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considering touring -- Need Help!

Old 03-16-08, 11:46 AM
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considering touring -- Need Help!

Guys,
For the last few years I've been thinking about touring but never really got into it. I don't really have any experience with bikes (I used to own a bike that I rode to school and stuff, but that's it) but I do have some athletic capacity from hockey. Last week 3 of my friends invited me to go on a 13-day biking tour of Iceland in June (none of them have touring experience either...) and I want to say yes, but I have no real experience, or even any equipment. The target is to travel around Iceland's 'ring road' in 12 days, camping along the way. I do have experience camping, hiking, and canoeing--so I'm not a total dud.

I've been reading this forum since then and have found some really helpful insight, but I still have a few problems. I realize I need to train for this trip, but to train I need a bike (my old city bike broke last year). My budget for a bike is in the $1000-1200 range, but I really am clueless when it comes to talking specs--or anything to do with bikes for that matter. From what I've read, some of the possible rigs include: Surly LHT, Trek 520 and the Cannondale T800. I want a good quality bike that will last, and won't break down (especially on tour.) I also plan on using this bike for a fair bit of commuting and such. Like I said, I have been considering touring for a while, and I view this as a great opportunity to kick-start my trials. Any suggestions for a complete newbie?

Thank you for taking to time to read this, and I appreciate any advice to ANYTHING bike/touring related you can throw my way.

EDIT: It should be noted that I am 6'2" and weight 170lbs
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Old 03-16-08, 11:55 AM
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ummmm, look up threads that other folks have started coz there's a lot that has been asked and you might not think of something to ask. the search function is helpful.

be a little more specific with your questions. suggestions are endless, but its easier to help if you be more specific. its your trip after all.

got to sheldon brown's website. google sheldon brown.

lots of bikes work, i just did my first tour on the LHT complete and thought it was a true bang for buck. really, its where the bike goes, not the bike. a lot of bikes work if you make it work for you. there is no perfect bike, so don't bother looking. just make it work for you.

and if you have the heart for it, training is over rated in my opinion. the tour will train you alright.

oh, i'll start by suggesting you learn how to repair bikes.
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Old 03-16-08, 12:03 PM
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70 miles a day for 12 days...

You have some training to do.
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Old 03-16-08, 12:18 PM
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do you have any tips on how to train for such a trip? (ie 120km a day for 2 weeks) I figure I'll start biking to and from school (22km round-trip) 5 days a week. That's if I find a bike soon enough...
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Old 03-16-08, 12:18 PM
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1200 dollars is going to get you a good touring bike just make sure it fit's you perfectly.shimano xt is top quality also wheels and tyres get the best you can dont skimp.training well you will ride yourself into a tour but if you haven't ridden say 50 miles a day on a bike before you could be in for a bit of a shock ,you have got to know how to ride a distance and to feel pretty good at the end ,but keep asking questions on this forum there a good bunch.best of luck..
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Old 03-16-08, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cupcrazy4
Guys, ...
Ummmm....
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Old 03-16-08, 02:48 PM
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I began a three-month tour without any heavy training beyond the daily riding around town and managed just fine. We averaged about 100-120 km a day at the start, being in a hurry to get going, but eased off after that.
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Old 03-16-08, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cupcrazy4
do you have any tips on how to train for such a trip? (ie 120km a day for 2 weeks) I figure I'll start biking to and from school (22km round-trip) 5 days a week. That's if I find a bike soon enough...
The daily commuting will help a lot to get you ready. I would also aim for some longer weekend rides, too. I would just do the commuting for a couple of weeks, until you get used to it. Then I would add in an additional ride of around fifty km. The next week I'd try for a seventy km ride. And so on.

The first time I toured I barely trained at all. It took me several weeks before I was strong enough to do multiple consecutive days of long distances with a big load. Now 120km sounds like a cakewalk to me. But it took a lot of struggling for me to get to that point. If you are playing hockey a lot, you probably have a fitness advantage over where I was physically when I started touring. But there's no substitute for putting the hours in the saddle and getting used to long distances.
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Old 03-16-08, 04:18 PM
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ok lets start with short's ,your going to need padded cycling shorts assos f1 bibs are hard to beat expensive but worth every cent,never leave the house without food in your cycling jersey or barbag,like rice cakes ,fruit cake,banana ,jelly beans that lot will take care of you over 50 miles no problem i always carry two bottles one with water the other is an energy drink and make sure you drink them both over the spin (ride) .when you return home you are going to need a recovery drink say within the first ten minutes .
sure hope this is helpfull i suppose it's like everything else if you put the work in ,well you know the rest..
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Old 03-16-08, 04:53 PM
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Your first problem is fit. You are tall enough that some of those bikes won't come in a large enough size to fit you.
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Old 03-16-08, 05:36 PM
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Cupcrazy,

