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Touring with a "normal" road bike

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Old 05-16-18, 12:13 PM
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dirtydozen
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Touring with a "normal" road bike

hey. This summer i will do a road trip on my bike of about 1200km in 2 weeks maximum.

I don't plan on camping and having loads of stuff, my initial thought was to carry only a backpack but I think my back is gonna hurt so much at some point.

I have a 2011 trek alpha 1.2 roadbike, so it's an entry level one, and I was wondering if it would support a "frame bag" and/or "handlebars bag" for 2 weeks.

By the way, if I have only 1 bag on my bike, should I go towards a frame bag or a handlebar one ? or maybe it doesn't really matter ?


thanks
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Old 05-16-18, 12:32 PM
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I wouldn't anticipate any problems unless you're planning on going off-road for any significant distance. I also wouldn't have qualms about loading it up with panniers and a full camping load (I do that regularly with my crit-geometry Cannondale). Handlebar bags have the advantage of easy access while riding (handy for snacks and cameras). Most also snap on/off the bike with a single click-mount and are therefore good for keeping valuables with you whenever you get off the bike for bathroom or food stops. OTOH, they can affect the bike's handling if loaded too heavily.
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Old 05-16-18, 12:44 PM
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It seems to have rack mounts, just add that and grab some panniers?

Otherwise, my preference would be towards a large saddle bag. Should attach to the seat just fine, and hold a bit more than a handlebar bag. I'd personally avoid a frame bag because you lose your water bottle space, unless you ride with a Camelback.

That said, my wife regularly rides with backpacks, it can be done.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:02 PM
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What exactly is a "normal road bike"?



Does your bike have rack mounts (front and/or rear)? Even if not, there are alternatives for mounting racks.

I have only used a rear mount rack... up to now.

A couple of notes:
  • It gets a little flexy on the rear of the old Colnago. I'm not quite sure where the flex is, but perhaps a combination of things including flexy dropouts.
  • Short chainstays can be a problem with the heels hitting the panniers. Older triangular style panniers help, as well as setting the panniers as far back as possible. In my case, I like to keep the rear triangle mostly open.
  • Gearing? I'm usually fine, but I hit one hill on that trip that did me in.
You might look at some of the "Bikepacking" info. A lot of people discuss it with respect to MTBs and off-road riding, but the idea of keeping one's gear compact and tied to one's frame might apply in your case.

If you aren't camping, and are mostly eating out, that would eliminate a lot of the potential weight on your bike.

So, perhaps look more at "credit card touring" for which a road bike would be an excellent choice.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:07 PM
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Layout your clothes/gear first. Then determine what bags/space you need. Look at revelate or such for frame bags. I like to spread out the weight. Small bar bag, a frame bag that just takes up the top part of the frame and a saddle bag would be one way to go.
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Old 05-16-18, 04:31 PM
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A saddle bag, either a Carradice style or one like bikepackers use might work well too.
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Old 05-16-18, 04:58 PM
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Thank you guys for all your inputs!!

I see the saddle bag is popular, does it feel weird for you guys to have the weight in the rear-end of the bike in terms of handling, specially out of the saddle ?

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
What exactly is a "normal road bike"?
By "normal" road bike I mean the simple road bike we could have 10 years ago before marketing invented loads of different names for the bikes. But I wanted to say this because it's I guess its not a reinforced bike that is able to carry weight.

Yes it's gonna be a "credit card touring", i'd like to do it as cheap as possible , by the way if you can give me your experience on the price of food/day on average that would be cool. I

think I can spend 35euros a day on sleeping in a airbnb and some food. Maybe i'm forgetting few expenses that can happen at some point during a tour


thanks guys!
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Old 05-16-18, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
...I see the saddle bag is popular, does it feel weird for you guys to have the weight in the rear-end of the bike in terms of handling, specially out of the saddle ?
...
Can't answer that, my knees blow up when I stand on the pedals like I used to do to power up hills or accelerate from a stop. But for the light load you are talking about, I doubt that it would be a big deal.
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Old 05-16-18, 07:08 PM
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If you outfit with bikepacking bags, you will have more than enough space for everything you need for credit card touring. Even with a few changes of clothes, I expect you won't be carrying much. And you will get used to the bags very quickly - the bags and gear will definitely affect the handling of the bike, but after a day in the saddle, it will all feel quite comfortable, I'm sure.
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Old 05-16-18, 07:43 PM
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I don't typically talk to credit card tourers, but I'll add my thoughts here. First, all bikes can carry weight. You should see how they're used in many undeveloped countries! For the amount of weight you won't have (no sleeping stuff, no cooking gear), don't worry about that. Second, there's some strange terminology going on in these posts and I'm wondering why. You'll want a set of small panniers and the size will be decided by how how much you take and the company you go with. Third, like everything else in life, once you start doing something you get used to it. Do NOT add a ton of weight all at once to your bike and start riding! Train your body little by little. This prevents injury and makes it much easier for you to ride. I don't get your question about moving weight from the front to the rear - most riders put weight on the rear to begin with. You start using the front after the rear is full.
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Old 05-16-18, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
I don't typically talk to credit card tourers.
How do you know if someone is a credit card tourer so you can avoid talking to them? Do you carry a sign that says "If you are a credit card tourer I will not talk with you"?

