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Total rig weight with or without water/food?

Old 04-07-24, 03:55 PM
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Total rig weight with or without water/food?

Getting close to finalizing the set up on a touring bike to be used as a go anywhere rig. When weighing the final assembly is it common practice to weigh the machine with all the water and food intended to carry or is it without those items?
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Old 04-07-24, 05:22 PM
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I weight every thing at what on a boat would be called half load. All the permanent stuff and some food, but could will easily add a pound or three in a grocery store.
Bike weighs 34 lb., gear, about the same, rider 140.
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Old 04-07-24, 07:05 PM
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There’s a common practice?

Early on during my cross country tour, I put my rig on a truck stop weigh scale. 90 lbs. That was with water bottles but no food. It was a relatively light Cannondale for its size.

That was the only time I ever weighed my bike. Seems like weighing it is a good way to mess with your head.
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Old 04-07-24, 08:07 PM
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My bike gets weighed when I fly on an airplane so my "common practice" is to weigh the bike along with the enclosing box - and weigh the gear together with a duffel bag and pedals/saddle. I don't fly with water so that isn't included. Food was weighed when I flew to Prudhoe Bay but otherwise I buy food at the destination and don't fly with it. In general the goal is to keep both the gear duffel and the bike box less than 50 lbs to avoid over-weight fees.

Other than flying I haven't worried much about weighing the bike.

Water is also rather variable depending on where I am going - so I worry more about what are the longest gaps between water stops and if those are more than a day apart what containers do I have to carry water.
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Old 04-07-24, 09:17 PM
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Touring cyclists don't seem to obsess much about weight. Hikers sure do.

It doesn't make sense to me to count consumables (food, water, fuel), since those are constantly variable. Good points above about container weight, and shipping limits/costs for food.
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Old 04-07-24, 11:33 PM
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I normally don't weigh my gear but a few weeks ago when we were touring down south I did because it seemed that I was bringing everything but the kitchen sink, I packed a lot more clothes than normal as it was still chilly down there and we were going to be doing a lot of cooking at camp since the area was not well populated. My 4 panniers and rear bag along with their contents came in at almost 30 lbs with food but no water, So I guess that is my "common practice"

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Old 04-08-24, 01:24 AM
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Depends what the purpose of the weight measurement(s) is/are.

You might want to know how much your touring rig weighs to compare with others. You may want to know how much you're pushing over the mountains fully loaded. You might could need to tell your wheel builder how much total weight on the axles to design for.

I know my steel frame 700c tour bike weighs around 30 pounds with racks, 50 pounds with 2 bags for short tours staying in hotels, or up to 175 pounds with 4 bags and trailer with 5 gallons of water and a week's worth of food, plus my 185 pound motor.
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Old 04-08-24, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
Touring cyclists don't seem to obsess much about weight. Hikers sure do.

It doesn't make sense to me to count consumables (food, water, fuel), since those are constantly variable. Good points above about container weight, and shipping limits/costs for food.
I am not obsessed, but I definitely care and look what I carry. Means for example no double clothing, one set on the bike, one set off the bike, wash when needed. That does not change if I tour one week or four weeks.
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Old 04-08-24, 04:07 AM
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I have weighed my bikes without water, without handlebar bag, without panniers. But with pump and spare tube and racks installed. If I recall correctly, my Ortlieb panniers (four) and rack top bag weigh 8 pounds empty.

I do not weigh a loaded bike with the panniers, etc. I do not want to know that number. Twice I have weighed my loaded panniers and handlebar bag, from curiosity, but I did not pull out a calculator to add up a total with bike. I was more curious about front to rear weight ratio of my gear at that time.

On the other hand, Machka that used to post on this forum frequently had a rule of thumb that your bike fully loaded should not weigh more than half of your body weight. In her case I think she was talking about with water and food.
How much weight do you take on tour

I really did not want to know what my bike weighed when I took this photo. I had my luggage scale along, but chose not to add up all the weights. I had about two and a half weeks of food on the bike, at roughly two pounds per day for food, that probably was probably 35 pounds of food. I tried to keep my food weight down on that trip because I had to carry so much, but I think I had about six or eight cans of food in the bag. Backpacking (where the weight is on my feet, not on wheels) my food is slightly below two pounds per day but when bike touring where the weight is on wheels instead, I am more inclined to eat more palatable meals that will weigh a bit more that two pounds per day. I am just using two pounds per day as a rule of thumb for planning.

