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1st tour complete and I need advice

Old 08-20-13, 06:23 PM
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I like free
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1st tour complete and I need advice

So I guess that this would qualify as my first long tour on my tour bike that I built 2 years ago. Did 4 days through Oregon, mileage was 66,83,75,75 and there was 22,000 ft of climbing. Anyhow with minimal gear (2 tubes, pump, 2-3 energy bars, sunscreen, but butter, etc.) which I would say weighs in about 6 lbs my bike weighs in at about 42 lbs with 3 water bottles. The mtn. bike gearing was awesome but after this endeavor I am having trouble imagining a fully loaded tour. It always seems like the last 15-20 miles was the killer. I think I could do 50-60 day in/out with no trouble but the 75-80 was a drag. What kind of distances do you guys expect when fully loaded? How many days of food do you carry? I'm guessing that a tarp and bag wouldn't add much to the mix but I worry about the food and water weight. This was a fully sagged tour so none of that was an issue this time but at some point I want to take off and do a self supported tour. Maybe It would be better when alone so I would not have to push when I got tired (I could just stop there and take a nap or crash for the evening) but on this ride we had to be in for dinner very night. Oh yeah beer to.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:55 PM
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Unless you are touring in remote areas or have special dietary needs/wants, you usually don't need to carry anything more than snack, if that. I try to plan a tour so that my overnight stops have or are near food sources. If they are not, then I shop at the last possible place before camp.

Distance that I "expect" depends on terrain.

Being able to set your own schedule certainly helps.
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Old 08-20-13, 07:15 PM
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50-60 miles in the mountains sounds perfectly reasonable to this flat-lander. On flat land (Route 66 in Illinois) I could do 75 miles a day with no problem. If you threw in a lot of climbing, I'd be lucky to do 50.

Every journal I've read shows people doing big miles in the midwest and slowing down in the Rockies and Cascades. Sounds like you're doing just fine.
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Old 08-20-13, 07:15 PM
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Avoid deadlines when touring. Takes away much of the pleasure. Avoid setting miles/day goals. Just pedal off in the morning and stop when you've had enough. If you're really goal driven, figure on 40 miles, then stop at 30, 40, 80. Whatever works that day. Talking self contained here of course. Helps if you're retired or jobless.

Go here for ideas on managing gear load.
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Old 08-20-13, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by I like free View Post
but after this endeavor I am having trouble imagining a fully loaded tour. It always seems like the last 15-20 miles was the killer. I think I could do 50-60 day in/out with no trouble but the 75-80 was a drag. What kind of distances do you guys expect when fully loaded? How many days of food do you carry?
I like shorter distances ... maybe 80 km as a long day. On Rowan's and my recent tour, I think our longest day was 60 km.

We carry food for that day, plus a bit extra just in case. At lunch, drop into a grocery store, buy the fixing for lunch, dinner for that night, breakfast for the next morning, plus cookies or fruit or something as a snack. Eat lunch then and there. Continue to ride carrying dinner, breakfast, and snacks. We might have a couple bags of ramen noodles or something as extras just in case.
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Old 08-20-13, 09:39 PM
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Same with me.
On a loaded tour I could do 85 miles per day not problem. I was 26 yrs old.
Now I do 65 miles per day loaded not problem. 85 miles hurts. I am now 49 yrs old....and sit upright.
Could be age? Maybe I just don't care about the mileage anymore.
If I find a county lake to sleep at around 6 pm and a beer store I'm done for the day.
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Old 08-20-13, 10:13 PM
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There's no rules. You may start a tour with the intent of doing daily centuries, but your body is the boss and may dictate otherwise. After reading scores of journals in which people roll along forty to sixty miles per day you may decide to plan accordingly, only to find that such distances bore you. That's fine, just ride further. It's great when you can set out on a tour without needing to have a specific end date/place, but most folks have time constraints. I suggest being conservative in your mileage plans and if you long for more you can change your route and explore off the beaten track, add some loops in somewhere or just finish early and go ride somewhere else for a few days.

For what it's worth, I tend to average over 100 miles per day with as much climbing as I can find. However, there have been times when I have had to scale back due to unexpected events, both good and bad. Even the trip that I finished with my first ever saddle sore bleeding all over my shorts was amazingly fun. It's the things that happen that weren't planned that make the trip memorable. Enjoy the ride.
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Old 08-21-13, 06:04 AM
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After a week or two on a bike, everything changes (assuming you don't get hurt). You work out all the physical issues and toughen up, and long hours on the bike become routine. (You might be doing those 70+ mile days before lunch.) If they don't, it's time to slow down or do something else.

