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First tour planned, but not sure if ready

Old 05-20-16, 10:31 AM
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First tour planned, but not sure if ready

I've been very excited to plan my first tour (mini tour?) been planning and setting up the bike for a few months now. However I have not got the biking mileage in this year, and I had planned what I thought was pretty aggressive days. It's to be an out-n-back, 4 days total. First and last would be ~65 miles, and the middle two just over 100. Possibly take a day off in the middle to do some sight seeing and give the legs a day off. Longest trip I've made was about 60 miles, but that was last year. It didn't seem like a big deal, and I'm in pretty good shape from being a runner. I had planned on more mileage this year but looking at my endomondo stats I've only done 183 miles on the bike outside and 113 indoors on rollers this year, not where I wanted to be at this point! And my trip was planned for my week of in June (6th) so less than 3 weeks. I have most of next week off too, was thinking about trying for a 75-100 mile day to be a go-nogo test but forgot my son is out of school starting next week so will be a lot harder to get my ex to take him (and I really don't want to go that route), but I have no sitter or family around. I'll at the very least plan some early morning daily rides to get back around when he is getting up, but those will likely be far less than 50 miles.

To make things harder on myself I was planning on primitive camping at least two nights, and carrying all my gear. There is also a contingency plan, on the 100 mile days there is another primitive camp spot at the ~65 mile mark, and could split up 2x200 into 3x65 roughly, but that would hinder possibility of a day off and will mean primitive camping every single night. On the plus side this trip will be mostly all bike path and mostly easy going. I'm a little nervous about the 100 milers but fairly confident I can pull it off, but I am more concerned about all the consecutive days and how I will feel the next day since I'm not used to doing big rides back to back. I do have ultralight gear (avid backpacker) and we are only talking 4-5 days so I shouldn't be too heavy.

I'm sure some are thinking I should scrap the idea, but it could be a very long time till I get another chance. I suppose I could attempt, and on the second day if I'm feeling like I'm doubting things I could simply go back to the same campsite I was at for one more night and then home on the 3rd day. So what are you're thoughts, am I crazy trying to do like double my yearly total so far in one trip, or just overthinking and worrying to much and should get out there and try it.
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Old 05-20-16, 10:40 AM
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I am not as mileage goal dominated as you seem to be, Get up pack your gear ride till a place that looks good to stop and eat lunch,

after lunch Pick up something to have for camp dinner , ride till you see a place that looks good to stop..

time in the saddle.. enjoying the scenery..
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Old 05-20-16, 11:01 AM
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go for it.
You got a couple weeks to get your butt and hands in shape.
that's the weak link.
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Old 05-20-16, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
I am not as mileage goal dominated as you seem to be, Get up pack your gear ride till a place that looks good to stop and eat lunch,

after lunch Pick up something to have for camp dinner , ride till you see a place that looks good to stop..

time in the saddle.. enjoying the scenery..
This. Never think about mileage. Just ride your bike. I have never had to ride more than 5 miles to find a good place to camp from any one location in the United States, other than a major city.
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Old 05-20-16, 12:10 PM
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If you have a good friend you can call as a bail out option, bring your cell phone and thier number. And make sure that their car can haul your bike.

Make sure you do not lose your credit card on the trip.

Stop every hour or hour and a half while riding for less than 5 minutes, but get off the bike and eat about 200 to 250 calories, you do not want to run out of steam 20 miles shy of your destination. These frequent but short breaks will make your saddle feel better for longer, but keep them short so your legs do not get stiff.

If it is warm, make sure you have a plan for where to get water if you might run low.

Being nervous about trying something new is part of life. Do you take a new job? Do you move to take a new job? Do you get married? How often, and to whom? Life is full of decisions, whether or not to go on a bike trip (that you will remember for the rest of your life) that is less than a week is a pretty small decision in the big scheme of things.

