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Local Test Tour

Old 04-09-21, 09:57 PM
  #1  
Bassmanbob
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Local Test Tour

One week from today, I am meeting two buddies at my office and we are going on a three day tour of our local area. We are all interested in bicycle touring, but none of us are well experienced at it. So we thought it would be a good idea to do a three day- two night self supported local tour together. I'm riding my Trek 520 with four panniers and a handlebar bag. I'm placing my tent on top of the rear rack. I'd like your opinions on what I'm taking and anything else I have not thought of. I'm simulating being on at least a one week summer tour with enough food for two days.

My combined dry weight is 43- 44 pounds (19.5- 20 kg) broken down like this:

1. Handlebar bag 4.6lbs (2.1kg):
Small wallet, house key, phone, camera, bug spray, sunscreen, electrolyte tablets, 3 energy bars, glasses, hiking (kitchen) knife, small cable lock, map, small hand sanitizer

2. Front Left Pannier 6.8 lbs (3.1kg) Sleeping Quarters:
Sleeping pad, camping pillow, blanket, battery operated c-Pap machine with its two batteries,

3. Front Right Pannier 6.6 lbs (3.0kg) Utility:
First aid kit, bike and misc tools & safety items, paracord, chargers & wires, extension cord, 2 rechargeable batteries, head light, tiny camp lantern

4. Rear Left Pannier 9.2 lbs (4.17kg) Kitchen:
Camping stove & fuel, cooking mug, cooking pot, bowl, utensils, small Dawn, half sponge, small kitchen towel, hand soap, coffee, oats, tortillas, almond butter, jelly, tuna in a bag, dehydrated cauliflower, dehydrated mashed potatoes, instant rice packet, hot cocoa packets, Spam (I had to try it), flask of bourbon

5. Rear Right Pannier 10.4 lbs (4.72 kg) Clothing:
One alternative cycling kit (wearing the other on day one), hiking pant with removable legs, hiking shirt, hiking sandals, one underwear & socks, bathing suit and t-shirt for sleeping and pool at the KOA, 1 base layer top & bottom, cycling rain jacket, buff, toiletry bag, microfiber towel & wash towel

6. Top of Rear Rack 5.6 lbs (2.54 kg) Tent:
Tent (MSR Hubba Hubba) & footprint placed in a dry bag

So what do you think? I didn't itemize everything, like in my toiletry bag my razor, medication, floss, etc... I was surprised that the clothing was so heavy. Also, my pump is already mounted to the bike.

Last edited by Bassmanbob; 04-09-21 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 04-10-21, 02:41 AM
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Wise move. Shakedown runs highly recommended.

Personally, I'd lose the Spam and the cauliflower but everything else looks okay. Three days might not tell you everything, especially if the weather is mild and pleasant, but should give you a good idea of what you can expect long term.

I assume you have a spare tube in there somewhere. You might even consider a folding spare tire; you won't relish pushing a bike with 50 pounds of gear on it.

Good luck and have fun!

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Old 04-10-21, 03:26 AM
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Get two bags for your tent, so you can pack the wet outer separate from the dry inner if it rains. Sultanas and powdered milk for your oats, chuck 'em in a pot and make creamy fruity porridge.
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Old 04-10-21, 04:36 AM
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My first tour was four days with a co-worker. We drove almost a thousand miles to the starting point, it would have made so much more sense to do what you are doing, stay close to home for the first time.

You likely will get a lot of people telling you that you have way too much weight for a week, but others will say that is just fine. I am in the just fine camp.

I find that the difference between packing for a week and packing for over a month is that I bring more soap, toothpaste and shampoo on the longer trips, otherwise pretty much the same amount of stuff for a week as I pack for multi-month.

I carry two tubes on bike tours, plus a patch kit with self adhesive patches. Most do not carry spare cables, but I carry a spare brake and gear cable. A few extra nuts and bolts, etc. But I used to work as a bike mechanic, so I am more hardware oriented than most.

After a while you will figure out the little things that make a bike tour go smoother. For example I think it was my fourth or fifth tour I started to carry my chain lube in my handlebar bag where it is handy instead of buried in the bottom of a pannier, when my drive train is noisy I add lube but I only think of that while riding and not in the campsite.

Eventually when you look at the weather forecast, you will look for the wind forecast before you check the precip forecast.