There's really no need to add much more than the tarp and bag you mention, four pounds worth, plus pack(s). (There have been other threads recently on ultra-light and rackless touring.) A talented stealth camper can bivouac somewhere with a liter of water and a sandwich and be perfectly comfortable. On a road bike in the US, you really need to try to stay away from services for more than a day.
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Old 08-21-13, 06:46 AM
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Thanks for the advice guys! Although I probably won't get to do more than a 5 day tour for sometime, I definately plan on doing a lot more short 4-5 day'ers. One other question: what kind of distances are you sooting for beween services? It was hot out there and water seemed to be a real limiting factor. Do you carry a filter, or just load up with a gallon or two of water?
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Old 08-21-13, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by I like free View Post
Thanks for the advice guys! Although I probably won't get to do more than a 5 day tour for sometime, I definately plan on doing a lot more short 4-5 day'ers. One other question: what kind of distances are you sooting for beween services? It was hot out there and water seemed to be a real limiting factor. Do you carry a filter, or just load up with a gallon or two of water?
It depends on the route. On some tours I've carried a Camelbak in addition to my three water bottles. However, if I know that I'll be able to refill them all during the day I never have all of them full. On those days I'll usually fill up the bottles and bungee the Camelbak on my rack so that I won't have to have anything on my back. On really hot days I'll fill up the Camelbak with ice in the morning (if it's available), top it off with water, and have nice cold water for hours. On those days I don't fill up all the bottles. On tours when I might have trouble finding tap water but when I know there will be lakes or rivers, I bring a filter. It's all part of the research and planning I do before the tour. For me that's part of the fun. It gets me excited to go.
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Old 08-21-13, 07:05 AM
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How much water and whether you will beed a filter depends on a myriad of factors. Climate, including humidity. How profusely you sweat. Terrain. Just because there may not be a roadside store around doesn't necessarily mean you will not be able to get water. Many developed U.S.F.S. and BLM campgrounds have potable water. Pop in, fill up and go. Private campgrounds often have camp stores or may even let you fill your bottles for free even though you are not staying there. Schools are another potential source. Farms are another. I have utilized all of these options at one time or another.

The best way to avoid issues like this is to plan your route around sufficiently spaced services. If there is a big gap, you can always toss a few extra biottles of water in your panniers.
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Old 08-21-13, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Unless you are touring in remote areas or have special dietary needs/wants, you usually don't need to carry anything more than snack, if that. I try to plan a tour so that my overnight stops have or are near food sources. If they are not, then I shop at the last possible place before camp.

Distance that I "expect" depends on terrain.

Being able to set your own schedule certainly helps.
I have to disagree. There are plenty of places that aren't remote in the least that are difficult or impossible to find food on a daily basis. The I-29 corridor along the Missouri River is a prime example. Lots of little towns that have been hollowed out by the Helmarts at the larger cities. Carrying only a 'snack' could make for a very hungry night.

The I-84 corridor along the Columbia River on either side of the river isn't as civilized but it's not remote either. From Walla Walla to The Dalles there's not much in the way of food to be found.

Even in the civilized "East", finding food can be problematic. On this trip and this trip, there were many days where if I hadn't been carrying food, I would have been trying to figure out what parts of a bicycle are edible.
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Old 08-21-13, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by I like free View Post
Thanks for the advice guys! Although I probably won't get to do more than a 5 day tour for sometime, I definately plan on doing a lot more short 4-5 day'ers. One other question: what kind of distances are you sooting for beween services? It was hot out there and water seemed to be a real limiting factor. Do you carry a filter, or just load up with a gallon or two of water?
If you do 4 days, you might as well do 4 months or 40 years. Four days is about the point where the amount of gear you carry doesn't really differ from a longer tour.

Water is actually less of a problem than food in my experience. I don't carry a filter on a road tour but I do carry one for off-road tours. On road and off, I carry a Camelbak. If possible, I stuff it with as much ice as it will hold and add water. The ice will help keep you cool for a very long time (up to 3 hours in 100 F heat) and cold water on a hot day is about as close to perfection as you can get.

