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Old 06-13-11, 04:04 PM   #1
genericname
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My Touring Aspirations

So Howdy 'Yall.
Let me just come out and say it: I'm a no-brakes fixie rider. I can practically hear the rage welling up in some of you, but I'm sure we can both get over it. I started off as a roadie, and did a bit of (supported) touring in my teens. I was lucky enough to have loving parents who splurged on a neat-o road fuji for me. I can remember the model, but I do remember it was nicer than I should have had. I think I was 15 or 16, but I did Oregon Bike Ride. I was the youngest rider on the tour, and I didn't have a chance to train beforehand. I think it was 550 miles over 7 days? But who knows. It practically killed me, although I never rode the sag wagon. Pretty much destroyed any interest in bicycling that I had.

Fast forward a bit, I started to feel a bit of an urge. I used to be a pretty avid rock climber, competing and traveling, but one injury too many left me with a bit of a bum arm. I mean it's not nearly as bad as some peoples, but it was enough for me to drop it. Earlier this year, I built a single speed from an old centurion frame. That got stolen, and I happened to find my way to a 1985 fuji boulevard frame. I slapped a new bb in, chopped the chainring down, and commenced. Just last week I splurged on a set of Deep V's (hate me all you want).

I always knew I wanted to do a bit of touring, and I did a bit of ghetto fixie touring. Throw a sleeping bag and pad in my messenger bag, go a few miles outside of town. Come back the next morning in time for work. And then, I found it.

When I moved into my new apartment, it was just sitting there.

A 1983 Specialized Expedition.
Apart from a few nicks on the fork, once I wiped the dust off of it, could have been new. Just needs new tires 'n tubes (pretty big punctures). Everything looks stock on it, except for the rack they threw on the back.

My job ends in August, and then I have three weeks off. I probably won't tour for a full three weeks, probably just 1.5-2 (depending on my work situation). I'm not thinking about anything particularly ambitious, just 70 miles a day or so. I'm a pretty experienced outdoorsman: I've worked as a guide in a few different disciplines, I've actually spent the last 4 summers living outside (tarps, tents, and cabins mainly).

So, all of the experienced riders out there, any advice? Training tips? Whatnot?

Thanks
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Old 06-13-11, 04:52 PM   #2
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Let's see, you have cycling experience and outdoors/camping experience. I am assuming you have the camping gear also. Do you have panniers already? All you need are some panniers and the desire.

Do you know how to make basic repair to a bike?

I'd recommend a weekend trip to test out the bike, equipment, and yourself. You'll learn what works and what doesn't for you by doing that. Since you have outdoors experience I guess you have a good idea of what you need to take for your comfort level.

Other than that, just do some longer weekend rides leading up to the tour and go!

Any other specific questions let us know!
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Old 06-13-11, 05:52 PM   #3
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No brakes, eh? What gives you the right to slam into me as I am riding my bike? Then, when I am hurt and can no longer ride what will you say? Too late? Sorry? No, grow up.

We all have at least some responsibility to one another, don't we?
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Old 06-13-11, 06:03 PM   #4
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No brakes, eh? What gives you the right to slam into me as I am riding my bike? Then, when I am hurt and can no longer ride what will you say? Too late? Sorry? No, grow up.

We all have at least some responsibility to one another, don't we?
How is your post relevant to the OP?
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Old 06-13-11, 06:19 PM   #5
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How is your post relevant to the OP?
The OP's first three sentences. "o Howdy 'Yall.
Let me just come out and say it: I'm a no-brakes fixie rider. I can practically hear the rage welling up in some of you, but I'm sure we can both get over it..."

