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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 10-08-12, 01:34 PM   #1
bgraham111
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First tour - DONE! (Ohio and Erie Tow Path)

Ive been curious about touring for some time, but I never really gave it much thought. I biked alot when I was in my early 20's, then stopped for several years. Got back into it last year. I bike after work, and on the weekends. This summer I did several metric centuries, and a few organized rides.

I've been reading and lurking in here, seeing what I could learn. Biggest piece of advice that I got - just go do it.

So, I did.

3 days and 200 miles on the Ohio and Erie Towpath (which follows the old canal system from Lake Erie in Cleveland, up to the high point south of Akron, and south from that a little way). 99.9% on a trail, so no worries of traffic. Beautiful country. I didn't camp this time - having a hotel and reservations gave me one less thing to worry about. Stayed in Massillon, OH both nights (which I recommend - lots of restaurants in Massillon, and easy to get around on bike). Lots of interesting things to stop and see on the way, if you are interested in the history of the canal system. And the trails are REALLY well built and maintained. I was very impressed. I carried everything I needed (and stuff I didn't need) in a handle bar bag, two rear panniers, and a dry stuff sack on the back rack.

Day 1 - Left from the South Chagrin Reservation (it's near my parents house, so it was easy to get dropped off there). Traveled west about 10 miles to the towpath, then turned north to Cleveland. Was very surprised how nice the trail was. Eventually turned around and went south, passing Akron, Canal Futon, and ending up in Massillon. 90 miles the first day, but I could have cut that shorter by starting on the towpath, not biking up to Cleveland, or taking the scenic railway part of the way. The railway is $2 for people with bikes - you just pull up to one of the stations, wave your arms, pay your $2, load your bike up, and ride. Alas, I did not ride the train.

Day 2 - Biked south for a while, ate lunch, and biked back. Only did 35 miles, mostly because I wasn't sure how my body would react to biking alot on a second day. Turns out I had nothing to fear - I handled it much better than I though.

Day 3 - Biked back up to the Cleveland Area. The Continental Divide is just south of Akron, so I told myself it was all downhill after that point. And it really was an easy ride back. Until I got off the towpath and biked up the valley walls to the South Chagrin Reservation to get back to my parents house. Total of 75 miles.

I had a great time - and I'd recommend the Ohio and Erie Towpath for anyone, like me, who wants to try touring but with some protection from the "real world" like traffic and no water.

A few of my favorite pictures from the trip (I'm not posting all 100 pictures... only my wife had to suffer through looking at all of them.)

Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 2012-10-06_09-27-24_517.jpg (103.0 KB, 55 views)

Last edited by bgraham111; 10-08-12 at 01:39 PM. Reason: Bike pics... forgot the bike pics...
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Old 10-08-12, 01:38 PM   #2
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Did you see any other touring riders?
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Old 10-08-12, 02:28 PM   #3
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I think so - I saw a few other people with paniers, but they weren't as fully loaded as me. But that's probably because they were smarter than me. Live and learn.

I saw lots of runners, as they were shutting the trail down at sundown on Sat to get ready for a Sunday Towpath Marathon. So I saw all the water stations getting set up.

It is getting a littler cooler out - my 3rd day the temps went from the high 30's to the low 50's. I was told there are a lot more touring folks in the summer. I also saw a few tour groups - but they were all out for a day ride. (Ride one way, take the train back.)
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Old 10-19-12, 09:20 AM   #4
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What rack is that? Thanks
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Old 10-19-12, 10:02 AM   #5
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I was on the towpath last July when I met a fairly young guy fully loaded. Turns out he had started in Oregon and was on his way to Maine - by himself. Said he was averaging 85 mi/day - it sure impressed me.
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Old 10-20-12, 07:05 PM   #6
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What rack is that? Thanks
It's a Bontranger rack. It's for small frames (mine frame is 17.5") and for disc brakes. It's much nicer than the rack I have on my MTB. Of course they make bigger ones, and for non-disc - and they are probably just as nice.

I was using really inexpensive paniers from Detour. The best think I did (other than the rack which seems nice) was to get a waterproof stuff sack and that cargo net. It was only a few bucks from Amazon.com, but it worked great. This was my first "tour", and I don't have front paniers, so everything went on the back. That stuff sack and net worked great, and I can expand to carry a tent or hammock pretty easily in the future, when I get braver.

Not exactly a power tourer (so jealous of the folks who have the time), but it was a blast!
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Old 10-21-12, 06:36 AM   #7
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bgraham111, My mountain bike is set up similar to your Trek. It's a bit nicer when running through long stretches of what's in your 4th photo than the touring bike. Thanks for sharing some photos.

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Old 10-23-12, 09:53 AM   #8
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It's a Bontranger rack. It's for small frames (mine frame is 17.5") and for disc brakes. It's much nicer than the rack I have on my MTB. Of course they make bigger ones, and for non-disc - and they are probably just as nice.

I was using really inexpensive paniers from Detour. The best think I did (other than the rack which seems nice) was to get a waterproof stuff sack and that cargo net. It was only a few bucks from Amazon.com, but it worked great. This was my first "tour", and I don't have front paniers, so everything went on the back. That stuff sack and net worked great, and I can expand to carry a tent or hammock pretty easily in the future, when I get braver.

Not exactly a power tourer (so jealous of the folks who have the time), but it was a blast!
Thanks...

I have a Trek 4300 Disc (19.5) that needs an occasional rack. The seat post rack I have doesn't cut it and others have heel strike on panniers. This looks low and far enough back and I may give it a try.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:07 PM   #9
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Thanks...

I have a Trek 4300 Disc (19.5) that needs an occasional rack. The seat post rack I have doesn't cut it and others have heel strike on panniers. This looks low and far enough back and I may give it a try.
Yeah - I don't have any heel strike issues with this one. (I did on my MTB on, but I blame the bike geometry). I think 19.5 drifts into the Large size (you probable want to check for your self.)
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