Author Topic: first big bike tour  (Read 2396 times)

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Offline darren.pinkham

first big bike tour
« on: May 04, 2013, 01:46:37 pm »
Hey guys so i'm planning a long trip across canada and it will be my first long term expedition. i've been looking into different types of bikes and from what i can tell there are specific bikes for touring i was hoping for a little insight on what would be the best type of bike for mostly roads with light offroading terrain? any other advise is welcome regarding gear, camping or anything else you think may be helpfull

Thanks for your time
Darren

Offline John Nelson

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 07:18:54 pm »
This web site has a great how-to department that provides background on all your questions. I suggest you start there. Specifically on the topic of touring bike selection, start here:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/adventure-cyclist/online-features/touring-bike-buyers-guide/

Offline staehpj1

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 09:21:52 am »
You will do better if you do some research and then come back with more specific questions.  With the vague questions in your post I wouldn't know where to start.  Start by figuring out what kind of roads you plan to ride (paved, dirt, gravel?) and what you plan to do wrt lodging (motels, heavy camping and cooking, light camping and cooking, ultralight camping and cooking?).

When you have a good idea of all that, it will be easy to decide what to ride and what baggage is needed.

Offline darren.pinkham

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2013, 05:21:32 pm »
Sweet thanks a lot guys i'll post again when i've worked out a couple details

Offline staehpj1

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 05:54:11 pm »
Sweet thanks a lot guys i'll post again when i've worked out a couple details
Great.  I look forward to hearing from you as you have questions.

Sorry I couldn't provide better answers yet.

Offline CycleOne

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  • "I live where I am. This is where I slumber."
Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2013, 04:49:30 pm »
Darren,

I'm no expert, but have been preparing for a similar trip for the past year. Here's some stuff I've found.

Bikes: All moderately priced, but are still among the best touring bikes.
-Novara Safari - Bike I currently own. 'Mustache' handlebars are amazing. Handles weight great. Can get 42mm tires for good road/trail durability. Disc brake compatible. Comes ready to ride with a back rack and strap in peddles.
-Novara Radonee - Wins a bunch of awards each year I'm told.
-Surly Long Haul Trucker - Many have said this is the go-to touring bike. Shifting mechanism is a bit weird for me.

Bags:
-Ortlieb - Probably the go to for pannier bags. A bit pricey, but you need good bags. Water-proof. Can clean with just water. Simple, but often the fancy attachments other bags provide just get in the way or break. Note: Some people opt to pull a trailer versus the whole pannier bag setup. This will save some wear and tear on your bike tires, but only seems feasible for road riding. I don't have any experience with trailers though so maybe someone can chime in.

Camping Gear:
-Sleeping Bag: All preference I suppose. Down is lighter, but doesn't hold temperature if wet. Synthetic is heavier, but isn't effected as much when wet.
-Sleeping Pad: Q-core Big Agnes is a great pad. Good for side-sleepers. Pricey, but you'll want something good. You don't want to start your 100 mile day with a sore back.
-Tent: Something light. Make sure there is room for you and your gear inside. Also big rain flies are nice as it allows for a covered area outside your tent for shoes and cooking.
-Air Pillow: Something not only comfortable, but with a soft outer shell. This provides comfort and grip to prevent sliding around. Otherwise your forced to jam your pillow into the hood of your sleeping bag, which I've had mixed results with. I'd recommend the Cocoon brand of pillows. Note: Some people just stuff a sack full of cloths for a pillow. This will save you some weight, but I wouldn't risk it for a cramped neck.
-Camping Chair: Most would say this is a waste of space and weight, but again comfort is king! The more relaxed you are with your down time the better your recovery is for the next days ride. I can give you some recommendations if needed.
-Tarp: This is an idea I might try for my trip. Just a light-weight sheet of tent material that can be thrown on the ground if needed. Prevents dirt from getting on everything.
-Bear bag: Seems like a must for where you'll be traveling.
-Stove/Pots/Cookware: If you'll be cooking meals for yourself.

I'm sure I've left much unsaid, but this hopefully helps!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 04:52:25 pm by CycleOne »

Offline bobbys beard

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 08:14:49 am »
@cycleone-  a matter of preference of course, but that's a LOT of unnecessary equipment. i wouldn't be so concerned with the weight, but the space you have is the big issue. you need space for water, which doesn't squash down.

plus, you have to pack and unpack every day, which is a chore and sometimes you just need to set off quickly and early.  there are many easy, cheaper and efficient ways to find the comfort you're looking for.

your panniers make for a comfy dry place to sit if you really need one. and a half body length of bubble wrap makes a great sleeping pad, while taking less valuable space.

you're absolutely right that comfort makes for a better trip, but all that excess gear will prove annoying once you toughen up a bit to life outdoors.


Offline indyfabz

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2013, 03:55:17 pm »
Other than the camp chair, I don't see anything out of the ordinary item-wise, although the Q-Core is inordinantly heavy

No way I am sitting on one of my Ortliebs, especially if it's muddy. There might be hard items in them like a pump and tools. And using one for a chair necessitates taking it off the rack, which many times I don't bother with. I bring a 12 oz. plastic tarp. Great for two people to sit on and can be used as a shelter to cook under in wet weather. The tarp goes on the rear rack under the tent so it takes up no pannier space.

