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Those that don't train for touring and just "go"...

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Those that don't train for touring and just "go"...

Old 11-07-19, 02:14 PM
  #26  
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I trained for my first week long charity ride back in 1997. But once I had completed that ride, I knew that I could cover distance and I really didn't train much again beyond at least one fully loaded ride just to check out my equipment packing and the bike under load. If we're coming out of winter where I haven't done much riding, I will do several higher mileage rides, but I never really considered them training, rather just getting back in shape after a lazy winter. Initially, I planned every stop, especially in the west where one can ride all day between towns. Now, I have a general idea of my daily goals but I'll change plans as needed without too much angst. Rest days are a great idea, I sometimes schedule them every 5-6 days. I just finished riding from my home in Northern California to the Mexican border and rode 13 straight says without a break; it took me a week for my legs to stop aching. I was under a schedule constraint but I don't think I'll do that again.

As far as food goes, for breakfast, if I'm camping I'll usually have black coffee and some quality Muesli that has soaked in apple juice all night (and I drink the rest of the bottle of apple juice) or I make oatmeal with peanut butter; I use quick oats not that packaged crap. If I'm in a hotel, I try to pick ones that have a free breakfast. If no free breakfast I'll cook in my room. Lunch is something from a restaurant (often fast-food), dinner is a restaurant or that old stand-by, instant mashed potatoes with canned chicken or foil wrapped tuna plus whatever condiments I have handy to give it flavor (S&P, ketchup, soy sauce, sriracha, etc.). I also drink Gatorade or Powerade all day long and eat lots of Mexican ice cream bars which are readily available in California and the Southwest.

The main thing is to have fun. Any person with minimal fitness can successfully do a bike tour; but be warned, for some (such as myself) it is an addictive activity.
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Old 11-07-19, 07:51 PM
  #27  
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I don't like to use the word training. To me it implies a focus on the physical preparation of cycling.

A bike tour, in my world, is about far more than the cycling. Yes, we need to be able to cycle to bike tour, but it's not the only ability we need to enjoy it.

I prefer to use the term practising because it covers more than just the cycling.
For example, there's navigation, packing, cycling on different surfaces in different conditions, clothing for different conditions, eating & drinking.

If camping there's a whole load of other factors - finding suitable pitches, pitching in different weather, staying warm/dry/cool depending on conditions. Even being able to pass long cold nights is something that some people can't do comfortably.

If cooking, there's (again) cooking in different conditions, fuel considerations (especially in extreme conditions) as well as resupply.

There's also the psychological aspect; Having the confidence to listen to your body requires experience. Adjusting plans on the fly gets better with practise. Learning how to deal with hitting a psychological wall requires practise.

The more you practise these the better you will get, the more you'll enjoy it.

For me, I have a "Touring head", a state of mind, that gives me a real kick - otherwise I wouldn't tour. To me, being able to don my "Touring head" is more important than being able to cycle x miles with y kilos.

To be practical, practise when & where you can. Pick somewhere, load up the bike, cycle there, fire up a stove, cook, eat, relax, cycle back a different way. Even just camping out in the back garden in foul weather can be a great learning experience

Over the years I've met many touring cyclists. Of the ones that were not happy, not enjoying themselves, riding the bike was not the issue.

Good luck!
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Old 11-08-19, 04:26 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
I don't like to use the word training. To me it implies a focus on the physical preparation of cycling.

A bike tour, in my world, is about far more than the cycling. Yes, we need to be able to cycle to bike tour, but it's not the only ability we need to enjoy it.

I prefer to use the term practising because it covers more than just the cycling.
For example, there's navigation, packing, cycling on different surfaces in different conditions, clothing for different conditions, eating & drinking.

If camping there's a whole load of other factors - finding suitable pitches, pitching in different weather, staying warm/dry/cool depending on conditions. Even being able to pass long cold nights is something that some people can't do comfortably.

If cooking, there's (again) cooking in different conditions, fuel considerations (especially in extreme conditions) as well as resupply.

There's also the psychological aspect; Having the confidence to listen to your body requires experience. Adjusting plans on the fly gets better with practise. Learning how to deal with hitting a psychological wall requires practise.

The more you practise these the better you will get, the more you'll enjoy it.

