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First long tour - Cooking et al.

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First long tour - Cooking et al.

Old 02-08-11, 12:17 PM
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First long tour - Cooking et al.

So later this year I am planning on biking to Tierra del Fuego, probably starting somewhere on the West Coast (of US). I have done only very limited touring before (one ~200 mile day, one 5 day, ~250 mile trip). I will have at least one companion (I think for most of it only one), but they also have very limited touring experience.

I figure I will learn as I go and there is no point asking many of the questions that I have, but one thing I wonder about it cooking. I want to do this very cheaply (will be stealth camping whenever possible, keeping eating out to a minimum, cooking my own food), so I was looking for suggestions for what people eat on tour while maintaining a tight budget. My goal is $10-$15 a day.

Also, if there are any Schwinn buffs out there, the bike I will be using is a 1982 Schwinn Voyageur, which currently has the original components. I will be replacing the wheels and the seat (ok saddle), but I am wondering about the chainrings, derailleur, etc. I have read that this was an excellent touring frame, but I don't know about the quality of the components. Does anyone have any say on this? It is only a ten-speed, but I am young.

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Old 02-08-11, 12:40 PM
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For recipes you can check this site out: https://www.trailcooking.com/
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Old 02-08-11, 12:48 PM
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You'll want a balanced combo of carbs, protein, and vegetables. Carbs like pasta and rice are easy. Protein powder can supplement whatever normal protein you can find along the way. Same with vegetable juice for fresh vegetables when not readily available. The other staples like peanut butter, oatmeal, hard cheese, trail mix and Snicker bars are obvious.

South of the border, food will be less expensive and not much trouble to find, according to journal accounts.

Obviously, for a trip like you are proposing, the components on your bike should all be top notch from the outset. Otherwise, you're just asking for trouble in places not convenient at all for acquiring parts or making repairs.

Last edited by Cyclebum; 02-08-11 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:26 PM
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Wow thats quite the trip, I would love to do something like that someday.
I've only done a few short tours now that amount to about ~750 miles total, and I usually just bring no-cook meals, and eat dinner at a local restraunt or fast food, but having never been to South America, im not sure how often food is available. I do a TON of backpacking though, and I always enjoy hot meals with my light cooking setup. My boil pot is just a 24oz heineken can, and stove is made from aluminum. I boil the water in the can, and then pour it into a freezer bag with the food in it. I make a lot of rice, and noodles as well.

That website RepWI recommended is a great site for freezer bag recipes.

As for your components, like the others said, make sure you have some reliable ones. In South America I would imagine there will be places where you are a LONG ways from a bike shop.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:32 PM
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According to the comparrison chart you can find here, the 1982 11.8 model was 12 speeds and the SP model came with a triple crank and five speed freewheel:


So if yours is 10 speeds, (1) The chart is incorrect, (2) You have an 11.8 with a different freewheel, or (3) You have an SP with the triple replaced with a double.

The chart also indicates that the 11.8 frame has no braze-ons for things like fenders and water bottle cages.

Have you loaded it up and tried climbing some mountains? In the end, only you will be able to determine whether the gearing is adequate for you and your projected load over the projected terrain. Also consider the availability of tires where you will be going.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:54 PM
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The bikes in the first and third picture on the website above appear to have cantilever brakes. The bike in the middle picture has caliper brakes. I don't know if your brakes will reach a 700c wheel if that is what you use to replace the originals.
The originals are probably 27 x 1 1/4. Tires may be hard to come by while you're on the road.

Start putting your kit together, and take weekend trips to shake out any wrinkles.
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Old 02-08-11, 03:26 PM
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Ah, oops.
indyfabz is right, the bike is a 12-speed.
And yes, I am planning on replacing the wheels with 700's. I have other 700's from other bikes so I can check if it fits.
Unfortunately I am finishing up my undergrad degree and have no time at the moment for any trial trips. We will be doing several trial runs once this summer begins. Also, it's winter here, and I have no wish to inflict winter conditions on my beautiful bike.
Really I guess I can't figure anything out until I start riding it, I am just getting antsy with the waiting.
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Old 02-08-11, 03:43 PM
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You might want to think twice about riding to Tierra del Fuego on a 700C bike. Not that it can't be done, but rather I've read several people who have done it saying that they think a 26" wheeled bike is a better choice for this. A few reasons: First, 26" wheels are intrinsically stronger, all else being equal, and you are usually able to mount larger offroad tires on 26" bikes, which is useful on the rough roads you're likely to encounter down there. And finally, spares - by all accounts, 700C rims, tubes and tires are not widely available in South America (except for skinny racing tires, which won't be much use to you). I know you're probably set on this bike you have, but I'm just throwing this out there as something to think about...

