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Old 05-18-11, 08:23 PM   #1
tombilcze
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What's the most important piece of advice you would give a novice bicycle tourist?

I am a little more than a month away from my first cycling tour. I'll be on the road for 9 days with a pal. I thought I would ask the seasoned pros in this forum for what they think is the most important thing for a new tourist to know before they leave home. I have gotten such good advice from this forum and feel so much more prepared after learning from the posts. I would love to hear your #1 piece of advice you would give a newbie tourist. -- Tom
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Old 05-18-11, 08:58 PM   #2
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Do an overnight trip, at least 20 miles, fully loaded and rigged. You will be able to learn if everything works as expected before you are far from home. Then you can take care of all the kinks while in your own home area.
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Old 05-18-11, 09:03 PM   #3
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Relax. Breathe. Enjoy.
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Old 05-18-11, 09:07 PM   #4
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More tour, less de France.
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Old 05-18-11, 09:12 PM   #5
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plan your trip according to your personality...some like to go from Point A to Point B...others like to meander. Make sure your touring partners are on the same page.

Decide right away if your tour is an exploratory one where you stop and take photos and go into museums, or a physical work out where you bang out the miles. You can't do both simultaneously very well.

Leave yourself open to serendipity!

Russ
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and wear lots of wool (doesn't stink over multiple days of use)
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Old 05-18-11, 09:49 PM   #6
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It's riding a bicycle, not rocket science. If you have spent more time planning than the total duration of your trip, you are doing it wrong.
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Old 05-18-11, 10:12 PM   #7
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Old 05-18-11, 11:11 PM   #8
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Take all advice with a grain of salt, including mine Enjoy your ride!
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Old 05-18-11, 11:59 PM   #9
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Tom,
Best advice I can give you is learn to share the road with the automobile. You will meet all types, ones that give you a wide berth and ones that are busy on their cell phones that run you off the road. I like seeing behind me with a helmet mounted mirror. On a bike it doesn't matter if you are in the right the car will always win. Also, don't try to do too much milage each day, try around 40 or 50 miles per day and break it up and you will have a fun time.
Liam
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Old 05-19-11, 12:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tombilcze View Post
I am a little more than a month away from my first cycling tour. I'll be on the road for 9 days with a pal. I thought I would ask the seasoned pros in this forum for what they think is the most important thing for a new tourist to know before they leave home. I have gotten such good advice from this forum and feel so much more prepared after learning from the posts. I would love to hear your #1 piece of advice you would give a newbie tourist. -- Tom
Wear good eye protection.
Don't wear the same shorts 2 days in a row without washing.
Stop and smell the roses.
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Old 05-19-11, 12:38 AM   #11
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The guy with the most expensive bike is the best cyclist. (just kidding)
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Old 05-19-11, 12:41 AM   #12
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If it makes the tour better for you, it's the right call--regardless of what it is or what you're "supposed" to be doing.
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Old 05-19-11, 12:57 AM   #13
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If your pannier/rack connection is at all questionable, use zip ties to secure the things.
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Old 05-19-11, 01:11 AM   #14
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My father's advice for travel in general is probably applicable: Take half as much gear as you think you will need and twice as much money.
My advice is to relax and enjoy the experience, and leave yourself open to serendipity.

Last edited by Kip; 05-19-11 at 01:12 AM. Reason: grammar error
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Old 05-19-11, 04:35 AM   #15
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My father's advice for travel in general is probably applicable: Take half as much gear as you think you will need and twice as much money.
My advice is to relax and enjoy the experience, and leave yourself open to serendipity.
I agree on all counts, but would add that allowing for an open ended schedule is a big plus as well.
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Old 05-19-11, 06:05 AM   #16
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Be Flexible.

Be flexible in your scheduling ... plan to ride 3 or 4 days and then take a day off. That way, if you encounter bad weather, you're free to stay put for a day or only ride part of the distance you were intending. Or if there's a tourist attraction you really want to see or do, you can. Plus it gives you a chance to rest so you don't wear yourself out.

