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Old 01-13-13, 07:38 AM   #1
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New old guy with questions

It has been 25 years since I have done any unsupported touring and a lot has changed. I plan on riding from Florida to Indiana for my 50th high school class reunion and I have a few questions that I would like to get assistance with:

My old Gore Tex rain suit is very bulky, heavy and pretty much shot. Any suggestions on lighter and less bulky alternative?

I am looking for a suggestion for the best frame mounted pump.

On previous tours I always seemed to manage to find a road or two that had little or no shoulder and lots of traffic. I would like to avoid this. My route will not follow any routes suggested by Adventure Cycling or anything else that I can find. Google maps has me on a dirt road, part of which does not even exist, less than 20 miles form home so that does not instill a lot of confidence. Any suggestions for tools or techniques here?

Lastly, any other suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 01-13-13, 08:24 AM   #2
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Couple of suggestions I can make:

On my tours I found paper maps (or sometimes pages out of atlases) invaluable in addition to using google at times and map apps on phones.

Posting a separate thread here with something like "Route recommendations: Sarasota to X, Indiana" will probably get you a wealth of information about the best roads to take, cafe's to stop at etc...

Good luck!
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Old 01-13-13, 08:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bmwrider1946 View Post
My old Gore Tex rain suit is very bulky, heavy and pretty much shot. Any suggestions on lighter and less bulky alternative?
Yes, I have happily used light non-breathable rain gear. The pants weigh 7.5 ounces and the jacket the same. They pack in a tiny stuff sack. I usually only wear the rain pants in camp unless it is very cold.

I have also more recently gone with even lighter DWR stuff and have found it OK so far. I think the jacket and pants total about 6 ounces together. Some of my friends do not find that combination acceptable. So far I have found it OK, bit I am kind of crazy minimalist.

I would say that for most the first option I mentioned should work for most.

Also I know folks that like Frogg Toggs Dri Ducks ultralight (and inexpensive) stuff.
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Old 01-13-13, 09:50 AM   #4
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In addition to asking here and at for routing recommendations, check each state's dept. of Transportation website for biking maps and/or AADT (annual average daily traffic) data and look for roads with the lowest daily traffic. Shoulder or not, these are usually the best roads to ride on.

Once you've identified some roads to ride, check them out with Google street view (the little yellow man in the upper left hand corner) to see if they are the kind of road you want to ride.

As for frame pump, most people seem to recommend the Topeak Road Morph which has a pressure gauge built into the air tube and can pump up to and over 100 psi.
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Old 01-13-13, 10:16 AM   #5
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I also just got back on my touring bike after a 20 year hiatus. One of the changes I noted was the existence of them out. Of course, the internet made that possible and I found access to it was kind of nice. I chose not to carry electronics with me, so public libraries became more important.

Good suggestion above about state DOT maps.

My Road Morph pump works great.

I no longer use Goretex. I use a gossamer-light homemade rain suit made of a non-breathable fabric called silnylon (Frogg Toggs would be a good alternate). If you plan on camping, there are shelters available made of the same fabric, like at

I think the biggest change in the last 25 years is the internet. Cyclists who use smartphones have some incredible resources at their fingertips, but at some cost, including loss, moisture, shock, and battery issues.

By the way, not only did I not carry a smartphone, my old bike worked just fine too. I was still able to get a new bottom bracket cartridge and seven-speed cassette and chains for the 4500 mile trip.
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Old 01-13-13, 10:41 AM   #6
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You got yourself some amazing fun to look forward to. Rolling up to the reunion on a loaded bicycle will make for memorable impressions and lots of small talk no doubt.

I'm a fan of Northface rain gear, specifically 'cause that's what I got. The Venture jacket and pants. Being 'breathable', it's not waterproof, but highly water resistant. Light, packable, and tough. Used for cold weather touring.

You didn't say when this trip would take place. If in the summer, might consider just forgetting about rain gear. Summer cycling stuff dries fast and rain water never hurt anybody. Even with the rain gear, you'll get wet, if not from the sky, then from the sweat.

I've taken to using plastic grocery bags as shoe booties. My shoes I want to stay dry. Cost nothing, work ok, and looks like sh#t. Double bag on each shoe.

Routing is a combo of Google, state maps, state cycling guides, my gps, and advice of strangers. Verify the advice x2.
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 01-13-13, 11:00 AM   #7
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Regarding the pump, I use a Lezyne micro drive that works great. It has a threaded chuck, which I prefer over the flip-lever chuck. However, it appears the prices on these have jumped quite a bit since I bought mine several years ago. If I was buying one now I'd probably go for the Topeak Road Morph, due to better price and an excellent reputation.

Another possible resource for route planning - go to ridewithgps and search for routes cyclists have posted between your start and end points. This could be a tedious and time-consuming process, but you might find some possibilities there.

Last edited by simplygib; 01-13-13 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 01-13-13, 11:19 AM   #8
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I've found the use of a cyclist's rain cape useful .. a cone shape, it uses the fact that it drapes
over your hands, on the handlebars, to form an awning over your legs,
to keep them fairly dry..
so you can leave your bike shotrs on, if it's warm enough.

open underneath , so coated fabric works fine .. Carradice Pro Route, a good example of type..
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Old 01-13-13, 02:44 PM   #9
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Google bike one thread here, it gave a United Kingdom cyclist a route over the Sierra Nevada in California that was mostly rugged backpacking trails through wilderness areas (which ban bicycles).
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Old 01-14-13, 08:23 AM   #10
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Spend some quality time with a knowledgeable salesperson at a good camping store that also sells bike stuff. In my city, that means REI but you probably know best which stores are good near you. They should be able to advise on a lot of clothing choices.

I carry a cheap light pair of rain pants, I think they are waterproof. I only wear them when it is really raining, not just a light drizzle.

For rain jacket, I have used a Marmot Precip jacket. It is not bicycling specific, but for around a campsite I would rather have a good jacket with hood than a bike specific one with no hood.

Rain gear and wind gear color - I used to have a bright yellow jacket rain jacket but now I have a red one that is not as visable. Look for something that someone with a fogged up windshield will still be able to see from several hundred feet away.

Get a rain cover for your helmet. I have one of these and I love it, best piece of rain gear in my kit. Since there is an air gap between the cover and my head for air circulation, the waterproof one is good enough and does not need to be breathable. I have also worn this on chilly days to reduce the air flow over my head.
There are others out there too, this is not the only vendor.
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