For me, I have a "Touring head", a state of mind, that gives me a real kick - otherwise I wouldn't tour. To me, being able to don my "Touring head" is more important than being able to cycle x miles with y kilos.

To be practical, practise when & where you can. Pick somewhere, load up the bike, cycle there, fire up a stove, cook, eat, relax, cycle back a different way. Even just camping out in the back garden in foul weather can be a great learning experience

Over the years I've met many touring cyclists. Of the ones that were not happy, not enjoying themselves, riding the bike was not the issue.

Good luck!
In some ways I feel exactly the opposite way despite agreeing on a lot of those points.

I agree 100% about there being a touring state of mind, having a touring head, and so on, but for me that is mostly because I spend my whole day cycling when on tour. Everything becomes a routine, choices become simple, ride, eat, sleep, ride, repeat... Not much thinking about what to wear, what to do, mostly just the road and the people, places, and things along it. For me that is what touring is primarily about.

If anything reading what you said made me think of my tours as more riding centric, not less. At home I do obsess over gear lists and possible routes and trip logistics (when and where to go), but otherwise don't prep all that much for touring. I don't find I need to do much to "get into my touring head" other than to head out on my bike. Doing stuff like practice trips is not something I do, camping in the back yard definitely isn't, and I never have trained with a loaded bike. Perhaps fool hardy, but I have never even done a test ride with the bike loaded. I just carry a sensible load and trust I can sort out any problems on the road if I have to.

Most of the people I met who were miserable on their tours almost exclusively were the ones who packed far to heavily, were struggling with the weight, and still didn't have the right stuff.
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Old 11-08-19, 07:31 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
I prefer to use the term practising because it covers more than just the cycling.
For example, there's navigation, packing, cycling on different surfaces in different conditions, clothing for different conditions, eating & drinking.
....
Over the years I've met many touring cyclists. Of the ones that were not happy, not enjoying themselves, riding the bike was not the issue.

Good luck!
Interesting post and thanks for the thoughts.

What you said hit home on a couple levels. A family member and I have done numerous backpacking trips over the years. He has been the one to get me in to the bike touring side of things, I was always the backpacker. A few years ago our trips were exactly what you wrote - he was gearing up for touring and, because the camping aspect is the same backpacking and touring, it was a perfect opportunity to do some gear testing - gear, food, clothes, etc.

I think, especially solo outings (backpacking or touring), as my family member was doing, that the "practicing" you reference becomes important on a whole other level - because you and what you have is all there is.

In my trip's case, the only gear change I would have made if I could was to use my hammock instead of a tarp so I wasn't camping on the ground. I don't have access to the hammock (I left it at my cabins unfortunately) so I had to improvise - but it was also something I had done previously years ago so I knew what I was in for and how to do it. If I hadn't done it before I would have figured it out. But at the end of the day I had the "plan" on my bike with me - the stuff and what to do - if I needed to (my contingency plan "run out of time") - and I did. If I didn't - I would have been a whole lot less comfortable.

Interesting conversation in the thread.
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Old 11-08-19, 07:57 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
For me, I have a "Touring head", a state of mind, that gives me a real kick - otherwise I wouldn't tour. To me, being able to don my "Touring head" is more important than being able to cycle x miles with y kilos.
Same here, though I never thought of it that way. When I travel out west to start a trip of a couple of weeks I camp and cook the night before I start the riding. Jogs my "touring head." Get's me in that state of mind. That rhythm.
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Old 11-08-19, 08:30 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
In some ways I feel exactly the opposite way despite agreeing on a lot of those points.

I agree 100% about there being a touring state of mind, having a touring head, and so on, but for me that is mostly because I spend my whole day cycling when on tour. Everything becomes a routine, choices become simple, ride, eat, sleep, ride, repeat... Not much thinking about what to wear, what to do, mostly just the road and the people, places, and things along it. For me that is what touring is primarily about.

If anything reading what you said made me think of my tours as more riding centric, not less. At home I do obsess over gear lists and possible routes and trip logistics (when and where to go), but otherwise don't prep all that much for touring. I don't find I need to do much to "get into my touring head" other than to head out on my bike. Doing stuff like practice trips is not something I do, camping in the back yard definitely isn't, and I never have trained with a loaded bike. Perhaps fool hardy, but I have never even done a test ride with the bike loaded. I just carry a sensible load and trust I can sort out any problems on the road if I have to.

