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Is it a LITTLE BIT about the bike?

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Is it a LITTLE BIT about the bike?

Old 08-10-13, 09:36 AM
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Is it a LITTLE BIT about the bike?

First of all, I am NOT a cycle Tourist. I dream of it someday but I am firmly a recreational rider right now. One of the things that I do to fuel my dreams is subscribe to the "Loaded Rigs" thread. Between that thread and a thread on another forum chastising people for using Cyclocross bike to tour on it occured to me that even though one clearly can tour on any bike with wheels but should one?

People have spent a lot of time and money engineering, manufacturing and buying dedicated "Touring" bicycles. Any book that I have read about people touring on bicycles has had the hero mounted on such a steed. Even the secondary characters were on proper "Touring" bicycles. I think that I understand the what makes a "touring" bike different from the others as far as comfort, clearance for panniers and accessory attachment points go. To me, the most important would seem the little bracket that holds the extra spoke that I keep finding myself needing as I toodle around my small environs and can't imagine being without hundreds of miles out in the middle of nowhere.

So, what think you Cycle Tourists? Are you all alive with a big boat-full of good memories despite yourselves or is it all marketing hype? Hype that has been going on with great success for forty years or more!
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Old 08-10-13, 10:02 AM
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Mind you, I think well thought out (not all are) dedicated touring bikes are great but someone should not be denied the wonderful experience of cycle touring just because they can't afford a new bike and for what many would be of limited use. Touring is about the experience and not the bike, though I am the first to admit that my steed contributes to the experience.
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Old 08-10-13, 10:15 AM
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People have also spent a lot of time, energy, and money engineering things to make racks and the like fit on bikes that are not touring specific. https://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS...ONS%20PAGE.htm

I would say that it is all down to fit, and if the gearing lets you ride it up at least a mild grade. You can always push it up others.

My current touring bike has no rack mounts, or even water bottle cage mounts. But its a stiff steel frame that feels good riding it for long distances. Just put my lowrider rack on it yesterday for a fully loaded tour next month.
I have a buddy who is thinking about touring so just bought a new proper tourer, that will probably see less miles loaded than I will do on one trip. It has a spoke holder, with room for only two spokes. I will have eight in a cork in my seat post. So not having a spoke holder won't bother me any.

Almost all gear oriented hobbys involve hype. Even stamp collectors probably drool over the latest titanium tongs and cataloguing systems.
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Old 08-10-13, 10:17 AM
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Hey Robow, I just pulled down the old Maruishi that I was on when we met on the trail, and despite having found it in a shed and kludged it together for touring, it has some great memories associated with it! I replaced the old cracked tires, though...
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Old 08-10-13, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
Mind you, I think well thought out (not all are) dedicated touring bikes are great but someone should not be denied the wonderful experience of cycle touring just because they can't afford a new bike and for what many would be of limited use. Touring is about the experience and not the bike, though I am the first to admit that my steed contributes to the experience.
+1

This is especially true for someone just considering trying cycle touring. Heck any bike with a large seat bag is capable of doing a one or two night credit card tour. Which is a great way to try it out and decide if you like it. If you do decide it is something you like, getting a bike designed for it with some basic equipment designed for it can make the endeavour more enjoyable, but it isn't necessary.
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Old 08-10-13, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by shipwreck
found it in a shed and kludged it together for touring, it has some great memories associated with it!.
Shipwreck, thank you for proving my point, see even a bike that has been kludged can make for a fine tourer. Btw, what would the word "kludged" sound like when spoken with a little southern twang since I never once heard the word used in Arkansas during any of my three tours down that way
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Old 08-10-13, 12:28 PM
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I think the spoke thingie is stupid. (that doesn't mean people who have them are stupid, they come on some good bikes). Spokes fit easily into the panniers, and it feels like something someone just dreamed up to make a bike seem like a touring bike to someone. I see little practical value, though others are in love with that thing, which sorta makes my point. It is one of those deals were if someone made an excellent wheel that could not be broken, there would be some people who would still want a spoke carrier, like bikers carry a chained wallet even if they make all their payments with their phone


Yeah, it is a lot about the bike. Many people want to go Cycle Touring which is an experience that is only complete when one has all the gear. But other people just want to go on a trip and they care only about the bike to the extent that it allows them to get around. Both types may make the same trip, but the gear will be vastly different. Cycle touring isn't Arctic exploration or big wall climbing where certain specialty gear is the difference between life and death, or making any progress at all. But the fact one does not need the fancy gear doesn't make it useless. A fair bit of it is really great to have.
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Old 08-10-13, 12:29 PM
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Different strokes for different folks would be my take on it. I tour on a wide variety of bikes, ranging from flimsy folders to purpose built touring bikes. My tours range from S24O's to week long off-road expedition tours, to hub and spoke, to credit card touring. I just enjoyed reading a series of tours by a guy that completed 74 days, 2885 miles on a Trek Bellville 3 speed. For him it was more about the tour. He has some interesting modifications to his bike too.

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Old 08-10-13, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD
the fact one does not need the fancy gear doesn't make it useless. A fair bit of it is really great to have.
This is very true. I think that tempering your desires for something new and cool with the "will use it, it will make my experience better, and I have been wanting it for long enough that I know its not an impulse purchase destined for the back of the closet". That is my criteria. And I still have stuff that does not get used often.

