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Old 04-07-16, 08:56 AM
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I live in Southern Illinois and I'm going to try to get away for a few days ride next month. The TransAM trail goes right by me and I'm thinking of riding it east then doing the little spur down to Mammoth cave where hopefully my wife will pick me up. It should be around 200 miles and I think 2 days. But I'd really like to do more.

I've got a nashbar touring frame but dismanlted it and built up a cyclocross Jake the Snake and I'm thinking of riding it, or also just thinking of taking my road bike and little seapost rack for extra clohtes and credit card tour. One pal recommended getting a bivy sack and going super cheap, just sleep behind trees.

I wish I had more time to do something more, like ride to the ocean.

Just thinking outloud, but I was wondering if you've ever gone credit card touring and regreted not bringing more stuff.
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Old 04-07-16, 09:28 AM
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Bring More Gear Or Money... it depends on your planned tour ..

few days , dont need much..

I spent 3 seasons on the road in Ireland & Scotland (Non EU citizen, got a UK visa extension as I got to the 6th month)

so I brought warm and rain gear . and warmer bag & less cramped tent.



I tour , time in the saddle based, not distance goals and stop for any distraction and a Nice Pub Lunch.

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-28-16 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 04-07-16, 09:39 AM
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For 100 miles/day back to back, I wouldn't regret not brining more stuff. I once did a two-day CC tour of about 160 miles and was quite happy with having little.
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Old 04-07-16, 09:41 AM
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If you're confident in your goals and/or have a bailout option (like having your wife pick you up), then that sounds fine. One benefit of carrying your camping gear is that you aren't locked in to your goal for the day.

I've never done a real, credit card tour as in staying in hotels. I have used a combination of train and bike to spend weekends with my family. I have definitely wished I had some camping gear in some of those situations.
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Old 04-07-16, 09:45 AM
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Less is always better on long rides.
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Old 04-07-16, 10:53 AM
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gattm99,
I've ridden out of your hometown many times, generally down the Tunnel Hill Trail to the end at Karnak and then continued riding south to near the Grand Chain Lodge on the Ohio River, and either stayed at the lodge or camped for the evening on the banks of the Ohio. One of my favorite areas to ride is southern IL and I have several routes that take you thru the Shawnee National Forrest and many of the state parks down there. Contact me if you have any questions.

As to the credit card touring vs. fully loaded, both are great fun but you'll definitely have more flexibility as to where to spend the night if you're willing to lug your gear with you, otherwise you'll have to have pretty well determined stops for the night and you know like I, that in a sparsely populated area such as southern IL, you often don't have many choices for hotels and B&b's.
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Old 04-07-16, 12:26 PM
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If it were me, I'd slow down and take 3-4 days for that 200 mile trip. I'd be relaxed a bit more, have time to spare so I wouldn't be stressed out if I had a flat, needed to cool off in air conditioning, ran into a thunderstorm or headwinds, etc.

A two day ride, you really only need a change (or two) of clothes; something to ride in the second day, and maybe clean clothes for supper. Throw in a few energy bars, and cash or card for motel, dinner, lunch and snacks at all the cool places on the road, and you're good with whatever you take with you on a shorter ride (e.g., patch kit, pump, cell phone, maybe a camera). Just make sure your bike is in good shape before you leave. If your bike is ready to ride one century, it should be ready for two without needing six tubes, spare brake pads, cables, tire, and chain.

Longer rides is where I start worrying about being able to repair things that might break, or being prepared for bad weather (beyond rain), or emergency rations. Illinois and Kentucky are relatively civilized -- at least compared to, say, Wyoming. If worst comes to worst, you should be able to find shelter and call for help.
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Old 04-07-16, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gattm99
It should be around 200 miles and I think 2 days. But I'd really like to do more. [...] I was wondering if you've ever gone credit card touring and regretted not bringing more stuff.
1. I don't remember not bringing enough (but here I am referring to hiking as I am only recently taking to bike touring)
2. Camping may make you feel miserable if it rains. For a couple of days, I'd say that the decision should be supported by a favorable forecast.
3. 100 miles per day -- I'd personally go for a B&B, airBnB, couchsurfer, etc, where you can get a shower, a meal and a bed.
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Old 04-07-16, 05:41 PM
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Thanks for the thoughts
@robow Yeah the tunnel hill trail is a quarter mile from my house, but its not something I ride all that often these days.

