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Planning our first tour...need some help!

Old 12-21-05, 11:12 AM
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Planning our first tour...need some help!

Yes, I know...we still have a good 5 months of snow, ice, cold, salt (thank you road commission) to contend with. And because of that, I'm starting to plan our first "local" tour!

We (my wife and I) are doing our first tandem tour. We'll be camping along the way, hauling our stuff in our sons Burley trailer (he's not going with us).

Our first day we only have two options...either go a short 21 miles to the first campground, or haul about 70 miles to the next closest campgrounds.

We plan on doing this sometime in the June/July time, so we'll have plenty of base miles under our butts. But since it's our first tour, I'm not sure what to shoot for on the first day (need to make reservations WAY ahead of time!).

Obviously the next few days mileage depend on where we spend the first night.

Any suggestions?
Thank you!
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Old 12-21-05, 11:19 AM
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I'll bet there really is something in between. So many people post on Crazyguy about nothing between A & B and I know from many tours that there really is. What about churches in small towns. Kiwanis Club parks. Often it requires special permission, but if you make contacts beforehand, you would be surprised how accomodating folks can be.
Enjoy your all your maps and planning - J

PS - They don't use salt in Wyoming.
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Old 12-21-05, 12:26 PM
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Before I toured, I sailed. Many similarities really!

My sailing mentor invited for a weekend on his boat. We sailed under blue skies with favourable winds. At night I fell asleep with the boat gently rocking. The food was awesome and the potables flowed endlessly. I was hooked for life.

Now I help this same friend deliver boats in the most audacious conditions. Three metre waves with gale force headwinds, rocking so bad that to go below would be to vomit. Nothing but tins in the galley and only water from the holding tank to drink. I still enjoy it but I know that if that had been by first experience it would have been my last.

It's a wise tourer that breaks into things slowly.
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Old 12-21-05, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

Jamawani...unfortunately this part of the State is mostly tribal land...and if you get caught camping on it...well...watch out. Not good!

Stokell...I like the analogy...especially me being in the U.S. Coast Guard (I know a thing or two about getting seasick!). I think we'll take it easy!
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Old 12-21-05, 01:27 PM
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My vote would be to go for the 70 miles. 70 miles isn't very far ... it's about what most people ride per day on a tour, I think.

Make sure you've got everything packed and ready a few days ahead of time so that you've got a few days to go through the ... "I don't think we'll really need this", and "Oh, we almost forgot that" process. Get a good night's sleep the night before, start early, and you're off and running!

BUT before you get to that point, I would suggest that you pack everything up and ride out to the closer campground on some weekend about a month before you are planning your bigger trip, and spend the weekend there, then ride back. Use that as a trial run. You won't be so far away from home that you couldn't get back in a hurry if you forgot something very important. That trial run will also give you a chance to decide if you need everything you've brought, or if maybe you'd like to bring one or two more items for added convenience. It will also familiarize you with the handling of the tandem with the added load of the trailer.
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Old 12-21-05, 02:50 PM
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Machka, thank you for the advice. We were thinking of doing that exact thing you mentioned...maybe even taking the little guy along with us for the shorter version (he loves to go fishing at the lake there).
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Old 12-26-05, 01:24 PM
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If I was in your shoes planning a first tour I would take the shorter option so that you start out with a very attainable goal. You are much more likely to have a great first experience that way without the hassle of trying to keep a schedule.

I love the sailing analogy as someone who also loves sailing.

There is an article on BT101 called "Planning your very first bicycle touring adventure!" that you might find both enjoyable and useful.

https://www.bicycletouring101.com/Pla...tAdventure.htm

~Jamie N
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Old 12-26-05, 01:51 PM
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I agree with Machka 21 miles is less than 2 hours of riding. 70 miles is going to be no more than seven hours of riding. My wife and I ride tandem also. My wife doesn't ride the miles that I do so we often break tandem rides like that into 20-25 mile portions with a 30 minute or how ever long break she wants to take in between. Assuming you are the stronger of the two of you, another thing I do if I sense the stoker is getting tired is I'll tell her to work a bit less and I work a bit more.
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Old 12-26-05, 02:10 PM
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AndyGrow,

Machka gives great advice on this kind of issue. I enjoy reading her post and from what I can tell she is very qualified to be handing out advice on touring etc..

Also some light reading on www.crazyguyonabike.com may give you some other ideas about tour starts, long ride verses short rides for the first day. Both have their pros and cons. The first hand accounts are just hard to beat and makes for some entertaining reading while you wait out the winter.

