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Is my bike suitable for touring? If so what essentials do I need?

Old 11-28-19, 07:58 AM
  #1  
Devon1979
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Is my bike suitable for touring? If so what essentials do I need?

Hi,

My wife bought me a Trek Dual Sport 4 for my birthday and after a couple of months of doing several times a week rides (20 - 40 km each time) I'm thinking I might try plan for a longer touring trip. I live in Spain and the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain keeps coming up. It's a road route, but with some sizeable hills/mountains and about 750km long. I understand I would need to kit it out and train but would my existing bike be suitable for this kind of trip over say 10 days?

If anyone could point me in the direction of an online resource where I could get an idea of what kind of essential kit and planning would be needed I'd appreciate that.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-28-19, 08:51 AM
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I've hiked El Camino, and discovered that it's a perfect place for what we call a "credit card tour." There seemed to be few opportunities for camping, and many sources of inexpensive meals and lodging. So you really need little more than a picnic lunch, a rain jacket, a change of clothing and toilet kit. That can be carried in a small backpack, but some would find that uncomfortable. It looks like that bike can be fitted with at least a rear rack. And the bike looks nicer than any I've ever owned.

You're more familiar than most with the seasonal weather, terrain, culture, and certainly language. Can you speak Basque? I found it to be a beautiful place.

I personally cannot ride more than 10-20 km with flat bars. I need to change hand positions often. But many cyclists tour on flat bars successfully.
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Old 11-28-19, 08:58 AM
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Yes.
I know nothing about the Trek Dual Sport 4, but It already has the most important attribute, a rider with a dream.
If you look at the pictures here, two things stand out- people tour on a wide array of types of bicycles, and, almost all bikes are customized in some way.
The "ideal" touring bike occupies an n-dimensional hyperspace at the conjunction of the nearly infinite demands of different tours, hills, distance, schedule, surface, weather, companions, style, etc. and the needs and desires of the rider. Even if, by some magic, your bike was perfect for a tour, it would be less than perfect for another tour, even the same one, because, like a river, it is never the same twice. Of course, neither is the tourer.
The simplest, and, really, only way to answer your question, is to go. Then you will know. Of course, then you will have the question, is my bike, appropriate for the next tour?
Good luck
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Old 11-28-19, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Devon1979 View Post
Hi,

My wife bought me a Trek Dual Sport 4 for my birthday and after a couple of months of doing several times a week rides (20 - 40 km each time) I'm thinking I might try plan for a longer touring trip. I live in Spain and the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain keeps coming up. It's a road route, but with some sizeable hills/mountains and about 750km long. I understand I would need to kit it out and train but would my existing bike be suitable for this kind of trip over say 10 days?

If anyone could point me in the direction of an online resource where I could get an idea of what kind of essential kit and planning would be needed I'd appreciate that.

Thanks in advance.
The answer to your second question can be found here. I don’t agree with everything they say but it’s a good place to start.

The answer to your first question is “yes, but...”. You’ll probably need to use bike packing gear rather than traditional bike touring gear. There’s not real problem doing that but there are some limitations to capacity using bikepacking gear. Since you are in Europe, you may want to look at Ortlieb’s offerings for bikepacking gear. A couple of US companies that offer good bikepacking equipment that I like are Revelate Design and Overall Negra. All of these are relatively expensive but they are very well made and will provide years of hard use.

Since you have a shock on this bike, you can’t carry large bags on them like you could with a traditional road touring bike. To get a little more capacity, you can add small bags to the front with a number of different small racks. I’ve recently used Topeak’s Versacage which I find to be an excellent cage. The cage comes with plastic clamps which do little damage to the fork. Salsa sells a similar cage but they are meant to be mounted on to bosses on the fork which aren’t available on suspension forks.

Here’s what my bikepacking set up looks like

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

I carry my sleeping equipment on the front, clothes on the seatpost bag, cooking gear in both the leg carriers and the triangle bag, and food in the small bags on the rack. I carry enough for about 4 days without resupply. I’ve got enough capacity to stretch that to 5 or possibly 6 days if I wanted to.

