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Old 01-25-11, 05:32 PM   #1
Keir1
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Need simple advice for first tour

Hey
I'm 17, and planning on going a bicycle tour of Europe in my summer holiday (by which point i'll be 18). We want to cycle from Munich to Paris, via Berlin and Amsterdam, roughly 1000 miles, at around 50 miles a day. We also intend to spend three full days of rest at each city. So we'd be cycling for 7/8 days in a row between Munich to Berlin and Berlin to Amsterdam. I have never done extensive touring before, but intend to begin getting into shape for this tour soon via a gym. I just need to know: is this a feasible distance and a feasible rate of travel?
Any help is appreciated, cheers.
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Old 01-25-11, 05:43 PM   #2
Stannian
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50 miles a day is great, in my opinion. It is long enough to keep you busy and get you somewhere, but still leaves time for fun along the way and relaxing at the end of the day. Some days will seems short, others long. And honestly, you can probably even do it without much training beforehand, but will enjoy the first few days much more if you do train. Sounds great, have fun.
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Old 01-25-11, 05:59 PM   #3
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While most Europeans speak English, it would be nice if you spoke some rudimentary German, Dutch and French.
Always brings a smile to locals' faces when you speak a bit in their language . . . even if it's only 'thank you' ('Dank U' Dutch; 'Danke shon' German or 'Merci bien' French).
Depending on your fitness and load on the bike, 50 miles a day (or less) will allow you to sees some of the sights instead of keeping your nose to the front wheel.
Enjoy!
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Old 01-25-11, 06:40 PM   #4
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Because you're stopping every week or so for a few days, plus the fact that you're young, 50 miles a day (average) isn't that hard. Plan on less miles in the hills and more on the flats.

As far as training.... just get up some Sunday morning and ride 100 miles and see how you feel. The more you ride, the easier it is! Keep in mind that many members of this forum could get up everyday and ride 100 miles a day for week, some might even be able to do it loaded with camping gear. The big problems are always time and money.
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Old 01-25-11, 06:51 PM   #5
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Sounds like a good plan. Have a great time.
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Old 01-25-11, 07:22 PM   #6
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Skip the gym member ship. Thats money you could be saving to spend on the trip or better bike gear. You are going to want to ride the actual bike you will be taking on to tour as much as possible anyways. You want to get some good saddle time in on that bike before the trip so you can adjust everything like stem length and saddle selection. Just ride your bike around for a few hours as often as you can and go from there!
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Old 01-25-11, 07:46 PM   #7
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Are you planning on camping, staying in hostels, or motels? The answer will affect your budget and how much stuff you need to bring along.

I'm also going to be in Europe, including Amsterdam and Germany, this summer. This site has lots of good info about cycle touring in Germany:
http://bicyclegermany.com/index.html
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Old 01-26-11, 04:50 AM   #8
Keir1
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Thanks a lot for all; the help!
planning on camping so obviously this will add a bit more weight, but with three of us going we should be able to split the weight of a small tent quite well.
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Old 01-26-11, 06:03 AM   #9
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The only "training" you need is some time in the saddle. If you ride for transportation everyday you should be fine. Do a few longer rides at weekends and maybe a weekend "shakedown" tour to test your kit.
You will find lots of people doing similar tours on everyday bikes, you dont need anything special for this.
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Old 01-26-11, 09:21 AM   #10
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Yep, ride lots. The sooner you can start riding with some weight on the bike to acclimate yourself to the load, the better. Also important, ride with your friends so you can develop a sense of how you will be on the trip - is one of you slower than the rest? Does one like to sprint off, then circle back? Is someone likely to need lots of encouragement to get up hills or pedal the next 10 miles to your stop? All these are nice things to have answered before you take off.
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Old 01-27-11, 09:34 AM   #11
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50 miles a day seems to be my "sweet spot." I've averaged 50-55 miles per day on several long tours. I'm someone who likes to get to a campground in the early afternoon (3:00) and relax for the rest of the day. I usually start slow and put in longer days later in the tour, but over 65 mile days are rare for me.

The more you can ride your bike prior to a tour, the better, but I've started several tours in less-than-ideal shape. Like I said, I usually start a tour slowly (25-35 mile days) so I sort of ride myself into shape. I've also been known to take a rest day on day 3 to get a little rest after the initial tiredness from starting a tour in not-the-best shape.

Some people start carrying a load similar to what they'll be carrying on tour during the last month or two of training prior to a tour. Sounds like a great idea to me, though I've never done it yet.
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