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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    How many kms a day?

    On your tours, approx. how many kms a day will you plan to ride?

    How many days per week? How many rest days do you take?

    Does that vary depending on the terrian, or your mood, or other factors? Or do you stick to the plan pretty closely?

  2. #2
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    As someone who lives in the world of deadlines and tight work structures in my working life, I tend to go the other way on a tour. I have a general plan, I guess, with regard to miles or kms but am very open to the scenery, the weather and the local color and taking an easy day or rest day when the mood suits. On a loaded, self-supported tour, somewhere between 40 to 60 miles a day seems to allow for visiting castles and churches, and stopping for tea breaks and conversations with local people and generally sauntering along at a pleasant pace. But I'm not too worried if its more--or less. For me, smiles are always more important than miles.

    By the way, I really admire that you do the brevet thing. It seems like a great tradition.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  3. #3
    Senior Member denisegoldberg's Avatar
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    It depends on how long the tour is. For my cross-country tour my trip was pretty much open-ended. I had a general plan of my route, although I changed it quite a bit along the way. I got into a bad habit early in the trip of not taking enough rest days; I find that one real rest day a week worked for me. And when I say real rest day, I mean a day when I am not traveling and I am not spending the whole day running errands. I found that if my rest day was a non-rest day that I really needed to take another day off.

    I took two month-long trips when I pretty much played it by ear. They were both point to point trips where I had plane reservations home on a certain date. When I figured the number of days I needed to travel the mileage - assuming 50 to 70 miles a day - I threw in a couple of extra days to make sure I wouldn't miss my transportation home.

    My shorter trips (week+) have been pretty much planned out, with reservations for places to stay each night. In Hawaii, because there were specific B&Bs I wanted to stay at and because there are places where there wasn't a lot of choice of where to stay, I'm really more comfortable traveling with reservations. In Ireland, I think the reservations were probably overkill, since there were both hostels and B&Bs in all of the towns I passes through, and I think I would have been able to easily find a place to stay each night. But then again, I was there after the normal tourist season.

    On the mileage front, somewhere between 40 and 70 miles usually makes me quite happy.

  4. #4
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    i ride around 100 km, 7 days a week, 30/31/28 days a month depends on the particular period of the year. but, that´s just a general guideline, no need to follow it like an unbreakable oath. the single biggest thing that would lure me to deviate from it, is me. when i really like one place (reasons vary from beautiful scenery, someone, low morale, etc) i would just stay there until i feel it´s time to move on. of course, that means the plan of the tour changes quite a lot, but that´s the fun of travel. i don´t like following strict plans, daily life is enough for me.

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    As someone who lives in the world of deadlines and tight work structures in my working life, I tend to go the other way on a tour. I have a general plan, I guess, with regard to miles or kms but am very open to the scenery, the weather and the local color and taking an easy day or rest day when the mood suits. On a loaded, self-supported tour, somewhere between 40 to 60 miles a day seems to allow for visiting castles and churches, and stopping for tea breaks and conversations with local people and generally sauntering along at a pleasant pace. But I'm not too worried if its more--or less. For me, smiles are always more important than miles.

    By the way, I really admire that you do the brevet thing. It seems like a great tradition.
    Amen, brother! I often read about other people's mileages, like "I did 1000 miles in 9 days", and think why are you touring? Point A (the start) and Point B (the end) are unimportant when you tour. All the points inbetween are the most important. I've ridden a little as 15 miles in one day but they were wonderous miles.

    I don't do organized tours for that very reason. They are not touring, they are races.

    When on tour in Scotland, my wife and I spent 5 wonderous days in Oban out of 18 days touring. It was marvelous and memorable. Sure we could have covered 500 miles in those 5 days but we would have missed Lisamore Rocks, the Island of Mull, Iona and Staffa. And we would have missed Mrs. McIntire, a truely wonderful innkeeper and lovely woman.