I agree with Pratt. You have an idea and all you need to do is make it happen. Don’t delay with a bunch of “buts”. The longer you put off the ride by over planning it, the less likely it is to occur.
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Old 11-28-19, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Devon1979 View Post
Hi, My wife ...
Your bike does not appear to have provisions to attach racks and panniers. One practical alternative for such a bike is a cargo trailer, such as a BoB Yak or Burley Nomad, linked below. I don't know what is the equivalent product in Europe, so I can't make a specific recommendation. Burley does appear to have several dealers in France.

YAK | BOBgear

https://www.burley.com/product/nomad/
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Old 11-28-19, 05:06 PM
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Yes,

Just remember you will need bike packing do dads for your front gear.
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Old 11-28-19, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
Your bike does not appear to have provisions to attach racks and panniers. One practical alternative for such a bike is a cargo trailer, such as a BoB Yak or Burley Nomad, linked below. I don't know what is the equivalent product in Europe, so I can't make a specific recommendation. Burley does appear to have several dealers in France.

YAK | BOBgear

https://www.burley.com/product/nomad/
Not according to Trek. It says ďRack and Fender ReadyĒ and clearly shows them in the pictures.
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Old 11-28-19, 11:07 PM
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Not sure if you are looking for a vendor, but this site has a good selection of gear.

https://www.bike-discount.de/
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Old 11-29-19, 02:39 AM
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Thanks man, appreciate the comments.

I've been wondering about the handlebars. I do seem to get pins and needles in the hands after about 20 km and need to shake them out every now and then. Is it possible to switch to road bike handle bars?

Cheers,
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Old 11-29-19, 08:33 AM
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There are touring handlebar styles that may be able to accept your existing brake levers/shifters. Google that. Look in Sheldon Brown's website for compatibility issues. Road bike drop handlebars may be very difficult.

Decades ago when I had a problem using a hybrid bike on a 15 km commute, I added cheap bar ends. I believe those are no longer considered safe or appropriate for touring.
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Old 11-29-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post

Decades ago when I had a problem using a hybrid bike on a 15 km commute, I added cheap bar ends. I believe those are no longer considered safe or appropriate for touring.
What????
Where did you hear that.


Originally Posted by Devon1979 View Post
Thanks man, appreciate the comments.

I've been wondering about the handlebars. I do seem to get pins and needles in the hands after about 20 km and need to shake them out every now and then. Is it possible to switch to road bike handle bars?

Cheers,
From the Trek website your bike has 31.8mm bars. When looking for alternatives look for that stem diameter.
Here is one example: https://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bars/
and another option: https://surlybikes.com/parts/moloko_bar
both will fit your levers.


My current bike with barends, the cheapest alternative. They are 31.8mm diameter as well.



and the one before that


Last edited by Happy Feet; 11-29-19 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 11-29-19, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
What????
Where did you hear that....
A mentor at a non-profit immediately removes them from all donated bikes. He puts them in the same category as the old "suicide levers." It's a single source, so I qualified it with the words "I believe." If that's wrong, I thank you for the correction.
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Old 11-29-19, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
A mentor at a non-profit immediately removes them from all donated bikes. He puts them in the same category as the old "suicide levers." It's a single source, so I qualified it with the words "I believe." If that's wrong, I thank you for the correction.
Interesting. I'm sure he has his reasons for believing that, but....
2 position bar ends for flat bars as well as butterfly bars are so widely used that when a tourer appears without them, it's garners attention.

I use these

Very adjustable
Also remember bad hand position can cause the tingling/numbness. There are a number of articles and videos regrading this. Keeping your hand straight with the wrist is key
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Old 11-29-19, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Devon1979 View Post
Thanks man, appreciate the comments.

I've been wondering about the handlebars. I do seem to get pins and needles in the hands after about 20 km and need to shake them out every now and then. Is it possible to switch to road bike handle bars?

Cheers,
Not without spending a lot of money. Youíd need new shifters and new derailers. You might even need a new crank. It would be about half of what you spent on the bike to begin with. As others have said, look into different handlebars or bar ends.
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Old 11-29-19, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
What????
Where did you hear that?

I second that. There is nothing wrong with them.

Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
A mentor at a non-profit immediately removes them from all donated bikes. He puts them in the same category as the old "suicide levers." It's a single source, so I qualified it with the words "I believe." If that's wrong, I thank you for the correction.
Thatís a wrong comparison. The old ďsuicide leversĒ didnít function properly and reduced the braking power of the brakes. They are unsafe.

