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Fit for Touring?

Old 05-17-24, 12:48 PM
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Fit for Touring?

So i got my bike for plans to do some touring and bikepacking. Treks FX3 Disc with backrack and panniers.. about 35# of extra weight. Me @170 and the bike weights 26# ... The max capacity is 300#... Hadnt touched a bike in years so of course my legs got tired the first mile..... Fast forward to to the present. Iv had the bike since the beginning of April. Im riding about 6 miles a day every single day... And twice a week doing 20 miles. Pretty flat terrain but alot of stop and go for crosswalks and lights.. and riding shoulder on busy bust busy roads. No matter how far I ride my first 3/4 mile is fine but then i get that lactic feeling in my quads.. And it never stops. I just eep fighting through it.. For a break ill coast like 200 feet.. I try to keep my cadence at about 70-80. Its a 9x2 gearset.. And it feels most comfortable in 1st and 5th... But no matter what my legs always have that lactic buildup feeling. i know if i push on i can do it. I would think that at about 2 months my legs should improve enough to increase mileage.. Im averaging about 10-11 mph currently.. I know touring doesnt matter for speed but it sort of does to me. Id like to do 80-100 a day.. But for now i just want to be able to ride 20 without feeling like my legs are octopuses. Every day when i wake up my legs feel good and normal. Till i ride that first 3/4 mile. P.S.... i did adjust the seat position and handlebars from watching videos. Havents done a pro fit. I cant afford it. As far as my seat... it seams my body keeps winding up on the front part of the seat and not the cushy back part. Could that be a reason?

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Old 05-17-24, 01:34 PM
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Try a slower cadence. See if that helps. Some people naturally have fast cadence, some slower.

Reduce your goal from the 80 to 100 miles a day down to maybe half of that at most for your first bike tour, or maybe a third of that.

If you are in terrible shape, you won't get in great shape in a few months, takes time. But if you are in great shape, something else is wrong here. Tell us about you, age, gender, height and weight, etc. How many years since you did any serious biking, etc.

Others here will have more thoughts. Your post had a lot of detail on it, I know I only touched on a few items.
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Old 05-17-24, 02:22 PM
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You want to sit on the rear of the seat, not the front. Make sure the nose and heel of the seat are level, if so try adjusting the saddle forward.
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Old 05-17-24, 03:19 PM
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I'm 6' pretty slender.. I have very lean mass except for love handles and lower gut. strong core and calves... I have the seat as far forward as it will go safely. Might tilt angle upwards.. Arms have very slight bend when slightly upright. legs at peddle bottom have slight angle. crotch to top tube have 3/4". Im 48. smoker for 20 something years. Strong heart. 50 bp resting...120 bp active.. I can't afford sensors.. I know 50 bucks but I'm broke. Using Ride w/gps for stats right now on phone. Need to learn my wattage. I have great sprints. As I'm a small guy who's done concrete and brick/ block all my life. literally haven't rode a bike since about 2010. I have no friends or fam that ride. So I can't find someone to ride with or show me bike stuff like maintenance. I can't afford biking to be honest. Especially since how expensive it is 3o years later. I'm planning on doing 2oo mile trip in August camping.. Im hoping 7-8 hours day biking. go to my friends house... Ride back.. another 2oo. Figure 1 week.
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Old 05-17-24, 03:41 PM
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You are turning it into a race, slow down and have some fun. Take time to smell the roses, maybe take a dip in a cool clear creek. You might do 100 miles in a day, or you might do 25. The point is to have a good time doing it, not to get somewhere in a hurry. There are better ways to travel when in a hurry. Just give yourself extra time and have a plan if you don't do as much mileage as expected.

PS
At least go on YouTube and look at the Park Tool vids so you can do basic repairs, and fix flats. Have those basic tools with you on the trip.
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Old 05-17-24, 04:26 PM
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6 mile rides does not translate into 80-100 miles with a loaded bike. I would be aiming for 35-45 miles. My training rides would be 15-20 minimum 2-3 days per week, with at least one 35-40 mile ride just to know I could handle the distance. I would want to know I could do 3 back to back days of 35 miles on a non loaded bike, before I would do a tour of the same distances with a load. Down the road 60-80 per day is doable, it’s just time in the saddle at that point,
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Old 05-17-24, 06:08 PM
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If you are 48 and a mason/brick layer, you have plenty of strength, but you might lack flexibility which could be why you are having sore legs.

There is a big difference between doing heavy lifting and doing hours of endurance activities, such as hours on a bike. Both require training, but separate kinds of training.

I think first you need to figure out if doing some stretching will make your difficulties go away. Do not expect anything fast, teaching the body to do something it has not done in years requires patience. Lack of patience results in injury.