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Old 05-20-16, 12:23 PM
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back to back centuries bookended by 65mi days is a lot. Knees, butt, and hands would be very angry with me, I'd think. But hey, if you are in shape, cool.

Looks like you have your route tied down, but maybe work up some contingency options if you arent feeling that distance?
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Old 05-20-16, 12:36 PM
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You can do it.

Carry a coke or pepsi for when you need an energy boost.

Have fun.
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Old 05-20-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey
This. Never think about mileage. Just ride your bike. I have never had to ride more than 5 miles to find a good place to camp from any one location in the United States, other than a major city.
I'm not set on any particular mileage, just have studied the maps for hours on end (during slow nightshifts at work) and have identified pretty much all possible campgrounds (and other amenities) along the route. The route is from my house to Cleveland and back, so that is the goal and I only have a few days available to do it in but if I fall short and have to turn around I guess not the end of the world.

Originally Posted by fietsbob
ride till you see a place that looks good to stop..

time in the saddle.. enjoying the scenery..
From most of the bike trail you will not see anywhere to stop. You'll have to know where things are and get off the trail to go to them. I do plan on enjoying the scenery! That is the nice thing about much of this trail is its across the countryside through woods, fields, etc. Not so good though if you trying to find a place to stay.
@Tourist in MSN all good advice that I plan on doing. Except the friend as a bailout option, don't have too many of those actually, especially any that would be willing to drive hours on the work day to come get me then hours back. So I'm not counting on anything but solo. But of course will have my phone with me.
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Old 05-20-16, 03:27 PM
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Where are you going? Central Ohio can get hilly unless you're either following a river, or riding a rail-trail. I've ridden TOSRV a number of times, and did 125 miles each day... But that is following the Scioto River Valley... I've also ridden from Columbus to Yellow Springs SP, then on to the USAF Museum in Kettering and back as a 'day trip', then back to Columbus (Ohio State main campus) on a three-day 'weekend' ride...

(edit) Dammit- you posted as I was typing!

From Central Ohio (assuming Columbus area) to Cleveland - it is hilly around Mansfield/Ashland. If you're further east, it is even hillier but of course you already know that! I've thought about riding some of the rail-trails between Cleveland and Columbus, or even just taking US 42 since it parallels I-71... Carrying camping gear? I'd rather credit-card tour it.

This coming from the guy who wants to ride the entire perimeter of the State of Ohio. 45-60 miles a day, six days/week. I figure it will take three weeks. 1040 miles or thereabouts, and NO HILLS since I'll be following the LE shoreline or the Ohio RIver for over 75% of the ride. Only hilly sections of my ride are riding the OH/PA line from LE to the Ohio River , and then climbing out of the Ohio River Valley in Cinci... Everything else is flat...

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Old 05-20-16, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
You can do it.

Carry a coke or pepsi for when you need an energy boost.

Have fun.
Or you wanna make a new friend...



BTW: You're good to go IMO. Dang, you run BAREFOOT---->JUST GO.

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Old 05-20-16, 05:50 PM
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Just ride; you obviously have the same good attitude about footwear.

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Old 05-20-16, 06:32 PM
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It's an out and back. That means you can shorten the ride as you wish by just turning around. You know where the campgrounds are, or the primitive camp spots, and they seem frequent enough.

Personally, the days you have planned seem a bit ambitious for a first tour, but I am somewhat more casual in my approach to touring these days.