Most of the people I met who were miserable on their tours almost exclusively were the ones who packed far to heavily, were struggling with the weight, and still didn't have the right stuff.
Your whole day cycling could be 100 miles, mine might be twenty. I'm not saying the cycling ability is unimportant, just one factor in the success or enjoyment.

Of course now you'd never practise pitching your tent in the garden - you know what you're doing, but for anybody new to the experience it's a very handy thing to do - especially in foul weather.

We all have our own fears and weaknesses. It's my belief that tackling them head on is what gives us the confidence to make a successful & enjoyable tour. All the better when we can do that in a safe environment rather than on the road far away from home.

When I read a post like the OPs that seems to be focusing on the physical/cycling requirements of touring, I always fear they will ignore the other aspects.

The miserable cyclists you've met (like mine) would have being having a better time with a bit more practise under their belts! :-)
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Old 11-08-19, 10:27 AM
  #32  
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Last year, I started my solo, loaded 1,100 mile Bend, OR - Mt. Hood - Tillamook, OR - down the coast to San Francisco tour with about 200 miles behind me when I started mid September. At around 225 lbs, I was also 50 pounds heavier than my tour of two years earlier.

This year, also in mid Sept, I started my 900 mile solo loaded Vegas - Death Valley - Mojave - Joshua Tree - Prescott, AZ - Sedona - Flagstaff tour with 450 miles under me and still around 225 pounds.

Why I am confident doing it this way this at 52 years old? Because:
  • I've spent most of my life on a bike, and find that has given me good, deep core conditioning that endures.
  • Having trained and raced in years passed, I have some understanding of the general physiology and the limits and needs of my own body.
  • My bike is geared really, really, low.
  • I ride alone, so can set my own pace and agenda. (I sometimes like leaving in the morning without knowing where I will sleep)
  • Maybe most importantly, set my expectations to simply be out there making the pedals go around. If I'm doing that, conditions are totally enjoyable.
I still manage to ride 50-70 miles a day with up to 4k feet of climbing. I just take it easy.
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Old 11-09-19, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Brett A View Post
Why I am confident doing it this way this at 52 years old? Because:
  • I've spent most of my life on a bike, and find that has given me good, deep core conditioning that endures.
  • Having trained and raced in years passed, I have some understanding of the general physiology and the limits and needs of my own body.
  • My bike is geared really, really, low.
  • I ride alone, so can set my own pace and agenda. (I sometimes like leaving in the morning without knowing where I will sleep)
  • Maybe most importantly, set my expectations to simply be out there making the pedals go around. If I'm doing that, conditions are totally enjoyable.
I still manage to ride 50-70 miles a day with up to 4k feet of climbing. I just take it easy.
Good points.

I have had similar experiences having done tours in various states of general fitness weight wise. I have always wondered about how much of it is the first two items in your list (I don't go super low on the gearing so the third item is out for me). I have to wonder if the deep conditioning thing is really a physical thing or if it is more of a mental thing. Maybe a bit of both?

The last two items mostly fit me too. I have about 16 years on you though, so I hope all those factors will continue to work well into geezerdom. I suspect I may need to watch my weight a little more at my age and going forward or suffer more than I did when a little younger. I am starting to feel my age more. At your age I didn't really feel any noticeable limitations due to age, now I am starting to feel my age.
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Old 11-09-19, 01:45 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I feel the opposite. To be in the best possible condition for a tour, I need to have multiple, consecutive days in the saddle over long miles with a lot of gear. If I'm doing that, I might as well be touring.
This is my attitude; clearly it depends greatly on your situation for basic bicycling and time constraints on your trip. You're putting far more thought and planning into this than I do, but this makes sense if your time and possibly experience are much more limited.

The last few years, I've been doing contract work, rather than a full time job, so I either have no time limit (between jobs) or a weekend at most. I also commuted by bicycle (year round in northeastern US, including snow) for 25 years, and bicycle for transportation rather than drive now, so the issues that concern you are not usually issues for me.