Wattage is not important to bike touring. Racers and wannabee racers worry about wattage. I know I am a low wattage rider, so that means I just take longer to get to the destination.

So, you want to do 400 miles in a week. Good luck with that. If you do the riding three days out and three days back, that likely is doable. If you want to do that two days out and two days back, good luck with that.
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Old 05-17-24, 08:35 PM
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I will just say that 80 to 100 miles a day, day after day, is not realistic for even most seasoned bike tourists. That's a lot of saddle time at 12 mph which isn't bad fully loaded so I would definitely decrease my expectations. Best of luck in your endeavors.
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Old 05-17-24, 09:20 PM
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Ignore the numbers and just ride. Make sure it's fun, so you want to ride more. Forget time, distance, and speed. The only time that matters is when you need to get back home.

Your legs and lungs need to work. Give them work, and they will respond.

Rest days matter as much as work days; that's when you get stronger. The harder you work, the more restful your rest days need to be.
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Old 05-18-24, 01:55 AM
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I got back on my bike at the beginning of March, I wanted an early start to getting into shape for some longer bikepacking trips coming up this summer. It’s now the middle of May, and I am doing 3 rides per week, totaling 250km (about 160 miles). I only get the lactic acid buildup during climbs and fast intervals.

Some things you can try are stretches before your ride. I do about 10 minutes of stretching before I get on my bike. Your first few miles should be at a slow and easy pace, just light pressure on pedals in a low gear, and a medium cadence. I don’t start to pick up my pace a little until I am maybe 20 minutes into my ride.

Your rides seem a little on the short side, 6 miles isn’t really far enough to properly warm up your legs and the rest of your body, I usually don’t get fully warmed up until I am about 30km into a ride. You should ride farther, and once warmed up, do some intervals, that is, speed up until your legs get really uncomfortable, than slow down and ride easy, or very easy until they feel better, and then do it again. Each week you should increase the time you speed up, and in time you should get gradually faster.

If you are crawling up your saddle, you should tilt the nose up a bit. Do it little by little until you stop moving up the saddle. Getting the right fit makes rides more comfortable, but it takes time to figure out the best position. Getting a little numb is normal, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of rising out of the saddle every few minutes and let the blood circulate a little bit.

You didn’t mention what kind of pedals you are using, I imagine they are flat. Clipless or toe clips and straps will allow you to use all the muscles in your legs, transferring the load more evenly, and reducing the lactic acid buildup in your quads.
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Old 05-18-24, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Try a slower cadence. See if that helps. Some people naturally have fast cadence, some slower.
I canít imagine trying to keep a fixed cadence. I have no idea how fast or slow I pedal, but my legs tell me constantly when to change gear, push it, coast, stand up and mash, stop and take a break, go another ten miles etc
Just listen to your legs 😊
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Old 05-18-24, 04:16 AM
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Second what Mr. Clark and Downtube said. One of the most corrosive things for bike touring is a schedule. Touring, for me, is about being there, not getting there. Try not to think of it as training, but enjoyment.
On the technical side, lactic acid buildup occurs in anaerobic exercise, like a sprint.
When you see pictures of bike tourists, they usually look happy, when you see pictures of bike racers winning a race, they look in agony.
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Old 05-18-24, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MorbidMonkey
. I can't afford biking to be honest.
What is it you can't afford? You already own the bike...
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Old 05-18-24, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
What is it you can't afford? You already own the bike...
I had the same thought--Huh? Biking led to early retirement for me--it's the cheapest, healthiest lifestyle I can imagine. "The money-printing Fountain of Youth."

To the OP, I agree with those who say to give it much more time. I'm in excellent cycling shape (I can ride those 80-mile days on tour). But if I decided I wanted to start running, it would take me much longer than a few months to get in running condition. And it would be painful.
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Old 05-18-24, 11:02 AM
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The post was hard to read. But I recommend for just about everyone unless you ride your bike once in a blue moon because you cannot ride it more not do to physical issues. A fit is for everyone as it optimizes your position on the bike for your body and your needs.