Three liters of water in the bottles would be roughly 6.6 pounds. So, I probably had over 40 pounds of food with water in this photo, not counting everything else.



That is the heaviest that I have ever loaded a bike. I was surprised how well the bike handled that weight, but that model is built for serious touring. The frame is rated for about 60 kg (~132 pounds) including bottle cage weight, weight on racks, and handledbar bag weight, but excluding the weight of rider or the bike itself.

I see that Staehpj1 has not commented yet, I am surprised. He will shame all of us with his minimalism.
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Old 04-08-24, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I see that Staehpj1 has not commented yet, I am surprised. He will shame all of us with his minimalism.
No intention of shaming anyone. We all have different preferences. That said, yes I pack very light and watch every ounce of gear includinng bags. I usually focus on gear, bags, and clothing carried so that is the number I mostly worry about.

For fun I might also add on the bike weight to calculate a total weight, but really I obsess much less about the bike. I have toured mostly on older bikes with no intention of spending a bundle on UL stuff there. I have taken some pains to use light rack systems or choose lighter configurations with components that I have on hand, but have never gone to newer lighter bikes for touring. I have tended to look at each tour as a one time thing so spending a bundle on a new bike just never happened. I did spend for a new bike for my daily MTB rides, but an off road tour would likely still be on my old 1990 rigid Cannondale. On road would also likely be a bike from the previous century (all the road bikes I own are). If I were to splurge a nice carbon fiber gravel bike might be the choice, but I don't know that I'd ride it enough to justify the cost.

Food and water... I carry such a varying amount of water that I do not include it. It varies thru the day and also depending on the situation. Most of the time I can get by resupplying during the day. Once in a while I may need to carry a 24 hour supply (that gets used and diminished over that period). I try to buy most of my food daily and late in the day. At times there is a need to carry more. Off-road tours may be a special case, more like backpacking.

Given all that I have carried 14 pounds of gear with a total bike weight of 40 pounds for a coast to coast trip if memory serves on the bike weight. I think my lightest gear weight was 8 pounds. BTW, racks (if any) and a little tool wedge including a few tools and repair stuff I include in bike weight rather than gear weight since the racks are bolted on and the tools since they live on the bike all the time tour or not.

I have always found my choices comfortable enough, but have gone with slightly more weight splurge in my current gear by going with either a larger tarp or a tarp tent style tent rather than the bivy. Not sure which I will use on my next tour. It will be a half pound of extra weight either way and probably a concession to my advanced age (73 in June).
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Old 04-08-24, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
... and probably a concession to my advanced age (73 in June).
Congrats on lasting that long.

And congrats on being willing to still sleep on the ground. Many of my friends that I used to camp with no longer camp.

You are only 2.5 years ahead of me.
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Old 04-08-24, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Congrats on lasting that long.

And congrats on being willing to still sleep on the ground. Many of my friends that I used to camp with no longer camp.

You are only 2.5 years ahead of me.
Good for you. Keep on keeping on!

My wife won't sleep on the ground (or ride a bike) anymore. I had hoped that she would tent car camp when our elderly dog passes, but I don't think I can sell it to her. A van with a chemical potty will probably meet her approval though. She still has fond memories of our old VW camp mobile and wants to see the National Parks that she hasn't seen.

I haven't managed to get out and tour lately, but age or ability have not been limiting factors. I still ride singletrack trails daily freezing temps, heat, rain, or shine (I am kind of weird in that I actually like toughing out bad weather). Sleeping on the ground is a non issue for me. I just haven't been able to get away due to responsibilities at home.

We get no guarantees, any ride could be our last, but I hope to keep going for a lot more years.
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Old 04-08-24, 12:11 PM
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My total weight is pushing 100lbs on the current tour. I can't even lift the thing up with my arms. I have to grab the frame low and lift it with my legs. Kill me now...
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Old 04-08-24, 05:24 PM
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Thank you all for the valuable input. Seems 77-80 lbs is not overboard after all. Back in the 70's when touring we never weighed our machines and I don't know why I made such a big deal out of it. I shall soldier on, my friends!
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Old 04-09-24, 07:59 AM
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Just wanted to add that weight per se is not much of a problem in the context of bike touring. OTOH, there's a qualitative difference between the standard 4-pannier, the compact 2 (front) panniers and the near anorexic UL packing systems.

