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Plotting a 150 mile credit card tour

Old 03-16-08, 06:43 AM
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Plotting a 150 mile credit card tour

I have no experience on roadies ... but based on doing 52 miles per 5.5 hours on my 36 pound, 650B Saluki ... I should be able to manage 50 miles per day, for a 3 day trip as a practice tour. The ride would be in Southeast Michigan, with a start point near my home in Melvindale.

Here are some thoughts I was toying with:
* Plot a triangle, which starts somewhere near our home that my wife could take me and the bike.
* Plot three 50 mile routes ... with a hotel stay at the end of the 1st and 2nd 50-mile routes.
* Make two hotel reservations in advance, and mail a "care package" of clothes and other pleasantries to the two hotels.
* Include a postal bag or something similar in the two care packages ... so I can mail back dirty biking clothes and pleasantries from the two hotels to my home ... before checking out of the hotels.
* End the 150 miles somewhere near our home where my wife can pick me up ... or just ride all the way home for an extra 20 miles or so (making it a 150-170 mile trip).

Have any of the gang done something similar to the above? What are some of the pros and cons of my proposed 150 mile, mail-support tour, with two overnight stays?

Also, what would be the essentials to have on the bike as part of the touring equipment? How much spare change ... how much medical supplies ... high energy food ... rain jacket ... comes to mind but only vaguely without any touring experience. While keeping in mind, this is a practice ride without any experience in pedaling with any type of tour-load on the bike.

Also, is there a recommended pedaling time not to exceed ... either expressed in miles [i.e., 15 miles] ... or in time [i.e., 90 minutes] ... without pulling over to take a rest?

Lastly, should all of the tour pedaling be done in the daylight, so you don't have to carry a headlight ... but should you carry a headlight anyway ... just in case?
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Old 03-16-08, 07:14 AM
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I'm not knocking it if it works for you , but it seems like a lot of trouble to go through all of the mailing of stuff. For 3 days not carrying camping or cooking gear and staying in a hotel each night it doesn't seem like you need enough stuff to bother mailing it back and forth. At most I would just take 1 set of lightweight off bike clothes and 2 sets of bike clothes. Actually I would probably only take one set of bike clothes and wash them out and hang to dry at night.

Since this is essentially just 3 day rides strung together I would carry the same tools, spares, etc, as I would on any ride.

My list might be:

Clothes bike:
1 pr bike shorts
1 jersey
1 water resistant jacket
1 pr bike shorts
1 pair socks
1 pr gloves
helmet
SPD bike shoes
If it is likely to be cool I would add:
1 pair tights
1 warmish synthetic sweater for on and off bike
other stuff (hat etc) if even colder weather is possible

Clothes off bike:
1 pair lightweight zip off leg pants
1 pair briefs
1 under armor heat gear tee shirt
See sweater above under bike gear
1 pair Crocs or sandals (or just wear your bike shoes)

Toilet articles:
Rely mostly on what the hotel provides, but take toothbrush

Bike tools and spares:
1 or 2 spare tubes
patch kit
chain tool
multitool
wrenches as needed for your bike
pump

Misc:
A couple power bars in jersey pocket

Most of the stuff other than the off bike clothes and tooth brush I would either be wearing or would be in the little tool bag on the bike which I pretty much carry all the time anyway. So it is maybe 2-3 pounds of extra stuff unless you carry heavier shoes and it would all fit in a handlebar bag except the Crocs, which can be strapped on somewhere.
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Old 03-16-08, 07:23 AM
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Hi,
1) I like loops the best. There is something primally satisfying about starting and
end ending on your bike. But that sounds like it would prob be awkward with just 3 days.

2) Next up would be to get dropped off and ride home. We have done that, and plan on doing it this summer as well. My rides typically involved 2 days of riding, a day off in a nice place (Camden, Maine this year) and then 2 or 3 days more to get home.

A variant worth considering is to get dropped off somewhere where you could start a ride you really want to do. Then ride 3 days and rent a van, or hop a plane
(whatever it takes) to get home. Just a thought.

3) You don't need much for clothes, especially for 3 days. Wash your bike clothes
in the sink at night. I bring 2 sets. After a couple nights of drying the first set of clothes will be dry and ready. On top of that I bring a polo, underwear, and a pair of nylon shorts with a pocket (to hold money) and sneakers or sandals. That's it.
Just enough so they'll serve me dinner.