I asked questions relating to his post. I am interested in knowing how he and the rest of us can get over being slammed into by his brakeless bike. Cause if he kills one that I love, because he is free to ride without safety brakes I would like to know how to get over it.
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Old 06-13-11, 06:44 PM   #6
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^^ As a fixed gear rider, I find your opinion a bit overly dramatic (I hesitate to say ignorant because I have no idea what experience you have riding a FG). I rode brakeless for about a year. The thing that made me put on a front brake on was not because of my inability to deal with stopping or the remote possibility that I would throw a chain. I put a brake on because of other cyclists. I rode the 5-boro ride and figured with the wide array of cyclists, I better be prepared for an inexperience rider who couldn't hold his/her line in a crowd. As it turned out, I barely used the brake (save for a very crowded descent coming off the Queensboro bridge). I didn't ride brakeless for style or to gain "street cred", it was just another way to build some cycling skills. I left it on... I still rarely use it.

I'm not trying to start a war here, but not everyone who rides brakeless is necessarily any more of a risk to others than perhaps an inexperienced cyclist can (riding on the sidewalk, timid in traffic, etc). I'm sure there are reckless FG riders, but there are plenty of reckless riders on all kinds of bikes.

I think the OP's intro was a bit unnecessary. It seems like of all the forums here on BF, the touring crowd is is one of the most accepting groups--and there are even FG tourers here.

Sorry this is def. off topic... back to the regularly scheduled programming.
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Old 06-13-11, 07:11 PM   #7
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^^ As a fixed gear rider, I find your opinion a bit overly dramatic (I hesitate to say ignorant because I have no idea what experience you have riding a FG). I rode brakeless for about a year. The thing that made me put on a front brake on was not because of my inability to deal with stopping or the remote possibility that I would throw a chain. I put a brake on because of other cyclists. I rode the 5-boro ride and figured with the wide array of cyclists, I better be prepared for an inexperience rider who couldn't hold his/her line in a crowd. As it turned out, I barely used the brake (save for a very crowded descent coming off the Queensboro bridge). I didn't ride brakeless for style or to gain "street cred", it was just another way to build some cycling skills. I left it on... I still rarely use it.

I'm not trying to start a war here, but not everyone who rides brakeless is necessarily any more of a risk to others than perhaps an inexperienced cyclist can (riding on the sidewalk, timid in traffic, etc). I'm sure there are reckless FG riders, but there are plenty of reckless riders on all kinds of bikes.

I think the OP's intro was a bit unnecessary. It seems like of all the forums here on BF, the touring crowd is is one of the most accepting groups--and there are even FG tourers here.

Sorry this is def. off topic... back to the regularly scheduled programming.
TY, and you did provide a good explanation. One that I can learn from. I am still not sure the explanation let's a rider off the hook of responsibility to other people. It is not always about me, just as it is not always about somebody else.
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Old 06-13-11, 07:24 PM   #8
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TY, and you did provide a good explanation. One that I can learn from. I am still not sure the explanation let's a rider off the hook of responsibility to other people. It is not always about me, just as it is not always about somebody else.
I agree. As cyclists we're in the unique position of being threatened by automotive traffic as well as being a hazard to pedestrian traffic (and to other cyclists). Hopefully that perspective makes us all more responsible and safer (on our bikes and when we're using other modes of transportation).
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Old 06-13-11, 07:51 PM   #9
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Ultra light touring on a fixie.. sure. fully loaded? You're knees will break.

Nothing wrong with light touring like you said you have done. You seem to be in good enough shape to make it happen - just go for it.
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Old 06-13-11, 09:08 PM   #10
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Wow, not really what I expected. I was hoping my comments would adress this sort of thing. I can't really claim to speak for fixie riders... I'm just a guy with a bike. So don't take my answers as a bible. But seriously, dosen't that seem over the top? You don't know my level of ability. You're attacking me based on my bicycle. How do you know if I blow through stop signs or red lights? How do you know if I cut off cars? I live in a small town, not an giant urban environment.

I asked questions relating to his post. I am interested in knowing how he and the rest of us can get over being slammed into by his brakeless bike. Cause if he kills one that I love, because he is free to ride without safety brakes I would like to know how to get over it.

How can you avoid being hit by me? That's ironic because I usually just pick a lone rider and do my best to bring them down. It makes for some fun chases, earned me the nickname deathpedal 3. Sorry I couldn't resist, you got yours in.