Bar ends donít have any function that would make them ďunsafeĒ. Some people might think that they put too much leverage on the handle bars but I donít see how they could. They move your hands slightly forward of the handlebars but for mountain bikes your hands are way out at the end of the bars anyway. With the advent of the riser bar fashion says that they arenít needed but Iíve not found that to be true. I think the objection to them is more fashion than function.

I have them on all of my flat bar bikes and have since the late 80s. In fact I put them on my mountain bikes following an off-road tour which put my hands to sleep for 6 weeks.
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Old 11-29-19, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
A mentor at a non-profit immediately removes them from all donated bikes. He puts them in the same category as the old "suicide levers." It's a single source, so I qualified it with the words "I believe." If that's wrong, I thank you for the correction.
It's a fine line sometimes between preference and prejudice. Lot's of people develop odd attitudes as seen here on BF in almost every thread about gear, from frame material to braking systems. Especially if they have only limited themselves to one genre or one geographic location. Trekking and flat bars for touring (with and without bar ends) are far more prevalent in Europe than North America.

Here's some info: https://www.cyclingabout.com/a-compl...s-with-prices/
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Old 11-29-19, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I second that. There is nothing wrong with them.



Thatís a wrong comparison. The old ďsuicide leversĒ didnít function properly and reduced the braking power of the brakes. They are unsafe.

Bar ends donít have any function that would make them ďunsafeĒ. Some people might think that they put too much leverage on the handle bars but I donít see how they could. They move your hands slightly forward of the handlebars but for mountain bikes your hands are way out at the end of the bars anyway. With the advent of the riser bar fashion says that they arenít needed but Iíve not found that to be true. I think the objection to them is more fashion than function.

I have them on all of my flat bar bikes and have since the late 80s. In fact I put them on my mountain bikes following an off-road tour which put my hands to sleep for 6 weeks.
You can buy dropbar ends for straight handlebars too.

https://www.google.ca/search?sxsrf=A...iw=942&bih=834

Example.

https://www.amazon.com/Venzo-Road-Bi.../dp/B07DN65SMK


Cheers
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Old 11-29-19, 11:42 AM
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Re. bar ends being 'unsafe' -

perhaps the uniformed co-op volunteer has mistaken the valid concern that one must be cautious when clamping bar ends on carbon bars with one must be concerned with clamping bar ends on any bars.
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Old 11-29-19, 11:45 AM
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Re. 'pins and needles' in your hands -

This could be indicative of fit or setup problems with your bike. My long-standing observation is that many people who experience excessive pressure on their hands can be helped with a saddle adjustment - specifically to adjust the saddle so the nose is not pointing down at all.
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Old 11-29-19, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
Re. 'pins and needles' in your hands -

This could be indicative of fit or setup problems with your bike. My long-standing observation is that many people who experience excessive pressure on their hands can be helped with a saddle adjustment - specifically to adjust the saddle so the nose is not pointing down at all.
I donít agree. Flat bars cause my hands to become numb much more than road bars. Add in the constant pounding of off-road riding and it gets even worse. My bikes fit very well but it has been a problem for more than 30 years. Bar ends help but itís still a problem.
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Old 11-29-19, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I donít agree. Flat bars cause my hands to become numb much more than road bars. Add in the constant pounding of off-road riding and it gets even worse. My bikes fit very well but it has been a problem for more than 30 years. Bar ends help but itís still a problem.
Flat bars are generally inferior to multi-position bars for this exact reason, but OP did not say he was riding off road, IIRC, and 20 minutes is an awfully short time to ride before discomfort starts.
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Old 11-29-19, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
Flat bars are generally inferior to multi-position bars for this exact reason, but OP did not say he was riding off road, IIRC, and 20 minutes is an awfully short time to ride before discomfort starts.
I disagree with the fit part of your post. Yes, flat bars are inferior to road bars due to the lack of alternative hand positions. Road bars, however, arenít generally practical for off-road riding. The rider is too far forward on downhills and is thus more prone to going over the bars.

