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Credit card tour advice?

Old 07-09-09, 03:40 PM
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sstorkel
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Credit card tour advice?

I've got the bug to do some touring along the west coast this summer. Specifically, I'm thinking about riding from my house in Silicon Valley to Los Angeles. I want to travel light, so I'm planning to go the credit card route: I'll leave the camping and cooking gear at home and travel with clothes, toiletries, tools and some spares. I'm planning to do a 3-4 day shakedown trip in the near future, probably from my house to Monterey or Big Sur and back.

While I've done lots of 50-90 mile rides, I've never done any touring so I'm looking for some advice:

1) What should I use to carry my gear?

I've included my tentative packing list at the end of this post. I'm planning to ride my current road bike, which doesn't really have any provision for mounting a rack (though I know it could be done). I'm currently leaning towards taking a Carradice saddle bag (Lowsaddle Longflap or Nelson Longflap) and a Bagman support to carry the majority of my gear. Can I get by with the Lowsaddle, which probably fits my bike a bit better, or should I go with the Nelson Longflap? The Carradice bags seem expensive and slightly low-tech. Are there better alternatives? The Carradice SQR Tour looks interesting as do the seatbags by Epic Designs and Carousel Design Works. Can anyone comment on stability or capacity of these bags as compared to the Nelson+Bagman? Looks like the Epic and CDW bags might have a tendency to swing around...

2) Can anyone recommend a good handlebar bag that isn't huge and heavy?

I'd use it for tools and spares (if they don't fit in a saddlebag pocket), snacks, digital camera, cable lock, wallet, and anything else I might need during the day. I need something that can work with an oversized (31.8mm) bar and STI-type shifters. I'm thinking that something around 400-450 cubic inches is probably all I need.

3) How much fluid do I need to take?

I've got two bottle cages on the bike and normally take two 24oz bottles. That's usually good for 2-2.5 hours of riding... which seems like it might not be enough for some sections of the central coast. I hate to bring a Camelbak, but I'm guessing I'll need at least one more bottle.

4) What do you guys eat and drink while on tour?

I love Clif bars, bananas, and a particular type of sports drink. Don't think I can carry a week's worth of any of these products, though. Small-town gas stations and convenience stores seem to be pretty hit-or-miss in terms of nutritious food and drinks. Is the best strategy to carry 2-4 days worth of food and hit supermarkets or bike shops as necessary to resupply?

Appreciate any advice or tips you'd care to offer!



Packing List

Clothes Worn:
Cycling jersey
Cycling shorts (bibs?)
Cycling socks
Shimano MT31 shoes
Gloves
Road ID
Halo Protex skull cap
Helmet
Sunglasses (w/swappable lenses)

Clothes Carried:
Cycling shorts
Cycling socks x 2
T-shirt
Button-front short-sleeved shirt (or T-shirt #2?)
Shorts/board shorts
Underwear x 2
Laundry Detergent (4oz Nalgene squeeze bottle)
Flip flops?

Cool-weather Gear:
Arm warmers
Knee warmers
Craft Windstopper T-shirt

Tools + Spares:
Pedros Tire Levers
Pre-glued Patch Kit
Spare tube x 3
Spoke Wrench
Chain Tool
Multi-Tool
Pedal Wrench - small
Topeak Road Morph G pump
SRAM PowerLink x 3
Spare chain links (5-6 links removed when fitting current chain)
FiberFix spoke kit (or spare spokes?)
Brake cable
Derailleur cable
Chain lube
Derailleur adjustment instructions

Toiletries:
Travel-size toothpaste
"Pocket" toothbrush
Travel-size shampoo
Razor + brand-new blade
Travel-size shaving cream
Deodorant
Contact lenses
Sunscreen (in 4oz Nalgene squeeze bottle)
Medications

Bike Stuff:
24oz water bottle x 2 (or Camelbak?)
Cable lock
Garmin Edge 705

Misc:
Cell phone
Phone Charger
Garmin power cord
Digital camera + 1 spare battery
Maps or guide book
Wallet/cash/credit cards
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Old 07-09-09, 03:55 PM
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We do this every year. Take a book if you like to read. We don't bring laundry soap, you can get it most places that will have machines.

What you are describing is 15-20 pounds of stuff. I don't know how big a Carradice you need. But I would put the clothes into a waterproof stuff sack.
I always have a generous amount of snacks for when I goof and the day goes long.
Also Gu because it's a decent bonk cure. Alleve for the obvious reasons. Enduralyte caps are handy.

We carry raincoats and cool weather clothes, you may not need to.

You usually buy stuff, and when we do we throw in some stuff we aren't using
and mail it home. I wouldn't suggest mailing back the innertubes....

