Author Topic: do I have too much crap?  (Read 4616 times)

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Offline sspeed

do I have too much crap?
« on: April 19, 2013, 10:58:12 pm »
I decided I'd start loading the bike up more on my ride to and from work to get ready for my 11 day tour in June.  I went about 3/4 loaded today.  I was missing just my tent (5 lbs), sleeping pad (2.5 lbs), sleeping bag (1.5 lbs) and food and miscellaneous toiletries.

I weighed my bike tonight, 63 pounds!  I'm guessing it will be more up around 80 pounds with food and tent and such.  For being 63 pounds it really didn't ride that bad or even that slow.  I think my hour commute only took a couple minutes more than usual.  I guess I'm ok with the weight, I just had no idea it would be that much.

Was anyone weighed their bike fully loaded for commuting?  Is there a sweet spot to shoot for?  Obviously I know carrying extra crap just for the sake of carrying extra crap is not a good idea and the lighter I go the happier I'll be to a certain extent.  That said I want to cook (stainless pots) and be comfortable (sleeping pad) and such as well.  I guess I could leave out stuff like the first aid kit, etc.

For the ride to work I'll probably just keep loading it up heavier and heavier to get ready, no harm in doing that, it's only 12 miles of moderate hills.  It will be nice to be "lighter" come tour time.

Offline John Nelson

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 11:18:43 pm »
Normally, I would say that if you ask this question, the answer would be "yes".

Although 80 pounds is probably above average, assuming you are including everything including three full water bottles and your pump and all your tools and spare parts, it's not outrageous. Load it up with the rest of the weight and take it for a 50-mile ride, including up and down all the biggest hills in your area. That will tell you if it is too much.

Lots of people like to go light, but it's not necessary to do so. If you want to eliminate some weight, most people take at least twice the clothes they need, so that's the first place to look.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2013, 10:23:33 am »
Like John says, if you ask this question, the answer is "yes."

Adventure Cycling started weighing all the loaded bikes that came through last year.  IIRC the "champion" was around 120 pounds.  So you're well under that.  The average load, which most people weigh, seems to come out around 35 +/- 10 pounds.  My bike is 32 pounds "naked" (with saddlebag, fenders and racks); if your bike is a similar weight, your load is around "normal" (assuming there is such a thing among people who are so abnormal that they go for long tours on a bicycle).

Do you have what you need?  Have you made contingency plans for an emergency?  Do you have enough for comfort that you won't go ape on the trip?  Have you taken into account that you can probably resupply within two or three days via mail order and express shipping?  After you've gotten that far, your load is adequate.  You should forget about it and go ride.

Offline bogiesan

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2013, 09:29:55 am »
The topics of loads and equipment lists come up often. You can spend several happy hours researching them here and I suggest you take a looka thte ultralight backpacking and bike camping communities. Wehn I was backapcking, I went from a load of 45+ pounds to less than 20 and still felt secure. It was a tranformational event, completely changing the nature of the sport.
Minimalism comes at a price, though. You might need some expensive replacement gear (a sil-nylon tarp and bivvy bag instead of a tent, for instance) and you need to practice under a variety of weather conditions to make sure you can rely on your equipment and your competency to keep you warm and dry.

You can also forget all the numbers and just take off. People do that all the time and they enjoy themselves tremendously. 

For training, check your local charity bike event calendars. Even if you don't sign up for the rides, you can download their route maps and they can make excellent training runs because they are always loops and usually take interesting backroads. Charity routes tend to avoid hills, though.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline sspeed

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2013, 05:14:25 pm »
Thanks for all the replies.

I weighed the bike alone today and it's 36 lbs. That's with stainless fenders, front and rear racks and a dynamo hub.

So I guess 27 lbs isn't awful for two sets of panniers and a large handle bar bag loaded.  That said I'm not at 100% load yet either on the list I had.

My typical ride to work route is a good test of weight.  It gains about 800 feet over 10.5 miles.  I've also done lots of century days, although on a nice light road bike.  I'm not so worried about the fitness portion of it, I just don't want to be plugging along at 9mph hauling a bunch of stuff I don't need.  Everytime I go out on the road bike and see the huge speed difference I start thinking I have too much stuff on the touring bike, I have to change my mindset more than anything.

Offline John Nelson

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2013, 05:53:36 pm »
My typical ride to work route is a good test of weight.  It gains about 800 feet over 10.5 miles.
Wow, where do you live? 800 feet over 10.5 miles fits my definition of "flat". If your tour will also be flat, then I agree that your ride is a good test. But if your tour is somewhere more hilly, make sure you do a test under tour conditions.

