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Help with selecting the correct tires! We're doing the Mickelson Trail...

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Help with selecting the correct tires! We're doing the Mickelson Trail...

Old 01-27-21, 06:41 AM
  #1  
PetePetePete
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Tires, gear, and everything else! We're doing the Mickelson Trail... let's hear it...

Would like a tire that is great for pavement and for crushed limestone and gravel. I currently have:

Jamis Allegro Sport 17" Technical Details

  • Model: Jamis Allegro Sport fitness or hybrid bike
  • Price: About $750
  • Warranty: Lifetime for frame and fork, 1 year other items, excluding normal wear and tear
  • Bicycle weight: 11.8 kg
  • Frame: Aluminium 6061 grade Aluminium Alloy
  • Fork: Chrome-molybdenum steel
  • Handlebar: Jamis flat bar, 6061 aluminium
  • Stem: Jamis Trekking 2D forged alloy
  • Brakes front and rear: Tektro RX 1.0 mini V brakes with front power modulator
  • Brake levers: Shimano
  • Rims: Alex DC25 double wall alloy rims
  • Spokes: 32 14g stainless steel
  • Tyres: Vittoria Randonneur with double shield puncture protection, 700x32c
  • Valves: Presta type
  • Front Hub: Formula alloy hub
  • Cassette: Shimano CS-H2O-7. 7 speed 12-28T
  • Derailleurs: Rear - Shimano Acera RD-M360 derailleur. Front - Shimano FD-TX51 bottom pull
  • Shifter: 7 speed Shimano EZ-fire PLUS ST-EF51, 21 speed
  • Crankset: Shimano FC-M171 triple, 48/38/28, 170 mm (15-17"), 175mm (19-23")
  • BB set: FSA sealed cartridge, 68 x 110.5 mmm
  • Mudguards: None
  • Saddle: Jamis Touring with SL cover and satin steel rails
  • Seat-post: Jamis alloy micro adjust, 27.2 x 350 mm, alloy clamp with QR seat-pin
  • Pedals: Comfort platform style with TPE non-slip insert
  • Attachment points: Water bottle, carrier, brakes, reflectors, mudguards
  • Lock: None
  • Carrier: None
  • Lighting: Reflectors only
  • Cables: Internal routing of rear brake cable
  • Kickstand: None

Geometry

  • Bottom bracket height: 285 mm
  • Chain-stay length: 435 mm
  • Wheelbase: 1055 mm
  • Equivalent horizontal top tube length: 560 mm
  • Seat-tube angle: 74 degrees
  • Head-tube angle: 71 degrees
  • Seat height minimum: 740 mm
  • Seat height maximum: 985 mm
  • Fork rake: 50 mm
  • Wheel circumference: 2168 mm
  • Pedal crank length: 170 mm
  • Overall length: 1767 mm
I'm looking at Continental Cyclo X King 700x32c... but I'm curious if there's something better?

Looking to keep rims, etc. Just want to change tire.

Thanks,
Pete

Last edited by PetePetePete; 01-28-21 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:00 AM
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Take a look here:

CHAOYANG TIRES - PRODUCT

I've seen expensive schwalbe and Continental tires with the exact same tread pattern as some of these Chaoyang tires. Chaoyang makes tires for a lot of manufacturers before they are branded in a different factory and sold for 3x more.

I personally have used the Chaoyang Kestrel tires in 26x1.75 size and I've been very happy with them. The tread wears nicely, comfortable, great puncture protection and very good feedback when pushing the tire to its limit around turns.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:15 AM
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In 2015 I did it with camping gear on Conti Top Contact II tires. 700x35c, which are actually 37c. You would do yourself a favor by selecting tough tires. The surface can be rough in places.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:20 AM
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That link appears to be dead. However, I can google. What size would you suggest based on the specs of the bike I posted?
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Old 01-27-21, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
In 2015 I did it with camping gear on Conti Top Contact II tires. 700x35c, which are actually 37c. You would do yourself a favor by selecting tough tires. The surface can be rough in places.
That's what I'm thinking as well. Based on the specs of the bike... what would you consider?
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Old 01-27-21, 08:29 AM
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Your tires are fine. Try it out and see. Can you fit 37s? Then put on a set of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and never worry again.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Your tires are fine. Try it out and see. Can you fit 37s? Then put on a set of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and never worry again.
The tires I currently have are definitely not fine for crushed gravel/limestone. I've tried. Hence why I'm here seeking suggestions.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
The tires I currently have are definitely not fine for crushed gravel/limestone. I've tried. Hence why I'm here seeking suggestions.
Your Vittoria Randonneur with double shield puncture protection, 700x32c are what my wife runs on her touring bike. We've taken that bike through some gnarly gravel, stone and unpaved rides. They've held up fine.
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Old 01-27-21, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
That's what I'm thinking as well. Based on the specs of the bike... what would you consider?
I don't follow products unless what I have found works for me is no longer available.