You don't say how old you are, but it sounds to me like you are young. At 6'2" and 170 lbs you've already got the right proportions and ratios. The budget you give is appropriate for outfitting a touring bike. At your age, I wouldn't worry too much about training for this trip. Buy the bike early enough so that you have a chance to get used to it. In particular, make sure that you like the seat that you have on the bike. If you are going to ride 70 miles per day, make sure you have ridden 70 miles at least once or twice before you leave. The first day or two may be a little rough on you, but you'll get used to it.

Since you are touring in Iceland, presumably in high summer, when the days are about 22 hours long, you have a lot of hours with which to complete those 70 miles. Everybody who started touring had to start somewhere. As long as you have the bike broken in (or rather your butt), you should probably be fine. I bet your buddies will have a hard time keeping up.

Iceland is very empty. I haven't been there, but I believe it is a lot like the west coasts of Norway and Ireland, which I have been to on a bike. Take some lightweight, warm layers. I would take the same synthetics that I use in the winter while skiing. You may find some places where you are riding hard into a wind. Be prepared for lots of quick rain showers. I also recommend that you have a bike with fenders (mudguards in Brit.), although most American bikes don't have them.

Howard

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Old 03-16-08, 07:23 PM
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yeah, I'm going to figure out a plan to get ready for the trip with my phys. ed. teacher once march break is over. I think two and a half months should be enough time to get ready--I'm already in somewhat good shape from hockey (playoffs are still going...)

How big a frame should I get for my height? I also have long legs, which won't help... I was really considering getting a Surly LHT (I'll test drive it first). Will I be be able to fit into one? And do you think the LHT's stock components will be good enough for my tour? I figure I'll buy a really comfy saddle, but that's it.

What's the difference between bibs and cycling shorts? I'm already spending a lot of money as is (a new bike) and bibs look expensive... Is it worth it? And is it worth getting a jersey?

I forgot to mention, I'm seventeen. I plan on touring Iceland in mid-late June.

Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to make this trip as fun as possible--hopefully learning things on the way. Thanks for all the help and advice. I'll let you know how it all turns out.
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Old 03-16-08, 08:01 PM
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I have a surly LHT that I use for touring, its a great bike. I don't think you will have trouble finding one that fits. I am 5' 11" and I ride a 58cm. They go up to 62cm. I would make sure you get a rack that is meant for touring. Tubus makes nice stuff, but they are pricey. The jannd expedition racks are nice and bombproof, and less money. On my first tour a friend's rack cracked after couple days because it couldn't handle the weight of her panniers plus the tent.

Ortlieb panniers are nice. Waterproof and easy to use. You can get away with super cheap panniers if you need to, but good ones will be a long term investment. My first tour I used cheapo performance bike panniers, and they did not stay on the bike very well. They had to be zipped tied on, or else they would fly off if I went too fast or hit a big bump.

Make sure you test out all of your equipment before you leave. If you buy a new tent, set it up somewhere and sleep in it for a night. Know how to use your camping stove. Don't add some new part to your bike the day before the trip. It can be a real hassle dealing with equipment problems on the road, and it can really slow you down. Every trip I have taken I have not taken the above advice in some way, and I have paid for it
Sounds like an awesome trip!
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Old 03-16-08, 08:06 PM
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Some people think bibs are more comfortable. I have both and its not a big deal to me. Bibs have shoulder straps, regular cycling shorts do not. I guess the idea is that the waist band on regular shorts can be irritating when you ride for long distances. I would pass on the bib and use that money somewhere else, personally.
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Old 03-16-08, 08:09 PM
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Jersey are not really necessary IMO. You just need some sort of sweat wicking shirt. You can usually find really cheap sports shirts at walmart or target for $20 or less.
That being said, smartwool is really nice for riding with, but pricy.
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Old 03-16-08, 08:30 PM
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In your price range, you should be able to find a decent touring bike that's your size. Get used to riding it and also get used to riding with loaded panniers. A loaded bike has some distinctive handling characteristics. You need to get familiar with them now, before you're in Iceland.

Since this is your first cycle tour, plan carefully. Think of all the conditions you might encounter and make sure you're ready for them. It's better to pack things you don't use than to need a tool or part you don't have.