At some point we often fill a box with touristy stuff we bought, books we finished, excess clothes I couldn't get the girls to leave behind, etc and ship it home. It's funny, between the three of us we often send back over ten pounds,
which feels good but the bike has always felt the same except for once. We sent a LOT back that time

4) Add weight and distance to your weekend rides. If your trip has 50 miles rides, you would ideally already have done a 50 miler with all the weight you plan
on carrying. This doesn't always happen

5) Bring a rear flashie. I only needed one once, but that time I didn't get to the motel until 9:30 PM and I would really have liked to have had it.

6) For a three day trip I'd bring a patch kit, pump, tire levers and a multitool.

7) A rain jacket is obvious, as well as snacks. How much food you carry depends on how far it is between stops. Where I live there are places all over where you can get a drink or a snack. But if I had to go the whole distance, I'd bring 250 cal/hr of snacks, and a little extra. Bonking is ugly, especially when you're alone.
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Old 03-16-08, 08:59 AM
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Well, if you live in Michigan you simply have to ride to Hell (MI) and back.
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Old 03-16-08, 10:06 AM
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[QUOTE=staehpj1;6351417]I'm not knocking it if it works for you , but it seems like a lot of trouble to go through all of the mailing of stuff. For 3 days not carrying camping or cooking gear and staying in a hotel each night it doesn't seem like you need enough stuff to bother mailing it back and forth. At most I would just take 1 set of lightweight off bike clothes and 2 sets of bike clothes. Actually I would probably only take one set of bike clothes and wash them out and hang to dry at night.
QUOTE]


What he said. We do these all the time. A small handlebar bag and a rear rack bag is all you need. Enjoy
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Old 03-16-08, 12:05 PM
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* Plot a triangle, which starts somewhere near our home that my wife could take me and the bike. -- Sounds good.

* Plot three 50 mile routes ... with a hotel stay at the end of the 1st and 2nd 50-mile routes. -- Sounds good again.

* Make two hotel reservations in advance, and mail a "care package" of clothes and other pleasantries to the two hotels. Include a postal bag or something similar in the two care packages ... so I can mail back dirty biking clothes and pleasantries from the two hotels to my home ... before checking out of the hotels. -- You'll be on the road three days ... how much stuff do you need? You can wear the same cycling shorts and top all three days (I've gone 5 days in a row in the same gear), and you can bring a light pair of pants and a top for around the hotel in a trunk bag.

* End the 150 miles somewhere near our home where my wife can pick me up ... or just ride all the way home for an extra 20 miles or so (making it a 150-170 mile trip). -- Sounds all right.

Have any of the gang done something similar to the above? What are some of the pros and cons of my proposed 150 mile, mail-support tour, with two overnight stays? -- I've never done a tour like this. The closest I might have come would be the 300K Golden Triangle here in Alberta ... a supported tour put on by a local cycletouring club.

Also, what would be the essentials to have on the bike as part of the touring equipment? How much spare change ... how much medical supplies ... high energy food ... rain jacket ... comes to mind but only vaguely without any touring experience. While keeping in mind, this is a practice ride without any experience in pedaling with any type of tour-load on the bike. -- Carry $20 in cash, your debit card, and your credit card. Carry a very small bottle of painkillers (and in my case, I've got to bring my Claritin and inhalers), eat at cafes, grocery stores, etc. along the route. Cinnamon buns are a great high energy food. Yes, bring a rain jacket.

Also, is there a recommended pedaling time not to exceed ... either expressed in miles [i.e., 15 miles] ... or in time [i.e., 90 minutes] ... without pulling over to take a rest? -- Whatever works for you.

Lastly, should all of the tour pedaling be done in the daylight, so you don't have to carry a headlight ... but should you carry a headlight anyway ... just in case? -- You can ride day or night, it doesn't matter. But if you figure you will be riding at night, carry a headlight. In your case, with 50 miles a day on an "unloaded" bicycle, you should have no trouble at all covering that distance in the daylight. But you might want to bring a red blinkie for the back of your bicycle in case it is foggy or something.
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Old 03-16-08, 02:56 PM
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Good info above. As noted, you don't need to carry too much for such a trip. What's the worst that could happen? (Your wife would have to drive a couple of hours to bail you out. She loves you; it'd be OK.)