What's more important than all the specs you've listed is how you intend to pull off the ride. Particularly, how much stuff you intend to tote along. I did the trail from the Engelwood trailhead to the southern terminus at Edgemont as part of a 10-day tour in the Black Hills. Camping but no cooking. Most of my route was unpaved so I wanted tires that were suited for pavement. (Only short sections of the Mickelson--in Deadwood and Custer--are paved.) I simply stuck with the Conti model I mention above because I had had plenty of experience with them both and and off road.

Load should also inform tire choice. The trail is not "warm and fuzzy" in a lot of places. You may encounter things lie rocks and areas of loose sand/fine dirt. I even had to skateboard a couple of short places due to washouts outside of Edgemeont. Another feature of the trail are the numerous wooden bridges, especially south of Custer, when you are riding gently down hill. The transitions between trail surface and bridges were rarely smooth. Also appreciate that the trail has a lot more climbing than what people might imagine for a rail-trail. (Look at the official website and/or map it out in RWGPS to get a better idea.) Personally, I would be wary of 32c tires.

And while you didn't ask, you should probably carry foul weather gear. Thunder storms, including those with hail, are not uncommon at all at certain times. I experienced two while on the trail. The first happened after dark, when I was already in camp. Hail off all different sizes, including some approaching golf ball size. The second storm came through when I was doing a day ride from Custer to Hill City and back. I had met a couple that morning in Custer who was getting shuttled north of Rochford with the plan to ride back to Custer. The husband did not have much in the way of foul weather gear. I was hanging out under cover in Hill City as the edge of the storm passed over town. The air temperature dropped maybe 20 degrees in a short time. The couple pulled up to get out of the rain. The brunt of the storm had hit them way up above Hilly City. To make matters worse, a herd of stubborn free-range cattle refused to move for a while, forcing them to stand there in the rain. I am not exaggerating when I say the husband's fingers were blue from the cold. He called the shuttle operator, which was based in town, and they got a ride back to Custer.

Finally, I don't know how much time you can get, but there are a few side trips/alternatives you can do from the trail that are quite nice. One is skipping Deadwood to Engelwood and instead riding to Spearfish and riding up Spearfish Canyon, over to Cheyenne Crossing and then to Engelwood to pick up the trail. From Hill City you can to a loop to see Mount Rushmore. (The Hill City to Keystone portion uses a backroad that is delightful) From Custer you can do a loop that includes the famous Needles Highway. None of them are easy though.

P.S. You cannot post links until you amass 10 posts.

Last edited by indyfabz; 01-27-21 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 01-27-21, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
The tires I currently have are definitely not fine for crushed gravel/limestone. I've tried. Hence why I'm here seeking suggestions.
1- its tough to come here and ask for advice since anyone can respond even if they are ignorant and know basically nothing.
2- the tires that are on the bike now are certainly tough enough, but they may be too narrow for confident riding. Regardless, they are heavy as all get out and replacing them could drop a good bit of weight while still having reliable tires.
3- with tires, you get what you pay for in a few different ways. more expensive tires are going to be 'better' depending on the intended purpose- so lighter, roll faster, more reliable, etc- and often more than one feature can exist. Cheaper tires will roll slower and be heavier.
4- a quality wider tire can give you more traction(lower pressure) and more comfort(lower pressure) while still rolling as fast or faster than a cheaper narrower tire.

Some options to google-
- Continental Terra Speed 35mm
- Schwalbe Marathon Almotion 40mm(measures 38ish)
- Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 37mm
- Schwalbe Marathon 37mm
- Schwalbe Marathon 40mm(measures narrower)
- Continental Sport Contact II 37mm
- Panaracer GravelKing + 40mm(measures 38ish)
- Panaracer GravelKing + 35mm

There are a ton more, but the above are regarded as quality options that balance weight and reliability. I have used GravelKing in many sizes and like them. Additionally, I have put Conti Sport Contact tires on a few bikes for others to use and they were a vast improvement over the stock tires(on entry level hybrid bikes).