    Stop, smell the roses because there are no roses at the end of the trip.

    Stuart Black

  6. #6
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Amen, brother! I often read about other people's mileages, like "I did 1000 miles in 9 days", and think why are you touring? Point A (the start) and Point B (the end) are unimportant when you tour. All the points inbetween are the most important. I've ridden a little as 15 miles in one day but they were wonderous miles.

    I don't do organized tours for that very reason. They are not touring, they are races.

    When on tour in Scotland, my wife and I spent 5 wonderous days in Oban out of 18 days touring. It was marvelous and memorable. Sure we could have covered 500 miles in those 5 days but we would have missed Lisamore Rocks, the Island of Mull, Iona and Staffa. And we would have missed Mrs. McIntire, a truely wonderful innkeeper and lovely woman.

    Stop, smell the roses because there are no roses at the end of the trip.

    Stuart Black
    True enough. On my last two tours in Wales, I didn't actually "tour." Stayed in one spot and took marvelous rides every day with a small group of friends. Great way to really get to know a landscape and a bit about the culture.

    By the way, I've been meaning to ask you about your pie obsession. There was a wonderful article a number of years ago in the New Yorker, written for someone just like you. The author travelled all over the country in search of good pie. One of the rules of the road was something like: You never get good pie within a mile of an Interstate highway. I'll see if I can track it down.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  7. #7
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    usually "average" 85-100 miles per day, 5 days per week, 8 hours per day.
    speed is fairly consistant 12-15 mph. other than speed, 1 mph on reeeeeaaallly
    steep uphills to 55 mph going down, the numbers are not affected by weather,
    mood, terrain, or amount of baggage.

    the rest days are spent in national parks, hiking the trails, or in hostels when in
    larger cities sightseeing. there's no reason to keep to a 5/2 schedule, this is
    cycle touring. always stop to see 'stuff' along the way. on longer tours, i'll put
    the bike/trailer in storage, and rent a backpack for a weeklong hike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    "For me, smiles are always more important than miles".


    Very well said. I'll need to rember that.

  9. #9
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    I have no clue how far I travel in a day. I stop when I am tired, feel like stopping, or happen upon an interesting place. I usually start looking around for lodging around 4 p.m., if I haven't already found something. I get antsy if I haven't found a place to stay by 6 p.m. or so.

    One of the reasons I tour without a bicycle computer is that I prefer not to keep track of distance and speed!

  10. #10
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    For my first European tour I planned on riding 50 km per day and ended up averaging 65 km per day. I am in my late 50s and it think that suits me. My longest day was 89 km. I would typically leave about 9 in the morning and be done mid-afternoon, which gave me plenty of time to find accommodation.

    Even though I averaged 65, I think 50 is still a good goal. It was seldom that I had a day when there was not extra distance because I got lost, had miscalculated, took a side trip, or had trouble finding suitable accommodation. Then, once settled in, my bike (or foot) was my transportation to dinner, shopping or an attraction. There were a couple of times when I found nowhere to stay in my destination town and had to ride on, once riding 97 km on my second European trip.

    I like to take 1 rest day per week.

  11. #11
    Hooked on Touring
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    I can't begin to count how many Kims I do per day - and that doesn't include the Heathers and the Ambers. I mean - after I've spent a few weeks on the bike the women just can't keep away - the men either. Oh - - - you mean kilometers - - never mind.

    J

  12. #12
    megilleland megilleland's Avatar
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    On my Spanish tour of 2000 I spent 332 days travelling 7158 miles. I was on my bike for 181 days. This averages out at 39.5 miles for each day cycled. The least distance I cycled was 15 miles the most 89 miles. It really depends on the terrain encountered on the highway, the number of sights, the weather and the number of drinks the night before. When you only have one night in a place you usually arrive early evening, and leaving the sightseeing to the next morning, means you have a mid to late morning start the next day.