Good Luck and keep us posted as to your progress.
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Old 12-26-05, 07:03 PM
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70 miles is a very interesting distance depending on wind and terrain.

For an experienced cyclist it's the average distance that a cross continental cyclist will often ride.

For someone new to touring it's a seemingly long way. After a few days to get used to it it's also a very reachable distance.

Headwinds can make 35 miles a long distance. Hilly terrain and undertrained muscles can also make 35 miles seem like a long distance.

For a first tour I believe it's best to focus on a short distance as a starting point and keep flexibility so that if you feel like you can handle longer distances on a particular day then go for it.

You can add distance anytime but if you try to do too much too soon you can easily spoil the touring experience completely.

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Old 12-27-05, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by AndyGrow

Our first day we only have two options...either go a short 21 miles to the first campground, or haul about 70 miles to the next closest campgrounds.

Any suggestions?
Thank you!
I'm guessing 21 miles is Brimley and 70 would be Tahquemenon? On a tandem I don't think you'd have all that much of a problem getting to Tahquemon. Not too many hills but you'll have some wind from the lake. Sounds like fun. Too bad I'm not coming home until August to visit.

How long have you been stationed in the Soo? Does your wife and son like it?

Go Lakers!! (former LSSU cheerleader)

Cedarville grad Class of 93.

Jeni
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Old 12-27-05, 02:32 PM
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I think if you rode only 21 miles on that first day you would get there and want to ride further. Go for the 70 and have the first day get you well into your tour.
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Old 12-27-05, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by JeniCincinnati
I'm guessing 21 miles is Brimley and 70 would be Tahquemenon? On a tandem I don't think you'd have all that much of a problem getting to Tahquemon. Not too many hills but you'll have some wind from the lake. Sounds like fun. Too bad I'm not coming home until August to visit.

How long have you been stationed in the Soo? Does your wife and son like it?

Go Lakers!! (former LSSU cheerleader)

Cedarville grad Class of 93.

Jeni
Yup...either Monacle Lake or Tahquemenon. A cheerleader, eh? Gimme a shout before you get back home. The Lakers are doing pretty darn good this year.

We've been stationed here since June of this year, but we are both from Traverse City/Elk Rapids, so we are familiar with it all. And yes, we love it here!

We've both ride a lot each year...solo...this will be our first year with our tandem. I know we can do 70 miles, but from a touring point of view (taking time to enjoy things not seen in a car, stopping along the way, etc) that's where our questions are.

Thank you all!
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Old 12-27-05, 04:55 PM
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Hmmmmmm -
So many people have posted over at Crazyguy that there's "nothing" between Rawlins and Jeffrey City - but actually there are quite a number of options available for those willing to think creatively.
Similarly, there are other places to camp between Monacle and Taquamenon - - a designated campground and numerous undesignated sites. And, no, it's not reservation land, it's public land on the Hiawatha National Forest.
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Old 12-29-05, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by AndyGrow
We (my wife and I) are doing our first tandem tour. We'll be camping along the way, hauling our stuff in our sons Burley trailer (he's not going with us).

Our first day we only have two options...either go a short 21 miles to the first campground, or haul about 70 miles to the next closest campgrounds.

Obviously the next few days mileage depend on where we spend the first night.

Any suggestions?
Thank you!
If you will be riding in excessively hilly or mountainous country, I would do the 21 miles the first day. Otherwise, I would go for the 70 miles.

I had similar concerns during the first part of my tour in spring/summer 2005. On the TransAm, in VA and KY, there are far fewer places to stay as opposed to further west, such as in Kansas. VA was the most difficult state for me with relentess hills and mountains, so I would only go for high mileage (more than, say, 65 miles) if absolutely necessary.

David in PA
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Old 12-30-05, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by AndyGrow

We plan on doing this sometime in the June/July time, so we'll have plenty of base miles under our butts. But since it's our first tour, I'm not sure what to shoot for on the first day.
Any suggestions?
Thank you!
Andy,
I'd encourage you to consider getting a copy of the text (I think it is still being printed and apologize if it is not):
The Essential Touring Cyclist - a complete course for the bicycle traveler by Richard Lovett ISBN 0-07-038849-0.
This was the most worthwhile educational/reference manual for me for the time and money spent.... I still leaf thru it about every 2 years and find fresh ideas..... the author has a good grasp of the wide range of interests and 'intensity' levels of tourists and pretty well addresses the whole matrix that we all make up.
Later.
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