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  1. #1
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    Pacing your ride

    I'm curious how in shape you need to be / should be before attempting a tour. I'm wondering for training and conditioning what I should be able to do before venturing out on a tour. When I read what people are able to do on this forum, I think I'm not in good enough shape yet !

    For example, in another thread people talk about doing 60 miles or 100km a day on average, but that it's all relative to what you're able to do. What I'm wondering is what kind of pace is typical, or reasonable in a day, for example if people are riding to be at a campsite 100 km away before sundown.

    For doing 60 miles / 100 km each day, (lets say without significant wind or incline) what kind of breaks are people taking during the day? Do people ride continuous for an hour at 20 kph and then stop to rest for a half hour and then do another 20? Or is it necessary to be able to do 40 km straight for 2 hours without resting?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Some threads on training for a tour: (Advanced search on word: "training" in the entire thread, in the time period of the last year)

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...d-conditioning

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tour-body-wise...

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ing-for-a-tour

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...d-after-a-tour


    What I'm wondering is what kind of pace is typical, or reasonable in a day, for example if people are riding to be at a campsite 100 km away before sundown.

    Depends when you start in the morning and when sundown is where you are at the time you're touring.


    For doing 60 miles / 100 km each day, (lets say without significant wind or incline) what kind of breaks are people taking during the day? Do people ride continuous for an hour at 20 kph and then stop to rest for a half hour and then do another 20? Or is it necessary to be able to do 40 km straight for 2 hours without resting?

    It's a tour, not a race. A certain speed and distance are not "necessary" on a tour. Do what you want to do. And as I said above, the distance you cover can be dependent on when you start in the morning and how late you go into the evening.

    As for riding for an hour and then resting for half an hour ... for me, definitely not! I prefer to ride until I want to make a stop for some reason (photos, toilet, taking my jacket off, etc.), then stop for 5 minutes to do whatever it is. Then ride again until want to make a stop again, and repeat. I could ride 10 minutes between stop, or 2 hours, or anything in between. Again, it's a tour, not a race.

    But I like to keep my stops quite short ... except if I'm having lunch sometime around noon, or if there's something really interesting to see or do that takes me off the bicycle.

    And as I said in that other thread, after doing 100 km a day on long and short tours, that distance is all right for a long weekend tour or something fairly short. But I prefer to aim to do something shorter like 80 km a day. Not that I can't ride 100 km (I've done hundreds of rides of 100 km and longer), but on a tour, I like to have the flexibility to stop when I want to stop and take in my surroundings rather than staring at the road all day.

  3. #3
    djb
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    personally I am a fan of breaks, good for my muscles, I will stretch, snack, take off my bike shoes, whatever.
    Honestly, I dont keep track of breaks, but I suspect that I will take one every hour or less, but for how long, how often really depends on how I am feeling that day and how the conditions are (headwind, climbing etc)

    as Ive mentioned before, dont take 100k as a given, especially at teh beginning of a trip when you arent as strong. Set lower limits and gradually increase your days. As for your specific question, you can get guidelines from what others say, but you really have to listen to yourself about wanting a breather, needing food or whatever.

    If you can do loaded test rides, you will quickly get an idea of what works for you and what speed is realistic (factoring in the "latter part of the day tiredness" too)
    20kph is most likely too high, mine has been usually around 17 averaged out.

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    It's all up to you. No one else is on your bike. If you've never ridden more than 10 miles don't expect to go 60miles. If you've ridden 60miles unloaded and it's hilly be happy with 45miles loaded. If you like riding non-stop, do it. If you like getting off every hour for a five minute break, do it. If you like getting off every 30 min. to drink some water, do it. You won't feel the same everyday, some days will be good, some will be good and hard, some will be easy. Don't try and schedule without recognizing basics, attitude, food, water, air in tires.

  5. #5
    mev
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    This is going to be a personal preference thing, that likely varies.

    I tend to prefer to start early and take some breaks along the way, e.g. for a breakfast stop, lunch stop and then get into my days end stop by early to mid afternoon. However, it will vary some from day to day.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mtnbud's Avatar
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    It's really whatever you feel comfortable with. I usually plan on a 10 mph average pace so 60 miles would take me 6 hours in the saddle. More miles mean more miles in the saddle. Where I live, there's about 15 hrs of daylight this time of year. 60 miles of riding gives me 9 hrs of not riding. That's quite a bit of time to do whatever. A swim break can be awesome if you're riding along a nice river or a swimable lake.

    My big shock on my first tour was butt soreness. 6+ hrs a day on a bicycle seat will be noticed. I have to train my rear as much as anything. Similarly, you need to be aware of the possibility of getting saddle sores - not fun! Keep clean and change often. Bring along some Chamois Butt'r, Vaseline, or something similar just in case. If you stay clean and dry, you shouldn't need it.