If you have a limited period for your tour, planning your stops and getting in shape so you can meet your schedule makes sense. I bicycle because it's flexible and I don't like driving. If I find I have time on the Pacific Coast or Bermuda, I want to stop at interesting locations rather than trying to ride a set number of miles each day. (Admittedly, I had a schedule on Bermuda, and mileage is not an issue on an island that's only 20 miles long.)

A large number of readers on this list commute by bicycle - if you're used to riding 5-7 days each week and carrying work clothes, groceries, laptops, etc., touring is not a huge extension. When I did have a set job, a group from a local bike club did a 5 day trip from Philadelphia to Washington DC. For a long weekend, all of us were regular commuters who did no training and minimal planning. This trip did commit to fixed stops with some motel reservations, due to work schedules and finding affordable accommodations in Washington DC.

I rode part of the Pacific coast last summer. My planning was non existent by my most standards - I had free time in Portland, Oregon before returning back east and heard good things about the scenery so I decided to bicycle to Los Angeles to visit my sister. I'd My preparation was: (i) I bought a guide book, (ii) I bought a tent, (iii) I sublet my apartment, and (iv) I went for a ride to Los Angeles. You could argue I did a week of training riding locally with camping gear, but this was because it was a new (to me) touring bike I'd found on Craigslist, and I wanted to test the bike locally where I could fix issues before starting the tour.

It took a call or two for my sister to understand that the complete tour plan really was to just start riding, and stop if/when I got tired of it. I figured I'd done a little camping, lots of bicycling, and local bicyclists said there were hiker/biker campsites available every 20-30 miles. If it went well, I'd keep going and enjoy the ride; if it didn't I could stop and find a train or plane to LA or back east.

I ended up taking more time than most bicyclists I met with jobs and return plane tickets, but was faster than a few others (without jobs or schedules). For me, I didn't expect to return to the west coast, and I had time to stop at all the light houses, all the seal overlooks, the botanical gardens, etc. So I did. I averaged about 30 miles per day. My days with short or minimal mileage were motivated more by sightseeing than a need for recovery. I stayed two extra days to hike in the Redwood forests, and stayed in San Francisco for a few nights to see Golden Gate Park and other sights. You can debate whether they were recovery days because the bike wasn't loaded, or if I still rode 20 miles per day to get to different places in the city.

I found the mileage got much easier the further south I got into the Pacific tour, (i) the hills in CA really are lower than in OR, and (ii) I did lose a bit of weight and get stronger riding every day vs. sitting an office.

More recently, I did a weekend trip from Delaware to Lancaster PA. This had more planning since I wanted to attend an event at the park and camp overnight so I had to go when the event took place, but much less since it was an easy day trip (50 miles) to Lancaster and another day to return, with less route planning and luggage for a 2 day 100 mile round trip ride than a 1,000 mile ride to LA.

TLDR - plan if your situation requires it. Otherwise, just get on the bike and start riding.
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Old 11-10-19, 04:50 AM
  #35  
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I'm now in my mid 60s. It has never occurred to me to "train" for tours. I ride enough in the ordinary course of events to stay reasonably fit, and touring is generally a low intensity activity, I'm not racing, so I go as far as I feel like or as is practicable in the terrain.

I'm not much of a planner. Experience tells me that about 100k/60m is a comfortable daily average for loaded touring, so I look at approximate routes with that in mind and adjust depending on the availability of accommodation, likely amount of climbing, all that stuff. And I'll improvise, if somewhere looks especially attractive I'll stick around, or I'll detour if I hear about something interesting in the vicinity. Even when not camping, I don't generally bother with booking accommodation ahead of time unless I'm going somewhere that's likely to be busy - for example, a tourist destination at a popular time of year. The rest of the time I have no difficulty finding motels, B&Bs, gites etc.

As for "building up" fitness during a tour, obviously if I'm spending five or six hours a day on the bike I'm likely to be fitter at the end of a tour than I was at the start, and I might avoid jumping straight into severe mountain territory right from day one. But I don't make any particular effort to increase distances or intensity through the tour - like I said, it's not a race.
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Old 11-11-19, 12:15 PM
  #36  
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In my 20s, I easily went from bike commuting to touring. I might ride a bit farther and harder during trip preparations, but then I'd just ride at a comfy pace for 6 hours or more. The only surprise I got was finding out I had no sprint left near sunset. I had no itinerary - I wound up averaging 30 miles a day. Very nearly 1/3 of the days, I was in a place nice enough to stay over. 1/3 I just moved down the road to the next nice place, and 1/3 I was interested in making miles. Those days averaged 60, but peaked at 140 downhill.
In my 70s, conditioning comes much slower.
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Old 11-11-19, 12:28 PM
  #37  
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Young/30 miles day/ just go.