Good luck with it.
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Old 05-20-16, 06:45 PM
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Remember to eat and drink properly and just go ride. Your not planning big miles. At 8 miles per hour, some people run marathons faster than that, you can do 65 miles in a little over 8 hours. You're riding at maximum daylight, 15 hours a day. That still eaves you with 7 hours for sightseeing, eating, finding a campsite, etc. Don't sweat it, just go ride.
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Old 05-20-16, 08:33 PM
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doing 2x100 back2back with more to come is not the same
as doing a single century.

slow down and enjoy the scenery. better to do 5x65 with
time for sightseeing and less worry about injury.

gain more physical/mental experience before going
hard-core.
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Old 05-20-16, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
doing 2x100 back2back with more to come is not the same
as doing a single century.

slow down and enjoy the scenery. better to do 5x65 with
time for sightseeing and less worry about injury.

gain more physical/mental experience before going
hard-core.
I'd agree, plan is do-able but pretty demanding for a first tour esp w/camping. Running gives good fitness but long-distance biking can stress shoulders/arms/butt. Also, bike paths are often slower than roads. OTOH I like to make tour mileage a bit of a challenge; it can be interesting how quick body toughens up!
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Old 05-22-16, 08:34 AM
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Seems like good advice there @saddlesores and @DropBarFan
Yeah I know running fitness and biking fitness is not the same thing. But at least my aerobic system is well developed and legs are pretty strong, but like you say riding can give you back and shoulder issues, sometimes neck, hands, etc. Also butt soreness of course, and I didn't mention prior but I'm also trying to break in a Brooks B17 and it's not ready yet either. But maybe a few more rides and it will be. I was debating if I'm not pressed for room even throwing my old saddle in the bag too just in case lol.

Originally Posted by Cougrrcj
(edit) Dammit- you posted as I was typing!

From Central Ohio (assuming Columbus area) to Cleveland - it is hilly around Mansfield/Ashland. If you're further east, it is even hillier but of course you already know that! I've thought about riding some of the rail-trails between Cleveland and Columbus, or even just taking US 42 since it parallels I-71... Carrying camping gear? I'd rather credit-card tour it.
Well since you're familiar with the area I'll be more specific. I'm basically following the Ohio To Erie Trail from the center of the state, I live just a few miles from the trail. Almost all my usual riding and running is on the Heart of Ohio Trail and Kokosing Gap Trail. These are almost completely flat and relatively straight. I've also rode and run on the Holmes County Trail, much the same. However I am unfamiliar with the trail further on - the canal path stretch. But for the ~50 miles I am familiar with is flat and fast, I can usually average 16-18mph on round trips up to 50 miles but that is packing nothing on my road bike. I know some of the road stretches are hilly - I was expecting the stretch from the beginning of the Holmes Co trail into Glenmont to be paved as it was slated for 'Spring 2016' on the website but I actually visited yesterday and there was no paving started yet from either end. And the roads around there were pretty hilly.

Anyhow I appreciate all the comments! Yeah I may just be a bit nervous doing my first multi-day bike trip, especially solo, but that is how I roll. Similarly I much prefer camping and fixing my own meals rather than credit cards and hotels, but at least there are some of those options.

I'd postpone the trip until I was more confident and tried longer distances and more back to backs but I have no idea when I'd get a multi-day trip again, this is likely the only time this year or longer since my son will be with my ex that week. Else I have a 10 yr old on all my days off, and no family in the state.
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Old 05-22-16, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by T Stew
I'd postpone the trip until I was more confident and tried longer distances and more back to backs but.....
is no big deal. you've done 65-mile rides. you've been camping.
you know what you'll need to eat/sleep comfortably.
you know what tools and gear you need on a 6-hour ride.
just pretend you're doing five 65-mile rides where you happen
to be camping at night, and riding again the following day.
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Old 05-22-16, 09:45 AM
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Something to think about in the future. A child does not have to be a detriment to bike touring; it may be a good opportunity. We still have 2 daughters that tour with us every year, and they are a lot older than 10

Mom is just starting up the hill with her young daughter in tow.


This little guy was probably about 10 years old. He just needs help with packing.
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Old 05-22-16, 02:10 PM
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The issue is why are you doing this? If you want a triathlon like experience with a deep end of the pool component, then you set goals for that. The whole thing comes down to whether you make it or not, there is success, and there is failure. If you run a triathlon, and don't win when you think you should, you failed, there is no "but I smelled the flowers component".