Good luck- the tire world is super confusing and seemingly never ending.
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Old 01-27-21, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
1- its tough to come here and ask for advice since anyone can respond even if they are ignorant and know basically nothing.
2- the tires that are on the bike now are certainly tough enough, but they may be too narrow for confident riding. Regardless, they are heavy as all get out and replacing them could drop a good bit of weight while still having reliable tires.
3- with tires, you get what you pay for in a few different ways. more expensive tires are going to be 'better' depending on the intended purpose- so lighter, roll faster, more reliable, etc- and often more than one feature can exist. Cheaper tires will roll slower and be heavier.
4- a quality wider tire can give you more traction(lower pressure) and more comfort(lower pressure) while still rolling as fast or faster than a cheaper narrower tire.

Some options to google-
- Continental Terra Speed 35mm
- Schwalbe Marathon Almotion 40mm(measures 38ish)
- Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 37mm
- Schwalbe Marathon 37mm
- Schwalbe Marathon 40mm(measures narrower)
- Continental Sport Contact II 37mm
- Panaracer GravelKing + 40mm(measures 38ish)
- Panaracer GravelKing + 35mm

There are a ton more, but the above are regarded as quality options that balance weight and reliability. I have used GravelKing in many sizes and like them. Additionally, I have put Conti Sport Contact tires on a few bikes for others to use and they were a vast improvement over the stock tires(on entry level hybrid bikes).

Good luck- the tire world is super confusing and seemingly never ending.
All great help! So... question on the tires, and more about the ride...

Ok! So that leads to my next question. Since I've only replaced tires in the past with the same dimensions... this is where I get outside of my comfort zone... are the tires you mentioned suitable for my fork clearances, etc. Meaning, for example, will a Panaracer GravelKing + 40mm(measures 38ish) fit or will there be tolerance issues?

More info: We will be biking for approximately 6-8 days, depending on how many off-the-trail rides we take along the way. We will be lodging and not camping, so that will reduce gear, however the usual changes, tools, foul weather, snacks, etc... will be transported. We will have panniers. Rider weights are in the 150-160lb range (plus gear). Almost all our experience is on paved. This will be longest unpaved we have done, by far. The other bikes are all suitable for the trip, the only one that isn't is the one I'm hear asking about -- I LOVE the bike for road riding (even slightly "rough" road)... but after riding on levies, etc, it's a firm no-way. LOL.
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Old 01-27-21, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
All great help! So... question on the tires, and more about the ride...

Ok! So that leads to my next question. Since I've only replaced tires in the past with the same dimensions... this is where I get outside of my comfort zone... are the tires you mentioned suitable for my fork clearances, etc. Meaning, for example, will a Panaracer GravelKing + 40mm(measures 38ish) fit or will there be tolerance issues?

More info: We will be biking for approximately 6-8 days, depending on how many off-the-trail rides we take along the way. We will be lodging and not camping, so that will reduce gear, however the usual changes, tools, foul weather, snacks, etc... will be transported. We will have panniers. Rider weights are in the 150-160lb range (plus gear). Almost all our experience is on paved. This will be longest unpaved we have done, by far. The other bikes are all suitable for the trip, the only one that isn't is the one I'm hear asking about -- I LOVE the bike for road riding (even slightly "rough" road)... but after riding on levies, etc, it's a firm no-way. LOL.
What exactly is bad about the bike on unpaved surfaces?
As for tire clearance, I dont know what your bike can fit as that will take some measuring on your part. Every bike is different and what fits mine may not fit yours. In general though, I would expect a basic rigid hybrid frame to handle a 38mm wide tire which is why I mentioned wider than what you currently have.
You need some vernier calipers ideally, or at worst an easy to read ruler. Measure from the outermost section of tire to the chainstay. Then measure the distance from the tire to the point on the seat tube that is closest down near the bottom bracket. Next, measure the distance from the tire to the brake bridge(or if there isnt one, then to the seat tube up high). For the fork, measure the distance from the outside of the tire to the inner fork blade and then measure from the tire up to the crown of the fork.
These are the 5 points of clearance that you need. And ideally, give yourself 4mm of clearance in all directions to account for any small rocks that may get stuck in the tread for a rotation or two.
If your chainstays measure 48mm at the tire for example, then you could fit a 40mm tire and still have 4mm of clearance on each side. You would need to account for a larger tire being not only wider, but taller too. This is why you want to make sure there is room between your current tire and the seat stay as well as your current front tire and the fork crown.