So a few years ago I built up a Nashbar touring bike and got some rear paniers. For a test run I loaded up both paniers with camping stuff and rode to Giant City State Park taking a longer and more difficult route of 70 miles. I got there around 3:30 and was bored for the next 6 hours. The next morning I took the most direct route home and took the racks off my bike. Considering the trip now I was bored because I wasn't that far from home and I was on roads that I've ridden many times there was no adventure and I needed to spend more time riding or being a tourist.
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Old 04-07-16, 06:03 PM
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How could you have been bored with "Fat man's squeeze" there at Giant City SP ?
Did you not take in all the vineyards and wineries near by and did you time yourself up Bald Knob Cross hill ?(hopefully not in that order)
An how about the hatchery? Ah so much to see, so little time.
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Old 04-07-16, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Less is always better on long rides.
Well now, that depends on where you ride... For some areas/sections of highways around here... There is, nothing, 300KM between towns, snow in August going through mountain passes... You better have everything you think you are going to need... Because if you don't.... Well, you are, just going to do without... And that could be anywhere between just an annoyance... Or. A real life threatening problem/situation...
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Old 04-08-16, 12:43 AM
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The main thing about hotels is the pleasures of home. A thousand miles from home, I can see that, but on a few day's trip I don't see much adventure in a hotel room, other than the part of town it is in. Normally campsites are nicer, and if the hotel is nice it is just like home.
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Old 04-08-16, 07:04 AM
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Hey robow its wild you mentioned the hatchery, my wife and I went by there yesterday in fact, on our way to the rocky bluff trail nearby. I have done all the things you mentioned many times but I didn't when I was testing my touring rig. I've done several organized tours, the last one I did was BRAG in 2012. Always lots of fun to be checking out an area out by bike that you've never seen.

I drew out the route I'm considering and found that driving to my destination the shortest way is about 180 miles, but following the transAmerica trail is 260. This is good because I'm not going to shoot for 2 days now but 80-90 miles a day is just the challenge I'm looking for. Just in case you're wondering I typically ride about 100 miles a week.

I think I've deiced I agree with the comments about hotels, that doesn't sound all that adventurous for a 3 day ride. Last year I bought this emergency shelter tarp thing, I think I'll take it in lieu of a tent. It's just plastic tarp tube and a rope the idea is you string the rope from two anchors and hang the tube. I'll have some flexibility on planning so weather shouldn't be an issue. I have a crappy wal-mart sleeping bag that isn't long enough so I want to get a better sleeping bag before I go.

I've got a MSR backpacking stove that I get real excited about using, but don't get to use often.

One issue I remember from last time was that my paniers are Nashbar waterproof models. They are two big bags with one opening and no pockets. I remember really getting sick of opening and closing them over and over again. I need a handlebar bag. I'm cheap, any suggestions?
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Old 04-08-16, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by gattm99
I live in Southern Illinois and I'm going to try to get away for a few days ride next month. The TransAM trail goes right by me and I'm thinking of riding it east then doing the little spur down to Mammoth cave where hopefully my wife will pick me up. It should be around 200 miles and I think 2 days. But I'd really like to do more.

I've got a nashbar touring frame but dismanlted it and built up a cyclocross Jake the Snake and I'm thinking of riding it, or also just thinking of taking my road bike and little seapost rack for extra clohtes and credit card tour. One pal recommended getting a bivy sack and going super cheap, just sleep behind trees.

I wish I had more time to do something more, like ride to the ocean.

Just thinking outloud, but I was wondering if you've ever gone credit card touring and regreted not bringing more stuff.
Nope.

I have done some credit card touring staying in hotels, etc., and if I happened to be missing something, I figured I could do without for those days or buy it.
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Old 04-08-16, 08:00 AM
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I found the pictures from my test trip years ago.
https://barndoorcycling.wordpress.co...vernight-trip/

I carried a whole lot of crap for an overnight ride just to see what it was like carrying alot of crap. It definitely wasn't as fun to climb, but I don't remember it being that bad.
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Old 04-28-16, 07:11 AM
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Go minimalist. This is America. You can buy anything you need. Food is everywhere. Relax. Ride. Repeat.
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Old 04-28-16, 08:00 AM
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gattm99, I've brought along more than I needed, and less than I needed on short tours. Neither was a bad experience. I do tend to bring more, generally foul weather gear and snacks.

If my goal is just to churn out some miles, I'll take my roadie. Otherwise I'll use my touring bike, even if lightly loading.