Have a great time.
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Old 04-10-21, 05:56 AM
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that sounds like a lot of gear but you will be fine.
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Old 04-10-21, 11:21 AM
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It may sound like a lot of gear, but this is a shakedown trip, and will give you a good idea of what is needed, and how your bike handles with the extra weight. The weight (35-40 lbs) and type of gear is similar to what I carry on a tour. My experience is about the same as Tourist in MSN. I carry about the same amount of basic gear for a week as I do for month tour. A big variable is the clothes required on a long tour may need to cover a wide range of weather conditions. The amount of gear carried depends on the season(s) and location (language, weather, availability of parts, distances between towns, water availability, etc),

My wife and I did a 7 week tour where the temperatures varied from below freezing to 90 F. It was a late summer trip, and the elevation varied from 8,000 ft to sea level. We also did a 3- month ride in Europe where we were in countries where we did not speak the language, did not have dependable cell service, riding on dirt roads, and at times were not quite sure where we were at. It was the one trip where I did not carry a spare tire to save weight. I would have gladly carried a little extra weight for some peace of mind on that trip.

Enjoy your ride. You will soon figure out what to take and what to leave home.

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Old 04-10-21, 12:50 PM
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Big fan of shakedown rides!
Big fan of Spam too!
Make sure your rain gear is at the top of the pannier.
I always like to keep one powerbank (and cable) in my handlebar bag for charging on the go. Rough surfaces can disconnect things.

Other than the gearlist, a shakedown ride is great to test other things.
If using a gps device/phone stress test it by going off course, trying to navigate around some imaginary obstacle (online and off).
Have discussions about situations that arise on the road - it can prevent stress on "real" tours far away from home when people are tired.
Even if the country is familiar to you, try to perceive it through "touring eyes". Stop for photos just like you would far from home.

Not a bad idea to take a little time at the end of the day to record some notes from the day. It's amazing how much we can forget of a full day on the road. A smartphone is great for making quick notes or even voice memos.

And enjoy!

Oh! As said above, make sure you have a spare tube!
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Old 04-10-21, 02:55 PM
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Iíd move the kitchen food stuff to the front right and balance the front left with heavier/denser stuff, including the mattress.

Tools in a right bag? Anything you are more likely to need outside of camp should go in left bags for easier access. Unless you remember ride on the left side of the road where you are.

Pump and tools in left front. Riding clothes in left rear. Stopped to strip and stow layers.





BTW...Look into a bottle of CampSuds. Very concentrated. You can was body and dishes with it. Eliminate the Dawn and any other soaps. If you donít waste it, a small bottle will last at least a week.

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Old 04-10-21, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Wise move. Shakedown runs highly recommended.

I assume you have a spare tube in there somewhere. You might even consider a folding spare tire; you won't relish pushing a bike with 50 pounds of gear on it.

Good luck and have fun!
Thanks. Yes I have a tube, but I didn't think to bring a tire. I'm riding Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, but I guess even they can get a gash in the tire. Perhaps I should bring an old tire as a spare.
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Old 04-10-21, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Get two bags for your tent, so you can pack the wet outer separate from the dry inner if it rains. Sultanas and powdered milk for your oats, chuck 'em in a pot and make creamy fruity porridge.
I am securing the tent bag to the rack with a bungie cord net so I can also dry anything as needed while I ride. But I guess that is only effective if it's a nice sunny day while riding. I suppose a couple of extra plastic bags would be a good idea. Oh. And I like your porridge idea too. Thanks.
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Old 04-10-21, 04:01 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Iíd move the kitchen food stuff to the front right and balance the front left with heavier/denser stuff, including the mattress.

Tools in a right bag? Anything you are more likely to need outside of camp should go in left bags for easier access. Unless you remember ride on the left side of the road where you are.

Pump and tools in left front. Riding clothes in left rear. Stopped to strip and stow layers.