If you are young and in good health you should be able to just go and do 30 miles a day for first week. After that you will automatically go longer and farther. After 70 miles it turns into work, at 80 miles things begin to hurt, at 90 miles and as the sun gets low its time to start looking for a place to stop/tent/sleep. Always plan multiple water sources/bathroom access. Before riding in morning stretch with toe touches, and twist with arms out to stretch bicycle muscles. Drink Mountain Due for caffeine and increased distance. Gatorade. Water.
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Old 11-11-19, 12:38 PM
  #38  
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When I decided to ride the Southern Tier, I did make it a point to get miles in my legs every week. Not huge numbers, averaging about 140 miles/week until I had an overnight shakedown tour that was close to 200 miles.

Although I did camp some, I was staying with Warm Showers hosts or in cheap motels more, and that required planning. I tried to have my stops planned at least 3 days in advance; because I wanted to end each day in a town and not in the middle of nowhere, that forced me to plan further in advance for the least-settled parts of my ride (in West Texas, the towns are about 70 miles apart). I had a general idea of how much time I wanted to complete the tour in and how many miles/day that would average out to: I didn't go into it with every stop planned out, but once I got rolling, and figuring out where viable stops would be, my planning horizon did get longer.

The distance I got comfortable with definitely increased as I progressed. I had my two longest days back-to-back. With one exception (a long day in the Davis Mountains when I later discovered I was riding on a slow leak), I never felt like I was riding at my body's limits. And it was rewarding discovering how far I could push myself without being at my limits.

Apart from taking a rest spell where the route passes through the town where I live, I didn't have rest days per se. I took a few short days strategically when I knew the day after would be unrealistically long if I didn't.
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Old 11-17-19, 06:47 PM
  #39  
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I only started to understand the value of stretching in my 60s. On a tour in my 20s, I was bucking a headwind each day, and found a partner to swap drafting with. I found him at a campground - the worst thing about riding is that you only see people who ride at your speed if they are going the other way. Anyway, I was a commuter, used to leaving for work a bit late and sprinting through traffic. He was a strictly recreational rider, used to a proper warm-up. I'd have to ride my brakes for the first couple of miles while he got up to speed. My body was quite used to the cold start. One morning, I found a flat tire to fix before I could leave, and found myself almost dizzy from having started breathing hard in advance, quite unconsciously.
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Old 11-20-19, 09:19 PM
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The only long 'tour' I ever took was a five-day- 440-mile ride from Cleveland to Milwaukee and then on to Madison, visiting family for a week, then ride 480 miles back home. Solo. Yeah, I was only 20 years old. I carried two changes of clothes in a canvas duffle bag, a nylon windbreaker, and a plastic garbage bag over the duffle that doubled as a 'raincoat'... I 'stealth camped' before that was a 'thing' -- sleeping in underpasses and culverts along the way, with maybe (if I could find some) a layer of cardboard between me (in my clothes) and the ground. No sleeping bag, pad, or tent. Yeah, it was August in the Midwest...

To prepare? I couple of years before, I was riding ~500+-miles/week. Recent riding? maybe 100-200/wk. I blew that away the first day with 97 miles, followed by another 100+- mile day, followed by another, and another... Once I left home, I was committed. Three weeks before school started again in the fall, $100 in my pocket and that was IT. This was back in the day when I could go to Burger King and get three regular hamburgers, small fry, shake and a pie for under $2.50! Look at the prices from 1978 and call me a liar! I'd stop at roadside fruit- and vegetable stands or a local 'greasy spoon' diner during the day, and a BK or McDs for dinner... Wash my clothes at a local laundromat every other day. (small towns, gotta love 'em!)


