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How to prepare for a long distance bicycle tour.

Old 06-09-17, 09:10 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Where are you seeing this? Around here, anything with more than ~3500 people has some sort of IGA or Brookshires, and over 7000 probably has a full size HEB grocery store, possibly a Big Lots too. At any rate, even 60 mile days should have you passing 2-3 places you can stock up on groceries every day unless you're actively avoiding towns. What can be hard to find is a well stocked bike shop.
I see this on every trip I've taken (see list in my signature). It's a constant problem, even in "civilized" places like Pennsylvania and New York state. There are usually some convenience stores along a day's route but not always and they don't carry items that I could use for cooking. There's occasionally something off my route but often that requires detours of anywhere from 5 to 10 miles. That may not seem like much but that's 5 to 10 miles out and back. That's not a trivial distance added to a 50 to 70 mile day.


Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Unless I'm going somewhere I know there won't be enough trees, a camping hammock is the way to go; not much bigger packed than a bivy tent and smaller than any but the most cramped two-midget tents, a heck of a lot more comfortable in hot weather, and no poles needed. If it's not dark and raining, (yeah, got to test both last weekend) I can be set up about ten minutes after finding the right tree spacing, and packed in not much more the next morning.
The "right tree spacing" is one problem. But often just finding one tree, much less two, is a problem. I've toured all over the US but most of my camping and outdooring occurs here in Colorado. When you have large stretches of the state that look like this



It's usually best to have something that can stand up on its own. Even in the mountains our trees tend to disappear above about 11,000 feet and a significant portion of the state is up there.




Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Worth adding the lightest rainfly and/or tarp you can find over the regular rainfly (or the tent itself if it doesn't use a separate fly) to keep the dew off. Almost anything will take the dew instead, and the lighter it is, the quicker it dries. Might even be worth experimenting with untreated ultralight nylon; it'll soak up the water, but should dry fast as soon as the sun hits it, or silnylon can be wiped dry easily during takedown if it's set up to form a couple of flat faces.
My tent already has a lightweight rainfly. I don't really want, or need, to carry something else. It's not as much of a problem out here in the dry west but I've had damp to very wet tents in the eastern US. They dry eventually but wouldn't if I stuffed them into a pannier.

Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Not sure how I've missed those as a camp food. My cookware usually consists of the Stanley cookpot and maybe a cheap mess kit skillet, but I keep forgetting there are rice dishes that don't involve all the extra hassle of cooking rice over a marginally controlled heat source like a wood stove.
Personally, I don't cook over campfires. I don't make campfires all that much as a rule. It's not worth the hassle nor the possible liability if it gets away from me. I can't tell you the number of people I would like to beat senseless for leaving a fire burning as they go to bed!

But the rice dishes are easy to cook and actually pretty good.


Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Da Bomb Ground Zero. 230,000 Scoville. Don't bother carrying the whole bottle; one large drop in a regular size can of bland pinto beans will leave me sweating. Decanting some into the tiniest very well sealed bottle you can get your hands on should last you a couple weeks. Maybe check vape shops and ask about buying a few unused dropper-type juice bottles from them. Do handle it like it's the essence of hell, distilled and bottled. Wear gloves while pouring it into smaller containers, and wipe the threads of the bottle with a paper towel before putting the lid back on. Two hand srubbings with Dr Bronner's soap later, it may still burn if you rub your eyes.
I'm not sure I would eat something that requires the same level of handling as chemicals I work with
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Old 06-09-17, 09:23 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan
as far as food goes, what with all the convience stores around, carrying food seems foolish to me. although, i'll stuff a candy bar or two, or banana in my top tube bag, to eat while riding. when i stop i pretty much eat whatever i want, nothing special.
+1
If I'm going to stop every 10-15 miles for a break anyway, I might as well buy something to eat. Same goes for carrying too much water (weight).
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Old 06-09-17, 09:23 AM
  #28  
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35 days tour. even if it would be 70 days I would not carry more. no need. cooking stuff is missing in the list, but its in the bags.