Personally- I would figure out how wide a tire I can fit and then find a quality tire that is in that size(or closest to it). There is no downside to a quality wide tire on unpaved trails. It gives you more comfort and reduces tire sliding in loose surface sections. And to be blunt, you arent going fast enough to care about aerodynamics so that isnt a potential drawback.
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Old 01-27-21, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by PetePetePete View Post
More info: We will be biking for approximately 6-8 days, depending on how many off-the-trail rides we take along the way.
The Needles Highway loop I did:

BH-NEEDLES LOOP - A bike ride in Custer County, SD (ridewithgps.com)

Start early to avoid as much traffic traffic as possible, and definitely go clockwise to avoid the longest climb. The restaurant at Legion Lake Lodge had good food for lunch.

Mt. Rushmore Loop:

MT. RUSHMORE - A bike ride in Hill City, SD (ridewithgps.com)

I stayed at the KOA. The service entrance in the back allows access onto Old Hill City Rd., which was a delight, so I did a shorter version of what is shown on the map. Time your ride with the departure of the tourist steam train between Hill City and Keystone and you will cross paths with it several times. Fun experience. Keystone is a tacky, tourist town. Mt. Rushmore was a zoo.

If you will be staying in Edgemont I recommend not doing so on a Sunday or you may be forced to eat out of the Sinclair gas station. What little else there is in town was closed on Sundays.
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Old 01-27-21, 01:26 PM
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Vittoria Randoneur tires which your bike comes with are fine for trails like that however you probably want something wider for more confidence on the trail and more importantly comfort which is harder to get on a aluminum frame. I would try something wider. My go to is the Challenge Gravel Grinder and go with as wide as you can fit. I typically am riding 700x36-38s on bikes that will take them. I prefer the "open tubular" style (which they call Handmade Clincher or Pro) but if you are looking for more puncture protection the vulcanized Race series would be what to go with. I have also used the Continental Travel Contacts (folding 700x37) for years and have been happy with them.
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Old 01-27-21, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I have also used the Continental Travel Contacts (folding 700x37) for years and have been happy with them.
I also think that would be a good choice for the varying surfaces of the trail. On sale at Biketiresdirect.com

As I think I noted above, based on the conditions I encountered while riding it, I would not want to be on 32c tires.
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Old 01-27-21, 02:43 PM
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My first question would be what time of year? I've done it in May and got lucky one year and snowed out another. A spring trip can leave a lot of soft surfaces and even snow in shady spots. Then there is the sand pits just before the bridges.

So summer time, something a bit more gravel bike, spring you would appreciate something more aggressive in the center of the tread, having done it on 32s with just my day gear I agree that you should go as wide as you can.

When I rode it last about 4 years ago I took my Salsa Fargo in the spring with continental race kings It turned out to be a pretty good choice and would use them again.

Have fun.
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Old 01-27-21, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I also think that would be a good choice for the varying surfaces of the trail. On sale at Biketiresdirect.com

As I think I noted above, based on the conditions I encountered while riding it, I would not want to be on 32c tires.
Now I'm disappointed. Kind of imagined you'd do with slick 23s full cadence
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Old 01-27-21, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
Now I'm disappointed. Kind of imagined you'd do with slick 23s full cadence
Itís a beautiful, but tough in places, trail. And conditions can change quickly. 2015 had been a very rainy spring. I flew out on 6/14. Picked up the trail two days later. Custer had gotten several inches of snow about 10 days before I flew out, but it melted quickly. There was still lots of lush grass in town. A local told me it was usually brown by then. Iíll try to post the photo of the downed tree I had to lift my loaded bike over the first day on the trail.

