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Total Rookie at this!!! 55 want to do a 4-day bike tour in August, 2014,

Old 01-23-14, 11:15 AM
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firsttimeat55
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Total Rookie at this!!! 55 want to do a 4-day bike tour in August, 2014,

Hi, I'm 55 and I am determined to make a big change in my life. It's January and my goal is to ride a 4-day 60-80 mile per day bike tour in August. I have always loved to bike and just bought a new bike last summer, nothing to fancy, (I'm putting two kids through college), but it's a road bike and I am hoping it will work. I am seeking advice on training, eating etc. I have some weight to lose before August, but I believe I can do that with no problem. My past biking experience really consists of 20-mile bike rides on a Sunday afternoon. So I know I have my work cutout for me. I'l take any advice anyone has!

Thanks!
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Old 01-23-14, 11:26 AM
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Where do you live and what tour are you thinking of? There may be someone, or a group, local to you.
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Old 01-23-14, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by firsttimeat55 View Post
Hi, I'm 55 and I am determined to make a big change in my life. It's January and my goal is to ride a 4-day 60-80 mile per day bike tour in August...I'l take any advice anyone has!
First question: Self-supported (camping) or via credit card (motels and restaurants, etc)?

Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Where do you live and what tour are you thinking of? There may be someone, or a group, local to you.
That basic question too. Group or solo?
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Old 01-23-14, 11:40 AM
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to some extent its like riding to lunch and back , just lunch and dinner are in a straight line ,

rather than an out and back home again ..

book a Motel room, sleep, eat breakfast, and continue ..


try some overnighters , out and back ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-25-14 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 01-23-14, 11:46 AM
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I am considering the BAM Tour in August
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Old 01-23-14, 11:48 AM
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This is a group tour we will have an option of camping of moteling it. meals are provided along with portable showers.
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Old 01-23-14, 11:50 AM
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This is an organzied group tour, meals provided, camping or motel, portal showers. Little concerned about the heat in August....
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Old 01-23-14, 12:04 PM
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Sounds like it is very doable for you. There are several of us on this forum that ride BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia), plus many more that ride the other states as well. My preference is camping because you kind of get to hang out with the entire group in the evenings, while most motelers seem to just disappear at night.

There is a lot of varying opinions on training, but I keep it simple: ride as much as you can whenever you can. This is especially true in the month or so beforehand. Try to get some 60-70 milers in as well, just to be sure of what you're in for.

One last piece of random advice: don't take anything new on the trip. For example, make sure those shorts don't chaff anywhere. Stuff that fits OK out to 20 miles may very well rub a sore spot around mile 50. Training is a good time to break-in shorts, shoes, seats, whatever.

Have fun!
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Old 01-23-14, 12:05 PM
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Frankly, if you're wise enough to think about it now, and not two weeks ahead, you're going to be more than ready.
That means you'll be able to forget about any riding issues and really enjoy the other aspects of a good tour.

Foremost, you need to know that you like your saddle, your bike fits well enough, and that you're happy on it for several hours if necessary (probably won't be).

Possible training goals might be something like...
At least 100 - 120 miles a week for all of July.
Three 50 mile rides and one 80 mile ride under your belt during the six weeks preceding your tour.
Enough road-time through the summer to know what you need to carry on-bike, what to wear, how to perform basic repair and maintenance.

Last edited by blacknbluebikes; 01-23-14 at 12:07 PM. Reason: tpyos
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Old 01-23-14, 12:09 PM
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You have plenty of time to get ready, to learn how you fit (or not) on the bike and learn what works for you food-wise as you ride.

Start out slow (comfortable) and short distances, then slowly ramp them up to where a 60 mile ride is easy and actually no big deal. True, you have a lot to learn, but through your own experiences and a bit of advice from this group you should be fine.

I have done lots of similar tours through OBR (Oregon Bike Rides) and Cycle America and they are a huge amout of fun without any real down-sides. My wife and I have always tent-camped on these tours but go the motel route if that seems like it would be more comfortable for you (at a higher price, of course).

