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Planning first tour

Old 01-25-11, 09:38 AM
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Planning first tour

Hello everyone! My name is Dan, Im a cyclist that is looking to plan my first tour this summer. I have some tentative ideas of distance, equipment, and time but I was hoping to get input from those that are more experienced.

Route:
The tour I'm planning is from Portland, OR to Coos Bay, Or. Round trip this will be about 420 miles. Im planning to do this near the end of July when the weather is consistently nice along the cost.
So far I have a few friends who plan on coming with me but if that doesn't pan out, I'm totally fine with going it alone.

Equipment:
I currently ride a 3 or 4 year old Scott S50 which is an introductory road bike (sora build group) and has no mounts for racks. It is an all aluminum frame and is fairly light for the price of the bike. The low weight has me worried that it may not be the best bike to load up with gear

1.My plan is to either ride this bike with a BOB Yak on the back of it.
2.Try and sell the bike to buy a touring bike that will handle my gear on panniers better.
3. Buy an older cromoly road bike from the 80s for cheap and build that into a cheap tourer
4.Buy one of the cheaper internet generic bikes with good components that might suffice for a trip such as this. (https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm)
5.find a large hidden bag of money from a drug deal went sour and buy a long haul trucker.


Unfortunately this is the hardest part as I am an unemployed grad student with a great deal of debt and a small small student loan income so anything I do must be cheap.

Also, Im fairly fit. I run 10-20 miles a week and ride my road bike as much as possible in the summer. However, I would like to plan on building myself up before I depart on a 400+ mile trip. Any suggestions or just get out and put on as many miles as possible?

Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-25-11, 10:28 AM
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I'll suggest that:
  • Item 1 could work. It wouldn't be my personal first choice, but would be fine if the the gearing is ok for the terrain.
  • Item 2 would work as well, but do you really want to sell the Scott?
  • Item 3 again might work, but I would buy something somewhat suitable and keep the "building" to a minimum. Builds are seldom the best value IMO unless you just enjoy the building.
  • Item 4, I have had good luck with my Windsor Touring. Did a TA and a couple other longish tours with it and am pretty satisfied.
  • Item 5, good luck with that.

As far as training goes... just being in reasonable shape and riding daily mileage that is comfortable for your condition is all that is required. Having enough saddle time in that you don't mind riding for hours at a clip is a bit help, but even that isn't completely mandatory.
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Old 01-25-11, 01:43 PM
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You can add racks using P-clips, they are not ideal but seem to work OK.
Your road bike may be geared to high for hauling luggage all day, esp if you have big hills.
Scott frame are pretty strong and entry-level bikes have thicker metal than high-end ones. I would'nt worry about strength but the extra weight may affect handling.

That distance is about a week of riding for average tourists, short enough to rough it a bit and travel ultralight.
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Old 01-25-11, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW
You can add racks using P-clips, they are not ideal but seem to work OK.
Your road bike may be geared to high for hauling luggage all day, esp if you have big hills.
Scott frame are pretty strong and entry-level bikes have thicker metal than high-end ones. I would'nt worry about strength but the extra weight may affect handling.

That distance is about a week of riding for average tourists, short enough to rough it a bit and travel ultralight.
Hmm didn't know about p clips. That's good info to have. I had a bike shop tell me the only option was to weld on some tabs.

I am going to look at some older steel frame bikes on cl today. Ill post back with what I find
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Old 01-25-11, 02:25 PM
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I wouldn't worry about your frame being strong enough. I've never heard of anyone breaking a frame due to load. People have ridden WalMart bikes across the entire USA.

There's a small chance your wheels may not be up to the task, but as long as they're not some super low spoke count wheels, they're probably ok too. You might have a good bike shop stress-relieve the spokes and tension them properly for insurance. That's a lot cheaper than buying new wheels.

You can mount racks on bikes without eyelets using P-clamps. See this article.

You may find the price of inexpensive racks and panniers almost equal to the BOB Yak trailer. I prefer racks and panniers, but lots of people tour happily with a trailer.

I suggest making your first tour without investing too much in specialized equipment. You'll get hooked on touring for sure and your experience will help guide you to eventually putting together the purpose-built touring bike that meets your long-term needs and wants. For now, just ride and enjoy.

Edited to add:

There are a number of rack mounting solutions for bikes without eyelets at this site.

Last edited by xyzzy834; 01-25-11 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 01-25-11, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by xyzzy834
I wouldn't worry about your frame being strong enough.
+1

Originally Posted by xyzzy834
There's a small chance your wheels may not be up to the task, but as long as they're not some super low spoke count wheels, they're probably ok too.
Depending on how light he packs and what wheels the bike has, I'd say there might be more than a small chance. The 2010 Scott S50 has 20 spoke radial front and 24 spoke rear. Unless he packs very light those wheels are pretty iffy IMO.