That isn't touring by the way, it is a racing or testing mentality. Cool.

The way you fail on an ambitious tour is by not having a good time, or finding you blew something up and can't carry on. If your butt hurt so badly after the first 40 miles, but you nailed the time, though you had to call off your transat, that would be inconvenient. So you fly across country and you waste the whole opportunity. The way that doesn't happen is you get on the bike, and ride, all day long, maybe turn in a substantial mileage, but at no time overdo it, at no time hurt yourself, or compromise your ability to carry on. When on multi week tours, I start slow, I listen to my body, I make minute adjustments to the bike. I don't go that far. I am normally up to 80 or 90 mile days within a few days. I hardly ride the bike at all at other times.

Camping is fun, but it isn't my normal schedule, so there is some sleep adaptation to undergo on that too, for me.

It is all about your objectives and the kind of experience you want to have. No right way to have fun.
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Old 05-22-16, 02:17 PM
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The other thing is that doing big miles unless there is wind, or cruel hills, is pretty easy on a tour. I get 10 miles per hour in on average, though the speedo is normally about 14 when I look at it. You have about 16 hours to play with, so a century requires you to ride 6.25 mph. That is too slow, but it makes the point that when you have little else to do, you can really enjoy the riding. That is fully loaded, So light weight or credit card you should easily do better. Fit and young better still.
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Old 05-23-16, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey
This. Never think about mileage. Just ride your bike. I have never had to ride more than 5 miles to find a good place to camp from any one location in the United States, other than a major city.
+1
It's much more important to go out and enjoy the ride than meet a mileage goal. The goal is the ride, be ready to be flexible.

Marc
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Old 05-23-16, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638
+1
It's much more important to go out and enjoy the ride than meet a mileage goal. The goal is the ride, be ready to be flexible.

Marc
I have no mileage goal per se, maybe that came off wrong. I just have to make it to a place to stay and really do not want to spend the money on hotels (other than a hostel I had planned near the trails end in Cleveland, assuming I make it there). I only have found 3 campsites along the entire route within a few miles of the trail. There are a few others I found, but getting pretty far from the trail and closer to my house where I wouldn't probably need them anyhow.

I plan on fully enjoying the ride. Maybe I came off sounding like this was a race, I don't get that at all (I am finally taking some time off from races actually, this trip was going to be my time to enjoy the trails instead of focusing on training). Another reason I plan on lugging extra gear and camping - I enjoy that so much more. I'll likely have my good dSLR (still debating that) and also identified 3 waterfalls near the route I want to visit, a restored Alco 0-6-0 locomotive(+tender, and caboose) and I hear there are many nice things to see on the stretch that use to be the canal towpath.

Perhaps I am using the wrong term, I admit I don't know officially what tour means. I have little interest in visiting towns and cities other than a few particular features. I just want to up and leave, taking everything I need with me, explore this great chain of rail, towpath, and other trails they are connecting to form hundreds of miles of trail across Ohio, and not come back for several days. Is this more inline with the term bikepacking I've seen used a few times here as opposed to touring? Regardless the term, I'll be way further from home than I ever have before, racking up a lot more mileage, on a bike, and just a bit nervous I suppose.

I managed to get a day off tomorrow I'd like to load up the bike with weight and just see how I handle a lot of mileage on the bike. I've never had the Voyageur over 30-some miles yet, nor loaded with any weight, so will be a good test of the equipment anyhow. But I am a bit sore from a 10k race I did Saturday (foot race) so my abilities Tuesday might not be 100%. Additionally I found out a section of the trail that was supposed to be paved this spring has not even started yet, which is a big bummer as it takes the course onto a bit of hilly and dangerous road. I'm also thinking about instead packing up and taking a backpacking trip to the mountains too instead, so have options. I just might not get to go on another overnight trip for a while.
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Old 05-23-16, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
Something to think about in the future. A child does not have to be a detriment to bike touring; it may be a good opportunity. We still have 2 daughters that tour with us every year, and they are a lot older than 10

Mom is just starting up the hill with her young daughter in tow.