Sleeping
- Tent
- Sleeping Bag
- Mattress
- Sleeping underwear, 1 socks, 1 wool hat

On the Bike
- 2 bibs
- 2 jerseys
- 2 thin base layers
- 1 armwarmers
- 1 rain racket, wear also off the bike
- 1 sleeveless wind jacket
- 1 gloves
- 1 cycling cap
- 2 pair socks
- 1 cycling shoes
- 1 sunglasses

Off the Bike
- 1 Light Down Jacket
- 1 Light trouser
- 1 Swimming suite
- 2 slips
- 2 T-shirts
- 1 Light shoes
- 1 Merino long sleeve for fresh evenings
- 1 Light towel
- 1 Deo stick, teeth brush, ect ...
- 1 Set of medication, Aspirin ect.
- 1 Headlight + spare batteries
- 1 Knife

Tech Stuff
- 1 Battery Pack 12.000mA + cables
- 1 Fuji XT 2 + charger
- 1 Macbook Air 11 + charger
- 1 Memory card reader + spare SD cards
- 1 Garmin 910XT + charger
- 1 Phone + charger
- 1 Set of CREDIT CARDS

Tools / Parts
- 1 Multitool
- 1 Set 2 english keys 8/10
- 1 Set inner tube fixing stuff
- 1 Set fixing patch, tire
- 1 Spare tire
- 2 Inner tubes
- 1 Set Cable fixers
- 1 Chain + Chain opener + Chain Clip
- 1 Set Brake cables + set gear cables
- 1 Set industry fix it tape
- 1 Set of different screws for the racks

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Old 06-09-17, 12:35 PM
  #29  
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Just a minute now, are you claiming that you were able to fit ALL of that.....







Into that red car????
I don't believe you.
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Old 06-09-17, 01:11 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by str
35 days tour. even if it would be 70 days I would not carry more. no need. cooking stuff is missing in the list, but its in the bags.

Sleeping...................................Tools / Parts

I've pretty much come to the same conclusion. The gear for 3 weeks is about the sames as packing for 3 months.
My packing list is similar to STR's list, but I take more socks
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Old 06-09-17, 02:32 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by str
35 days tour. even if it would be 70 days I would not carry more. no need. cooking stuff is missing in the list, but its in the bags.

Sleeping
- Tent
- Sleeping Bag
- Mattress
- Sleeping underwear, 1 socks, 1 wool hat

On the Bike
- 2 bibs
- 2 jerseys
- 2 thin base layers
- 1 armwarmers
- 1 rain racket, wear also off the bike
- 1 sleeveless wind jacket
- 1 gloves
- 1 cycling cap
- 2 pair socks
- 1 cycling shoes
- 1 sunglasses

Off the Bike
- 1 Light Down Jacket
- 1 Light trouser
- 1 Swimming suite
- 2 slips
- 2 T-shirts
- 1 Light shoes
- 1 Merino long sleeve for fresh evenings
- 1 Light towel
- 1 Deo stick, teeth brush, ect ...
- 1 Set of medication, Aspirin ect.
- 1 Headlight + spare batteries
- 1 Knife

Tech Stuff
- 1 Battery Pack 12.000mA + cables
- 1 Fuji XT 2 + charger
- 1 Macbook Air 11 + charger
- 1 Memory card reader + spare SD cards
- 1 Garmin 910XT + charger
- 1 Phone + charger
- 1 Set of CREDIT CARDS

Tools / Parts
- 1 Multitool
- 1 Set 2 english keys 8/10
- 1 Set inner tube fixing stuff
- 1 Set fixing patch, tire
- 1 Spare tire
- 2 Inner tubes
- 1 Set Cable fixers
- 1 Chain + Chain opener + Chain Clip
- 1 Set Brake cables + set gear cables
- 1 Set industry fix it tape
- 1 Set of different screws for the racks

What do you take all your great pictures with, the phone?
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Old 06-09-17, 04:02 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Doug64
I've pretty much come to the same conclusion. The gear for 3 weeks is about the sames as packing for 3 months.
Really, past a week it should be pretty much the same. Maybe more spares if you don't expect them to be available on the route. After 5-10 days, you're more or less just in a new lifestyle for as long as things stay the same. If you adjust to it you're good until the job is done, and if you don't you're miserable until you give up.