As to how long it takes for hands to go numb can be quite short in my experience. Thin grips, lots of vibration from the road or trail, the admitted lack of hand positions, etc. can all add to the compression of the palmar nerve which cause the tingling sensation. Thicker grips...I use ESI Extra Chunky and Wolf Tooth Fat Paws... and barends can help alleviate the problem but I still find my hands tingling, especially when on rougher roads or trails.
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Old 11-29-19, 06:27 PM
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If you decide that you need multiple hand position take a look at replacing your handlebar with butterfly or trekking handlebar. I think you can get one on AliExpress for less than $15 shipped and it will be compatible with your current shifters and grips. I have one of these on my Trek commuter and I rode up to 70 miles on it with less hands fatigue then on my road bike...
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Old 11-30-19, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Devon1979 View Post
Hi,

My wife bought me a Trek Dual Sport 4 for my birthday and after a couple of months of doing several times a week rides (20 - 40 km each time) I'm thinking I might try plan for a longer touring trip. I live in Spain and the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain keeps coming up. It's a road route, but with some sizeable hills/mountains and about 750km long. I understand I would need to kit it out and train but would my existing bike be suitable for this kind of trip over say 10 days?

If anyone could point me in the direction of an online resource where I could get an idea of what kind of essential kit and planning would be needed I'd appreciate that.

Thanks in advance.
Without getting into technicals, I believe that you can tour pretty much anywhere you want on any bike. Some bikes/designs may well be more appropriate than others, but what's between your ears is far more important than what's under your ass - my personal opinion.
​​​​​​
As regards cycling the Camino, I'd encourage anyone to consider whether they want a bike tour experience or a pilgrimage experience. They are two different beasts.

Caminodesantiago.me is a discussion forum on all things Camino. Not the most bike friendly.

I did the Camino Frances several years ago as a part of a longer tour. As much as possible I followed the walker's route. That meant sometimes dragging the bike up Rocky climbs. It also meant often waiting in the morning for all the walking pilgrims to spread out.

I think I took 13 or 14 days St. Jean to Santiago and if I had to do it again I'd do it slower.

After Santiago, I headed to the west coast and worked my way north, along that coast as much as possible then back to the Netherlands. For pure touring enjoyment I far preferred post Santiago. But the pilgrimage experience was one I am glad I had.

I'd rate northern Spain as my preferred location to tour.

Another poster suggested a trailer. I've used an ExtraWheel trailer and find it great. It will work with most bike designs with minimal change to your bike (change out the quick release of your rear hub). It's particularly useful off road.

As regards the pins and needles hand position is all important. I'd be reluctant to go changing everything until all the smaller things have been tried. Saddle height and angle can be as important as handlebar height and angle.

Good luck & Buen Camino
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Old 12-01-19, 12:25 AM
  #25  
Patty Up North
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Sealand, Denmark
Posts: 33

Bikes: Ghost HTX 7500 2005 & Fuji Touring 2016

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I do belive that your bike will be a fine tourer. And no reason to change to much, before actually trying a short tour. Gearing looks good enough for light touring (hauling less stuff).

If it was my bike/trip, knowing what i've learned myself: Make your handlebar setup acceptable. In a cheap(ish) way. Try bar-ends. You have all ready been shown whats possible. If they dont make it for you, try a butterfly bar. Still cheap, and an easy first rebuild, if you dont need new gear cables and brake hoses.
When you achived a good riding position, your good for now.
Luggage: Looks like your bike will accept a rear rack (does it have unused threaded holes near the seatpost and the rear dropout?). Get a rear rack and some panniers. Ortlieb will last most folks a lifetime, but there are cheaper altetnatives to be had. Then buy a front handlebar bag, either a classic or a bikepacking style. The classic are great for quick acsess, snacks, camera, phone... and easy to take with you when leaving the bike. Or a bikepacking style, wich can hold more.

How do you think you will sleep? Camping or mostly hostels? The latter takes way less gear. But all you need for camping is a light tent, a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag, a small gas burner and a pot. The change of clothing, pocket knife, rain jacket, headlamp, toolkit, exc. you will bring anyway...

I do some shopping on www.bike-discount.de in Germany. Great store. Note that rear rack must be disc brake ready. And bar diameter, as noted before.
Try your setup on a single overnighter before the long trip.

Have fun!



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