    I too am amazed by the tourer who is travelling great distances between 2 points and never getting off the bike to soak up the local scene.
    The more you spend-the faster you go-the less you see.

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    True enough. On my last two tours in Wales, I didn't actually "tour." Stayed in one spot and took marvelous rides every day with a small group of friends. Great way to really get to know a landscape and a bit about the culture.

    By the way, I've been meaning to ask you about your pie obsession. There was a wonderful article a number of years ago in the New Yorker, written for someone just like you. The author travelled all over the country in search of good pie. One of the rules of the road was something like: You never get good pie within a mile of an Interstate highway. I'll see if I can track it down.
    In 2003, I rode from Sioux Falls, SD to St. Louis. I was the editor for my club's weekly e-mail newsletter where I wrote about my trip, my thoughts, and general bicycling stuff. I took about 3 month's to write all of the details of my trip for the newsletter. One of the running gags was my inability to find pie on the whole 1024 mile, 3 week trip. In that whole time, I found pie exactly twice and only one of them was what I would call good. I called the whole adventure "Solo Without Pie".

    The fact that the tour follows I-29 (I think) for nearly the whole trip may be the cause of my pie problem. That and the fact that the Wally Worlds of that area have completely dried up the towns in the area. It looks like the area around an ant den - no food, no nothing.

    Stuart Black

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Hmmm ... one day I'd like to try a tour that is more relaxed. All my tours so far have been for a set amount of time, with a set number of kilometers to be covered each day (about 100 kms = 60 miles) no matter what the terrain or weather.

    As for rest days, on my recent 3-month tour of Australia, the original plan was 1 rest day (meaning less than 30 kilometers, but more than 0) every two weeks. Fortunately reason prevailed and I managed to get at least one rest day each week. I was even happier when we had more rest days!! And "rest days" were defined as days where we could ride short distances or walk around and take in the sights, not days where we just lazed around and slept.

  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Hmmm ... one day I'd like to try a tour that is more relaxed. All my tours so far have been for a set amount of time, with a set number of kilometers to be covered each day (about 100 kms = 60 miles) no matter what the terrain or weather.

    As for rest days, on my recent 3-month tour of Australia, the original plan was 1 rest day (meaning less than 30 kilometers, but more than 0) every two weeks. Fortunately reason prevailed and I managed to get at least one rest day each week. I was even happier when we had more rest days!! And "rest days" were defined as days where we could ride short distances or walk around and take in the sights, not days where we just lazed around and slept.
    Maybe H.G. Wells said it best. "Only those who toil six long days out of seven and all the year round, save for one brief glorious fortnight ... know the exquisit sensations of the First Holiday Morning... All at once you are Lord of yourself, Lord of every hour in the long, vacant day; you may go where you please, call none Sir or Madam, ... and be a Man." (Read the rest in The Wheels of Chance, a marvelous book on bicycle touring from the turn on the 20th Century.)

    I work a high pressure job that requires lots of long hours to meet deadlines. A lot of people do. But when you go on tour what is the sense in doing just the same except on two wheels? A rest day should be just that. Not 30 or 40 miles but a day to get off the bike and see the rest of the world. That was my main complaint when touring on the eastern third of the Lewis and Clark Trail. There just weren't enough museums or sights to see.

    You control your tour. Don't let the deadlines control you. Pick a start point that allows for more time to goof off. Even force yourself to goof off. Or change the end of your tour. My wife and I are always fluid on where the tour will end. If something comes along that we want to investigate we will investigate it. If we have to reach the planned end of the tour by other means - cars or trains or busses or whatever - we don't considered it a failure. I guarantee that in 10 years you likely won't remember the days that you rode 100 miles but you will remember that little tea shop in Aberdeen or the ruins of Urqart Castle or even the sea gull making a bullseye on your shoe.

    Mileage shouldn't matter. Experiences should.