Watch History Channel's Alone for an extreme example; everybody that made it past day 8 in first season was there for more than a month. They settled into a good routine, and the winner probably would have been good until something critical broke (which at that point would likely have had to be either his knife or his body to put him out of the game) if they hadn't showed up to bring him his prize check. Even second place just started missing his kids too much to stay out there alone in a tent. (Though I sort of think if both had known it was down to just them, we might have seen a 6+ month season rather than the 56 days it was. Maybe do it like Hunger Games where they know when someone's gone, so they have that "only x more to beat" mindset.)
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Old 06-09-17, 04:12 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I see this on every trip I've taken (see list in my signature). It's a constant problem, even in "civilized" places like Pennsylvania and New York state. There are usually some convenience stores along a day's route but not always and they don't carry items that I could use for cooking. There's occasionally something off my route but often that requires detours of anywhere from 5 to 10 miles. That may not seem like much but that's 5 to 10 miles out and back. That's not a trivial distance added to a 50 to 70 mile day.
Important to keep in mind if I ever tour those areas, I guess, but I've been looking at the potential for tours within Texas and pretty much come to the conclusion that I just won't live long enough to run out of places to see here. Even if I won the lottery tomorrow and could dedicate the rest of my life without the interruptions of having to work, I'd just have more time to spend at each stop. Plus the bonus of hitting all those places the ACA and others don't believe in; according to pretty much every bike touring site, the only place to tour in Texas is a roughly 50 mile radius around Austin and San Antonio, so the rest of the quarter million square miles of Texas, including the Piney Woods, Gulf Coast, Rio Grande Valley, Red River, Big Bend, and everything in between is my secret. (Not counting the panhandle because most of it looks way too much like your treeless wasteland photos, but without as much green.)

The "right tree spacing" is one problem. But often just finding one tree, much less two, is a problem. I've toured all over the US but most of my camping and outdooring occurs here in Colorado. When you have large stretches of the state that look like this
Don't think I'd last long with that complete lack of shade. Then again, I guess you don't get 2-3 weeks of daytime highs over 100, a few days over 110, and overnight lows in the high 80s, all with 75+% humidity.

Personally, I don't cook over campfires. I don't make campfires all that much as a rule. It's not worth the hassle nor the possible liability if it gets away from me. I can't tell you the number of people I would like to beat senseless for leaving a fire burning as they go to bed!
That's where the Solo knockoffs are handy; contain a small fire so the heat goes right to the cookware, use small diameter wood so it burns up fast, and what's left after an hour is fine white ash. It also doesn't seem to have any "popping" issues, with sparks coming off the top, so I'd feel safe using it with a smaller cleared area than I'd want for a pit fire - basically about the same as I'd want for a propane canister stove in case it got knocked over.

I'm not sure I would eat something that requires the same level of handling as chemicals I work with
It's fun, though; there's always somebody that has to try something like a french fry dipped in it, no matter how obviously painful that's going to be. The intense heat makes it handy when something's just barely edible, too. I wonder if I could get some of those MRE Tabasco bottles and use them to carry it; should be a 4-5 day supply each.

Last edited by KD5NRH; 06-09-17 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 06-09-17, 04:33 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Important to keep in mind if I ever tour those areas, I guess, but I've been looking at the potential for tours within Texas and pretty much come to the conclusion that I just won't live long enough to run out of places to see here. Plus the bonus of hitting all those places the ACA doesn't believe in; according to pretty much every bike touring site, the only place to tour in Texas is a roughly 50 mile radius around Austin and San Antonio, so the rest of the quarter million square miles of Texas is my secret.
Get out of your comfort zone! Yes, ride in your home state, by all means, but go see other places as well. I'm born and raised eastern Colorado dryland boy who gauges dryness by the number of skin cracks I have. 15% relative humidity is "muggy" to me But that hasn't stopped me from enduring heat and humidity throughout the eastern US just because I need to see that territory.