Flat tires? One. But on the way home , I wasn't paying attention and hit a hole which FUBAR'd my rear wheel... I had to trade the LBS (Local? - a 20-mile ride in the back of a pickup truck) my custom wheelset (Phil hubs. stainless d/b spokes, and narrow rims - one bent beyond repair) for a set of generic LBS cheapies to get me home since I had no money left to my name....

Regrets? Absolutely NONE!! Would I do such a spur-of-the-moment, hair-brained stunt again? If I was single without a care in the world like I was back then? Absolutely!!!
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Old 11-20-19, 09:32 PM
  #41  
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What I tend to do is get the bike in order (tuned and ready to go with enough time to do some riding beforehand to make sure everything is at 100%) and then do a little commuting or some extra riding here and there. While touring I tend to just plan for longer routes and shorter routes as needed. I generally stick with some shorter stuff these days and if I want to go further I might have a plan for that or I set up camp early and relax and enjoy. Certainly as you ride more you will get into better shape and probably be able to ride more but don't forget to enjoy off bike activities.
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Old 11-22-19, 09:23 AM
  #42  
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Over the past several years, this is exactly my riding style. I literally (not figuratively) will go on a 2 to 8 week tour, come home and do NO riding until maybe the week before the next tour which is anywhere from a month to 6 month later. Yes, my body hurts to some degree (especially the knees) for the first 10-14 days but I figure if I don't just go ahead an go on tour, I would never tour. Life has been a little hectic and allows for little club riding.

I do generally start the tour easy, i.e. 1st day is 20-25 miles, second day, 20-30 miles, third day 25-35 miles, etc. to build up to around 50-55 miles. I don't attempt anything 65+ miles and/or super hilly until at least 2 weeks into the ride if I can avoid it. If I can't I try to factor in a short day following the hard day. I have only had one time when my body rebelled but that was a combination of no training, mountains, and most importantly for me, altitude as I only have about 85% lung capacity. Yes, if I need a rest day, I take it. Nothing wrong with that.

Tailwinds, John
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Old 11-26-19, 09:35 AM
  #43  
Wilfred Laurier
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I did a tour last year just short of a month. I had about 1000km on my bike in the season before we left. I made sure I was comfortable for a couple 100km+ rides, did a lot of shorter rides, and worked on potential strategies for loading my bike. But I would call this 'preparing', not training.

I had no problem keeping my pedals turning for long days in the saddle... except - my arse was on fire after three or four days. The minimalist racing saddle I had was fine for a single five or six hour ride, but five hours in the saddle for four days in a row? ouch! I got very good at riding smoothly while standing.

About half way through the tour I went to a bike shop and bought a slightly less racy saddle and was able to sit for the second half of the tour.
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Old 12-06-19, 09:48 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Why would anyone start a bike trip not being in the best condition possible?
I have two thoughts on this question:
.
  • One is that some people, some years, have no time to or inclination to ride in the months or weeks before a tour. I'm pretty much only on a bike when I'm out touring.
  • The other is that there is no need. If a person can ride 50+ miles a day for multiple days from the start w/o training, and they don't struggle, and they enjoy it, then what's missing?
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Old 12-07-19, 07:46 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Brett A View Post
I have two thoughts on this question:
.
  • One is that some people, some years, have no time to or inclination to ride in the months or weeks before a tour. I'm pretty much only on a bike when I'm out touring.
  • The other is that there is no need. If a person can ride 50+ miles a day for multiple days from the start w/o training, and they don't struggle, and they enjoy it, then what's missing?
for those who don't want to or have the opportunity to ride other than when they do a bike tour, by all means do that and I genuinely hope it works for you.

From my observations and lots of personal experience, riding regularly makes for a more enjoyable riding experience, and being prepared physically means less issues and aches and pains and saddle sores or knee problems because your body and your bike are prepared and set up properly for multi day riding.
No matter at what age or physical condition, there's nothing but pluses to riding beforehand, and making sure everything technically is working fine etc.
Any activity is going to go better with proper preparation, but especially a physical outdoor activity.

Another factor also is that in general, a lot of us involve cycling in our daily activities as part of our lives and staying in shape, using a car less, and simply from the good feeling we get from regularly exercising--a healthy life long habit that only brings benefits throughout our lives, whether at 30 or 70.
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Old 12-07-19, 04:29 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
for those who don't want to or have the opportunity to ride other than when they do a bike tour, by all means do that and I genuinely hope it works for you.