Good luck! I'm jealous, sounds like an awesome trip.

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Old 02-08-11, 03:56 PM
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oatmeal, soak it the night before then heat it up.
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Old 02-08-11, 04:38 PM
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Have an air mail drop setup for tire spares , as 26" tires are a lot more common to find in SA
than touring 700c .
rigid fork hard tail Mountain bike is a good basis for a bike
for the central and south american unimproved roads.

but I am wondering about the chainrings,
Ian Hibbel did the trip with minimal gear and a close ratio crank
now the components sold are different,
than his Darian gap swamp portage trip many decades ago.

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-10-11 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 02-08-11, 05:17 PM
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You can learn a lot from these folks: https://www.familyonbikes.org/ who are currently in Argentina on their way south. Check out their blog for reports on what to expect, especially regarding tires and food as well as general information. They've had troubles with both finding 700c tires and finding food as well as other problems you probably haven't considered yet. As for the components, I'd worry most about your wheels, racks and panniers. I have an 82 Voyageur SP and the components are functional but dated. You might want to upgrade the RD and the brakes but the rest of it should be fine if you're comfortable on the bike. Strong, reliable wheels are the most important thing you need to insure since you'll be walking if you have serious wheel problems.

Have a great trip wherever you end up heading.
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Old 02-08-11, 09:37 PM
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I have spent a lot of time in Mexico, Panama, and Honduras and you can live off street food for about ten bucks a day easy. As far as cooking, in my experience things like pasta weren't common but rice and corn tortillas are very easy to find. I didn't see much oatmeal or grits. Your best bet is to learn to cook what you find in the local stores, which will get more "western" the further south you get, Chile, Argentina, there are more German and other European immigrants living there.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:57 AM
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I always bring a stove. It's usually easy to find something to cook during the day and put it in the panniers. Once I get to a camping spot I like to rest and stay off the bike - not ride to a restaurant, or a store, and there usually isn't either close to the campground. I've stayed in places that had convenience stores across the highway. That's nice for drinks, ice cream, or snacks, but the dinner food is often very limited and not so healthy.

I prefer a stove that can burn unleaded gasoline, because it's so easy to come by on tour. Finding white gas is less so, and butane cannisters are often impossible to find.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:39 AM
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You could not pay me to ride a loaded bike with only a double chainring through Central America.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:11 PM
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Hi, I'm currently in Panama on my way to Argentina on a motorcycle tour, but the bicycle is my first love. Benajah is right, street food is cheap and easy to find. Belize and Costa Rica are the more expensive exceptions. For me, safe water would be a bigger concern if I was bicycling as there are long stretches in northern Mexico between towns. I've met several young men touring on bicycle (one with a surfboard strapped to his bike) and they are all having a wonderful time.
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Old 02-10-11, 06:19 AM
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Cooking on a long trip is quite different to a short holiday. You need to eat a healthy balanced diet and get enough calories down you and avoid too boring a diet.
You will need a stove with suitable fuel. A multi-fuel one (like MSR) is probably best on your trip.

You need to carry some "cullinaries", salt, pepper, herbs, spices, stock cubes, oil, honey. I carried a 250cc spray bottle of olive oil which was OK for about 6 weeks. Oil leakage in a pannier is no joke. I also had a dedicated small cooking (paring) knife and a flexi cutting board which was a real boon on muddy campsites. You can turn your rear pannier into a food prep surface. A very small wooden spoon is good for cooking, eating and scraping pans.
You need some waterproof plastic boxes for food and cullinaries and waterproof bags for dry foodstuff. Ziplocks are OK for a while.
With all this you can cook whatever the local carb of choice. Beware ones that take a lot of fuel. The most fuel efficient and quickest is couscous. Rice is next then pasta.
I used 2 pots with one lid (Trangia set) which is enough for any cooking.
I found that fish is best done by poaching in water.
Sausage such as Corizo has enough fat to melt under gentle heat.
Oil is for sweating onions and other veg on a low heat. Sweating is a very low heat, gentle fry in the bottom of a normal pan.

My basic method was sweat the onions, add protein (eg chiruso sausage) then dry rice and add stock then boil under the lid until rice is cooked. You can place veg on top of rice to steam.

Beans and pulses are excellent food but probably take too much preparation to be useful. I now some (vegan) riders who leave them soaking inside a vacume flask overnight.

You need to take care with food hygene and cleaning your kit (esp the cutting board). Thats why I prefer a plastic handled knife to a folding general purpose one (yellow so I can find it).
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Last edited by MichaelW; 02-10-11 at 06:33 AM.
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