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My 1st Tour - What's 1 tip you wish you'd been given before your 1st tour?

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My 1st Tour - What's 1 tip you wish you'd been given before your 1st tour?

Old 05-22-21, 03:49 PM
  #51  
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The one tip is DON'T BRING SO MUCH GODDAMN FOOD! I hauled a kid trailer and we loaded that sucker up like we were going to be out for weeks because we figured we would want to eat more but it was so hot and humid we didn't eat hardly any of it and were fine also probably didn't need all the water we brought and some other junk we jammed in there. Also the cotton t-shirt didn't do me any favors.

Really the best thing especially for longer trips is put everything you think you will need for the trip on your couch if you can and live out of that for the time you will be on tour. Remove anything you don't use (aside from first aid and maybe tool kit stuff) Typically I would do the one to wash and one to wear situation clothing wise and always remember nighttime can get a little colder so have some preparation for that. I wouldn't haul a bunch of stuff I don't really need if you can live without it leave it behind as you will have to haul that stuff around.
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Old 05-22-21, 08:16 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by fourfa View Post
Huh, fitted cycling clothing is far more comfortable than baggy street clothes for long days in the saddle...
... and with fitted clothing, if you add a cape you'll look like a super hero. But joking aside, if your "baggy street clothes" are comfortable, then go ahead and wear them. That's what 200,000,000 around the world wear daily. [See Belgium, India, China, etc.]
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Old 05-23-21, 05:14 AM
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I did a lot of camping (canoeing, kayaking, backpacking) before I started bike touring. Worked in a bike shop as a mechanic years ago, so I knew bike stuff well enough, I built up my touring bikes from parts. So, I knew a lot of the stuff cited above.

A few tidbits of info that I learned:
  • A well fitting rain cover for your helmet comes in handy, different helmets have different shapes and not all covers fit well. One trip that was a month long in cool weather, even though the rain was only occasional, I left the cover on the entire trip as it kept the wind out of the helmet and was a bit warmer.
  • A pair of wrap around glasses that are clear or yellow are nice to wear in rain or fog. If you have a rain cover over a helmet with a visor, that helps keep the rain out of your eyes.
  • If you are as old as I am and need reading glasses to read close up, there are bifocal wrap around safety glasses that have a normal lens but a small reading bifocal section in the lower part of the lens for reading your GPS or map.
  • The sinks at most campgrounds do not have a drain stopper, if you want to do sink laundry you should bring your own drain stopper. I find that a flat silicone one works quite well. A dozen clothespins and a light cord about 25 feet long is good enough for most laundry days.
  • If you live in USA and have an android phone, having Google Voice and a dialer on your phone that works with Google Voice can come in really handy when you are in foreign countries and do not have a local sim card. My phone plan in USA does not have an international option, so that also does not work for me. But I could call my credit card company using Google Voice and wifi when I was in Budapest to find out why my credit card stopped working. Same thing in Reykjavik. Google Voice can work well to call to USA from a foreign country with wifi, but you need to set that up on your phone when you are at home in USA first. There is a short list of countries where it does not work, I have not been to any of those countries.
  • I have also used Google Voice to call in USA when I was in a location with no cell coverage, but I had access to wifi at a restaurant or campsite. You need to be connected by wifi to be called so that is unreliable when you are traveling, but if you need to make a call and can be patient, that is not a problem. Also, you can get voice mail when you have wifi.
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Old 05-25-21, 06:29 PM
  #54  
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My first 'tour' was over 40 years ago when I rode from Cleveland to Milwaukee/Madison then back. Waaaay back before internet. I looked at the map(s) before I left and that was that. well, maybe I looked at a map at a gas station or two along the way... No thought other than start/end, and basic route. Just me, the bike, and two changes of clothes. I slept in culverts and under overpasses. No tent or sleeping bag. Yeah, back then I was young and invincible. I ate from roadside produce stands and other 'greasy spoon' diners along the way (gotta love the Midwest) and maybe a McDs/Burger King for supper at night. 100 miles per day was easy for me back then. I survived just fine with NO camping gear.