Since you already are familiar with camping, hiking and canoeing, you're much better prepared than a lot of first-time cycle tourists. Still, you should do a few overnight trips to prepare yourself and get used to the touring process.
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Old 03-16-08, 09:01 PM
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First of all, say yes. It sounds like fun.

Most touring bikes make for pretty good general purpose / commuting bikes, so anything you end up with will be fine -- as long as it fits.

Buy your bike through a local shop. That's the best way to make sure your bike will fit you.

These are typical bibs:

Bibs use shoulder straps instead of elastic. They're much more comfortable than shorts, but a little less convenient for pit stops.

Re: travel time, I'd add time. As in, an extra week. It's 850 miles long, and the flight will cost a lot more than camping fees and food. What's the rush?

By the way, airlines often charge for transporting bikes. I'd allocate $200 just to get your bikes over there. If you get lucky they won't charge you, but I wouldn't count on it.

Re: training, The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling is pretty good. It's written mostly for long-distance riders but much of it applies to touring as well. You can use the basic Century plan as a guide for training. You've got 3 months so you should have enough time to get ready.
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Old 03-16-08, 09:40 PM
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well, I'm all for staying longer but we've all got jobs to get to for the summer (in my case, I have to find one, and soon!) It's how I'm planning on financing the trip...

$200 to get my bike over there?!?! Does that include getting it back as well? I'll be taking Icelandair probably, do you know anything about them? Are there any other airlines that fly from Toronto, Canada to Reykjavik?

I'll check out the book, but I don't think my local chapters has a copy...
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Old 03-16-08, 10:27 PM
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Bibs !?!?

Jeez. What is going on in here ?

With that $1000-1200 I would spend half on a decent used ride, and the rest on gear. You don't even have a bike, so no need going platinum on your first try. It is rarely the bike that takes your cash. When it comes to unsupported touring it is the other bit o' kit that takes lion's share of the budget. IMHO, almost any non-Walmart bike will do a 13 day tour as long as you have good wheels, tires, and saddle.

If you must, the the LHT would be a great bike at your price point. Don't worry about the LHT components, Tzuo Han Law just went around the world (and then some) on a stock LHT.

Enjoy the ride and stay away from the hakarl.

PS - A link for air travel:

https://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm
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Old 03-16-08, 11:07 PM
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wow, I didn't realize it was so expensive to transport bikes. If you buy your own box/bag and package it up as another piece of luggage do they still charge you?

If I do want to put a different saddle or something on the stock LHT, do they charge me for the original, stock saddle as well as the new one? Can I ask them to keep the stock saddle, for example, and just charge me for the new Brooks saddle (or whatever)?
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Old 03-16-08, 11:45 PM
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It really depends on the airline, whether you are charged or not. It seems like some people still get their bikes on planes for free, but I would consider yourself very lucky if that happened. I checked Icelandair's website, and they charge $40 each way for the bike. I've seen it up to $100, so $40 is actually not so bad.

The best strategy for touring is usually to put the bike in a cardboard box you get from a bike store. Hardshell cases are very expensive, and they will not keep you from getting charged. Also you have to leave them somewhere once you get to your destination.
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Old 03-16-08, 11:46 PM
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Here is the link for Icelandair
https://www.icelandair.com/home/trave...rts-equipment/
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Old 03-16-08, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cupcrazy4
Guys,
For the last few years I've been thinking about touring but never really got into it. I don't really have any experience with bikes (I used to own a bike that I rode to school and stuff, but that's it) but I do have some athletic capacity from hockey. Last week 3 of my friends invited me to go on a 13-day biking tour of Iceland in June (none of them have touring experience either...) and I want to say yes, but I have no real experience, or even any equipment. The target is to travel around Iceland's 'ring road' in 12 days, camping along the way. I do have experience camping, hiking, and canoeing--so I'm not a total dud.
Are you familiar with just how windy Iceland is?
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Old 03-16-08, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
Are you familiar with just how windy Iceland is?
I'm hoping the wind will have died down by mid-june, but I really have no clue... Iceland wasn't my idea
How bad is the wind?
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Old 03-17-08, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cupcrazy4
I'm hoping the wind will have died down by mid-june, but I really have no clue... Iceland wasn't my idea
How bad is the wind?
Extremely bad. Seriously look into this before you decide to go there. Today the wind is a mild 10 meters per second, or 22MPH.


https://www.travel-library.com/europe/iceland/axel.html
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