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Old 03-04-12, 07:57 AM   #1
mcallaghan
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Touring Questions

Two questions (to start):

When I started to get into Cycling and did not know a whole lot about anything, I started out wearing Shorts. The only Tour i've done, I did wearing Shorts. Since then, I have gotten way more into Cycling and - like they say - Once you go Bibs you don't go back. I ride my Road Bike and wear exclusively Bibs these days. I've put on some weight since when I first got into the sport and also suffer from IBS, so the Bibs put less pressure on my stomach area. However, I am planning a long tour this summer and am wondering if I should return to wearing Shorts.

1) Is it worth reinvesting into some shorts? Understandably it makes going #2 much easier (aka no need to take your jersey off when going to the loo) but what do fellow tourers prefer?

2) Browsing these forums lately, especially the pictures of other peoples rigs, I notice that almost everyone has front and rear panniers, with a few Bobs thrown in. The Tour I did I only had rear panniers and the tour leader had a Bob. Since I am planning what will mostly be a solo tour, camping, I assume it would make sense for me to also get Front and Rear Panniers. I am more familiar with this method of carrying gear so think I would steer away from a Bob (unless some one can really convince me that a Bob is the way to go). On an Around-the-Uk tour I have planned, does it make sense to go Front/Rear Panniers or solely rear?
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Old 03-04-12, 08:32 AM   #2
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1. I use shorts.

2. There is a huge ongoing discussion of BOB vs panniers. I have used both - keep in mind that any other mode of transportation with a BOB is a PITA if you have to carry the bike and the BOB up and down stairs, or whatever. I have also toured with two and four panniers. What I have learned is that for me to feel balanced and comfortable I spread the weight 60% in the front and 40% in the rear. No - I don't actually weigh the stuff. With just two rear panniers I felt that the front of the bike felt too light and 'floaty'. With just two front panniers it felt ok.

In short, for me, the preferred setups for me are:

1. two panniers in the front
2. four panniers
3. BOB
4. two panniers in the rear

B
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Old 03-04-12, 09:00 AM   #3
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mcallaghan, I wear mountain bike shorts or regular cycling shorts under outer shorts. I like to have the pockets.

I am pretty new to this touring stuff, but so far I've been comfortable with up to about 25 lbs. in the rear panniers and rack bag. If and when I need to carry more than that I'll add a front carrier and panniers to balance the load. From my limited experiance I think my rear wheel will be happy if I keep the dead weight in the above range and when I've carried more weight the handling degrades.

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Old 03-04-12, 09:01 AM   #4
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i ware bibs all the time assos find them very comfortable ,i know it can be a pain to get them off when you need to go in a hurry but try wearing long zip jersey and if possible dont use your rear jersey pockets to store food or whatever.
sorry about the panniers... so far i have only used rear panniers i can get everything i need in them also a barbag which is brilliant.
seriously think this myth about using 4 panniers to balance the bike is just that a myth but each to there own.
if you can go as light as possible without sacrificing comfort then stick to rear panniers.

Last edited by antokelly; 03-04-12 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 03-04-12, 09:10 AM   #5
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I use mountain bike shorts when touring. ( Heck, I use them for any long rides - I hate the look of spandex ).

Whether you use front & back panniers or a Bob is mostly personal preference, and somewhat dependent on your bike. Some bikes handle horribly with any sort of front load, even when using low-rider racks. Others are designed with front loads in mind. Some bikes make no allowances for racks at all, so you have to resort to somewhat kludgy approaches like p-clips, etc.

Personally, since I have bikes that excel with front loads, I use panniers exclusively. But many people love their trailers and do just fine with them, too.
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Old 03-04-12, 10:01 AM   #6
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I also prefer to use mtn. bike shorts for touring, both for the convenience of multiple pockets and for fitting in better when going into stores and cafes. My bikes generally handle better with some weight in front panniers in addition to the rear ones, but I usually just use rear panniers and a small handlebar bag. The handlebar bag is nice for items I want to be able to reach while riding (snacks, camera, etc.) and the handling of the bike is still ok with the load all on the rear. Psychologically I prefer to avoid front panniers - that way I'm not constantly reminded of the load I'm carrying and can better pretend that it's not there. Trailers are more useful if you have a larger load to carry. I prefer to keep the total load light enough that it all fits in two rear panniers and thereby avoid the extra weight of the trailer. This is for primarily on-road touring.
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Old 03-04-12, 10:32 AM   #7
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When most people start thinking about touring for some reason their mind goes straight to what panniers to buy and how many. This is, I believe, the wrong approach. First make a list of what you want to bring, you said you toured before so you have some experience. After you have that list then gather it all together. Now that you have a real visual of your items you can decide what you need to carry your stuff. Keep in mind that every rack and pack adds weight and wind resistance.