I started with a typical 4-pannier setup. OK once under way, but considerable inertia. Was happier with the 2 (front) pannier system. Much better handling. Much much easier to travel to/from trail heads (flights, trains, etc.). And moving to an UL/UC (Ultra Compact) setup has been a revelation. Climbing a flight of stairs (think train station, subway, etc.) is an ordeal with a 4-pannier system (2 round + 1 trips), easier with a 2-pannier system (1 round + 1 trips) and easy as pie with an UL configuration. Now I can take my bike over a fence in one fell swoop, or scale stairs at the front of a train station without having to worry about stolen luggage.

Downsizing is relatively expensive (lighter/smaller tents are 3+ times the price of entry-level, same for sleeping bag/pad) and "time consuming" as I've tried different systems (cooking for example), back and forth, never quite certain which is best. Same for clothing. It can also become near obsessive (saving a few grams by replacing standard hex bits with a 4-in-one; using the same handle for fork, spoon, toothbrush and razor; playing with various clothing items to come up with the most compact and flexible layering system.)

To try to answer your question more directly, my bike is a heavy steel LHT (15kg including the rack) + 10kg for luggage, including bags. Difficult to quote a figure for food and water, that are highly dependent on the resupply options. I tend to carry 3 meals + 2L of water at all times, So perhaps 3kg total

Last edited by gauvins; 04-09-24 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 04-09-24, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Downsizing is relatively expensive (lighter/smaller tents are 3+ times the price of entry-level, same for sleeping bag/pad) and "time consuming" as I've tried different systems (cooking for example), back and forth, never quite certain which is best. Same for clothing. It can also become near obsessive (saving a few grams by replacing standard hex bits with a 4-in-one; using the same handle for fork, spoon, toothbrush and razor; playing with various clothing items to come up with the most compact and flexible layering system.)
There is a lot of variability here. I have found it possib;e to go quite light for pretty cheap. I have also found it possible to spend a fortune tweaking gear. I have definitely gotten into the U/L range and still been in the lower end of the $ range here. I have never gone too far down the $$$ exotic fabrics and high priced gear kind of road. I have splurged on some items, but not to any extreme. My gear on a typical long tour is definitely less investment than someone with a hilleberg tent, tubus racks, and whatever the high end choice is for panniers and other gear.
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Old 04-09-24, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
There is a lot of variability here. I have found it possib;e to go quite light for pretty cheap. I have also found it possible to spend a fortune tweaking gear. I have definitely gotten into the U/L range and still been in the lower end of the $ range here. I have never gone too far down the $$$ exotic fabrics and high priced gear kind of road. I have splurged on some items, but not to any extreme. My gear on a typical long tour is definitely less investment than someone with a hilleberg tent, tubus racks, and whatever the high end choice is for panniers and other gear.
Same here. My Tarptent cost me just over $100, my EE quilt a little more than that (prices have gone up since then). Both are top quality and have lasted hundreds of days of travel. I also stayed away from the Dyneema fabrics et al. Generally I save weight by not buying things.
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Old 04-10-24, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Just wanted to add that weight per se is not much of a problem in the context of bike touring. OTOH, there's a qualitative difference between the standard 4-pannier, the compact 2 (front) panniers and the near anorexic UL packing systems.

I started with a typical 4-pannier setup. OK once under way, but considerable inertia. Was happier with the 2 (front) pannier system. Much better handling. Much much easier to travel to/from trail heads (flights, trains, etc.). And moving to an UL/UC (Ultra Compact) setup has been a revelation. Climbing a flight of stairs (think train station, subway, etc.) is an ordeal with a 4-pannier system (2 round + 1 trips), easier with a 2-pannier system (1 round + 1 trips) and easy as pie with an UL configuration. Now I can take my bike over a fence in one fell swoop, or scale stairs at the front of a train station without having to worry about stolen luggage.