That said, his bike being a few years older may be substantially better in that regard. If they are something like 32 spoke and he doesn't go crazy and pack 60 pounds of stuff I agree with your statement.
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Old 01-25-11, 05:14 PM
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Are you planning to camp along the way, or make use of other accommodations (hostels, etc.). If you don't need to carry too much stuff with you, you could probably get away with a seatpost rack and handlebar bag.

Rowan is starting to build up an old frame as a touring bicycle for me ... so that option might work for you.


How many days are you planning to take to ride the 420 miles? If you're planning to take a week or 10 days, then I'd suggest getting out there 3-4 days a week and riding 10-20 miles in the evenings after school/work, and doing back-to-back longer rides on weekends ... gradually building up toward the distance you're planning to ride. If you're planning to do it in 4 days or something like that, I'd suggest planning ramping up a bit quicker, and planning to ride a century in May and back-to-back centuries in June.
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Old 01-25-11, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Are you planning to camp along the way, or make use of other accommodations (hostels, etc.). If you don't need to carry too much stuff with you, you could probably get away with a seatpost rack and handlebar bag.

Rowan is starting to build up an old frame as a touring bicycle for me ... so that option might work for you.


How many days are you planning to take to ride the 420 miles? If you're planning to take a week or 10 days, then I'd suggest getting out there 3-4 days a week and riding 10-20 miles in the evenings after school/work, and doing back-to-back longer rides on weekends ... gradually building up toward the distance you're planning to ride. If you're planning to do it in 4 days or something like that, I'd suggest planning ramping up a bit quicker, and planning to ride a century in May and back-to-back centuries in June.
I do plan to camp along the way but I also may spring for a hotel a couple nights or try to find a friendly couch.

I havent decided the time frame yet. Ill be unemployed so I can take longer if need be. The pace will depend alot on who I can get to come along with me. I'm a fairly avid cyclist but Ive never toured before so I'm guessing a week or so.

I just purchased a new to me cannondale r400 roadbike today. The guy selling it was moving in two days so I was able to haggle him to 150. It also came with sidi SPD shoes and pedals, a blow out bag and pump, a light, and a lock. Its RSX build group so from what I can gather its mid to late 90s. The bike is in near perfect shape and looks like it never got much use. Everything about this bike seems much heavier duty and I think this will suffice for my first tour.

Ill post some pics up in a bit.
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Old 01-25-11, 07:52 PM
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sounds like you got a good deal on the cannondale, although I don't know anything about it. The shoes and pedals might be worth the 150 by themselves! Try to do a shakedown ride before your tour.
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Old 01-25-11, 08:51 PM
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Here it is. The bike is in really good shape, I cant wait to get a nice day so I can play around on it.
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Old 01-25-11, 11:59 PM
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This is a Trek 1000 on a "light" tour several years ago, and is bike I still ride every day-- similar to the R400 in geometry. Suggestion: Get a Shimano Deore rear derailleur and a 11-34 rear cassette. It looks like the Cannondale only has a double crankset. It will fit on your Cannondale giving you enough gearing for the Coast. Also I built those panniers with extra taper ( I was a parachute rigger in another life and can sew really well) to provide heel clearance. Do you live in PDX? If you have big feet or have trouble finding suitable panniers, you'd be more than welcome to borrow them for your trip.

Last edited by Doug64; 01-26-11 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 01-26-11, 05:54 AM
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You are correct, double crankset. Ill look into the deore derailleur and 11-34 gears, I was thinking something along that line just wasnt sure exactly what.
I kinda live in PDX. Im in Michigan for the winter going to grad school to be a rich and famous social worker (yeah right!). Ill be back in Portland from May to August. I appreciate the offer to let me borrow the panniers. I want to buy some for other future trips and city commuting but if something comes up and I cant find any Ill keep that in mind. Thank you.
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Old 01-26-11, 06:40 AM
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Nice bike. It should work OK if you get gearing suitable to the terrain you will be riding. An 11-34 cluster is a good start, but you might also want smaller rings on the front depending on the load and terrain. That crank probably will take a 39T ring and I would swap the inner ring for one if you don't already have a 39 or 40. If you will be in the mountains swapping cranks might be worth it. I'd still advise packing light or using a trailer. Put on a rack using P-clips and keep the gear weight down to 30 pounds (or less if you can) and it will be a joy to ride.

Those cleats are probably not the greatest for walking in. They are not the regular SPDs that folks usually tour with. I am guessing they are SPD-SL's. A pair of Kool Kovers make them much easier to walk in and it only takes a moment to put them on or take them off.
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