One caveat on filtering, be aware of the source you are filtering from. Here in Colorado, we have a lot of mines that drain some pretty nasty stuff into the rivers. I try to avoid filtering from the larger rivers because they collect a lot of that water. If fish swim in it, it might be okay although it also depends on the species of fish. Rainbows are delicate and can't stand too much pollution. Browns and brooks are hardier and can take more pollution but there are limits. Just be aware of tailings and old mines in the area and try not to drink too much water from a stream that has a rust colored bottom.
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Old 08-21-13, 11:19 AM
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i like free, There are a couple of scenarios that come to mind about your tour:
-There are times when one and the bike are just out of sync. It's happened to me and I can't explain it.
-The schedule of events look to be more oriented to the century rider, little touring involved, just a mileage throwdown.
-Tight schedules can cause anxiety, which robs endurance.

I think you will have a better experience on an overnighter either solo or just one companion. You'll probably carry more weight, but ride at a pace more to your liking.

Brad
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Old 08-21-13, 12:04 PM
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Loaded I try for 30-50 miles a day.....Sometimes I need to do more,don't really like it but sometimes you have to.

I carry some extra food/water at all times,bonking 20 miles for somewhere is no fun.....I might get stuck with a breakdown and need to wait for help.....I might be too tired to ride that extra 20 miles to town.....The hills might take more energy out of me than I thought.....Looks like a town on the map but it's not......I could get run off the road and lay in a ditch for awhile.

I can think of lots of reasons to carry a little extra food/water....unless your touring Los Angeles or Chicago.

Water seems extremely lightweight......when you need some and don't have any....

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Old 08-21-13, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Avoid deadlines when touring.
You forgot one thing Cyclebum...deadlines when touring isn't touring...it's tripping. You gotta be tripping out of your mind to even think of being stupid enough to do it. I've did it twice and I hate it with a passion. I'm planning my first tour, not trip, tour starting out maybe next week and I'm hoping I can stick with being sensible and not putting time pressure on me for getting to a destination. Those 120-150 mile days are getting real old. You can't enjoy anything and you can't stop and take a rest because the miles will pile up on you the next day. Even typing this is putting me in misery. Twice...twice too many.

Your daily mileage will vary depending on the shape you are in. I can easily do 100 mile days averaging 5000+ feet of climbing fully loaded. I'm in shape for it though. I've did 170 mile day last summer from east of Buffalo on into NE Ohio. I was in much better shape last summer than I am this summer.

A lot of how many miles you can do a day also depends on where you are doing the miles. If their is nothing to stop and see then the only reasons for stopping and doing less miles is to go to the bathroom or fill up a water bottle. If you are in an area with a lot of nice scenery where you want to take a lot of pics than you are going to end up doing far less mileage than if you were in someplace where their isn't any reason for doing anything but getting out of the area and into a better area.

Much of your daily distance will depend on how fast you can ride. I average 15-16 mph so if I were doing 60-75 miles a day I have a lot of time to kill during the day. I normally get up at the crack of dawn and head in for breakfast. I'm typically stealth camping so I want to get out of camp early and into camp late. I typically head out from breakfast around 8AM and hit the road. I'm normally on the road until 4-5PM sometimes even 6PM with my only stops being to fill up the water bottles and go to the bathroom, unless I find someplace interesting with nice scenery and want to stop to take pics. Simple math tells you I can do big miles each day. 8-10 hours at 15 mph with 1-2 hours off the bike...so you now figure 6-8 hours at 15 mph puts you 90-120 miles a day I can easily ride...pretty much irregardless of terrain. The flatter the terrain the faster I go. 15-16mph is in the hills. 6PM I'm typically eating supper and looking on Google Earth for where I'm going to stealth camp for the night. I generally head out to the campsite around 10PM, sometimes later.

Funny thing on the most recent trip I started out doing 70+ miles before lunch and ended up barely doing 40 miles before lunch and still doing 120-130 miles a day. All my riding was in the afternoon and not in the morning. I still don't understand that one.

A lot of how much water you will carry will depend on your route. I was down in Texas a couple of weeks ago, not on the bike as I had expected to be, and found a stretch of road I would love to ride(not what I ever expected to see in Texas, especially around the southern end of the panhandle). The trouble with the route is you have 70+ miles between towns where you can refill water bottles. Your on a state highway the entire way but you have a county school as about the only thing between the two towns. Post-Big Spring, TX on 669(canyonlands country), check it out. Gail has nothing for services other than the county school. I drove the stretch roundtrip. They were chip and sealing at the time and I think Cyclebum has something to complain about when it comes to the Texas chip and seal. Still not sure since I didn't have the bike with me but that was awfully darn big stone being used.