    Stuart Black

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    I am discussing tour specifically by bicycle here. I like to participate in organized tours. Biking is the prime motive, and seeing places and coulture is next. It's good to be assured that you've rest stop with refreshments awaiting, and lunch at mid day. You also don't have to worry about logistics, accomodation etc. Infact, I don't want to worry about anything. I enjoy friendly scraps with fellow members of the group, and I don't miss any great sights. If I want to vacation, I do something else, and if I want to camp, I take a car. Nevertheless, I respect vagabonds on two wheels.

  17. #17
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    How many km? I never really planned that way – in fact, I never really planned any of my tours. If I need to plan a stretch, I might guesstimate approximately 120-150 km per day depending on hills, wind, etc, and I know that if I don't do it one day, I will generally be back to that average over a week or so.

    But one I look back at my trips, I find that the most reliable piece of data is the time spent "riding". When by myself, it's 12 to 14 hours, including lunch, rest stops (about 2 hours total), vistas and other interesting diversions. Which means that on flat and uninteresting terrain, it's 10 hours x 20 km/h or 200 km, but that on rolling terrain and/or places with museums and the like, it may be as little as 50 km because I spend the rest of the time doing NOT cycling.

    Now that I tour with one child (two this Summer), it's more like 8-10 hours per day, stops included.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    On your tours, approx. how many kms a day will you plan to ride?

    How many days per week? How many rest days do you take?

    Does that vary depending on the terrian, or your mood, or other factors? Or do you stick to the plan pretty closely?
    Hello,

    On my last tour, I planned to ride 55-65 miles per day, but averaged about 50 miles per day. The terrain was a factor due to the steep Virginia mountains. I was 51 years old at the time, and not in great shape.

    Typically, I like to start each day's ride as the sun comes up, and finish my riding day no later than 2:00 PM, roughly. This provides me with ample time after the ride to rest, nap, eat, shower, do laundry, get my gear ready for the next day, and then walk a bit through town, read, or whatever.

    Generally, I only take one rest day per week, and usually do not plan it before-hand. Instead, I try to save my time-off for very rainy days. Sometimes I like to ride six full days, and on the 7th day ride only about 20 miles. This allows me to make headway in my journey but still have many hours of rest.

    Overall, I leave my plan wide open to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances, both good and bad, that my crop-up. Although I enjoy the physical and mental challenge of a tour, I (almost) never condemn myself because the day's mileage is less than planned. I want to see and experience everything possible on the tour, and not be controlled nor pressured by the number of miles I "must" do each day.

    Wolfy

  19. #19
    Has opinion, will express
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    I guarantee that in 10 years you likely won't remember the days that you rode 100 miles but you will remember that little tea shop in Aberdeen or the ruins of Urqart Castle or even the sea gull making a bullseye on your shoe.
    Isn't that the truth. I've done a lot of touring of various kinds, and in talking about encounters with animals with someone yesterday, I had no trouble reeling off 15 or 20 or them (well, I probably could have reeled off that many). But ask me what distance I travelled each day, and I can't really tell you -- except my first ever 100-mile day was at the end of my Nullarbor Ride, and included the small mining community of Iron Knob.

    There are short days, and long days, and medium days, and days when nothing happens at all. There are days when alternative transport -- coach, train or ferry -- is easier and logical (over boring routes or those with high-speed and high-volume traffic... or water). I spent four days "recovering" in Brugge in 2003 and it became my favourite city on my northern European trip.

    Emotions play an important role. So does weather. And mechanical mishap. As well as lovely people. And comfortable accommodation.

    And for less-experienced tourers (well... yes, even for older hands) there seems to be that desire to "get on with it" at the start of a tour, meaning early distances may be longer than they need to be and good experiences might be missed.

    Having said that, long-distance randonnees have allowed me to travel to areas I otherwise would not have done, including France and parts of Australia. And generally I want to go back with a bit of "buffer" time around the events to appreciate the regions a bit more by doing "normal" touring.

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