This little guy was probably about 10 years old. He just needs help with packing.
That's great! I don't see being able to do that with my son though. No way I am towing him - he is almost as heavy as I am. And he is terribly out of shape. I try to get him to bike when I can, but the most we have ever done is around 10 miles and takes around 1.5 hours. Working on it though.
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Old 05-29-16, 09:19 AM
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Just a follow up... did a test run earlier this week, both to test myself to see if I could do a hundred miles and test all the new gear loaded to simulate what it would be on tour. I stuffed all 4 panniers with stuff and headed out. I did complete the 100 miles but took me all day with all the breaks. Averaged 12.86mph for 7:46 moving time. I had some issues though, well mainly just that I discovered my Brooks was uneven and well before the 50 mile mark around my right sit bone was getting sore (saddle was higher on the right side). Other than that I felt great out to 75 miles or so, after that it finally became more of a chore and less fun (didn't help that I was doubling back on very familiar trail at that point), I could tell I was stressing my system a bit. The next day I was somewhat wiped out, and didn't get a ride in until evening time and my rear was tender - mainly on that right side. I'm not sure what would have happened had my saddle not been defective, but no way I am taking that out on a big trip now. And I'm not sure if I want to trust the original saddle on such a big trip being that I haven't done much riding on it ever, maybe 25 miles total. But energy wiseI was pretty strong for most of one, but I am not in good enough biking shape to be doing multiple 100's, especially back to back, maybe ok though for 65's like my backup places to stay was approximately but with the uncertainty of the saddle I'm also considering a hiking trip to the mountains for my few days off. I'm really split right now, but until I get my saddle sorted out and maybe in a little better bike-shape I think I might have more fun heading to the mountains. Though it probably will be black fly season up in the Adirondacks. Hmmm.
T Stew is offline  
Old 05-29-16, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by T Stew
Just a follow up... did a test run earlier this week, both to test myself to see if I could do a hundred miles and test all the new gear loaded to simulate what it would be on tour. I stuffed all 4 panniers with stuff and headed out. I did complete the 100 miles but took me all day with all the breaks. Averaged 12.86mph for 7:46 moving time. I had some issues though, well mainly just that I discovered my Brooks was uneven and well before the 50 mile mark around my right sit bone was getting sore (saddle was higher on the right side). Other than that I felt great out to 75 miles or so, after that it finally became more of a chore and less fun (didn't help that I was doubling back on very familiar trail at that point), I could tell I was stressing my system a bit. The next day I was somewhat wiped out, and didn't get a ride in until evening time and my rear was tender - mainly on that right side. I'm not sure what would have happened had my saddle not been defective, but no way I am taking that out on a big trip now. And I'm not sure if I want to trust the original saddle on such a big trip being that I haven't done much riding on it ever, maybe 25 miles total. But energy wiseI was pretty strong for most of one, but I am not in good enough biking shape to be doing multiple 100's, especially back to back, maybe ok though for 65's like my backup places to stay was approximately but with the uncertainty of the saddle I'm also considering a hiking trip to the mountains for my few days off. I'm really split right now, but until I get my saddle sorted out and maybe in a little better bike-shape I think I might have more fun heading to the mountains. Though it probably will be black fly season up in the Adirondacks. Hmmm.
Well, im my opinion you did good in distance and speed. Especially with a saddle tilted to one side. OUCH!

What is the purpose of your tour? Are you doing it to cover distance or are you doing it to explore/see things? My tours have varying mileages because some days i'll ride long and far just to cover open distance to another interesting locale where I'll ride slower and less far as i discover things there.

I like to keep my trip duration and my itinerary flexible so I can have the time to enjoy the scenery and the places I pass through.

Good luck and cheers
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