@ Robow. I have no idea how that sounds, never heard it spoken here. And since I am a displaced Southern Californian living in Arkansas, I of course have no accent at all so can't say
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Old 08-10-13, 03:43 PM
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Can you ride for 50 miles or so on the bike you have? Can you put a rack or a trailer on it? Then it is a good touring bike. Go. Ride. Do a couple of bike overnights and see how it handles with a load. If you find some deficiencies in your ride, then you can look to a different bike, but ride what you got.

That being said, I knew I wanted to do some touring, and my 30-year old bike wasn't as much fun to ride as before. When my wife asked me what I wanted for my 50th birthday present, I told her either a sports car, a blonde or a bike. She could pick. So I got a LHT, racks, panniers, lights, etc. It is my commuter, KATY trail bike and tourer. Love it. I also picked up a road bike earlier this year, and I like the feel of it on unloaded rides, but it isn't as comfortable as my LHT.
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Old 08-10-13, 04:20 PM
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Hundreds of miles out in the middle of nowhere? A place like that is actually pretty hard to find. Service station intervals are less than that on public roads cause cars need to refuel regularly. Personally I think a lot of the 'fully loaded' concepts date back to when tents were heavy canvas things and panniers were made of the same materials. Times have changed. Bikes are lighter, so is camping equipment, B&B's are far more common and Internet access means more information is available before leaving home. So there are fewer 'what if's' and less need to pack extra stuff and use a specialized rig to lug it around.

That's my experience - it may differ from your own.
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Old 08-10-13, 04:37 PM
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mr,grumpy, It is a little bit about the bike or it wouldn't be bicycle touring. While of course an expedition level touring bike is best suited to the task, one cannot exclude other designs that a cyclist wants or needs to use. While the members of this forum can debate various bits and bobs ad nauseam, to it's credit is very liberal about helping those that want to tour on anything. Many members have 'non tourers' and know what work-arounds allow a cyclist to best enjoy their journey.

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Old 08-10-13, 04:44 PM
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The spoke widgets are Cute.. But On tour I have 4 panniers to put the spare spokes into ..
and given they take up little more room than a fresh Pencil , there is no problem with stowing them in the bags.


My Touring bikes are rather Heavy on their own , but handle the weight fine and descend passes without wiggling.

Now here My panniers make grocery runs..


People pass through town on tour all summer , all sorts of bikes .. all sorts of people..
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Old 08-10-13, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mr,grumpy
... ... To me, the most important would seem the little bracket that holds the extra spoke that I keep finding myself needing as I toodle around my small environs and can't imagine being without hundreds of miles out in the middle of nowhere. ... ...
One of my touring bikes has the extra spoke holder on the left side, I have been tempted to cut it off because it is in the way of putting a rear mounted Greenfield kickstand on the bike, thus the spoke holder is "all marketing hype". My other two touring bikes have the extra spokes where they belong, inside the seatpost.

Probably 90 percent of the touring bike miles are not on tour, but local rides. And yes, a lot of good memories were created on those other 10 percent of the miles.



But, the best memories will be of the trips yet to come.
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Old 08-10-13, 05:26 PM
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I missed the comment about the spoke holders... I have had them in the past, they were a neat touch. Currently I carry a kevlar repair spoke in my repair bag and usually have a couple more regular spokes of the correct length stuffed up the handle bars. Haven't broken a spoke in years on tour.

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Old 08-10-13, 07:38 PM
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I think the most important thing about touring is to do it on a bike you know, trust, and are comfortable with.
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Old 08-10-13, 09:00 PM
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There are so many ways to tour on a bicycle, which is why you can tour, in some form or another, on just about any bicycle. I like to cover a lot of distance in a day and don't want anything fussy going on with the bike that might slow me down. Hence I appreciate a properly equipped dedicated touring bike.

I don't carry spare spokes. If you broke a spoke one of the following happened:
The part specs were not up to the job (you picked the wrong wheel)
The spokes were improperly tensioned (most likely)
There was a very rare manufacturing defect (which should sort itself out in the first thousand kilometers or so)
You crashed or otherwise used the bike in a manner not intend - an incidence for which you simply cannot fully prepare.
Choose the right parts, have them assembled by a skilled wheel builder and, barring abuse, you will NEVER BREAK A SPOKE.
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Old 08-10-13, 09:57 PM
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My first few tours were on Specialized Sirrus, a hybrid. My current touring bike is a Bike Friday's New World Tourist, that many would turn their nose up at, I'm sure.
I've been actually thinking about getting a cross bike for riding and some touring... ;-)

A fancy bike doesn't make a cycle tourist, just like fancy camera doesn't make a good photographer. But it helps.

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Old 08-10-13, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mr,grumpy
To me, the most important would seem the little bracket that holds the extra spoke that I keep finding myself needing as I toodle around my small environs and can't imagine being without hundreds of miles out in the middle of nowhere.
Sounds like you need better wheels.
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Old 08-10-13, 10:27 PM
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I've toured on a department store road bicycle, a sport-touring bicycle, a titanium road bicycle and a touring bicycle. All good experiences. But after all of that, I have to say, we're now very seriously considering a Bike Friday touring bicycle.

And it will be a bit about the bicycle then because we'll be able to fold that bicycle up and transport it as normal luggage on planes, we'll be able to store it in hotel rooms, and we'll be able to transport it more easily on trains.
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Old 08-11-13, 10:58 AM
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Glad to see I'm not the only one carrying my spare spokes in my handlebars.
Trying to twist my Surly Ogre upside down after removing the seat-post might induce a coronary in me so I'm inclined to stick with the grip removal method for myself.
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