Anyway onto actual serious business. You can put bikepacking bags on pretty much any bike. My road bike currently is outfitted with a Wolf Tooth B-Rad System for two bottle cages and has a Revelate Designs frame pack because I am going on a long group ride and being the one who works at a shop and knows a few things (and can stand to learn a billion others) I tend to carry extra stuff just in case my fellow riders need something. So far in my short testing it is an excellent set up (though I should have gone with the smaller bag it fits but is closer then I would have liked) I also have done extensive riding with a large seatbag (Topeak Backloader) on my road bike and hybrid and it has been great. A handlebar bag isn't really going to fit a lot so your frame bag or seatbag will do most of it. If I wasn't camping or needing camping supplies (an odd thought for me) I would probably still carry an emergency bivy/space blanket type of deal just in case something happened.
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Old 05-16-18, 09:58 PM
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Have a friend whom I tour with and he uses a seat post rear rack and a Topeak trunk bag with the small pull out side panniers as needed, works for him when we credit card tour.

https://www.topeak.com/global/de/pro...x-trunkbag-dxp
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Old 05-16-18, 10:12 PM
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As far as budget touring, there are youth hostels, which apparently don't have a set age limit. I found they were always inconveniently located, but a bicycle should give you good mobility.

If you keep your loads to say 20 pounds or so, you will habituate to them quickly.

As mentioned, I found my old Colnago a bit loose feeling with a heavy rear load. One quickly learns to keep the bike perfectly vertical when standing and pedaling, and preferably keeping seated most of the time.

Anyway, start considering what you must carry. Water, a change of clothes, toiletries, spare tubes, patch kit, tools, pump, etc. And that GOLD CARD! You may find you won't need all that big of bags.

There are some huge lengthwise under the saddle bags.
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Old 05-16-18, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
I don't typically talk to credit card tourers,
I am a credit card tourer and proud of it. I've done enough camping to make John Muir envious, but age has made it too difficult for long term, barely-enough-sleep trips.
It 's a shame we will never be able to share our stories.
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Old 05-17-18, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
If you outfit with bikepacking bags, you will have more than enough space for everything you need for credit card touring. Even with a few changes of clothes, I expect you won't be carrying much. And you will get used to the bags very quickly - the bags and gear will definitely affect the handling of the bike, but after a day in the saddle, it will all feel quite comfortable, I'm sure.
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
As far as budget touring, there are youth hostels, which apparently don't have a set age limit. I found they were always inconveniently located, but a bicycle should give you good mobility.

Anyway, start considering what you must carry. Water, a change of clothes, toiletries, spare tubes, patch kit, tools, pump, etc. And that GOLD CARD! You may find you won't need all that big of bags.

.
Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
I don't typically talk to credit card tourers, but I'll add my thoughts here. First, all bikes can carry weight. You should see how they're used in many undeveloped countries! For the amount of weight you won't have (no sleeping stuff, no cooking gear), don't worry about that. Second, there's some strange terminology going on in these posts and I'm wondering why. You'll want a set of small panniers and the size will be decided by how how much you take and the company you go with. Third, like everything else in life, once you start doing something you get used to it. Do NOT add a ton of weight all at once to your bike and start riding! Train your body little by little. This prevents injury and makes it much easier for you to ride. I don't get your question about moving weight from the front to the rear - most riders put weight on the rear to begin with. You start using the front after the rear is full.
I may need to carry quite some stuff because I need to carry all my stuff for a month of holiday. I live in Italy, i will fly to north of France to pass holidays at home and then go back in italy by bike.

Yeah the youth hostels are a good idea, specially to meet people and since it will be doing it by myself

Sadly I can't train and add weight little by little. I live in the center of Roma and it is close to impossible to ride a roadbike fast enough to train in a safe environment. That's actually why i'm doing this tour, since september I can't ride a bike, I miss it so much and that's why i want to do some of the kilometers i couldn't do during the year I will have 2 weeks in the alps before doing this tour to use historical climbs to spin the legs before doing it

I won't quote everybody otherwise it would make a huge post but i've read everything and thank you all of you for your inputs! have a good day everyone
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Old 05-17-18, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Thank you guys for all your inputs!!