Have fun, when i was young I toured solo, now we're a team. Or something.
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Old 07-09-09, 04:13 PM
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Tubus Fly with Quick Release Adaptor.
www.thetouringstore.com
This rack is LIGHT and very functional.
Lone Peak front panniers work great for a cc tour, and if you ever do a loaded tour, you already have something usable.

Once you set it up, it's 5 minutes to put the rack on/off the bike, doesn't damage the frame, carrying capacity 40 pounds. And you can just stuff one or two liter bottles of water from a convenience store in the panniers or strap on top of the rack for any sections where it might be a while between faucets.

I wouldn't carry more than 1-2 day of snacky food, there are plenty of places to resupply as long as you aren't wedded to a specific product. If you can use granola bars or cookies instead of clif bars, you're fine.
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Old 07-09-09, 05:01 PM
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Tubus Fly with Quick Release Adaptor

Sounds like a good idea to me. That and smaller panniers ought nicely hold your gear and some food.

It's easy to mount more bottle cages using zip ties. I've seen them on the forks. I prefer the stem riser which put the bottles right in front of me. I can mount 5 cages. With no front rack, 7.
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Old 07-09-09, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Tubus Fly with Quick Release Adaptor.
www.thetouringstore.com
This rack is LIGHT and very functional.
Lone Peak front panniers work great for a cc tour, and if you ever do a loaded tour, you already have something usable.
I'm aware of the Tubus Fly rack, but I don't think I need the carrying capacity it provides. Most of the stuff I'm planning to take packs pretty nicely into the smallest backpack I own, which I think is around 1000-1100 cubic inches. Tools and spares take another 125 cubic inches in an under-seat wedge. Ideally, I'm trying to limit myself to 10-15 pounds over what I'd carry for an unsupported century so a rear rack and panniers seem like overkill...

I wouldn't carry more than 1-2 day of snacky food, there are plenty of places to resupply as long as you aren't wedded to a specific product. If you can use granola bars or cookies instead of clif bars, you're fine.
During long rides, I've found that eating random junk from local convenience stores leads to stomach upset as often as not. I'm trying to find at least 3-4 commonly available foods that will work for me. Granola bars sound like a good bet; I'll give them a try on this weekend's training ride...
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Old 07-09-09, 05:44 PM
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I carry two pair of cycling shorts. That way I can wash the pair I use during the day and still have a clean, dry, pair to put on in the morning in case the ones I wash don't dry sufficiently overnight.

I prefer the standard you-glue-'em patch kits, and also carry a self adhesive patch kit as a backup. That's in case the glue tube dries up or something else goes wrong with the standard adhesive kit.

Most motels provide a small shampoo bottle, so you can drop that item.

You might be able to fit an extra bottle on your bike with a TwoFish strap-on water bottle holder. http://www.twofish.biz/bike.html

My wife and I try to stay at motels that provide breakfast. Most of those will also have fresh fruit in the breakfast area ... apples, banannas, oranges ... so you can pick up something to snack on during the day. In addition to a few pieces of fruit, we usually carry a small bag of pretzels. They're an easily packable source of electrolytes and carbs, and you can get a new bag at any convenience store. And we do carry a few Clif bars, just in case.

We eat dinner in restaurants.
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Old 07-09-09, 05:46 PM
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I tour with a Carradice Nelson Longflap and think it's the perfect bag. I use an Acorn handlebar bag, but the ones by folks like Ortlieb are very good too. I stay away from Arkel products as they are just too heavy.

The Nelson is tough, waterproof and simply made, that's why it's stayed the same for so long, it just works.
At about 1.5lbs it's not heavy and it can carry all your stuff. One thing it lacks, however, is an easy way to carry it when off the bike, but that's easily solved by sewing on a couple of D-rings so you can attach a shoulder strap. When I tour I'll lock my bike up and it only takes a minute to remove my saddlebag and handlebar bag and sling them over my shoulder.