Food, I normally only carry one days worth. Out west I might carry more but here in the east you are typically within a days reach of some kind of gas station or grocery store where you can buy food. Worse case scenario you can always find a McDonalds/Burger King/Wendys/Whataburger, etc and grab something to eat.
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Old 08-21-13, 01:13 PM
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I'll tell you one little gem of knowledge I brought back from my tour this summer:

Everybody is different. This does not mean that one person's way of doing things is better or worse than any other persons. This most certainly goes for touring.

My preferences on how much food to carry can come down to anything between terrain (I'm not lugging that huge chocolate milk up a mountain!), a special moment (I'm MOST CERTAINLY enjoying a huge chocolate milk at the top of that pass!), weather, local cuisine, laziness, a craving, convenience, etc.

That mindset can carry to every aspect of touring. The two hardest questions I'm asked are: How far did you go each day? and What was your favorite part? Now I'm not going to lie and say that I didn't have my ups and downs (pun most definitely intended) and so there is no legitimate answer for either. I was riding with 4 other guys, all different setups, and we all made it, and we all had fun.

To answer the questions directly though:
- I carry AT LEAST enough food that if I was stranded somewhere I could at least last a day or two without going hungry (a few hundred calories)... sometimes much more. It's a safety barrier for me, and it gives me a buffer if I don't feel like buying from an overpriced market
- I set mileage based on the best place to stop for the night, but I have trouble doing less than 70 psychologically. Anything over that is golden. I like high mileage, but I've also had terrible days... if you're alone and hurting, stop. : )

I really enjoyed touring in a small group (5) and I think I would enjoy touring alone just as much. I don't like the constraints of a sag wagon on a tour. Again, it's all preference.
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Old 08-21-13, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by I like free View Post
Thanks for the advice guys! Although I probably won't get to do more than a 5 day tour for sometime, I definately plan on doing a lot more short 4-5 day'ers. One other question: what kind of distances are you sooting for beween services? It was hot out there and water seemed to be a real limiting factor. Do you carry a filter, or just load up with a gallon or two of water?
One or two more days and you'll find that it gets much easier. I find that after three days I have no issues. The first two are very hard, with the morning of the third sucky. Then later it gets better. Fourth day is awesome. Fifth day and I say I could do this for a month.

Also, no one has said it here, but that is a lot of miles in four days - even if it was flat that is a lot each day. You are normal to feel a bit whooped.

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Old 08-21-13, 08:40 PM
  #19  
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I have to say that despite the distance and time frames I would do it again. I enjoyed it for the comraderie of riding with friends and having a beer and recollecting on the days events. And I do not envy the friend (and I am forever grateful) that put togther the trip and arranged beds and food for 23 people. It was an awesome ride that I will do again but I am definately looking forward to a solo-no time frame ride in the future. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 08-21-13, 08:54 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by I like free View Post
So I guess that this would qualify as my first long tour on my tour bike that I built 2 years ago. Did 4 days through Oregon, mileage was 66,83,75,75 and there was 22,000 ft of climbing. Anyhow with minimal gear (2 tubes, pump, 2-3 energy bars, sunscreen, but butter, etc.) which I would say weighs in about 6 lbs my bike weighs in at about 42 lbs with 3 water bottles. The mtn. bike gearing was awesome but after this endeavor I am having trouble imagining a fully loaded tour. It always seems like the last 15-20 miles was the killer. I think I could do 50-60 day in/out with no trouble but the 75-80 was a drag. What kind of distances do you guys expect when fully loaded? How many days of food do you carry? I'm guessing that a tarp and bag wouldn't add much to the mix but I worry about the food and water weight. This was a fully sagged tour so none of that was an issue this time but at some point I want to take off and do a self supported tour. Maybe It would be better when alone so I would not have to push when I got tired (I could just stop there and take a nap or crash for the evening) but on this ride we had to be in for dinner very night. Oh yeah beer to.
OP; Yes +5 on what everyone else added. You did rather well.

alsol; https://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___78205

I added this beast to my kit for tours into dry areas (my bike support two larger water bottles and one normal sized small one (the Nashbar touring frame has the under down-tube mount too high up so a larger bottle put there will hit the mud flap of the fender). This 64oz beast fits into a front pannier rather well. When someplace with a freezer, the trick is to lay it on its side in the freezer with the lid off and just add enough water to reach the lip of the opening... takes maybe 20 oz in this case. In the morning top it off with cold water and cap it for nice refreshment for most of the day.