Downsizing is relatively expensive (lighter/smaller tents are 3+ times the price of entry-level, same for sleeping bag/pad) and "time consuming" as I've tried different systems (cooking for example), back and forth, never quite certain which is best. Same for clothing. It can also become near obsessive (saving a few grams by replacing standard hex bits with a 4-in-one; using the same handle for fork, spoon, toothbrush and razor; playing with various clothing items to come up with the most compact and flexible layering system.)

To try to answer your question more directly, my bike is a heavy steel LHT (15kg including the rack) + 10kg for luggage, including bags. Difficult to quote a figure for food and water, that are highly dependent on the resupply options. I tend to carry 3 meals + 2L of water at all times, So perhaps 3kg total
now you only need a 9,5 to 10,5kg steel bike ))
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Old 04-10-24, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
... My gear on a typical long tour is definitely less investment than someone with a hilleberg tent, tubus racks, and whatever the high end choice is for panniers and other gear.
Every time I have seen a Hilleberg tent, it had been carried on a really expensive bike too.

I could afford some of that really high end stuff, but for the amount that I would actually use it, not worth it to me to buy it.

For the past few years for backpacking where I wanted to go much lighter than I do for bike touring, I have been quite content with a low budget trekking pole type tent that I got on Amazon. That said, I cut my own tent pole to use so I do not have to fiddle with my trekking pole length on backpacking trips. Brief description of it here:
https://m.bikeforums.net/showpost.ph...7&postcount=20

I have used that tent over a dozen times now, still quite pleased with it at a good price. Yes, you could get a tent like that for several hundred more dollars to cut one more pound off the scale, but it is not that important to me. The only time I was disappointed by it was that I could not fit my backpack inside it, so on the morning when it refused to stop raining, I was packing up my pack outside in the rain instead of inside the tent. Everything in the pack was wet from that.

I am planning a backpacking trip right now that will be 8 days, no opportunity to resupply for food (the ferry drops me on the island on a Monday and picks me up a week later on Tuesday), that is my lightest tent so it will probably be the one I use because I will probably have about 16 pounds of food on my back at the start.
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Old 04-10-24, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Every time I have seen a Hilleberg tent, it had been carried on a really expensive bike too.
I was fortunate to have been able to buy my Hilleberg Soulu for less than half price thanks to personal contacts here in Sweden. It was still way more than I would have paid for a tent otherwise. The problem is though, there’s no going back, they are that good. Definitely not ultralight, but I was in a storm that flattened other tents (Kirk Creek, CA, february 2011), and my tent was just vibrating.
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Old 04-11-24, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
I was fortunate to have been able to buy my Hilleberg Soulu for less than half price thanks to personal contacts here in Sweden. It was still way more than I would have paid for a tent otherwise. The problem is though, there’s no going back, they are that good. Definitely not ultralight, but I was in a storm that flattened other tents (Kirk Creek, CA, february 2011), and my tent was just vibrating.
for cool, cold, windy conditions, Hilleberg tents have always seemed to be a great option.
For many of us who tour in warm, hot and humid summer conditions, they would be stifling and unbearable inside, but for use in conditions they are made for, I'm sure they are very appropriate.
I know they wouldnt be the tent design I want for what conditions I have nearly always camped in, but then the price has always been rather eye raising for me anyway, so not even an option.
I would say that in general, we have a lot more options for tents now, and so many reasonably priced tents have great designs that have trickled down over the years, and of course, I too look out for sales and take advantage of them.
But really, I get a tent and use it for years and years.
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Old 04-19-24, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
No intention of shaming anyone. We all have different preferences. That said, yes I pack very light and watch every ounce of gear includinng bags. I usually focus on gear, bags, and clothing carried so that is the number I mostly worry about.

For fun I might also add on the bike weight to calculate a total weight, but really I obsess much less about the bike. I have toured mostly on older bikes with no intention of spending a bundle on UL stuff there. I have taken some pains to use light rack systems or choose lighter configurations with components that I have on hand, but have never gone to newer lighter bikes for touring. I have tended to look at each tour as a one time thing so spending a bundle on a new bike just never happened. I did spend for a new bike for my daily MTB rides, but an off road tour would likely still be on my old 1990 rigid Cannondale. On road would also likely be a bike from the previous century (all the road bikes I own are). If I were to splurge a nice carbon fiber gravel bike might be the choice, but I don't know that I'd ride it enough to justify the cost.

