me shattered, even after training up to it from a pretty good baseline of fitness. Actually I was shattered around mile 120, and just hated life the rest of the way. You know when you're too whipped to unweight the saddle before riding over a bump, and it just thuds into your butt? Like that.

You're talking about doing almost the same distance repeatedly, on a hybrid with one un-aerodynamic hand position, carrying a modest amount of cargo. I actually like the idea of touring as a form of physical challenge, but I see no reason to extend that into the hating-life zone.
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Old 06-28-10, 11:48 AM   #21
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I just got back from a fully-loaded solo tour from Seattle to Illinois. It was my first real tour, and I averaged about 100 miles/day.
Just curious - how many hours per day did you ride to get that average of 100 or what was your avg MPH on a 100 mile day?
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Old 06-28-10, 11:58 AM   #22
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Just curious - how many hours per day did you ride to get that average of 100 or what was your avg MPH on a 100 mile day?
Around 13mph average. Maybe 8 or so hours of actual riding time per day, depending on wind and hills, of course. I was usually up and riding by 7am and didn't finish until 6pm. I tried to take an hour lunch break and a few additional 20 minute breaks for snacks and some walking around.

If I were to do the same trip again, I would wake up just as early, but call it quits at 3-4pm and make a point to see the town each night.
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Old 06-28-10, 01:11 PM   #23
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I have made all of ONE multi-day tour, so take this for what it's worth. But that one tour covered 300 miles in five days. This was on lightly loaded race bikes, riding in Provence. We could have physically covered 500 miles in that time, but why? We started early, finished by five-to-six every day, and stopped many times along the way. The country was alluring, the people fascinating, and the bike nothing more than a canoe to float me along through this flowing river of humanity. Just as I wouldn't paddle furiously to make an extra 20 miles a day on the river, I had no desire to peddle furiously to "make good time" on the Provencal byways.

Cheers!
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Old 06-28-10, 03:03 PM   #24
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Around 13mph average. Maybe 8 or so hours of actual riding time per day, depending on wind and hills, of course. I was usually up and riding by 7am and didn't finish until 6pm. I tried to take an hour lunch break and a few additional 20 minute breaks for snacks and some walking around.
Exactly the same for me when i did the four day round trip at 125 miles per day. Some of the route was lumpy, some less so, but i couldn't average more than about 13 mph carrying only about 15lbs of gear. I'm an experienced tourist, I have a backside like teak, I don't tire easily, but 10 hours a day actually riding translates to a twelve-hour journey time, and at the end of four days I was shattered. Could I have done a fifth day? Probably. A sixth? Almost certainly not.

Incidentally, you can imagine my feelings towards the guy I asked for directions on day two. He sent me down the wrong road and added about 10 miles. If I'd had the energy I'd have gone back for him...
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Old 06-28-10, 03:53 PM   #25
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Perhaps cyclists new to the idea of touring think "Tour de France"?!?

As I said before, I think a consistent average of 100-150 a day wouldn't be too fun. However, I do like to find opportunities on tour to cover long distances when its convenient, downhill, or when we can assure ourselves some rest days.

My wife and I will often plan to do a long ride near the end of a tour, or before a break. For example, last summer we were bisecting Japan, riding back from Sadogashima to Numazu. We'd taken it slow getting there, going about 50-60 miles a day through the mountains of Yamanashi and Nagano prefecture. On the way back, we decided that after we'd reached the crest in the middle of the country, an area called Nobeyama pass, that we'd just continue to ride overnight and try to make it home in one push. We ended up riding about 200 miles in a 20 hour push from Nagano city back to Numazu. It was one of the best experiences I've had on a tour, partly due to the fact that we we alone on the quiet, country roads in the middle of the night, but mostly because we were sharing an adventurous change of pace with a loved one.

That said, I think that long days of riding do have a place on a tour, as long as you can justify the extra expending of energy with a day or three off afterward. We've used the same tactics to cover long distances of trackless wilderness in the states too. Also, sometimes you've got friends to stay with in point A and point B, and its worth busting ass for a day, or overnight, to get there and relax!
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