The Epic stuff looks nice, but I've never used it so I can't comment.
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Old 07-09-09, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
The Nelson is tough, waterproof and simply made, that's why it's stayed the same for so long, it just works.
At about 1.5lbs it's not heavy and it can carry all your stuff. One thing it lacks, however, is an easy way to carry it when off the bike, but that's easily solved by sewing on a couple of D-rings so you can attach a shoulder strap. When I tour I'll lock my bike up and it only takes a minute to remove my saddlebag and handlebar bag and sling them over my shoulder.
Is it worth going with a Quick Release Bagman? Or is it pretty easy to remove the Nelson if you use the standard mounts? I like the idea of being able to quickly remove both the seat bag and handlebar bag. I was planning to bring a light-weight cable lock, to deter the casual thief... and not let the bike itself get too far out of my sight. I worry about leaving the luggage attached and unattended, though.
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Old 07-09-09, 08:42 PM
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I haven't used the quick release, I just undo the straps from the saddle bag loops, it only takes a minute. After a bit of practice it becomes second nature. On my recent UK trip I used a cable lock on the bike and often took both saddlebag and handlebar bag with me into restaurants
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Old 07-09-09, 11:37 PM
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One question to ask is how far you'll travel between stores or services. If you're never more than 50 kilometres from a service station, you can do well with two water bottles, filling them often. Also, most fuel stations today will carry food of all sorts, ranging from junk food to fairly healthy sandwiches and fruit. For snacks along the way, you might want to stop at grocery stores or bulk food stores and pick up a bit of trail mix every day or two. It's a great energy boost along the way. If you like to carry fruit, make sure to pack it securely. Otherwise, it will bounce around a lot and get bruised or mess up your pack.
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Old 07-10-09, 05:36 PM
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When I do this I use a Tubus Vega rack and Ortleib Sport Packer Plus panniers. I have gone the Carradice route, too, but it makes the bike a bit top heavy when standing or sprinting and also somewhat more unstable when leaning against something if the wheels are on loose dirt. The weight, including racks, is roughly a wash. My bike, a Gunnar Sport, may be quite different from yours and so my experience may not be relevant.
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Old 07-11-09, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
When I do this I use a Tubus Vega rack and Ortleib Sport Packer Plus panniers. I have gone the Carradice route, too, but it makes the bike a bit top heavy when standing or sprinting and also somewhat more unstable when leaning against something if the wheels are on loose dirt. The weight, including racks, is roughly a wash. My bike, a Gunnar Sport, may be quite different from yours and so my experience may not be relevant.
If I were going to mount a rack, it would probably have to be the Tubus Fly with their Quick Release Mounting Kit. Even with small panniers like the Ortleib Sport Packer Plus or the Lone Peak P-099 I'm worried about heel strike. I think the chainstays on my bike are around 410mm long and it looks to me like it might be a very tight fit... And as a consummate over-packer, I think that having panniers will tempt me to take more stuff than I'd really need

Still, I have to admit that the idea of a Tubus rack and small panniers is growing on me. Might have to ping Wayne at The Touring Store and see what he thinks about the fitting issues...
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Old 07-11-09, 09:31 PM
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I have a Tubus Fly, had it for years and it would do the job. However your chainstays are quite short so you would need a different rack Unless your feet are tiny.

You want a bagman with a carradice because the bag hitting the backs of your legs can drinve you nuts. I have both.

You don't want a backpack on tour. You only get one spine.

So... what I suggest is a big Carradice with a bagman.
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Old 07-12-09, 07:07 AM
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Spare tube x 3
Spoke Wrench
Chain Tool
Multi-Tool
Pedal Wrench - small
SRAM PowerLink x 3
Spare chain links (5-6 links removed when fitting current chain)
FiberFix spoke kit (or spare spokes?)
Brake cable
Derailleur cable

Do you really need all these spare parts? I have never broken a chain, rarely a cable, Wal-mart has 700 x 23-32 presta tubes.
Just wondering. Do most folks carry this many spare parts for a several-day tour?
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Old 07-12-09, 07:42 AM
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To lessen the tools for a shorter tour where it ain't too far inbetween bike shops and Wal Marts I'd go for this "basic" list... just my opinion (I have most of your original list on longer tours fwiw)... A new chain properly installed before the trip can be trusted to hold...

Pedros Tire Levers- yes
Pre-glued Patch Kit - prefer the retros
Spare tube x 3 - one spare would be enough imo
Spoke Wrench - yes
Chain Tool - no
Multi-Tool - yes
Pedal Wrench - small - no
Topeak Road Morph G pump - yes
SRAM PowerLink x 3 - no
Spare chain links (5-6 links removed when fitting current chain) - no
FiberFix spoke kit (or spare spokes?) - FiberFix
Brake cable - yes
Derailleur cable - no
Chain lube - yes
Derailleur adjustment instructions - is it that complicated?

Last edited by imi; 07-12-09 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 07-12-09, 08:32 AM
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I'd look into the Topeak Trunk Bag DX or DXP, along with the MTX racks. They have a decent capacity, and you can collapse the side bags and use it as a regular trunk bag when you aren't touring. With a light load, putting weight on the rear should not make a big difference to bike handling. Topeak also makes some good handlebar bags.

If you are credit card touring, chances are you will be near many places to get water. A few liters of capacity ought to be sufficient.
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Old 07-12-09, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Do you really need all these spare parts? I have never broken a chain, rarely a cable, Wal-mart has 700 x 23-32 presta tubes.
Just wondering. Do most folks carry this many spare parts for a several-day tour?
What happens if I break down in Lucia, CA? The nearest Wal-mart is two hours away... by car... if there's no traffic. The nearest bike shop is a bit closer: 1 hour, 15 minutes by car.