    Training ahead of time can make a tour more enjoyable. If you're riding with others, it can be the difference between having a good time and being miserable. (If they've been training and you're struggling to keep up). If you are riding with others, try to figure out what their idea of a tour is and how they'd respond if they needed to scale back their distance or their pace. If you're riding alone, don't sweat it. Just ride as far as you want, however you want!

  7. #7
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    One other thing to keep in mind is that how you feel can vary from day to day, I like to assume things will take longer than they really will since it gives me a little room to deal with any issues that can pop up.

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    My average touring day is going to involve between five and six hours on the bike. I'll probably stop once, for lunch. My personal preference is to do the bulk of the distance in the first half of the day, so I'm likely to ride for at least three hours in the first stint.

    Of course it's possible that I'll pause, briefly, to look at a view or consult a map or take a pee or a picture, but these are pauses, not rests.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
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    I usually plan to ride around 75 miles per day. I assume that I'll average about 10 mph, though I truth I can often make 12mph or even 15mph if I have a light load and little wind. I usually stop for 5-10 minutes every hour. On scenic tours, I'll stop more often to take photos. I try to spend at least an hour off the bike around lunch time.

    Before leaving on a tour, I'll make sure that I'm capable of riding at least 60 miles/day with decent (~3000ft) elevation gain in 5-6 hours on a bike that includes all of my gear. If I can do that for two back-to-back days, and feel ready to ride again on the third day, I know I'll have a relatively easy time on tour.

  10. #10
    Fraser Valley Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I usually plan to ride around 75 miles per day. I assume that I'll average about 10 mph, though I truth I can often make 12mph or even 15mph if I have a light load and little wind. I usually stop for 5-10 minutes every hour. On scenic tours, I'll stop more often to take photos. I try to spend at least an hour off the bike around lunch time.

    Before leaving on a tour, I'll make sure that I'm capable of riding at least 60 miles/day with decent (~3000ft) elevation gain in 5-6 hours on a bike that includes all of my gear. If I can do that for two back-to-back days, and feel ready to ride again on the third day, I know I'll have a relatively easy time on tour.
    x2....if you are in average physical shape more or less, it's your butt, knees, and Achilles tendons that can be a problem, not your physical strength or endurance. Start early, set a pace that you can maintain and don't push beyond it (that's what all the gears are for), take breaks when your body tells you, wear proper cycling pants, and back off if your knees or heels complain. As an example, a fellow who was a runner, but not a cyclist, rode with me down the Pacific Coast without preparing his knees and heels beforehand, thinking his running gave him all he needed. We had to abort the trip south of San Fransisco because his knees and heels were so swollen. On our next trip, he prepared beforehand and rode 1500 miles at the same 75 mi. a day average as the first trip and had no problems at all.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I think you need to have enough miles on your bike to know it's working for you. The rest will come. As long as you are flexible in your stopping times, you stop when you want to, and you will go further over time. I haven't done extensive touring, just occasional weekend/overnight trips, but I find that in spite of a lack of long-distance days under my belt, I can get where I have to go by pacing myself. As the day wears on, the breaks may get more frequent, but that doesn't bother me as long as I'm on target to reach a place I can sleep for the night.

    My first real trip of any length was bike-camping to college, a couple hundred miles in 3 or 4 days. I wish I could remember the exact route, but I do believe that prior to that trip 30 miles was about my max daily ride, but on that trip I did double that daily mileage while carrying far more gear than ever before. I know that I walked up hills that were steeper than what I was used to, and I know that breaks got more frequent as the day wore on, but I don't think I ever failed to make my scheduled stop by sundown. Breaks usually involved a couple of minutes to sit, drink water, and stare at the map every hour or two plus a half hour or so at lunch.

    I feel like, apart from actually riding your bike, training is only necessary if you have solid mileage requirements and/or you have to keep pace with someone else. On a long enough tour, you will acclimate. On a short enough tour, you will may never have time to really adjust, but a rough day of touring still beats a day "training" to me. I like to have somewhere to go, so biking just to prepare for biking later isn't very motivating. But keeping an eye out for opportunities a little outside of your comfort zone can create excuses to get miles in without it feeling like training and it also gives you an idea of how far you can go at a stretch.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimeotane View Post
    For doing 60 miles / 100 km each day, (lets say without significant wind or incline)
    Since that's probably going to be a rarity unless you are on a sheltered rail-trail, it's probably not the best question to ask.

    In any event, 20 kms each hour with 30 min. breaks in between comes to 7 hrs. on the road. IMO, that's a long time for only 60 miles of primarily flat, windless riding. Add in stops for photos, map checks or just to admire views and you stretch the day out ever more. Also, it doesn't often break down so neatly. You may go for a long stretch with no services, necessitating additional stops in places whether there is food and water.

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