What it all boils down to is what are YOU prepared for? Don't 'over-think' things!
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Old 05-28-21, 05:40 AM
  #55  
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You gotta love the anonymous internet, either she didn't take bear spray and got eaten by a bear, or maybe simply didn't go in the end.

not a peep unfortunately, which is a shame. It is nice encouraging people new to bike touring.
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Old 05-28-21, 12:36 PM
  #56  
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Ride half as far as you can the first few days.
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Old 05-28-21, 01:54 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by TCollen View Post
... and with fitted clothing, if you add a cape you'll look like a super hero. But joking aside, if your "baggy street clothes" are comfortable, then go ahead and wear them. That's what 200,000,000 around the world wear daily. [See Belgium, India, China, etc.]
Wear what you want to wear, certainly. But I'm not at all sure there's much commonality between clothing for a bicycle tourist riding 40-60 miles a day and a Belgian housewife riding 1 km to the grocery.
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Old 05-28-21, 04:17 PM
  #58  
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Cycle touring isn't racing. No need for form-fitting lycra jersey or shorts while on tour - OR going to get groceries.

40+ years ago, I rode many a century ride wearing 'regular' shorts. I didn't even own a pair of padded cycling shorts until many years later! I never had a chafing issue. Sore butt, yes, but not debilitating. My bike back then had (and still does) have a smooth hard leather Brooks clone saddle. Once we broke into each other, everything has been fine for 50,000-miles plus!

I should think a bicycle tourist riding 40-60 miles and a Belgian housewife riding 1km would wear pretty much the same clothes. I wear the same clothes for either. Nowadays, I wear short-inseam hiking shorts (with pockets!) and a wicking hi-vis t-shirt - long or short sleeve. If I'm on a longer ride, of 40+ miles, I'll wear padded cycling shorts under my hiking shorts. Shoes? for longer rides of 2+ hours, I wear my touring shoes. Otherwise, just my normal shoes.
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Old 06-01-21, 12:13 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I seriously considered getting a Terry bike for my wife a bunch of years ago, with the smaller front wheel. Even had a nice conversation on the phone with Ms Terry herself trying to figure out if any dealers selling them were in our part of Canada (answer no, closest was in Vermont from memory)

so, in the end, did you do the two day trip?
Enquiring minds want to know.
how did it go?
any of these interwebness blah blah blah any help?
There was no way I could quote reply all of these fantastic tips, but I did go! It was awesome. A few things in response:

-I did not get eaten by a bear (no bears, or cougars, on the island I went to, a relaxing change from most camping on Vancouver Island)
-By the standards of folks here, I realized that what I did probably doesn't count as a "tour" since we biked there, camped two nights, then biked back. That being said, these tips (even the sassy debates!) were helpful and I will also come back to them when we do a more "proper" tour.
-I did bring too much of two things: wine (was so thirsty for water the next day that I think I drank less than expected) and I had a tshirt and a tank top I didn't wear.
-I did bring rain things which got used on the way home, and likely will on every trip b/c Pacific Northwest weather is what it is
-I brought an appropriate amount of chocolate (this is not a worry with me) and did pretty alright for food, too.
-The more challenging packing thing was that there's no potable water at the campground or running freshwater nearby. We filled up at a Parks Canada office hose and brought a weekend's worth down with us. Necessary added weight but at least it was the shorter leg after the ferry ride.
-I did wear padded butt shorts and don't regret it. I do regret not sunscreening the small gap between my shorts and my shirt, which has given me a stripe that might last all summer
-I had a spare inner tube for front and back tires (different sizes b/c Terry-style bike) and a set of Allan keys while my friend had more tools and more of a repair kit, so relied on him for this one but was okay mechanically.
-It was the most time I had spent on this new-to-me style of bike, so that was interesting! I was pleasantly surprised by how easily I could go up hills and although they're also new to me, work the stem shifters on the way up.
-The part that felt a little dicey was the DOWNHILLS. With two loaded back panniers and a dry bag on top, I wasn't at all comfortable gaining too much speed on the downhill and since these are island roads, wasn't confident in my ability to avoid potholes and gravel patches on the way down. I think I need to work on my brake/handlebar positioning and also just build up some confidence that the bike will stop when and how I want it to, but in the meantime I'll be nervous gaining speed! If anyone has tips for that please do share. I only know to lower my center of gravity for stability, which I probably read somewhere on here...