/K
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Old 08-21-13, 09:55 PM
  #21  
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For food I carry 3 or 4 candy bars or something like fig newtons, couscous, instant oatmeal, raman noodle soup, chicken stock and tea bags. This is my emergency food, I eat in restaurants or buy food from supermarkets when I can. The food I carry will keep me going for a day or two which should be more than enough to reach the next store in the places I tour. If I was going to Tibet I'd carry more. I also never leave a town or campsite with less than 2 litres of water and if you have access to ice in a motel or store put it in your water bottles and the top up with water. I will stop frequently to buy water and sodas rather than drink from my water bottles.

Mileage isn't important, but I do like to set myself a goal each day. Some days I'll ride 90 or 100 miles, others might be 40 miles. Those shorter days often come after a long day........

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Last edited by nun; 08-21-13 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 08-22-13, 06:33 AM
  #22  
andrewclaus
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The amount of water you need depends on too many variables to give an answer. Take two cyclists--an experienced athlete with a light load on a high-end road bike, and a couch potato with 50 pounds of camping gear on a mountain bike--and tell them it's 100 miles to the next water source. They will take different amounts of water!

Same with food.

Having sufficient water is way more important than food. Sometimes salt is critical, too, so don't neglect that.

Even among fit, experienced travelers, water needs vary wildly. I remember one long day in AZ with a mentor where I carried roughly half of what he did and was better hydrated at the end of the day. He carried a Steripen and used it a couple of times. I carried nothing, and drank deeply from one nice desert spring. (On longer trips I carry a set of Aqua Mira drops but seldom use it. It's worth the two ounces and $12.).

On my bike, I replace the standard bike water bottles with two one-liter soda or water bottles--more payload for less container weight. I carry one or two, depending on terrain and weather, extra 2+ liter platypus bladders in the pack for extra capacity. I generally only use them for dry camping or for an entire hot day without a water source--very seldom, but they only weigh one ounce each.

There are those who plan their trips to purposely stay away from water sources. They have different water carrying methods than normal people who plan their trip to get to water sources.
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Old 08-22-13, 07:53 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
The amount of water you need depends on too many variables to give an answer. Take two cyclists--an experienced athlete with a light load on a high-end road bike, and a couch potato with 50 pounds of camping gear on a mountain bike--and tell them it's 100 miles to the next water source. They will take different amounts of water!
I see what you are trying to say and disagree with it entirely. An experienced tourist regardless of bike will carry as much water as possible and hope that it is enough to get him to the next water source. An inexperienced tourist will carry too little and have to black tongue it to the next water source. A foolish tourist will assume that because he is "fit" and experienced, he won't need as much water and will probably be wrong.

Fitness level has absolutely nothing to do with water needs nor rate of water loss.
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Old 08-22-13, 11:12 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
I drove the stretch roundtrip. They were chip and sealing at the time and I think Cyclebum has something to complain about when it comes to the Texas chip and seal. Still not sure since I didn't have the bike with me but that was awfully darn big stone being used.
I've ridden in a lot of states. Most with some fine grade chip seal. NONE like the course stuff TDOT is so proud of. Like riding into a 5 mph headwind plus a constant hand/arm massage. It's mined in Oklahoma, chipped in Arkansas, and all shipped to Texas, least for where I live.

If you're lucky, the chips will have been down long enough to be pressed into the base, leaving a fairly smooth surface in the traffic lane. It won't last for long though as TDOT is quite aggressive about repaving. I am sure even TDOT officials do not enjoy driving on it. Very noisy and resistive.
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Old 08-22-13, 06:32 PM
  #25  
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A foolish tourist will assume that because he is "fit" and experienced, he won't need as much water and will probably be wrong.

Fitness level has absolutely nothing to do with water needs nor rate of water loss.[/QUOTE]

I qualify for a foolish tourist on more than one occation (and I'm fit and experienced). I have had to rely on the kindness of strangers and dumb luck too often. Cyclocommute is right. This is good advise.
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