Food and water... I carry such a varying amount of water that I do not include it. It varies thru the day and also depending on the situation. Most of the time I can get by resupplying during the day. Once in a while I may need to carry a 24 hour supply (that gets used and diminished over that period). I try to buy most of my food daily and late in the day. At times there is a need to carry more. Off-road tours may be a special case, more like backpacking.

Given all that I have carried 14 pounds of gear with a total bike weight of 40 pounds for a coast to coast trip if memory serves on the bike weight. I think my lightest gear weight was 8 pounds. BTW, racks (if any) and a little tool wedge including a few tools and repair stuff I include in bike weight rather than gear weight since the racks are bolted on and the tools since they live on the bike all the time tour or not.

I have always found my choices comfortable enough, but have gone with slightly more weight splurge in my current gear by going with either a larger tarp or a tarp tent style tent rather than the bivy. Not sure which I will use on my next tour. It will be a half pound of extra weight either way and probably a concession to my advanced age (73 in June).
I turned 73 yesterday and today went for a a ride with the new panniers that my wife gave me. I loaded the panniers with about 30 pounds and the usual stuff that ride with me on training rides (no tent or sleeping bag but did add my cook set). The ride was great and I don't ache so I guess the new bags will be a keeper. You are only too old to ride with considered weight if you have a serious disability or are not willing to put yourself to the test. I am right with you there Pete. Keep up the good ride!
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Old 04-19-24, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sbrudno
I turned 73 yesterday and today went for a a ride with the new panniers that my wife gave me. I loaded the panniers with about 30 pounds and the usual stuff that ride with me on training rides (no tent or sleeping bag but did add my cook set). The ride was great and I don't ache so I guess the new bags will be a keeper. You are only too old to ride with considered weight if you have a serious disability or are not willing to put yourself to the test. I am right with you there Pete. Keep up the good ride!
Back in ‘99 I rode across the country with a small group of people. One guy turned 77 during our first day in IA. When the tour ended, he began riding home solo from Bar Harbor to the Philly ‘burbs. His wife finally insisted that he quit somewhere in CT and came to pick him up. Dude was tough. He had spent two years in a Nazi POW camp as a member of the RCAF. He lived to be 91.
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Old 04-20-24, 05:15 AM
  #24  
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I dunno if this has been mentioned, but racks have weight limits. If anywhere close to that limit, the payload should be weighed. My front and rear racks are each rated for 40 lbs. Those limits are not only for the rack structure, but also based on the tiny bolts that support them at the frame. It hasn't occurred to me until now, but low-rider front racks and some with top deck, typically have at least 2 bolts per side taking vertical load, whereas the rear rack only has 1 bolt per side (in both cases, the fore/aft strut just holds the rack in that direction, not taking vertical load). And, in both cases, the racks are attached at the dropouts into eyelets typically used for fender stays, not a lot of metal surrounding the threaded hole. I've seen racks that are supported at the axle, now I know why. Also, my rack weight is all going directly into each axle, no cargo in the center of the bike, and mounted low due to it being a 20" wheel bike, so that means very little bending moment into frame from cargo weight (but due to rider weight, yes), and lower torsion loads into frame when climbing and the bike rocking laterally. It's mostly the rack and attachment limits that need to be respected.
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Old 04-20-24, 05:58 AM
  #25  
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On age, if you don't keep doing this sort of thing, you end of not being able to. And when that happens, you find out that there are a lot of other things that you lost. A friend is about the same age as me, we used to do canoe trips together, his last canoe trip was 2017. He said he was getting too old for that sort of thing, so quit. Several months ago he fell and broke his arm from a simple fall. And about a year ago my sister slipped on the floor and cracked her pelvis at 73.

I on the other hand have figured out that with age, you have to spend more hours per week to stay in shape. You could be fit with no exercise in your teens and 20s, but add a half century, and you need to add cardio for heart health, strength training to maintain strong bones and muscle mass, etc. I think I average 1.5 to 2 hours per day on average just to maintain what I could do decades ago.

I am 70 years young, trying to get in shape to do a 200k brevet. This past Monday, rode 90 miles on my heavy touring bike (unladen) with 57mm tires, about 70 of those miles were on gravel rail trail with intermittent mud. But the brevet will be longer and hillier, so I do not think I am ready yet.
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