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Old 01-23-14, 02:47 PM
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My recommendation would be to work up to 25-30 mile rides, three times per week, by Mid-June. After that, add a longer weekend ride and start pushing the pace up a bit. Heat won't be an issue, but you'll need rain gear - you have to get to the next campsite even if it's thunderstorming. So get a rain jacket, helmet cover, rear flasher, etc and test it out to make sure you've got what works for you.

If there is a local club you can ride with, so much the better. Many of them probably do WAM and you can not only train with them but pick their brains on the whole "touring" thing. To find a club, ask at the local bike shops. "is there a club or organized group around?" They'll know.
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Old 01-23-14, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
to some extent its like riding to lunch and back , just lunch and dinner are in a straight line ,

rather than an out and back home again ..

book a Motel room, sleep, eat breakfast, and continue ..
I couldn't disagree more. Going longer distances than you're used to brings in a new set of challenges.

I agree with taking several 25-30 mile rides first. You get to deal with clothing, carrying stuff, fatigue, fit, fuel, water, route planning, and so many other things. Also, when you have a ride planned and the weather turns bad, keep going, because this could happen on tour.

My wife and I took a one-night tour last summer. It was her first tour, ever. She's 62. She did it. You can do it, too. Know your limits. Test your limits. Push your limits. When you set out, you want to have already done at least one 60 mile ride, or something close to it.
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Old 01-23-14, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
When you set out, you want to have already done at least one 60 mile ride, or something close to it.
Without having toured myself I'd say: That's 1 comfortably.....imo.
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Old 01-23-14, 03:38 PM
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OK, do a decade in the cub/boyscouts so camping is no mystery,

then Immerse yourself in bike mechanics so you can problem solve

and read back pack magazines to learn about gear not Korean War surplus,,

build up a decent kit, and fly somewhere you want to see..
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Old 01-23-14, 03:59 PM
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We did a 6 day trip in Provence (I'm living in Europe right now, so less exotic for us than for the woman who came from Oz), about 40 miles per day, usually hill climbing as part of the trip each day. Prior to the trip I spent about 6-7 weeks riding, usually 25 miles a day, plus a few longer weekend trips. On the tour I rode a road bike, and had no issues (the road bike was of course at least half the weight of my MB, even with a pannier). We stayed at hotels and had the baggage delivered to the hotels. You want to enjoy your days out, so preparation of the body will make a big difference. Your fitness (I'm generally pretty fit, 'cause the military makes exercise as part of my work day) will have a big impact on how happy or sad you will be. If you are not really fit, then today is the first day of your fitness regime to get ready...
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Old 01-23-14, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by firsttimeat55 View Post
I am considering the BAM Tour in August
Oh honey, I did this ride last summer and had so much fun! Here is my thread where I questioned whether I could get ready for it or not: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ide?highlight=

I am planning on doing it again with a friend, if we get in. The ride sells out fast.

The good thing is that you have to carry next to nothing. We did use larger bags, I have a seatpost bag. This meant that as the day warmed I had a place to store extra clothes. It never got hot last year. We did have one day with a vicious headwind all day. But we trudged along. It was all good.

My weak point was doing back to back rides. But I managed to work up to it.

Last edited by goldfinch; 01-23-14 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 01-23-14, 06:10 PM
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Yes, it's the back-to-back thing that's a bit hard: learning how to pace yourself so the next day isn't miserable, learning what to eat for breakfast, what to eat on the bike, what to eat to recover. It's the 3rd day. Riding frequently prepares you for that somewhat.
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Old 01-23-14, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
OK, do a decade in the cub/boyscouts so camping is no mystery,

then Immerse yourself in bike mechanics so you can problem solve

and read back pack magazines to learn about gear not Korean War surplus,,

build up a decent kit, and fly somewhere you want to see..
fietsbob, you have extrapolated and put words in my mouth. You do not have my permission to do that. There is learning to be done in order to take a tour. Not everyone is ready to do it without practice and training and education. You think my mother could hop on a bike and do 60 miles a day for three days? How about my 3-year-old cousin?