Be flexible in your bookings. I book the first night or two, and then, if I like the place, I'll book the last night or two. And then I'll play the rest of the nights by ear. If it's a weekend and I think a place might be busy, I might call ahead early in the day for that night. I don't want the pressure of having to reach a destination if I'm having a particularly rough day.

Be flexible with your things ... know that in many cases, you'll be able to buy clothing and other supplies along the way. Unless you're doing the Dempster Highway or crossing Mongolia (and a few other places, of course) you aren't touring in a bubble. You'll likely be passing through towns where you can buy things so it's not the end of the world if you forget something, or if you discover that you should have brought a warmer top, or if you run out of shampoo, or whatever. You'll also be able to mail stuff home or give things away if you discover you've got too much.

Be flexible with your meals. Chances are you'll need to eat a bit more when you're cycling all day than when you're not, and it's OK to break the "meal rules". Eat when you feel like eating and what you feel like eating. If you don't feel like bringing cooking gear with you, that's OK. If you prefer to cook your main meal in the middle of the day because you know you'll arrive at your campsite after dark, that's OK. If you want to eat ice cream when you arrive at your campsite, and then cook your dinner, that's OK. And anytime you find yourself feeling irritable with your cycling partner, stop and have a snack right then and there ... don't wait until the next "mealtime" to eat.


That ... and get out and ride lots now!!
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Old 05-19-11, 06:34 AM   #17
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Ummm... have fun? Isn't that why we tour by bicycle?
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Old 05-19-11, 06:53 AM   #18
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Decide everything for yourself. The more you compromise to harmonize with others, the more unhappier you'll become.

At the same time, be flexible. $hit happens.
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Old 05-19-11, 06:57 AM   #19
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Resist the urge to go too fast the first day. Your adrenalin will be pumping and your legs fresh, but you'll pay for it later if push too hard at the outset. The mileage take its toll and your legs will get more tired as the week progresses unless you take a rest day every now and then.
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Old 05-19-11, 07:40 AM   #20
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  1. Plan on eating about 50% more than you do at home.
  2. Don't rigorously adhere to an intinerary. If you feel like stopping, stop. If you feel like only riding 20 miles, fine. If you feel like trying for a century, do that too. Savor the experience rather than trying to fulfill some preset quota for miles.
  3. Go as light as possible. Ounces really do matter. You can get by without a lot of stuff. But don't go too crazy. A little comfort will enhance the experience.
  4. Plan as much as possible - it will help, it will get you excited, and I think it's fun. But you'll probably change several decisions once you're actually "out there."
  5. Have fun! Take pictures.
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Old 05-19-11, 08:05 AM   #21
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Never go past a Park Bench or Picnic Table without testing it. You never know how far it is to the next one. Spread the day out, take long rests and you will still get in the mileage. And buy some Zinc Oxide Diaper Rash Cream. Put it on all the parts of the body that will touch the seat. Then you will just have an ache and not an injury. Have fun!
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Old 05-19-11, 08:30 AM   #22
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In the words of Humpty Hump and Digital Undeground, "Doowuchyalike."
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Old 05-19-11, 08:39 AM   #23
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Take all advice with a grain of salt, including mine Enjoy your ride!
+1
Stay within your limits (set by yourselves) and don't overpack.

http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com...cking-101.html

Marc
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Old 05-19-11, 08:54 AM   #24
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Let yourself experience the full range of human experiences and emotions, good and bad. Don't let it stress you when you're lonely or too tired or too wet or wondering why you've decided to do something crazy like this in the first place. Tomorrow will come. The sun will come out. Live through the experience and learn why so many people are so passionate about traveling on a bicycle.
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Old 05-19-11, 09:28 AM   #25
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Let yourself experience the full range of human experiences and emotions, good and bad. Don't let it stress you when you're lonely or too tired or too wet or wondering why you've decided to do something crazy like this in the first place. Tomorrow will come. The sun will come out. Live through the experience and learn why so many people are so passionate about traveling on a bicycle.
This was one of my favorites-- on my first bicycle tour I felt awful emotionally, but I learned a ton from that trip!
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