Oh yea, and shorts definitely!
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Old 03-04-12, 10:36 AM   #8
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Thanks for the quick responses!

I know when I started out I was rather uncomfortable wearing Lycra. Its been 9 years now and I wouldn't think about riding with out wearing it. I'll carry a pair of soccer shorts that role up into nothing that I can slip on when not on the bike for wearing around cafes etc. I think I'll stick with the Bibs then since they are comfortable and what I am used to now. I have some full zip jerseys too and usually use my jersey pockets to carry a small multitool, a snack or two, and cellphone. That will change when I go touring.

I think Ortlieb Panniers are what I'll settle with. Since I am essentially soloing this tour, I will need to be able to carry everything with me. A handlebar bag would be useful if its one of those that has a map leaflet in it. No GPS, so printed directions for the trip (and some land-nav most likely). Its been a while since I've used a handlebar bag (i dont think my last tour used one).
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Old 03-04-12, 11:01 AM   #9
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I ride in shorts and bibs, don't change what you are doing to go touring. I too like the full zip jerseys with the bibs.

I use the ortlieb panniers and handlebar bag. The only problem that I have with handlebar bag is that my Shimano 105 brifters cables stick out into or over the handlebags and making it a bit harder to access the bag or bending the shifter cables a lot. But these are the older model of the 105's.
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Old 03-04-12, 02:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcallaghan View Post
Thanks for the quick responses!

I know when I started out I was rather uncomfortable wearing Lycra. Its been 9 years now and I wouldn't think about riding with out wearing it. I'll carry a pair of soccer shorts that role up into nothing that I can slip on when not on the bike for wearing around cafes etc. I think I'll stick with the Bibs then since they are comfortable and what I am used to now. I have some full zip jerseys too and usually use my jersey pockets to carry a small multitool, a snack or two, and cellphone. That will change when I go touring.

I think Ortlieb Panniers are what I'll settle with. Since I am essentially soloing this tour, I will need to be able to carry everything with me. A handlebar bag would be useful if its one of those that has a map leaflet in it. No GPS, so printed directions for the trip (and some land-nav most likely). Its been a while since I've used a handlebar bag (i dont think my last tour used one).
if your in the uk look up donedeal.ie(louth) section there a guy selling ortlieb classic rear panniers in red for 100 euro you might even get the a bit better if you barter with him.
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Old 03-04-12, 03:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Grumpybear View Post
When most people start thinking about touring for some reason their mind goes straight to what panniers to buy and how many. This is, I believe, the wrong approach. First make a list of what you want to bring, you said you toured before so you have some experience. After you have that list then gather it all together. Now that you have a real visual of your items you can decide what you need to carry your stuff. Keep in mind that every rack and pack adds weight and wind resistance.

Oh yea, and shorts definitely!
+1
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Old 03-04-12, 03:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mcallaghan View Post
The Tour I did I only had rear panniers and the tour leader had a Bob. Since I am planning what will mostly be a solo tour, camping, I assume it would make sense for me to also get Front and Rear Panniers. I am more familiar with this method of carrying gear so think I would steer away from a Bob (unless some one can really convince me that a Bob is the way to go). On an Around-the-Uk tour I have planned, does it make sense to go Front/Rear Panniers or solely rear?
That depends on what you're carrying and what you prefer. Some love trailers and some do not. If you're going with panniers, you need to consider how much gear you're carrying.

I prefer front and rear panniers if I need to carry a lot of gear on the bike. If I can get away with less, then I'll go with rear panniers only.

Last edited by Newspaperguy; 03-05-12 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 03-05-12, 03:52 AM   #13
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My preference is for bike shorts under mountain bike or other shorts and a loose long sleeved shirt over a Icebreaker top.

Andrew
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Old 03-05-12, 10:22 AM   #14
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Over the years, touring, the list included 3 pair of bike shorts, in a wear, wash and dry cycle,
so as to have a clean pair of shorts to put on each morning ,
If needed, single pair of mountain bike or other shorts to pull on over the bike shorts..

Skin Hygiene , if only thing you have to wash, wild camping with little water ,
the part you sit on, gets kept clean.

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-05-12 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 03-05-12, 10:53 AM   #15
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Bibs take up more space than shorts and are slower to dry.
For UK touring, will you be using unsurfaced bridleways? Panniers can handle rough stuff better than Bobs.

In the UK, the only place where you will be out of contact of civilisation for more than 1 day with be in the N of Scotland. You wont need to carry large quantities of supplies so you could probably use 2 rear panniers and a front barbag. If you are travelling in spring/fall you may need to carry more clothing and a bulkier sleeping bag.
Cooking stuff takes up lots of volume. Are you intending to cook decent meals yourself, use Just Add Water meals, eat in pubs, carry a simple brew-kit?
There are lots of ways to travel and none of them are wrong.
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