I've done lots of similar 3-4 day rides, limited by work/family demands. Depending on your (auto) transportation & schedule options, consider:

- Have your wife drive you an hour or so from home to start the first day, & pick you up on the last day again an hour or 2 from home. Could be the same start/finish point ("triangle" route) or different. Make plans by phone as you start your last day, etc. Leaving Melvindale, I think you'd have a lots more enjoyable trip if you started elsewhere (Flat Rock? Ypsi?) & avoided much of the initial congestion. Or, start in Windsor & do a Lk St Clair / Lk Erie loop.

- Drive yourself an hour or 2 from home the night before you plan to start riding, motel it, ask the motel manager if you can keep your car parked in the corner of his lot for a couple of days. He'll say sure, especially if you make plans to stay again on your last night.
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Old 03-16-08, 07:54 PM
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+1 on the seems like the OP is planning too much. I want to do the BMB route this year, not as a brevet, but as a 10 day credit card tour and I'm going to take a saddlebag and a small handlebar bag. My kit will just be my regular touring gear minus the camping stuff.
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Old 03-16-08, 10:33 PM
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So you pedal the 150 miles... then what to do on days 2 and 3 ? Hmmm....
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Old 03-16-08, 10:51 PM
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pleasantries?
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Old 03-16-08, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
pleasantries?
Toothbrush, soap, and a book maybe? Just guessing, but if so ...... as someone else said, you can get soap at the hotel, and there are travel toothbrushes which are small and light and will fit into a little corner of your handlebar bag, and you can pick up a newspaper or watch TV, or carry a small paperback with you in your trunk bag.
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Old 03-17-08, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
+1 on the seems like the OP is planning too much. I want to do the BMB route this year, not as a brevet, but as a 10 day credit card tour and I'm going to take a saddlebag and a small handlebar bag. My kit will just be my regular touring gear minus the camping stuff.
That sounds like an excellent idea. One of the troubles with riding a 1200 randonnee is that there is a lot you don't get to see in daylight. That could be an advantage on some events I can think of, but the BMB route was quite interesting in its own way with Lake Champlain, Middleberry Gap, and even the turn-around village in Canada (which we didn't get to by bike, but scoped out by car) seemed to be a very pleasant place. I think if you have time to stop and look and "feel" those locations, you would enjoy them on a leisurely tour.

You might need to watch the traffic on some parts, but I have a feeling there aren't really many alternatives to them.

As to Motorad, you seem to have a good plan, but is there a reason why you can't ride door-to-door from home? Why not up your ambitions slightly? And you don't need care packages and to send stuff home. A decent-size handlebar bag and a rack bag would take care of all the things you need.

All the other advice offered is excellent, otherwise. For me, planning can be half the fun, especially if you are new to something. But as you get experienced, you plan less, and importantly, just go do it.
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Old 03-17-08, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
That sounds like an excellent idea. One of the troubles with riding a 1200 randonnee is that there is a lot you don't get to see in daylight. That could be an advantage on some events I can think of, but the BMB route was quite interesting in its own way with Lake Champlain, Middleberry Gap, and even the turn-around village in Canada (which we didn't get to by bike, but scoped out by car) seemed to be a very pleasant place. I think if you have time to stop and look and "feel" those locations, you would enjoy them on a leisurely tour.

You might need to watch the traffic on some parts, but I have a feeling there aren't really many alternatives to them.

As to Motorad, you seem to have a good plan, but is there a reason why you can't ride door-to-door from home? Why not up your ambitions slightly? And you don't need care packages and to send stuff home. A decent-size handlebar bag and a rack bag would take care of all the things you need.

All the other advice offered is excellent, otherwise. For me, planning can be half the fun, especially if you are new to something. But as you get experienced, you plan less, and importantly, just go do it.
I think I'll modify the route a bit and actually go to Montreal and do a couple of days sightseeing and stay in a nice hotel, so make it a 12 to 14 day trip.
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Old 03-17-08, 01:22 PM
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12 to 14 days is a very nice chunk of time for a cycling holiday. Most of my trips have been eight to 18 days, including time for sightseeing, visiting friends, getting to and from home, etc.

For these kinds of trips, I always go lightly. 20 pounds of luggage is possible, provided you are willing to wash your clothes by hand every, or almost every day. That includes pleasantries like books. On one credit card tour, I think I had only 18 pounds total, but I have carried up to 30 pounds. The weight is not much of an issue, except, perhaps, traveling in mountainous or very hilly territory.

Enjoy your trip. It sounds great!
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