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Old 10-26-09, 06:14 AM   #1
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Hi there,
I'm completely new to touring, and am planning a bit of an epic for the first half of 2011, with 2 or 3 friends. Not sure how long we will cycle for and have no solid ideas of routes yet, but we're all pretty ambitious. We are all pretty fit but none of us have experience of touring. We have none of the kit. I think the consensus is that we would cycle across part of europe. We are all really determined to do this and will put in the time and organization. Is it overly ambitious to plan an international cycle tour, over a few thousand kilometres?
Feel free to shoot me down, or to give some advice.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:37 AM   #2
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I don't think anyone here will shoot you down for trying. Thats why were all here.
1) Bike fit is most important. (Let that be your guide when buying a bike and make sure the bike you do buy can do what you're asking of it. Avoid sexy unless it makes sence.
2) Determination is more important than fitness (you will be fit if you ride weather you start off that way or not)
3) Be ready to roll with the punches (try not to lock yourself into a demanding schedule)
4) Don't over pack (you'll find you need less that you thought also, improvise)
5) Have fun

Last edited by Dave Nault; 10-26-09 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:45 AM   #3
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First of all, there is no such thing as being TOO ambitious in life. Secondly do not listen to anybody who does not have at least some experience touring. So if you do take advice, ask where it is coming from for the most part.

Anyways, I did very similar thing where I just planned on a starting point and a destination without much of the details in between. I would hope you would like to be better prepared for the tour than that. However, there were things I would have never had the opportunity to see or do if I had chosen a solid route.

If you are with a group of friends, just make sure you will be able to want to kill each other but not actually go through with it. Because that is pretty much what will happen. Despite what kind of shape all three of you are in, there is bound to be a weak link who is going to feel worse the whole time.

I think your biggest issue here would be the international part. Crossing state lines can sometimes be tricky with Vehicle only toll roads and bridges. Crossing international boarders only makes things that much more difficult. Be prepared to have your stuff searched and questioned routinely.

Other than all that jarble, just Have Fun, Stay Excited, and Start Preparing.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:49 AM   #4
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All you'll need to know about cycle touring can be found on this site or here. Planning is half the fun.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me
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Old 10-26-09, 08:49 AM   #5
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Between now and the start of your tour, try to spend as much time on bikes as you can. Commuting to work/school, all day rides, weekend tours. Get used to riding in crappy weather (it actually can be fun, in a strange sort of way) and in traffic. It wouldn't hurt to learn something about repairing and maintaining bicycles, either.

Are you going to be camping on your tour? If so, how much camping have you done?

If you haven't found it already, here's a UK based forum that might be worth a look:

Have fun!
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Old 10-26-09, 08:13 PM   #6
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Go on some short practice tours first. You've got lots of time for it. Buy decent bicycles and buy or borrow the equipment. Do these practice tours in all sorts of weather and on all sorts of terrain.

Also, ride lots in general. Make sure your bicycle is set up properly and that you are comfortable on it.

It's all well and good to have this great idea, but if you've never done any sort of touring by bicycle before it can be a bit of a rude awakening when you get out there. It's not all rosy on tours. If you've had some experience dealing with various situations on shorter tours, you'll be better equipped to deal with them on longer tours.
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