Never do I unpack all my gear on any given day. I take out what I need for the day/night and leave the rest packed. If I need to get out quickly the next morning, I a make sure I am prepare the night before by making sure I have packed everything I won't need the next morning.

Don't think a half a body legth of bubble warps is going to cut it when it's literally freezing out, especially for sometone like me who is 6' 2" and over 200 lbs. I will stick with my Therma Rest Pro Lite 3 or Big Agnes Air Core.

My GF uses a Cocoon pillow. Takes all of 3 minutes to pack up, weighs 3.5 oz. and is extremely compact. I simply stuff my sleeping bag sack with the clothes I will wear the next day and cover it with my towel.

Unless you are riding long stretches with no services, how much water do you need to carry?

Offline staehpj1

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2013, 04:41:21 pm »
My GF uses a Cocoon pillow. Takes all of 3 minutes to pack up, weighs 3.5 oz. and is extremely compact.

Definitely try before you buy.  I was ready to buy, but hated it when I tried it.  I found the Exped pillow much nicer.

Unless you are riding long stretches with no services, how much water do you need to carry?
Yes.  Even when you need to carry extra it typically does not have to fit in a pannier any way.  If the pannier has flaps tucking bottles under there works well.  Also for rare needs I have stuffed a couple quart bottles in jersey pockets.  I wouldn't do it on a regular basis, but it was OK in a pinch.

Also a 2.4 ounce Sea to Summit backpack or a 11 ounce REI Flash 18 can be used for overflow food and water especially for short sections.

Offline bobbys beard

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2013, 06:44:28 pm »
i've been sitting on my ortliebs for 3 years. they make a great seat and the mud washes off.

a half body length of bubble wrap is still half your body length regardless of how tall you might be ;) you don't need it for your legs. i've camped many times in minus freezing and stormy conditions and i find bubble wrap is amazing under a down bag. plus it weighs nothing, packs very small and costs very little.

i guess i camp differently to some. i wouldn't consider taking most of those things, but as i said it's a matter of preference :)

Offline CycleOne

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Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 04:00:33 am »
@bobbys beard  -  Yes, yes. My setup will make most minimalist squeal. I've never tried to let weight bother me and space for my camp gear isn't a big deal either since I pack it all into a compression sack that I strap to my back rack. With four panniers this leaves quite a bit of storage. I carry three water bottles so extra is usually not needed.

I would have never thought to use my ortlieb bag as a seat. I can see that working well with some setups. Just not mine. My bags are rarely empty. A tarp idea appeals to me because of the amount of space it can cover. Not only will I stay dry/clean, but so will all of my other gear I fancy to place on the ground. But as you've all mentioned, it's all preference. I imagine the minimalist approach is more rewarding at the end of the day, but my comfort needs require the Big Agnes and camping chair! The chair by the way doesn't weigh a terrible amount (23 ounces) and wraps nicely around my other gear in the compression sack. It is however an untested idea so we shall see how it works out.

@indyfabz  -  You said you weigh 200lbs? Just curious what bike you ride and with how much gear? I weigh around the same amount at 195lbs. My Novara Safari has a stated weight limit of 250lbs. A limit I usually exceed by 50 or so pounds. Sometimes I wonder if I'm pushing it a bit too much. Hasn't shown any signs of stress though after 4,200 miles.

Offline bogiesan

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 12:30:15 pm »
Hey guys so i'm planning a long trip across canada and it will be my first long term expedition. i've been looking into different types of bikes and from what i can tell there are specific bikes for touring i was hoping for a little insight on what would be the best type of bike for mostly roads with light offroading terrain? any other advise is welcome regarding gear, camping or anything else you think may be helpfull
Thanks for your time
Darren

My advice to virgins is to save up and then pay for a week-long, fully supported bike tour event. It is a cheap way to decide if bicycle adventuring is for you. And you can test your stamina, your head, your bike, your routines and your gear under conditions that have little risk of disaster.

The AC site is loaded with all the information you could possibly need and links to additional resources. Visit your local libary and check out everything they have on the topic.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline darren.pinkham

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2013, 07:40:06 am »
hey guys thanks for all the great advice

Offline bbruno8753@aol.com

Re: first big bike tour
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2014, 04:45:41 pm »
Other than the camp chair, I don't see anything out of the ordinary item-wise, although the Q-Core is inordinantly heavy

No way I am sitting on one of my Ortliebs, especially if it's muddy. There might be hard items in them like a pump and tools. And using one for a chair necessitates taking it off the rack, which many times I don't bother with. I bring a 12 oz. plastic tarp. Great for two people to sit on and can be used as a shelter to cook under in wet weather. The tarp goes on the rear rack under the tent so it takes up no pannier space.

Never do I unpack all my gear on any given day. I take out what I need for the day/night and leave the rest packed. If I need to get out quickly the next morning, I a make sure I am prepare the night before by making sure I have packed everything I won't need the next morning.

Don't think a half a body legth of bubble warps is going to cut it when it's literally freezing out, especially for sometone like me who is 6' 2" and over 200 lbs. I will stick with my Therma Rest Pro Lite 3 or Big Agnes Air Core.

My GF uses a Cocoon pillow. Takes all of 3 minutes to pack up, weighs 3.5 oz. and is extremely compact. I simply stuff my sleeping bag sack with the clothes I will wear the next day and cover it with my towel.

Unless you are riding long stretches with no services, how much water do you need to carry?