Another thing some people might overlook is that it gets up to around 6,200í. Could have an effect on flatlanders.

https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/mickelson-trail-map.pdf
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Old 01-27-21, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Itís a beautiful, but tough in places, trail. And conditions can change quickly. 2015 had been a very rainy spring. I flew out on 6/14. Picked up the trail two days later. Custer had gotten several inches of snow about 10 days before I flew out, but it melted quickly. There was still lots of lush grass in town. A local told me it was usually brown by then. Iíll try to post the photo of the downed tree I had to lift my loaded bike over the first day on the trail.

Another thing some people might overlook is that it gets up to around 6,200í. Could have an effect on flatlanders.

https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/mickelson-trail-map.pdf
I was just looking at pics of trail online. I'm definitely jealous of that ride. I drive thru that way sometimes but a truck stop in Rapid City is about as close as I could get plus I'm the DA with 28s on my 'fitness' bike I take with me.
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Old 01-27-21, 07:18 PM
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This trip is at the top of my bucket list, I even planned out all the logistics at one point. Two people mentioned Mt. Rushmore, but screw that and dealing with all of the traffic. I'd go see Crazy Horse which is dwarfs MR and is much close to the trail.
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Old 01-27-21, 11:10 PM
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We did two days on the Mickelson. I saw folks on everything from 23mm wide racing tires to a fatbike. My wife rode her Dahon folder with ISO37x406'ers.
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Old 01-28-21, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge View Post
This trip is at the top of my bucket list, I even planned out all the logistics at one point. Two people mentioned Mt. Rushmore, but screw that and dealing with all of the traffic. I'd go see Crazy Horse which is dwarfs MR and is much close to the trail.
You can see Crazy Horse from the trail. There is also a way to get to the access road from the trail, though it was not well marked as of 2015.

A couple of times I almost had my eyes poked by selfie sticks while at MR.
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Old 01-28-21, 02:01 PM
  #23  
pdlamb
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
A couple of times I almost had my eyes poked by selfie sticks while at MR.
Probably the third best reason to wear sunglasses, after bugs and tree limbs.
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Old 01-28-21, 06:11 PM
  #24  
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Ok! I'm back. Apparently you can only post 5 times on your first day. LOL.

Think I've settled on these tires:

VITTORIA

TERRENO ZERO G2.0 700C GRAVEL TIRE (OEM)

700 x 37mm - BlackPN: 530532



37mm will fit my bike, provided I'm not a mental pygmy and know how to use a caliper. LOL.

Going to use the same tubes that I have in there now and then pick up a spare tube:

VITTORIA ULTRALITE TUBE 700 x 30/38mm - 36mm Presta ValvePN: 526178

(along with my patch kit)...

I'm going to change the title of this thread (assuming it allows me to) to cover other stuff... I hope you guys will join me as I plan what, for us, will be our biggest trip to date!

We're a family of 4. We ride all over South Florida -- yes, even in the hottest of the hot seasons. So far we're pretty much amateurs -- our longest ride is 60 miles in a single day.
If you have kids, you'll laugh to hear:
My wife...
Me...
my son, 12 years old...
my girl, 10 years old... and tougher than most 20 year olds LOL. You ain't lived until you've seen this little thing on her 24" - 60 miles and not a complaint.
both kids are extremely athletic aerobic, so hopefully if I stroke-out, they can carry me. LOL. J/K... kinda. LOL.

Planning on Panniers for wife and my bike... kids will get backpacks since that's what they are accustom to carrying. We may also modify things to permit pack attachment to their bikes, but uncertain. We really don't want to introduce anything "new" to a formula we know works. They can currently ride from 8am until 5pm stopping for lunch, breaks, ice cream, etc... but they can ride a full day. We plan to do more back-to-back rides with shorter runs (say, 2 40mi days back-to-back), etc... These are mostly for me since I'm probably the weakest link in the gang. LOL. We do *not* have a firm schedule for the Mickelson run, so if we do 30 miles one day, 40 the next and 10 the next, I don't care. The key is to see what we want, at our own pace, and do it both directions.

As mentioned earlier, we will be lodging -- so no camping. Right now I am finalizing my tool and first aid. I'd love to hear more from others. We are long-term liveaboard boaters (3ish weeks at a time) so we are no strangers to packing very light, but this will take "light" to an all new meaning!!

Wife has indicated that there appears to be laundry at certain places... which appeals to me. I'd like to hear more from you guys!
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Old 01-28-21, 06:43 PM
  #25  
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Anyone know if there are outfitters or a shuttle service that will transport you from one end of the trail to the other?
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