BTW...Look into a bottle of CampSuds. Very concentrated. You can was body and dishes with it. Eliminate the Dawn and any other soaps. If you donít waste it, a small bottle will last at least a week.
I'll reexamine my setup, but I balanced the sleeping gear pannier and utility pannier in the two front panniers due to their size and weights (both being smaller and lighter than the other two panniers). Perhaps I should reverse their positions (left and right). Perhaps the same can be said about my two rear panniers (left kitchen and right clothing). I balanced them too due to their size and weight, but perhaps swapping them would be a better idea. If I need to remove or add clothing, it would be nice to have them readily available on the left side of the bike. I'm not likely to need the kitchen while riding.
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Old 04-10-21, 04:18 PM
  #12  
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So I geared up this morning and did a local 2.5 hour (32 mile) ride, no farther than 6 miles from either my house or my local bike shop. With all that gear, I am surprised how comfortable it felt. We really don't have touring people around here, unless we see someone doing the ACA Atlantic tour along Federal Highway, so I got quite a few looks. My wife said I looked like a homeless guy with some bling (she likes my matching helmet, jersey, panniers and handlebar bag). BTW the panniers are Ortlieb Hi-Vis rollers.

There was only a 4-5 MPH wind, but it is certainly exaggerated with all those panniers. I usually commute to work twice a week with this bicycle and one pannier, but don't normally feel the wind like I did this morning. Now, this evening, I can feel my legs as if I pushed a 4-5 hour ride on my race bike.

I think I'm ready, but I think I will reverse my right and left panniers as stated in my immediately previous post. I'd love to know what you would discard if you think I have too much stuff for my simulated week plus tour.
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Old 04-10-21, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
Thanks. Yes I have a tube, but I didn't think to bring a tire. I'm riding Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, but I guess even they can get a gash in the tire. Perhaps I should bring an old tire as a spare.
Instead of carrying a spare tire I carry a car tire patch, basically a larger reinforced patch designed to fix tears in car tires, they come in a variety of sizes. If I got a cut tire it would need to be huge for the patch not work enough to get me somewhere where I could get a replacement tire. Like a glue on permanent tire boot. Carry a little thingo of super glue too, that works well to glue up any cuts that aren't all the way through, but look bad, keeps rocks out and you never know when you'll need some superglue, works on cuts too.
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Old 04-10-21, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
I am securing the tent bag to the rack with a bungie cord net so I can also dry anything as needed while I ride. But I guess that is only effective if it's a nice sunny day while riding. I suppose a couple of extra plastic bags would be a good idea. Oh. And I like your porridge idea too. Thanks.
You'll get a lot of condensation on the inner of the outer some days as well. You can shake most of it off, but there is always a bit left.
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Old 04-10-21, 05:09 PM
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Glad you had a chance to give it a try for a few hours. I am not going to suggest you cut out anything, after your first trip you will have a better idea what is important to you and what is not. And you might realize you forgot something. Maybe a small pad to keep notes will be helpful to remember random thoughts as they come to you. I like to keep a pad handy, especially for grocery lists.

Yeah, the wind dictates if you have a good or a bad day.

And in Florida, you only use maybe four gears so unlikely you will have a gearing problem.

After a while you will decide what you want in each pannier and why. For example, I have a kickstand on two of my touring bikes and the only pannier I can remove first without the bike falling over is the front right. So, when I get to a campsite, the first thing I want to do is put up a tent, so the tent is in the front right pannier. And the tent often is damp in the morning, so that means everything that goes in the front right pannier (Ortlieb Frontroller) is something that can get wet without causing any problem.

With time and experience you will establish your own rules and procedures, which will differ from other people.

I did a couple week bike trip in Florida in Feb 2017. It did not take long for us to realize that we wanted to start out early before it got too hot, but if you live there you already know how to deal with the heat better than we did.
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Old 04-10-21, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
If I need to remove or add clothing, it would be nice to have them readily available on the left side of the bike. I'm not likely to need the kitchen while riding.
Yep. Nothing in my right front is necessary on the road. Only thing in the right rear that I might want on the road is my phone charger in case I find myself at a place like a park or highway rest stop that had power and I could use a charge. All riding stuff in the left rear except for the rain pants. They are in the left front. Wallet in the left rear. Sunscreen, DEET and snacks like Cliff Bars in the left, outside rear pocket.

The day that photo was taken I was carrying one dinner, two breakfasts and snacks for three days. (Had eaten my packed lunch maybe an hour before.) No real grocer source, and I had a rest day planned. Ate first nightís dinner and second dayís lunch. Despite what it may look like, there was still a decent amount of capacity left.
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Old 04-10-21, 09:23 PM
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Your shakedown tour sounds like great fun!

Since, you've asked twice - I will suggest a few items to cut. Clothes - I carry one set on the bike, one set off the bike. I live in Colorado, so I carry tights and a warmer shirt for cold weather. Shoes - there are some very lightweight, real shoes out there. For a number of years I carried flip flops as off the bike shoes. Now I've upgraded to Skechers Go Walk. They make men's also.

