I've been interested in touring since I first started commuting and getting around by bike. I am going to go on my first tour with 2 or 3 friends for a week in May. I have some bike questions.
Althought I hope to buy a good tourer in the future, at present I have none. My commuter is a 26" folder (Dahon Matrix) with 1.5" slicks on it. Good commuter, not built at all for touring. My other options is to take my dad's entry level Trek Hybrid. Luggage capacity isn't a concern, because we are going to use a Burely Nomad to carry our gear.
Any advice on which bike would be best to take, or what inexpensive modifications could be made to either of them more suitable for touring? I will definitely put bar-ends or drop bars on what I take, since they have flat handlebars.
Any other advice for a first-time tourer is welcome. One of the participants is a camping god (one year in Alaska) so he'll director of preparedness and survival in the "wild". We plan on camping out.
Last edited by Anthony King; 03-05-05 at 10:27 AM.
dangerous with tools
On which bike are you more likely to be comfortable on all-day rides? Particularly when there are 6 or 7 in a row!
Who's hauling the nomad? One regular poster here has toured extensively on a folding bike, towing a trailer.
If luggage is not going to be a problem then any comfortable bike will do. Your commuter bike sounds adaquate for a short tour if the folding mechanism is solid. Plenty of people tour for a few weeks on their low-end commuter hybrid bikes.
My first tour was on a rental MTB wheel Raleigh Pioneer with all my luggage stuffed into a 25l daysack, bungied onto the rear rack.
People have successfully toured long distances on both kinds of bikes. I think it comes down to your comfort level on each bike plus each bike's ability to carry/haul the load safely.
Make sure you try to build "fun" into each day on the tour and you should have a good time.
You might consider checking out the Bicycle Touring 101 web site as well. There is a section that attempts to explain "What's Touring" and another section that tries to assist you with "Getting Started".
Thanks for all the advice and links. We'll take turns pulling the trailer. It's very easy to take on and off. There will be four of us for the first 4.5 days, 3 of us for the last 3.5. Thanks for the links.
We just finalized the plans as far as coordinating days off. I've felt like a giddy kid all day. Can't wait.
You need a new bike
When it's your turn to tow the trailer, check to make sure a large rock or two hasn't found it's way inside.
Definitely put bar ends on the bike you use. Skip the drop bars. You'd also have to change out the shifters, brake levers, and stem.
When it comes time to pack, I suggest you and your friends set a maximum weight for the cargo. Subtract any common items like tent, stove, etc. then split the remaining weight budget by the number of you. Everyone has to keep their stuff within their weight limit. Even so, if there are four of you going, you will probably have a hard time getting everything into one trailer.
Are you camping? Four sleeping bags, camping pads, and a couple tents is going to take up a lot of volume. You may need a second trailer. Maybe you guys should try a test packing of all the stuff you think you need to take so you can find out where you stand.
Long Distance Cyclist
Any other advice for a first-time tourer is welcome.
For a week, you hardly need to bring anything.
- a small set of tools and tire changing equipment
- a small first aid kit
- one set of "civvies" for after the ride
- a spare set of cycling gear so you can change half way through the week
- rain gear (which you can also wear for warmth if it gets cool)
- ID, camera, money, passport, etc. in a small waterproof case which you will carry near you at all times
- a couple energy bars just in case there are some long stretches between towns
- an itty bitty tent
- a thermarest mattress
- an itty bitty sleeping bag (but be sure it is rated to be warm enough for the night time temps you'll experience)
- a little bit of cooking/eating gear
You should easily be able to stuff all that into a couple panniers, a handlebar bag, and strapped to the top of your rack. You shouldn't even need a trailer.
Mad bike riding scientist
Pack a day's worth of clothes in large ziplock bags. It keeps them dry and organizes them. I usually carry 3 days of riding clothes and wear one depending on how far apart I think laundry facilities are.
Originally Posted by Anthony King
Carry a pair of sandals rather than street shoes. Sandals can be used as shower shoes and they can be worn with regular clothes if needed. I usually carry a pair of pants (light weight nylon with zip off legs) and a light weight shirt for times when you want to look like a normal person.
The back of a bike or a trailer can be used to dry laundry. Flapping clothes in the wind and sun will dry quickly but make sure they are well secured. You don't want to have clothes strewn over the last 50 miles
Stop often. This ain't a race! Eat lots of pie. See local museums and don't pass up a good road side attraction. Eat pie as often as you can get it.
We are camping, but we should have racks on at least three bikes of the bikes to strap some stuff to. I also plan to buy the cargo rack to stick on the Nomad. I think we'll make it, but we can definitely do a test pack.
Originally Posted by supcom
You need a new bike
For clothes, you can go ultralight by taking two sets of cycling clothes. If you take baggy shorts you can leave the street clothes at home. Each evening in camp change clothes and use a little Woolite to wash the days clothes and hang them up to dry.
By wearing baggy shorts, you can go around town without looking too conspicuous. And washing clothes each day keeps you presentable in stores and restaurants.