So, how do I avoid being a danger to others? The same ways any other cyclist does. By making sure nothing can go wrong. I know people who dodge through traffic. But I don't do that. I'm no more responsible for their actions then they are for mine. I dig fixies because of the simplicity. At least for me, when I ride, I'm entirely focused on what's happening around me. I don't think about dinner, or gear ratios, or anything other than what's happening. I can simply pedal hard. It brings me back to the basics, both mechanically and physically. I can tell you that riding a fixie has made me a much better cyclist. But who am I? Just a guy with a bike.
It seems to me that we're all cyclists. Why attack other people who enjoy the same thing? I haven't done anything to harm you. But you're entitled to your opinions, just as I am. We aren't really doing anything other than beating our chests and emoting. Neither of our opinions are going to change. So, like I said, whatever.
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Old 06-13-11, 10:48 PM   #11
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genericname, you came here as a newbie, advertisiing your athletic prowness, skills as an outdoormans, and as a cyclist. Seems like you should be offering advice, not looking for any. Frankly, a bit of a turn off.

Maybe repost with specific questions about touring, thereby avoiding useless advice and commentary from relative novices.
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Old 06-13-11, 10:54 PM   #12
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Genericname, You say that you were a serious climber, but an injury put an end to it.
You also say you ride a bike in what I believe to be a reckless, dangerous, irrisponsible fashion. It is not about the bike. It is about you choosing to ride in that fashion. Guess you didn't learn anything from your climbing injury.

An old saying applies here. "There are old climbers and there are bold climbers, but there are no old bold climbers."
You can say the same for cyclists.
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Old 06-13-11, 11:24 PM   #13
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I wonder how this post would have gone if "fixed gear" wasn't in it?


The touring forum is very accepting unless it has that blasted phrase in it, and the OP wasn't even asking about fixed gear touring!
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Old 06-14-11, 03:15 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RepWI View Post
No brakes, eh? What gives you the right to slam into me as I am riding my bike? Then, when I am hurt and can no longer ride what will you say? Too late? Sorry? No, grow up.

We all have at least some responsibility to one another, don't we?
You sound like you don't know how fixies work. How about learning how fixed gear bicycles work before making such ridiculous comments.


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Ultra light touring on a fixie.. sure. fully loaded? You're knees will break.
Yeah right!!!

Tell that to Rowan who toured France for a month in 2007, fully loaded, with his fixie. He was beating me up hills (I was riding a geared bicycle).


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Genericname, You say that you were a serious climber, but an injury put an end to it.
You also say you ride a bike in what I believe to be a reckless, dangerous, irrisponsible fashion. It is not about the bike. It is about you choosing to ride in that fashion. Guess you didn't learn anything from your climbing injury.
Where did the OP say all that?


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Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
I wonder how this post would have gone if "fixed gear" wasn't in it?

The touring forum is very accepting unless it has that blasted phrase in it, and the OP wasn't even asking about fixed gear touring!
+1

And the criticism all comes from people who have likely never ridden fixed gear bicycles and don't have the faintest idea what they are like ... but for some unknown reason don't like them. I don't get it. Very puzzling.


Anyway ... back on track again ...


To the OP ... you sound like you're reasonably well prepared (and it's not a turn off that you mentioned that, it's good). I'd second zoltani's suggestion that you make sure you can make repairs to your bicycle, and that you go on a weekend test ride with your bicycle loaded up with whatever you plan to take. Also keep cycling regularly 5-6 days a week to keep or increase your fitness level.

Last edited by Machka; 06-14-11 at 04:03 AM.
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Old 06-14-11, 03:47 AM   #15
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I am presuming the Expedition is a geared bike with brakes.

If you have everything, go for it. The distances you plan might need to be a bit shorter early on.

You've done a short out and back overnighter, and riding the fixie probably will give you quite a bit of strength and endurance.

As to the other comments about your fixed gear... why bother getting in the same tight knots as the posters who don't have a clue but want to argue anyway.