I see the saddle bag is popular, does it feel weird for you guys to have the weight in the rear-end of the bike in terms of handling, specially out of the saddle ?
This is a 9L Carradice saddlebag. I'd be a bit small as a solo bag for touring two weeks, but I don't even notice it back there, even when full. I wouldn't hesitate to toss something much larger back there. Still am considering trying to do my credit card France trip this summer with a larger Carradice only, they run all the way up to 23L (larger than a single Ortlieb):


Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
I don't typically talk to credit card tourers
Fair is fair, I generally don't talk to hobos either.
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Old 05-17-18, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
This is a 9L Carradice saddlebag. I'd be a bit small as a solo bag for touring two weeks, but I don't even notice it back there, even when full. I wouldn't hesitate to toss something much larger back there. Still am considering trying to do my credit card France trip this summer with a larger Carradice only, they run all the way up to 23L (larger than a single Ortlieb):




Fair is fair, I generally don't talk to hobos either.
alright cool thanks! interesting bars by the way!
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Old 05-17-18, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
alright cool thanks! interesting bars by the way!
Yeah, I love that setup of bars and brake handles. Most comfortable cockpit I've ever ridden.
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Old 05-17-18, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Sadly I can't train and add weight little by little. I live in the center of Roma and it is close to impossible to ride a roadbike fast enough to train in a safe environment.
Oh, that would be a fun place to be. That is where all the Americans go to tour.

I rode around Rome a bit... quite some time ago. Not a single bike path at that time. I was riding sewups at the time, and got more flat tires in Rome than the rest of my entire mega-meter ride. Glass everywhere, and the cobbles would just hold onto it.

Some of the roads were a bit busy, but I just hopped on and rode like I would ride anywhere else.

It seems as if it wasn't too far out of town before traffic began to calm down a bit. A day and a half up to Terni, I think, but many closer places.

I assume the trains are more bike-friendly now, so a couple of hours on the train and you could arrive in quite a few small neighboring towns.

I'm not big on "training", but I don't think I would go on a month long tour without at least getting out on the bike a bit beforehand. Maybe a good shake-down ride. But, it would also depend a lot on the person. 30 years ago, when I was in my twenties, I was a much more sporadic rider. And, one would certainly get stronger on a multi-day trip... as long as something bad doesn't happen.
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Old 05-17-18, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Thank you guys for all your inputs!!

I see the saddle bag is popular, does it feel weird for you guys to have the weight in the rear-end of the bike in terms of handling, specially out of the saddle ?



By "normal" road bike I mean the simple road bike we could have 10 years ago before marketing invented loads of different names for the bikes. But I wanted to say this because it's I guess its not a reinforced bike that is able to carry weight.

Yes it's gonna be a "credit card touring", i'd like to do it as cheap as possible , by the way if you can give me your experience on the price of food/day on average that would be cool. I

think I can spend 35euros a day on sleeping in a airbnb and some food. Maybe i'm forgetting few expenses that can happen at some point during a tour


thanks guys!
If you keep your saddlebag weight to 10 or 15lbs and make sure it doesn't sway too much then you'll be fine on just about any bike. You do notice it at first, but you quickly get use to it and can climb out of the saddle easily. Here is my bike with rear Carradice saddlebag and Ortlieb handlebarbag on top of Rainy Pass and I was out of the saddle quite a bit on the way up


If you are doing a credit card tour your daily spending will be dominated by where you sleep. In the US I usually budget around $80/night for motels and maybe $10 to $20 more if I'm eating in restaurants. My daily spend has ranged from $150 for a fancy room and eating out to $10 where I bought breakfast and then ate out of my own food store and pitched my tent for free or stayed with a Warm Showers host.

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Old 05-17-18, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
there's some strange terminology going on in these posts.
Like what?
Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
most riders put weight on the rear to begin with. You start using the front after the rear is full.
Definitely not true. There are Many tourers who prefer a front biased load. Do a search on the forum and youíll find a lot of info on it. Most bikes handle better with the weight in the front.
Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Sadly I can't train and add weight little by little.
Donít worry about that. I donít think most tourers do. People arenít out hauling a bunch of weights around to ďtrainĒ for a tour. I would definitely try to get in miles, though. Donít go from never riding your bike to trying to ride 75km per day of you donít Have to. Your legs and butt will thank you for riding each day leading up to the tour. If I were you Iíd put on a rear rack and get a small set of panniers for clothes, etc. Keep the weight as light, low, and close in to the bike as possible. The further back the weight is, the more the rack will flex and the panniers will sway around. Youíll feel that when youíre riding up hills, turning, etc. Personally, Iíd get a sturdy rack to reduce the flexing and swaying.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:20 PM
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TREK 1000, my commuter bike. The load includes camping gear. The only change was 28 mm tires.

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