I do realize that you don't need to have done a full equivalent of a 60 mile ride, but I don't know how much firsttimeat55 can ride in a day now. Do you? He said in the past he was doing 20 mile rides. In the present, he hasn't told us yet.
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Old 01-23-14, 06:25 PM
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We seem to spent a lot of time Blind guessing .. here.. based upon spotty information ..


the where the trip is going is another Local Culture ..

Well If the trip starts , say in Passau Germany and you were riding the path
on either side of the Danube river ..

Towards Vienna Austria , Budapest Hungary, Whole families ride it as if it were a sunday in the Park ,
because It is almost that, a smooth And a casual route, with The Motor traffic all on Other routes ..

and having a lot of services, food , drink, etc. along the way
and clean Commercial Campgrounds .. to stay in

It is a place to do Family Outings .. Then take the River Cruise boat back Upstream to where you started.. probably as nice now as it was in 1991, when I took just a small part of the way.

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-23-14 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 01-23-14, 07:03 PM
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Ride lots between now and then, doing a few rides the distance you'll be covering in the tour. Get your bike sorted out well in advance of the ride. No last minute changes. Do some trial runs with the camping gear ahead of time. Avoid air conditioning as much as practical the week or two before the ride. It will help you deal with the heat.

Have fun.
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Old 01-23-14, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by GregGrimes View Post
There are several of us on this forum that ride BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia), plus many more that ride the other states as well. My preference is camping because you kind of get to hang out with the entire group in the evenings, while most motelers seem to just disappear at night.
Have fun!
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Drop by the Team Occisus Via campsite on BRAG and say Hi. Stay awhile if you bring beer.
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Old 01-23-14, 08:59 PM
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A great first time supported cycle tour is Cycling the Erie Canal, across NY State. Fairly easy terrain, well organized and supported, cyclists of many different levels. My partner and I have ridden it several times, we used the ride to introduce our guys to cycle touring. When my eldest gets our of the service, he wants to go again and bring his wife (who is a cycling novice).
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Old 01-24-14, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by firsttimeat55 View Post
I am considering the BAM Tour in August
That sounds cool! I've toured a couple of times in SE MN. One was with an organized group in late June and we had lots of rain. The other was solo self-supported in mid-to-late Sept and I had pretty good riding weather during the days but many freezing nights (I was camping). August days can be hot but the nights have usually started to cool down so sleeping should be good.

Try to ride consistently, e.g. 4 or 5 times per week. Try to ride "long" at least once every two weeks and increase your long ride by 10-20% each time. Try to get your long ride up to ~80 miles 2-3 weeks before the tour. Keep track of your weekly mileage and don't increase too much from your previous high (10-20% max) or you may get injured. Most of all - have fun!

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Old 01-24-14, 08:25 AM
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If you're doing a supported tour and not carrying weight I have very little advice: ride as much as possible prior to the trip and get used to successive 60 mile days and you'll be fine.

If you're carrying your own stuff it's a whole different thing. In that case I have two general tips. 1) Take a couple of weekend trips and bring a little notebook. Write down all your thoughts about the trip while you're on it - what stuff did you bring that was invaluable, what did you bring that you didn't need, and what do you wish you'd brought. What to bring on a tour is a constant puzzle - efficacy and comfort vs. weight. I'm always refining my list, but I have the clearest vision while I'm on tour. Before or after a trip there's less immediacy. 2) I recommend shorter days, at least for the first 2 or 3. I like to enjoy myself rather than hammer out big miles. On most long tours I've averaged 50-55 miles per day, but trying to do that the first couple of days is pretty painful for me. I start out easy and build up when I'm ready. After I'm in the swing 70-80 mile days aren't unusual (though I still don't like to do those distances very often.)
Have fun!
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Old 01-24-14, 06:20 PM
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I don't know where you live but if you haven't done the Trace you might want to consider it. I have been on every mile of this road, it is a natural for bike touring..not in August, too hot but earlier or later is good, great surface, no big hills , lots of turn off eats and lodgings, good for out and backs, North section is the best.

https://www.natcheztracetravel.com/biking-the-trace.html

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