Cooking - you will soon know if cooking is a fun evening activity or a chore. I quickly downgraded to a Jetboil for oatmeal in the mornings and soon abandoned that for either cold food, or restaurant food. For many, cooking is an important piece of touring.

I carry two tubes and a patch kit. Depending on availability of bike shops, sometimes a tire. I used to carry a spare brake rotor and cables. But I decided I tour where bike shops come up reasonably often, and that my bike is in good touring shape before I leave.

Have fun!
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Old 04-10-21, 11:26 PM
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Gear priority: I never cooked on tour so never carried a stove. Wanting a little more comfort for touring in my 60s, for my most recent trip I picked up an REI collapsible camp chair. My touring buddy had the stove and no chair. First opportunity he bought a chair and mailed the stove home. Just sayin'.
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Old 04-12-21, 04:57 PM
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My two cents... Forget the blanket and first aid kit, except for bandaids and tube of antibiotic salve. I've been touring since '82, and never been hurt where a few band aids would really help. I was hit by a car in Sacramento, but taken away in an ambulance. Also. I assume this is not a space mission, where you are moon bound, and there will be no food available on your route. How about you only take just enough to get you where you are going the first night's destination, and go shopping for dinner and the next day's start food then, instead of hauling all that food? Forehead lamp yes, lantern, no. If no rain in the forecast, skip the rain jacket. Stores have plenty of ready to eat food' I haven't cooked in years. Your food and stove are almost 10 pounds that could completely omitted. Don't torture yourself. Keep it positive/ light weight.
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Old 04-12-21, 06:50 PM
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If you'll be riding through areas with stores I'd suggest pairing down your food supply to just what you need for the day. Typically I'll stop somewhere for lunch (roadside restaurant, fast food, etc), but also stop and get some dinner and breakfast items in the afternoon. I try to limit campsite cooking to boiling stuff so I don't have to clean up grease at the campsite. For a stove I just use an isobutane canister powered unit (MSR/GAZ/Snowpeak/Others); light, compact and easy to use. Also try all the food you expect to eat in camp before your trip; you'll be amazed at how some things taste good at home when easy to prepare and clean up, but taste horrible when prepared at a campsite. Example: If you've never had Spam, try it both raw and cooked before you take it with you.

Have fun! These days I enjoy credit card touring (Hotels/motels at night), but I don't hesitate to do a day (or two) of outdoor camping if needed to make a complete trip.
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Old 04-12-21, 06:55 PM
  #21  
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To respond to the last three posts (first off, thank you for responding) I’m surprised how many people don’t want to cook while on tour. Being a foodie, I think cooking would be part of the fun. Depending on how it goes, I may even get a better cooking set up for the future. We will see if I enjoy it on the road as I like it at home. I am carrying more food than I need to simulate a two day period away from a good food source. My buddy coming with me likes this idea too.

Im not sure how to cut any clothing: 1 kit wearing, 1 kit on the bike or drying for the next day, one shirt,pant,undies,socks and sandals. One bathing suit and t-shirt. One jacket (rain). I am in Southeast Florida, but it went down to the high 50’s last weekend. I do have the jacket, so I could discard the top base layer and buff. Perhaps the bottom base layer too. I could wear all my clothing to sleep and discard the blanket. Hmmm... But I really hate being cold. I’ll think about this. Oh. And this is Florida. It can unpredictably rain any day, and when it does it comes down in buckets. So I’m keeping the rain jacket for cool weather and if it rains. I’m not taking my rain pants because I don’t expect it to get that cold. I can deal with wet, slightly cool legs.

I thought about bringing a folding chair, but thought that was too much of a luxury, especially that both campsites have picnic tables.
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Old 04-12-21, 06:58 PM
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Update: One of my two buddies can’t go and the other has a wife recovering from surgery last week. He said he’s going, but I’m mentally preparing myself for the possibility that this may be a solo tour.
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Old 04-12-21, 09:47 PM
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Don't let the solo threat stop you. More opportunity for adventure!
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Old 04-13-21, 01:14 AM
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the whole household on the bike
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Old 04-13-21, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by str View Post
the whole household on the bike
I donít remember where I read it, but there was something I read that stated that backpacking (and I guess bicycle touring) is where a financially comfortable person spends a lot of money on gear so they can act like a homeless person.
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