While the repair stuff sounds like a lot, it all packs down into 100-150 cubic inches and probably weighs around 1-1.5 pounds. The areas I'll be riding aren't necessarily remote, but services aren't readily available at certain points (think: Big Sur/Central coast). In addition, I'll need advance hotel reservations at certain points on the trip, so I will be time-constrained on occasion; sometimes for several days in a row. Given these facts, it seems unwise to dump a few ounces of tools and parts when the alternative is spending a half-day or day hitchhiking to the nearest repair/supply shop and potentially causing major scheduling problems...
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Old 07-12-09, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
To lessen the tools for a shorter tour where it ain't too far inbetween bike shops and Wal Marts I'd go for this "basic" list... just my opinion (I have most of your original list on longer tours fwiw)... A new chain properly installed before the trip can be trusted to hold...
I guess your definition of "ain't too far" and mine are a bit different I'm willing to push the bike for a mile or two, but anything longer than that and I'd rather do a roadside repair myself and get back to riding. Trying to hitchhike 50-60 miles to the nearest Walmart or bike shop doesn't sound like my idea of fun...
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Old 07-13-09, 05:33 AM
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sorry maybe I misunderstood that you wanted to get down to "bare bones", and thought a number of your tools were specific to a chain failure (which in my experience does not happen that often). Puncture, broken spoke or brake cable happen more often imo), but if the tools and spares aren't weighing you down or taking too much space then the more the merrier
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Old 07-13-09, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
I guess your definition of "ain't too far" and mine are a bit different ...
hihi, yeah in the middle of the mongolian steppes it's a bit further to a Wal Mart than in California

...but there again tight schedules and advanced hotel bookings are as well, so I see the wisdom in your reasoning

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Old 07-13-09, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
sorry maybe I misunderstood that you wanted to get down to "bare bones", and thought a number of your tools were specific to a chain failure (which in my experience does not happen that often). Puncture, broken spoke or brake cable happen more often imo), but if the tools and spares aren't weighing you down or taking too much space then the more the merrier
Sorry for the confusion; I'm not really looking to pare the list down much more. I tend to bring too much "essential" stuff on any trip, so this list is about the minimum I could talk myself into

In terms of chain problems, while I haven't ever had a chain fail I have managed to twist a link in a 10-speed chain. Has to be one of the most annoying non-failures there is: every time the twisted link came to the cassette the bike would shift to the next larger cog, then immediately fall back to the correct one. After limping 15 miles home with that happening, I always carry chain repair tools. I use the Park CT-5 chain tool, which is brilliant and only 2.7 oz (according to Park). A few master links and a spare section of chain probably only adds another ounce or so; not much of a space or weight penalty.
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Old 07-13-09, 10:37 AM
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FYI, I'd bring both one spare tire and a few chain links. I concur that a few chain links won't weigh you down. As to the tube, keep in mind that sometimes you may not be able to locate the source of a flat, or the valve may go.
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Old 07-13-09, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
FYI, I'd bring both one spare tire and a few chain links. I concur that a few chain links won't weigh you down. As to the tube, keep in mind that sometimes you may not be able to locate the source of a flat, or the valve may go.
I've been going back and forth on the spare tire... On the one hand, I've experienced lots of tube-related problems, but never had atire problem that couldn't be cured with a boot and a new tube. On the other hand, if a tire does fail completely then the bike is unrideable.
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Old 07-13-09, 07:48 PM
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Hmm..A one week cc tour in sunny Cali, in summer. Here's what I'd need.

bike with climbing gears, puncture resistant tires
seat post rack, large trunk bag, seat bag, handle bar bag
couple spare tubes and levers
patch kit
zip ties
string
few basic tools(allen wrenches, needle nose, knife, phillips)
pump
cable lock
pair of padded lycras, wash nightly
2 riding jerseys
shorts for off bike
shirt for off bike
2-3 pair socks
tooth brush and paste
bandaids
ibuprofen
rx meds
sun screen
deoderant
cam
cp and charger
spare batteries
map
small note book
pen
power snacks
paper back book

I doubt that the weight of all would top 15 pounds, including the bags.

Restaurants are plentiful along the coast, as well as c stores. Never more than 30 miles between I bet. No need to carry much food.

No rain gear needed for summer touring. Crocs for off bike maybe.

Sound like fun to me, climbing all those hill with only 15 pounds of gear. Pardon my musing, and thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 07-13-09, 10:02 PM
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sstorkel
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Sound like fun to me, climbing all those hill with only 15 pounds of gear. Pardon my musing, and thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks my plan exactly! Thanks for posting the packing list! Which seatpost rack and bags do you like? Any handlebar bag recommendations?
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