I enjoyed this trip so much that we're doing the same thing this coming weekend, but to a different walk/bike-in campground on another island! As people without a car but in ferry+cycling distance of a lot of campgrounds, I think this'll be our main mode of travel for the summer. We're already planning a longer one for the end of the month too, although also a bike-in-and-camp situation. I think I'll want to build up a bit more confidence and know-how with my bike first, but look forward to eventual multi-day cycling tours sometime!

I read most of these posts before I left and the remaining ones before my next one, so they are all appreciated. I hope other lurkers and newbs like me find them helpful too


The bike itself

where it got me and how! This tree was right next to my tent and picnic table, this is loaded up for the way home. My partner had panniers on front and back, we shared the camping and cooking gear.

on the paved section of the road with pals ahead, that's me closest!
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Old 06-01-21, 08:06 AM
  #60  
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Nice that you checked back in, but most importantly that you enjoyed it and want to do some more.
Doesn't matter about how far or how long, main thing is that you did it and figured out stuff from actually doing it.

re the downhill thing, this is to be expected if you are new to drop bars, plus the bike has fairly skinny tires, plus any bike with a bunch of weight on it is going to be much slower to slow down, and a bit moreso with a maybe late 80s bike with maybe dried out brake pads. I know its hard to find parts nowadays thanks to covid, but a company named Koolstop makes brake pads that are softer and really make any bike stop faster than regular pads--but if you have ever downhill skied or drive a car in snow, you just have to be on top of things and not let yourself get going to fast compared to how much slowing down ability you have, plain and simple.

Plus, try using the front brake harder than the rear, the main braking comes from front brakes, and with panniers on the back, you aint never going to flip the bike, pretty much impossible, but you'll slow down a heck of a lot faster with strong use of the front brake.

Ya, having to carry extra water is mucho extra weight, so there's that too.

Oh, and its also pretty normal that with just rear panniers and a drybag on rack, with all the weight on the rear of the bike, it generally tends to make a bike more twitchy, adding to the "going downhill" twitchyness or whatever. Plus, lets face it, these late 80s bikes or early 90s, aren't as stable with full panniers etc, than a more modern bike. Plus the brakes from this era arent as strong as more modern bikes. My first touring bike was a 90 or 91, very similar to your bike, and the frame tubing etc was pretty typical of the time, and it could be twitchy a bit , especially with rear only loading---but hey, we used them back in the day and had as much fun as you did, so just use common sense with speed and attentiveness. (but seriously, don't only use the back brake, you need to experiment using the front hard, makes a huge difference in slowing down power)

safe future trips and riding
and glad you didnt get eaten by a bear, kinda ruins ones day eh?
oh, do check the rack bolt tightness, like I wrote before (I think) they tend to loosen up after riding with a load.
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Old 06-01-21, 10:56 AM
  #61  
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For handlebar positioning - To me it looks like you might want to rotate the bars forward a bit - making the 'drops' angle downward to put less strain on the wrists when in that position. That said, I spend 90+% of my time on the 'shoulders' of the bars where they start to curve forward.

Rain - a front fender will help a bunch, especially in PacNorWest!

Downhills - better brake pads like KoolStop salmon will help - and stop better when wet as well. The are soft, and will wear quickly, so keep that in mind.

BTW, I had picked up a Miyata 615 of the same vintage (1988) for my niece that lives out in northern Idaho. All I have is the as-purchased pic. I gave it new bright gold cable housings, slick-stainless inner cables, the correct brake levers and rear rack, KoolStop brake pads, fenders... I left it to her (and her boyfriend) to position the brake levers where she wanted them and wrap the bars...


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Old 06-01-21, 02:27 PM
  #62  
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For handlebar positioning - To me it looks like you might want to rotate the bars forward a bit - making the 'drops' angle downward to put less strain on the wrists when in that position.
I agree. The only thing I'd change is to say 'rotate the bars clockwise,' but that's just another way of saying the same thing. Try it out ... it's a lot easier to adjust the tilt of the 'bars than you move the brake levers.
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