Offline sspeed

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2013, 06:22:29 pm »
I live in Denver.  Calculated out that's only a cumulative average of 1.4% grade over 10.5 miles, but it's not a sustained climb and has some flat sections?  Most of the actual "hills" on my ride to work are 4-6% when I calculate them out, which I was hoping were good tests.  The one bummer is that I don't have the up and down rollers on the ride that you find in the midwest.

You can see the elevation profile at the link below.  I was thinking that for cruising across Nebraska that heading up Lookout Mountain with my panniers might be overkill and not quite the same.  I want rollers vs sustained climbing for the type of riding that will be.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/295157214

I planned on riding east out of Denver to Strasburg a few times for some overnight camping, and also down to Chatfield for some overnight camping.  The road to Strasburg by Aurora Reservoir has some nice rollers.  I rode that with a friend when he did his TransUSA trip.

Honestly, my biggest concern is that my typical rides to work and back are 10 or 12 miles each way.  I'm only putting in 24 miles a day at present, 34 if I get crazy and take a different route.  Sometimes I feel like I hit a wall right past the 25 mile mark as that's what my body is used to.  I've done 150 in a day before, but that was a long time ago and my typical rides were 60 to 80 miles at a pop before doing it.  I know the solution to that is to get my butt out there and ride.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 06:33:52 pm by sspeed »

Offline staehpj1

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2013, 07:41:26 am »
I weighed the bike alone today and it's 36 lbs. That's with stainless fenders, front and rear racks and a dynamo hub.

It isn't heavy for what it is.  For heavy touring it is probably pretty average.  On the other hand it is certainly possible to go a lot lighter.  With careful packing I think I could get below that for my fully loaded bike.  I have come within a pound or so of doing that including cooking and camping gear, but not counting food, water, or stove fuel.

So I guess 27 lbs isn't awful for two sets of panniers and a large handle bar bag loaded.  That said I'm not at 100% load yet either on the list I had.

If 27 pounds were really your gear weight including panniers, your weight might be below average for what I typically see people carrying.  That said when folks say what they think their weight will be, they often seem to wind up with another 15-20 pounds or more of misc. clothing and gear items creeping into the bags when actually packing.

Offline nomad

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2013, 08:06:47 pm »
Hills are definitely the issue.  On flat ground, extra weight really just stabilizes your forward momentum, although it squashes your tires down a bit more, causing extra rolling resistance.  I even think the extra momentum helps cutting through wind drag, but that may be subjective, idk.  Going up hills is where you notice weight, but then when you're going down them, the extra momentum is an asset.  Beware of extra stress on tires, wheels, and spokes.  A cargo trailer takes the stress off your bike but adds an extra wheel's worth of rolling resistance. 

Offline litespeed

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2013, 12:09:47 am »
My total touring weight - bike and everything on it - is about 75 lbs. I pack no cooking gear and usually no food - just the occasional subway. Tent, sleeping bag and Thermarest pad are in a small duffle crossways on the rear rack. My Ortlieb panniers are only partially full except for the front left one (clothing and toiletries) that goes to the bathouse with me. I am not a real weight watcher. My tool bag is about the size of a football and, I admit, contains a few things that I have never used but you never know...

Offline newfydog

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2013, 02:40:42 am »
We ride cook and camp on the great divide with rear panniers only.  Amazing how much weight is saved by cutting out the front racks and panniers.  Go through your " crap" and eliminated half of it.  Replace what is left with really lightweight stuff.  You'll enjoy being a rider, not a mule!

Offline sspeed

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2013, 11:22:23 am »
Thanks for all the replies, I think I could easily get everything in to my T-42 rear panniers.  I have about everything loaded and front and rear panniers only seem half full.  I also don't like how much I have to watch the bike in corners with the fronts on.  I was thinking I'd need the fronts for the extra food I'd need on my first few days, but maybe I'll try to keep them off.

Offline John Nelson

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2013, 01:27:51 pm »
I also don't like how much I have to watch the bike in corners with the fronts on.
Watch for what?

Offline sspeed

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2013, 02:05:14 pm »
Scraping my panniers on the ground when you lean it over too much... :)

Offline John Nelson

Re: do I have too much crap?
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2013, 02:39:27 pm »
Scraping my panniers on the ground when you lean it over too much... :)
Has that actually happened to you?