I also have a big problem with trees! If I can't see for 20 miles in every direction, I get a bit claustrophobic. I hate the eastern US forests but I suck it up anyway.

I don't tour on ACA routes too much either. I don't have a problem with them but I do like finding my own way. It makes for interesting travels.

Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Don't think I'd last long with that complete lack of shade. Then again, I guess you don't get 2-3 weeks of daytime highs over 100, a few days over 110, and overnight lows in the high 80s, all with 75+% humidity.
Haven't gone much west of Abilene then? Western Texas west across New Mexico and north into Colorado isn't known having a lot of tree, now is it? My picture of the plains, by the way, is from southeastern Colorado, not that far from the Oklahoma panhandle. If you look closely, there's a pronghorn running in the middle of it doin' about 40 mph.

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Old 06-09-17, 05:52 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Really, past a week it should be pretty much the same. Maybe more spares if you don't expect them to be available on the route. After 5-10 days, you're more or less just in a new lifestyle for as long as things stay the same. If you adjust to it you're good until the job is done, and if you don't you're miserable until you give up.
The big difference between 1-3 weeks and > 3 weeks is the ability to have a pretty good idea of weather conditions likely to be encountered; and the clothes, sleeping bag, etc. needed to handle those conditions. I have been on long tours, 2-3 months, where we encountered temperatures ranging from freezing to 100+ F. We knew we would likely encounter both heat and cold, and packed accordingly. Time of year, location, terrain (elevation) and duration play a major role in what is packed, e.g.,do I take the 20 degree sleeping bag or the 45 degree bag. A packing is a pretty dynamic document.

My wife and I must adjust to the "new lifestyle" pretty well; we've toured a total of over 16 months in the last 9 years. Actually, it is adjusting to change that make a tour successful; there are always changes.
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Old 06-09-17, 07:12 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Doug64
The big difference between 1-3 weeks and > 3 weeks is the ability to have a pretty good idea of weather conditions likely to be encountered; and the clothes, sleeping bag, etc. needed to handle those conditions.
For that, I'd generally triple up; cheap poly sleeping bag liner, (basically a sheet sewn like a sleeping bag) lightweight fleece bag for slightly chilly weather and a good zero bag for actual cold. Using all three together, you can handle pretty much anything down to "screw it, nature says find a bus home" nights.

One lesson from a recent overnighter is that I always need to be prepared for a cold-ish night, even in very warm weather. With daytime temps 80-90F and nights in the 70s, a storm dropped it into the low 50s when I had nothing warmer than my rain gear with me.

Last edited by KD5NRH; 06-09-17 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 06-10-17, 12:22 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by L134
What do you take all your great pictures with, the phone?
thanks, Fuji XT2 its in the list.

Last edited by str; 06-10-17 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 06-10-17, 09:18 AM
  #38  
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I just got the fly creek 2 platinum. How is it holding up? I'm worries about the thin silnylon material in the long run
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Old 06-10-17, 12:53 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Doug64
I've pretty much come to the same conclusion. The gear for 3 weeks is about the sames as packing for 3 months.
My packing list is similar to STR's list, but I take more socks:)
in fact i take 2 off the bike and 2 on the bike socks with me;)
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Old 06-10-17, 12:54 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by djb
Just a minute now, are you claiming that you were able to fit ALL of that.....







Into that red car????
I don't believe you.
;) car has cool ""rims""
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Old 06-10-17, 01:43 PM
  #41  
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Yes, and like the steering wheel, continues the black and red theme..
Snazzy stuff for a 800cc or 1000cc mini car.
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