You can continue adjusting yourself and keep doing it til you wind up with a good position but that is super hard to do efficiently and with the bio-mechanical knowledge of a fitter. It is doable yes but to do all of the micro dialing you would do while riding is tough without a dynamic fit. The fit bike is designed to be able to adjust on the fly in smaller increments so you can really feel the adjustments in real time as you are riding and someone with a lot of knowledge in bio-mechanics and sports physiology and of course fitting bicycles is helping you get there and analyzing your ride which to do it solo would take camera work and watching the footage after and adjusting...A lot of work and knowledge that most don't have.
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Old 05-18-24, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MorbidMonkey
...... Im 48. smoker for 20 something years...... literally haven't rode a bike since about 2010.......I'm planning on doing 2oo mile trip in August camping.. Im hoping 7-8 hours day biking. go to my friends house... Ride back.. another 2oo. Figure 1 week.
two months to prepare from zero to 400/wk fully loaded?
nah, you're setting yourself up for failure.
you've only got about two months to train.
you'll either injure yourself or be so miserable you'll give up.
if you manage half that you should be proud.
plan to ride one-way.
bus or train return.....or get your friend to drive you back.
next year you can try there and back again.
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Old 05-19-24, 11:52 AM
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I meant I can't afford biking meaning I've already spent 600 on the bike and 400 on racks and pans and all that.... I still need to get sensors and a front rack and the camping gear. I have no car. So the only job I have is low pay because it's super close. I'm trying to train hard now before the trip in August. it 159 miles there...I'm assuming 200 because detours. I used Google maps. I know it sucks but all the bike apps want 10-15 a month... So that would be about 400 miles... I figured three days there.. one day rest and three days back... I'm sure my friend will give me a ride back partway.. but I'm in Detroit.. he's in the woods.. it's the city traffic near me that's gruesome. Dealing with traffic literally wears me out before my legs do.. lots of concentration of other objects and hazards.. I can only really do about 6-10 around here as there are no paved trails . So I'm constantly riding ON the white line.. already had my elbow smacked by mirrors.. one was a cop who tried to give me a ticket. So 6-10 is all I can handle around here... I went and did another 20 mile today in 82* weather... Surprisingly no pain or cramps or anything.. I will try the stretches.. I think that may be helping . I raised the seat front 3/4 inch and my butt stays planted better. I do stand to relieve pressure. I am running the flats that came with the bike.. which I think may be the biggest problem.. as my feet slip off when shifting or sudden cadence change... Might go clipless or something with little spikes. As my feet aren't always straight causing my knees to gout outward..so feet plant should help a lot
there is a ride called PALM that's supported touring 700 people.. from lake Michigan to Huron but it's $300 bucks and I still don't have camping gear.. I'm tapped out on funds. so I figured going to my friends is about the same distance. From Detroit to Flint is the toughest as it's all traffic roads.. and the last 75 miles are all paved rail trail and good shoulders to his house. Its the only trip I'll be able to take this summer.. so that's why I'm pushing hard till then. I'll be fine.. unless someone hits me or I get eaten by pitbulls. Been doing more research and I think I can shave some considerable weight.. so total weight will be 260-270 loaded.. considered a little trailer but won't work with the traffic around here. I'm always riding with traffic...
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Old 05-19-24, 01:50 PM
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If your knees go outwards, that is a sign that the saddle may be too low. But maybe the change of seat angle will fix that?

Some people for bike touring food don't cook, that can reduce budget for cooking gear. And although restaurant meals can be pricey, that reduces the need for some of the volume in your panniers.

I live in southern Wisc, thus the weather would be similar to you being in southern Mich. August can be hot and humid. High humidity means that sweat does not cool you much when it drips off of you instead of evaporating. Make sure you do not get dehydrated. The one liter sized Smartwater water bottles and one liter sized Life WTR bottles fit in normal bike bottle cages, but might be too long to fit in one of the cages if the frame is a smaller size. If they fit on your frame, that is two liters of water. Yesterday I rode a 125 mile distance endurance event (not bike touring), temp was in the 80s but humidity was low, I think I consumed about 3.5 liters of water, but the ride started at 6am when it was cool, thus less water needed.

Three days of gear, you might be able to get by with just rear rack, meaning front rack may not be needed. I always use front panniers, but one of those panniers is mostly used for cooking gear.

Just in case the outbound part goes badly, before you leave you might want to check the bus options for part of the return trip to Detroit. Some bus companies allow an unboxed bike on the bus, some do not. It does not hurt to be prepared for a contingency, just in case by knowing which bus routes would be available if the trip goes badly.

Good luck on this journey.
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Old 05-19-24, 11:43 PM
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July 25, 2018 – Starting July 25, bicycles will be accepted aboard the Amtrak Wolverine Service (Trains 350-355)
There is a $10 charge, in addition to the railfare, and bicyclists must make reservations to carry their bikes onto the trains and stow them at the direction of the Amtrak conductors.

9:35 AM Detroit, MI
11 W Baltimore Ave
Amtrak Wolverine
$97.00
10:03 PM Flint, MI

You could take the train to/from the halfway point to avoid the traffic and start closer to the rail trails.