Personally, I ride fixed with brakes. Your scenario -- small town, low traffic density (car + bike) gives you the environment to ride without brakes. But I would advise you to fit brakes if you are touring fixed.

Oh and... welcome to BikeForums. Some of us, at least, embrace a broad range of cycling options.
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Old 06-14-11, 06:59 AM   #16
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I first want to congratulate you on the find. I assume you intend to ride the Expedition restored to touring condition. I'm by no means the last word on anything but what I've filtered in from 40 years is filed under "Real Bike Travel" on my blog. I've found that 60-80 miles per day is a good distance. Much less you don't go anywhere, much more is"all work, no play."
Listen to advice but make your own decisions.

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Old 06-14-11, 09:27 AM   #17
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Listen to advice but make your own decisions.
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Listen to advice but make your own decisions.
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
Listen to advice but make your own decisions.
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Listen to advice but make your own decisions.
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Listen to advice but make your own decisions.
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Listen to advice but make your own decisions.

best advice out there
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Old 06-14-11, 09:45 AM   #18
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Get the panniers and find out for yourself how to best load them for touring. Try a few overnight rides, approaching the distance you're planning to ride, carrying the same load you'll have on tour. See how you feel at the end of the day.

Riding a loaded bike is not the same as riding an unloaded bike. It handles differently and you'll notice a drop in your speed and distances. What you describe as "ghetto touring" provides a different riding experience than the fully loaded touring you'll use for two weeks on the road.
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Old 06-14-11, 08:54 PM   #19
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http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/MiyataSpecTour/ This site also focuses on Expeditions. You want to check the BB and the headset, pack all the bearings on a found bike. Check it for cracks or any reason it was abandoned, ride it as much as possible to dial fit in and find problems. Cheap panniers can be found at nashbar, they work ok. the water proof bags seem to get good reviews.

The expedition is a great bike. I suggest leaving it geared if you want to tour on it, or at the least, don't grind off any of the brazons or hangers and keep all the components if you decide to go brakeless. IT will help with resale later. Plus purists like me won't give you a lot of grief.
I have toured a little on a fixed, enough to know that gears and brakes are nicer at mile 89 on a 90 F day in the hills, getting dark, looking for a place to stop. Panniers are less tireing than a messenger bag, no matter how comfortable.

Oh, and on the fixed gear thing, if you wear skinny jeans, that might suck.
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Old 06-14-11, 08:58 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by skilsaw

Genericname, You say that you were a serious climber, but an injury put an end to it.
You also say you ride a bike in what I believe to be a reckless, dangerous, irrisponsible fashion. It is not about the bike. It is about you choosing to ride in that fashion. Guess you didn't learn anything from your climbing injury.

Where did the OP say all that?

I don't need to do crack to know crack is bad for me. I can see that in the users on the street. Same with riding fixies. In this city I see fixies being ridden in a reckless, dangerous and irrisponsible fashion. It isn't the bike. It's the rider.
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Old 06-14-11, 09:36 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by skilsaw

Genericname, You say that you were a serious climber, but an injury put an end to it.
You also say you ride a bike in what I believe to be a reckless, dangerous, irrisponsible fashion. It is not about the bike. It is about you choosing to ride in that fashion. Guess you didn't learn anything from your climbing injury.

Where did the OP say all that?

I don't need to do crack to know crack is bad for me. I can see that in the users on the street. Same with riding fixies. In this city I see fixies being ridden in a reckless, dangerous and irrisponsible fashion. It isn't the bike. It's the rider.
I flamed up a bunch of folks because I had concerns bout a fixie with no brake. My concern was not about how somebody rode, but rather they did not have a brake. Apparently a front brake is an emergency brake on a fixie. I still do not know why one would not have one of those new fangled thingies. Is it weight, is it class, is it pride? What is it that a biker would ride without the latest safety technology? Does having a brake ruin your ride? Mine's not effected when I ride my bikes with..brakes.
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Old 06-15-11, 02:15 AM   #22
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Go take it to the fixed-gear forum.
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