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Old 04-28-16, 08:03 AM
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I can't imagine not taking my sleeping gear. It's one of the main reasons I tour, to be able to sleep under the stars: A 10 to the power of 24 Star Hotel!
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Old 04-28-16, 07:34 PM
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If you aren't carrying at least 80lbs of gear you aren't touring ; )

On a serious note, carry what you need to be comfortable. If you would rather credit card tour, go for it, but I like the fun of loaded touring and being semi off the grid-ish. Plus I like the planning and gear acquiring.
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Old 04-28-16, 10:17 PM
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I stay in motels or do warmshowers a lot, but I also like to camp and so take camping gear with me. However, I also like to travel lightly and find that it's easy enough to keep gear weight to around 20lbs and still be very comfortable camping. It also lets you use a lighter bike than a traditional touring bike and back to back century days are not that tiring.
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Old 04-28-16, 11:37 PM
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If it is a coin flip on going heavy or light, go heavy. Having more gear then you need is better then missing a vital piece of gear you need. Heavy also means bringing a few more comforts from home and I think comfort is the most important factor in touring. If you aren't comfortable, you aren't happy.

As many have said, going a shakedown tour is going to help you a lot, it will help you determine what gear you need or want, and what gear you don't need or want.
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Old 04-28-16, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by gattm99

Just thinking outloud, but I was wondering if you've ever gone credit card touring and regreted not bringing more stuff.
In all my life I've never regretted not bringing more stuff.

When I first started touring in 50 years ago, I tried to be self reliant. After a year or two of that, I decided I'd follow a simple rule, and not take anything that wasn't used last time. That combined with reliable bikes that don't break down except for flats, got me down to a few very basic tools, minimal changes of clothing according to expected weather, and only the most essential of "essentials".

Otherwise, I figured that I'd buy to meet any contingency as it arose, but in fact few ever did. One thing I always took on any trip longer than a week was a bathing suit. Even if I never went swimming, it afforded me the luxury of being able to wash ALL my clothes in a single stop at a laundromat.
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Old 04-29-16, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gattm99
Just thinking outloud, but I was wondering if you've ever gone credit card touring and regreted not bringing more stuff.
Absolutely.

I've come across sites that would be awesome for time lapse photos at night, when I only had a cell phone or P&S and not my full frame camera. There's also been times where I couldn't make it to my planned destination, or saw a campsite that I *really* would have liked to stay at for a night at least.

These days I default to carrying the bare minimum needed to camp and stay dry so I can suffer through a night for the sake of interesting photos, and I'm willing to deal with hauling a large DSLR and lenses.


Originally Posted by imi
I can't imagine not taking my sleeping gear. It's one of the main reasons I tour, to be able to sleep under the stars: A 10 to the power of 24 Star Hotel!
If I wanted to stay at a hotel, I'd stay at home. If I really *need* to I make an effort to at least not stay at some major chain.

Last edited by manapua_man; 04-29-16 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 04-29-16, 05:23 AM
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Light vs heavy and light vs credit card are two different decisions. Some folks travel light and are self supported and other go credit card and still go heavy.

Personally I have always gone self supported, but have packed amounts ranging from 50 pounds or so when I started to as little as 9 pounds and a bunch of steps in between. My favorite way to go is ultralight but full camping and cooking. I never felt deprived of stuff even when going coast to coast with an ultralight load. Going ultralight for me meant that the packing list had been gone over again and again so many times that missing something was less likely than when I packed more. Also when you have a more minimal packing list it is easier to find what you are looking for among your gear.

On a tour of any length you can fine tune your gear along the way by buying things, shipping things home, or having stuff sent from home.

I am the happiest when I have everything I need, but only what I need. Also I prefer to have lighter versions of the things I do carry. Everyone will have a different packing style that works for them though.

As a side note, before someone says going UL is expensive... I have found it that you can go very light without spending on crazy expensive Cuben fiber and the like. Even at 9 pounds my setup is cheaper than most.
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Old 04-29-16, 08:09 AM
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Just finished watching the documentary film, Inspired to Ride, on Netflix streaming list and it follows a group of people racing self supported the 4000+ mile Trans am route. Almost all use frame bags, no panniers and it's interesting how really light they can go. I know this is a race and not many consider 300 mile days and sleep deprivation as touring but it's interesting to see what trials they go thru, similar to the average tourist.
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