Bus only $14, but bicycle box required.

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Old 05-20-24, 03:03 AM
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That actually wouldn't be too bad of an idea. I could take the rail trail to Pontiac and catch the Amtrak.. get off in like Bay city/Saginaw instead of Flint. optional sideroads till Clare for the 40 mile rail trail. I still want the cooking.. ill do a small Dutch campfire or ill make a DIY stove. Hobo Pies and brats.. maybe a steak. I want the experience of wild camping. My main concern was the Flint area.. I've live in a lot of bad neighborhoods before. They don't bother me. Flint does even during daytime. Dont feel like getting bikejacked. I would bike 200 mile around it if i had to and suffer but still be alive. I'm just trying to get in shape as fast as i can. As riding here isn't that long. And i cant wait another year. Every time i get a really good bike setup...something major happens like bike stolen or i cant take it with me when i move.. This one I'm trying to make a contingency plan. Without a car I'm broke as hell even working. My current place is likely to be gone in a year or possibly two. And id like to get the bike setup to take it south and start fresh in warmer weather if something happens. Plus I'm just so freaking happy with this bike. Its gorgeous and the best bike I've ever had that I actually bought. Had good bikes but were given to me or I've fixed from salvage. And those days are long gone. Everyone wants high dollar for used parts. Not like it was in the late 90's.



NVM. Only runs from pontiac to south. And then east to west is Flint. But there not connected. So i would have to take a bus..

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Old 05-20-24, 08:08 AM
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I wrote a response to this thread but the ethers gobbled it up so here goes again:
Welcome to the forum.
I restarted bike touring after 40 years of not getting out to the countryside, now at a ripe old age of 73. I started with getting a couple of dilapidated bikes not of the same vintage of my 1970s bike to learn what technology had advanced. Quite an education! I not have a touring bike essentially the same as you do so the following may be helpful.
If you purchased your bike at a LBS and you are not happy with how it rides or feels, take it back to get it tuned (or retuned if they did it originally). You should really not be having problems with the saddle adjustment if they did it right to begin with. If you bought it online or some other way that did not include initial tuning, there should be somewhere locally where you can get this done, albeit with a couple of hundred bucks our of your pocket.
What many of us have found out with time, you should drink water with electrolytes before you are thirsty. I initially reduced my water intake before getting on the bike so I did not have to pee too soon. That is very faulty logic. If you are in more of a urban/suburban area, there should be plenty of places to get a bottle of Gatorade (or other obviously, no promos here) and use the facilities. If you are out in the sticks, there are trees, etc.
If you do not already have a dedicated stretching routine, get one. Either with a trainer, physical therapist or there are plenty of good web sites and books that show you exactly how to effectively and safely stretch. And just because you do mostly leg work while cycling, you should also include lower back, shoulders, neck, arms, etc. You get the idea.
The web is loaded with excellent sites to encourage you. My current favorite is bikepacking.com which has an immense number of articles on touring, equipment (although they tend to review mostly the more expensive end of the line) and pep talks. Articles, evaluation videos and longer movies. Great source of information.
Most of all, find what works for you and is not stressing what should be pure enjoyment. As stated multiple times above, cycling should be for fun.
And again welcome. YOU CAN DO THIS!

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Old 05-20-24, 09:29 AM
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Crazy talk ahead:

Now that you have a bike, have you thought about expanding your commute range by cycling to find a better paying job? Even if it's only 5-10 miles each way, doing that twice a day will build your endurance up as well as reducing your stress as you learn to ride with traffic.

Remember, 90% of the game is half mental!
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Old 05-31-24, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Crazy talk ahead:

Now that you have a bike, have you thought about expanding your commute range by cycling to find a better paying job? Even if it's only 5-10 miles each way, doing that twice a day will build your endurance up as well as reducing your stress as you learn to ride with traffic.

Remember, 90% of the game is half mental!


Wish i could.. But i have the closest job i can get nearest my house. I need to be able to be nearby for my pops whos getting old quite quickly. It will suffice for now. For now im just doing about 6 miles a day.. and 2 times a week a 20 mile trip. Cant definatly feel a difference. I still burn my quads the first mile but i can fight through it. Every 3 miles or so i stop and grab a sip or a smoke or just to let my legs breath for 60 seconds. I feel warmed up at about 4 miles. Right now i sopped at Starbuck to type this.. Figured this 20 mile day ill just meander and take it easy.... What i meant by not being able to afford bikeing... is each little thing adds up. 40 here 50 there. Im trying to find used stuff if i can.. I already baught the major stuff for the bike. Just need the packing stuff.
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