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Thread: Is it too late?

  1. #1
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    Is it too late?

    I'm set on touring this summer crosscountry east to west. It looks like I'll be riding with a group of 4 other riders, we plan on going self-supported. I recently purchased this years model of the Trek 520. This is the first bike I've ever riden with clipless petals. In fact, I did 20 miles on my first ride with them today. I know that you should be comfortable with unclipping. I didn't have any problems today, but of course the route was very familiar for me (not a dangerous route either). I have until appoximately May 25th (46 days) to get used to the petals and the bike in general (I'm planning on getting a new fork and dropping the crankshaft down). Is this all too rushed, or should I be reasonably ok? I'm relatively young, so I might only break some unimportant bones if I would happen to wreck.

  2. #2
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Young or old, breaking bones is going to hurt. However, May 25th should be plenty of time to get used to them. It's something that comes with practice. I honestly find it scary to ride a bike without them now.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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    Honorable Member beowoulfe's Avatar
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    My butt is always my major concern when I'm riding an upright bike. It usually takes me riding 20 miles/day 5 days/week for 3 weeks to get it to where I actually enjoy continuous day-after-day riding.

    I've found Shimano's dual sided pedals give me a sense of safety in traffic situations. There is a platform on one side and SPD clips on the other. I like being able to clip out before an intersection or whatever and still be able to pedal. Sometimes I just stay out until traffic improves.
    Greenspeed GTO 1027

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    If you aren't used to the bike before you leave for the tour, you will be by the time you get back.

    I made the foolish mistake as a teenager of starting out a summer trek hiking the Continental divide in a brand new pair of Herman Survivor leather boots (anybody remember Herman Survivors?).

    WHOA, man, did my feet ache and fill with blisters the first two weeks. By the time we had crossed into Canada and finished the trip, though, they fit like slippers.

    I'm not sure if the boots eventually conformed to my feet or if my feet conformed to the boots. In any event, I still have those old boots and they sure get happy when I put my feet in them and take them for a hike.
    Last edited by mike; 04-12-02 at 07:26 PM.
    Mike

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    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Those are Shimano M515's, right? You might want to loosen the spring tension almost to the limits. On a touring bike, even when you sprint you're not likely to be pulling so hard as to accidentally unclip, but the loose tension will make it almost impossible not to unclip in a low-speed emergency (more likely on a loaded tourer). Just flailing your feet around should be enough to pull out.

    The Shimano instruction sheet for the pedals should have been included with the bike. If not, check with the bike shop. These are also usually available on www.shimano-europe.com, but their server seems to be down at the moment. In a pinch, let me know and I'll scan and e-mail you a copy of mine.

    RichC

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    Thanks Rich, I had been thinking about that. I did recieve the Shamiro manual with the bike, prettty easy to follow also, shouldn't have any problems.

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    People have problems with clipless pedals mainly in the cut and thrust of urban riding, where you have to stop suddenly with no warning.
    On a long tour, the riding is of a less aggressive nature, with much less stopping and starting.

    The usual "failure to unclip" fall involves a slow tumble to the ground when the bike has stopped. As long as you tuck your head in and keep your hands on the bars, you should fall onto your shoulder and do no real damage. The luggage will also help protect you. If you try to break your fall with your hand you may wrench your shoulder or break a bone.

    Bikes handle differently with a full load, so do a few rides to get the feel of it.

    Note some of the critiques of the 520 people have. The gearing is a bit high for some riders/loads/terrain.
    The handle bars may be set a bit low if the steerer tube has been cut short. Apart from that is a fine bike.

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    Originally posted by MichaelW

    Note some of the critiques of the 520 people have. The gearing is a bit high for some riders/loads/terrain.
    The handle bars may be set a bit low if the steerer tube has been cut short. Apart from that is a fine bike.
    Yes, I've read about this here, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to fix the steerer tube height problem, it is too low for me.

    I've just read an article in Adventure Cycling new Cycling (p. 68)Yellowpages that when doing loaded touring, load your front panniers first with the heavy stuff like tools and the fuel bottlle. The writter recommended that rear panniers are the place you want the lightest stuff to be put. He also says that you want to get the smallest pannier possible on the rear, or not have them at all. This goes against everything I had been thinking as far as loading up a bike. Is this correct advice, to put a heavier load in the front panniers?

  9. #9
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    TK:

    it is not too late but you will be busy getting ready, do you have all your gear? are you riding most days? with a long tour you will get more fit each day I allways struggle the first 500 miles or so.
    the first time i toured i decided one night in a pub i would go for 3 months. i had no touring bike or no camping gear I picked a date just 3 weeks away. I was busy buying and fitting a bike getng gear, and riding miles every day to get ready, i also was moving out of my house and having a rumage sale . you will be just fine.

    Hey take Joe up on the offer to keep an online log for your travles we would like to folow along with you and you may be in the area of one of the forum people you could stop by or meet up someplace. what route are you taking? I went east to west 2 years ago and west to east last year

    yea i just read the same article in the yellow pages thaT you mention. goes to show you cant believe everything you read. Experiance will be your best guide. befor i took my first tour i looked at all the packing lists these so called expert tourists gave. I realized later that most of these toureists were just wanna be's if you took everything they suggested you would be carrying 100 lbs of gear....

    The old school of thoughts on carrying loads on your bike are stilll the best in my opinion., 10,000 miles of loaded touring.

    the weight i keep about 60-40 split sometimes it may be 70-30 the heaviest load in the rear. improtant to keep the bags balanced the two rear and the two frount. keep each set balanced check with a scale or just pick them both up with out stretched arms and feel if they are closley balanced. keep the heavy items low in the bag and tword the center of the bike. once you get your pack set keep everything the same then you allways know where everything is. and are able to find things fast.

    also keep any food you carry in just one pack. never take food in your tent for any reason. Going accross the us you will eventually be in bear country. you will just have one bag to hang between two trees and no food oder in your tent. Believe me the oder will attract visitors in the evening. When not in bear country other smaller critters will be looking to make lunch from your food or food oderous bags like racoons, skunks, squirels and the like some hiker /biker campsites will have wooden boxes to lock the food in and up in bear contry the larger camp grounds will have heavy steel bear boxes and or poles . if no box then you need to hang the food bag from between two trees.
    getting ready to tour is almost as exciteing as going on tour
    how about posting more of your plans as they develope
    catfish

  10. #10
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by tkoyo

    This goes against everything I had been thinking as far as loading up a bike. Is this correct advice, to put a heavier load in the front panniers?
    I'm not familiar with that article, but if the author was endorsing the principle of balancing the load, then I agree. And you begin by loading the front of the bike, because the bike is already balanced towards the rear just from the rider's weight.

    Extreme overloading of the rear can lead to situations where you can actually lift the front wheel off the ground when climbing steep grades, compromising control.

    Loading dense, heavy items in the front panniers, assuming they're mounted on low-riders, will help keep the whole bike's cernter of gravity below the axles, which will also help stability.

    If this is your first tour with new equipment, some practice rides with your anticipated loadout would be advisable.

    RichC

  11. #11
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    If your frame has a waterbottle holder under the down tube, that is a good place to keep the fuel. If you need to carry more water , stow it in the bags.A leaking waterbottle will not stink out your bag.
    Ive camped in bear country, and seen wild bears. Its not only food you have to keep out of your tent, but anything edible and smelly like toothpaste.

    You will have plenty of time to play with packing arrangements, but take the fully equipped bike on a weekend shakedown tour.

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