From my observations and lots of personal experience, riding regularly makes for a more enjoyable riding experience, and being prepared physically means less issues and aches and pains and saddle sores or knee problems because your body and your bike are prepared and set up properly for multi day riding.
No matter at what age or physical condition, there's nothing but pluses to riding beforehand, and making sure everything technically is working fine etc.
Any activity is going to go better with proper preparation, but especially a physical outdoor activity.

Another factor also is that in general, a lot of us involve cycling in our daily activities as part of our lives and staying in shape, using a car less, and simply from the good feeling we get from regularly exercising--a healthy life long habit that only brings benefits throughout our lives, whether at 30 or 70.
I agree with djb, and some of us just like to ride whether we are touring or not. I try to stay in as good of condition as time and health allow. Being in good condition has nothing to do with "training"; it is just a way of life. I think his last paragraph might be tweeked to read " whether at 15 or 76+". David, I think you know where I'm coming from

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Old 07-19-22, 12:27 PM
  #47  
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I know I'm not answering your question but I think it's a terrible idea.
Every year, since I started biking as a hobby over 30 years ago, I go through a week or two where my knees are very sore and I need to be careful what I do on the bike or get completely sidelined for weeks. Sometimes I've had back pain that took months to go away while my flexibility and core muscles were coming back. It usually takes me about four months of riding 3 days a week to not experience pain from biking. (Too cold to bike through winter here).
If I've changed anything cockpit related it will take me a couple months to get the bike dialed in.
Anything physical has required that I take some days off the bike to allow my body to adapt and I've had a few occasions where I thought maybe I'd have to stop biking.
if you don't "train" how can you anticipate how your body is going to react to daily long distances. Even with training it's hard to mimic the conditions of touring. What happens when you can't sleep or you got dehydrated or didn't eat enough the day before. Push through the pain and you might have to abandon.
the time I have allotted for a tour is too valuable to risk abandoning.
It's also a good idea to put some distance on your bike to test mechanical reliability. The week before my last trip my wheel collapsed after breaking spokes. I had to buy a new wheel before I could go. Thankfully it didn't happen when I was nowhere near a bike shop.

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Old 07-19-22, 07:37 PM
  #48  
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i started a tour last year after being sick for a month and not riding. Ten day trip lasted two days,achilles problem. Never do that again.
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Old 07-19-22, 10:06 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
How do you build up on the go?
Don't listen to anyone who says you NEED to "train." Train if you can, whatever that means, but don't let it get in the way. Just go.

When my stoker and I, age 64 and 63 and not athletic, started on our self-supported camping X-C from SF to Virginia last summer on the tandem, we'd ridden about 20 miles a day in the city with a few 60-mile weekends. Not really "training," but enough to know our gear was right and to get us over the Sierra and feeling on track by day 7.

In the Great Plains in Eads, Colo., we met a couple who had started in Oregon with zero training, on new bikes and no experience touring. That's almost 1/2 way across America. They had great stories to tell of early tribulations, but they were in good shape when we met them and were glad they just did it.

Just across the Mississippi in Chester, Ill., we met a woman who'd started westbound alone on the TransAmerica with zero experience, on a new bike, no training. Her 1st day was 10 miles. Her 2nd day, 10 miles. Her 3rd, 20 miles. By the time we met her, she was doing 30-40-mile days. She texted us when she got to the Oregon coast. She was glad she just did it.

We met others like those--who kinda just took off and did it and were happy they did.

We met others who had spent months, even a year, intensely training and were happy they did.

There's no right way to do it. Just make sure you do it. Sooner, rather than later.

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Old 07-20-22, 04:51 AM
  #50  
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Yeah. I didn’t “train” for my first tour, which ended up lasting nearly 4 months. Only rode the bike fully loaded once before I hopped a train out west for the start, and I had never camped before. I was riding regularly at the time and had been for many years. Also had a couple of one week supported trips under my belt over the years, so I was used to riding multiple days in a row. I simply relied on my existing conditioning. What I needed to know about camping and cooking I learned from the 12 others in the group. That’s one reason I opted for a group setting. When the tour ended I rode home solo with the experience I had gained.
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