Author Topic: Need advice for my trip this summer  (Read 3605 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline zzzz

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2013, 03:50:31 pm »
Well Tim, I'm sure you didn't mean to but it looks like your post opened up a can of worms on the normally staid and friendly ACA forum.

Must be the short cold days are making everyone cranky.

Pete

Offline DaveB

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #31 on: December 08, 2013, 06:06:43 pm »
This is not an analogous situation at all.
Maybe, but it is closer than your Everest comment.
I never made any comment about Everest or anything like it.  Please quote me correctly.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2013, 06:31:08 pm »
This is not an analogous situation at all.
Maybe, but it is closer than your Everest comment.
I never made any comment about Everest or anything like it.  Please quote me correctly.
My apologies, I am sorry for attributing that to you.  The statement was made but not by you.

Offline BobG

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2013, 10:04:04 pm »
Tim-

I think that any bikes you come up with will do the job. The wider the gear range the better. Mountain bikes with lighter tires should work just fine. Road bikes pulling trailers should work fine. Who keeps up with who probably will depend more of the fitness of each individual.

My first extended bike trip (over 2 weeks) was in 1968 when a high school buddy and I rode from Arlington VA to Land 'o Lakes WI. We had no bicycle travel experience aside from membership in our high school youth hostelling club which involved short overnight bike trips on the C&O canal and an occcasional week trip of hostelling in the PA Dutch country.

We just did it. There was no Adventure Cycling Association or Bikecentennial to go to for information. There was no internet with multiple discussion boards to ask others how to do it. We used whatever 10 speed bicycles we had. (10 speed then meant 2 chainrings up front and 5 cogs in the rear). I think I was riding a rather high end Schwinn Paramount with sew up racing tires, a Campagnolo racing crankset and a 14-24 freewheel. My buddy probably had a low end 10 speed Gitane or Frejus. That's all you could find those days in the DC area. We had a blast!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 10:32:13 pm by BobG »

Offline pptouring

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2013, 03:42:40 am »
Your advice reminds me of something.  People win the lottery about everyday.  You apparently would recommend the lottery as a retirement method and a way to accumulate wealth for a living.  Of course people who know how the world works, would not recommend the lottery as a financial strategy.  Lottery and waking up tomorrow and riding across the US with no experience.  Pretty similar to me.

What in heck are you talking about? Are you serious? Tim (if you're still with us), don't listen to the overzealous worry wart naysayer "bike touring" experts. You and your mates will be fine, get some bikes and gear and go have a great adventure. You'll be fine, just like the 1000s of others without any experience were. Expect some rough days, but in the end you will sit back, laugh and have some great stories.

And RussSeaton.... you know what they say about assuming? We do not play the lottery. We believe in the old school methods, like saving, living within your means, being debt free... etc. Anyway ya'll have a great day, we're going for a bike ride now in some pretty crappy German weather. :-)

Offline DaveB

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2013, 08:29:38 am »
OK, the responses here have tended to be polarized as:

A) Don't do it with out a LOT more experience or you will be sorry.  You have no idea what you are getting into. 
B) Sure, jump in with both feet and you will be fine. I (or someone I know) did it with no prior experience and had a great time.

I think a reasonable approach is something in the middle.  First, find suitable bikes and get some significant saddle time before you go.   You have the time before your planned departure to get into riding condition and become familiar with the bikes and minor repairs.  This will make the trip, particularly the early part of it, a lot more enjoyable.   

I agree the type of bike isn't essential and anything decently made and with adequate gearing will suffice.  Used or low to middle line new bike shop quality bikes will do fine if they fit.  And yes, the guys on MTBs will be inherently slower than the guys on road bike.  So what?  Keep together or regroup frequently.

Let us know how this develops.


Offline staehpj1

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2013, 08:48:36 am »
OK, the responses here have tended to be polarized as:

A) Don't do it with out a LOT more experience or you will be sorry.  You have no idea what you are getting into. 
B) Sure, jump in with both feet and you will be fine. I (or someone I know) did it with no prior experience and had a great time.

I think a reasonable approach is something in the middle.

I think all three are valid and reasonable choices that can lead to a good outcome.  Which one best suits any individual depends on their personal style.

Offline tswhosonfirst

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2013, 12:05:15 pm »
Sorry for not responding in a while.

Thanks everyone for being interested in this forum and willing to help but I did not intend to start an argument.

I agree with both sides. This does seem like a rash decision, but we are willing to make mistakes and learn, and we are dedicated to learning as much as we can over these next few month including doing some short tours. We probably won’t be as prepared as many of you because you have been doing this for many years but we think we will be able to do it.

I thank everyone for the support you have given. Knowing that people have done it with even less preparation is uplifting, but we are not going to expect the same result for ourselves; we will prepare as much as we can.

If you guys could expand on some examples of what a good cheap bike would be and what the concerns would be that would be great. Getting bikes is one of our main concerns because we are planning on heading south for a week during christmas break to try things out.

If we were to go the route of mountain/hybrid/road bike what would be all the changes that we would need to make to make them road worthy and about how much would that cost? Even with all these changes, what would be the disadvantages of this rather than a touring bike? If the disadvantages outweigh the cost then we will focus on touring bikes and that will save us a lot of time in research and planning.

One of the bikes that I am really thinking about is a hybrid. Many of them have the same gearing as a touring bike. They have stronger wheels than a regular road bike (would a 32 spoke wheel be ok), and are supposed to be pretty comfortable. Am I wrong with any of these points?

Any other advice would be great too!

I am glad that there are many people interested in helping me, but the back and forth debates really are not aiding in my trip planning. I would really love to be able to say that you guys have really helped my friends and prepare for our trip.

Thanks again,
Tim

Offline John Nelson

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2013, 03:09:35 pm »
If you guys could expand on some examples of what a good cheap bike would be and what the concerns would be that would be great.

I'm not going to give you a specific bike, but I'll tell you what to look for in any bike you find:
  • Make sure the bike fits well. Nothing is more important that this. Some things can be reasonably adjusted, e.g., stem length, seat height, but don't force a bike too far.
  • Make sure the bike has low enough gearing to get you and your load up a long, steep hill at the end of a long, hard day. This is perhaps the second most important thing. Even though you can walk up a hill if necessary, you don't want to be doing this for every hill.
  • It would be best if the rear triangle and fork spacing could accommodate wider tires, 28mm at least, 35mm better.
  • 32 spokes is enough, especially if you don't pack too heavy. 36 would be better, but 32 is enough.
  • If you plan to use panniers, especially if you have big feet, worry about your heels hitting the panniers. So look for a bike with a long chain stay (from the pedal axle to the rear hub). You don't want to have to push your panniers back too far as that will tend to unweight the front wheel and make the steering dangerous. If you do need to push the rear panniers back, you'll want to counterbalance that with front panniers.
  • Look for a bike with enough fitting points to mount racks. Ideally the bike would have holes to mount to on the fork, on the top of the seat stays, and at the front and rear hub. If you don't have these fitting points, you can use a "P" clamp, but I wouldn't do that on a carbon part of the bike (e.g., many forks and some seat stays are carbon).
  • Look for handlebars that offer a variety of hand positions. Drop bars are considered ideal, but if you have flat bars, you can add various extensions. Switching from straight bars to drop bars is feasible, but probably expensive.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2013, 03:33:40 pm »
One of the bikes that I am really thinking about is a hybrid. Many of them have the same gearing as a touring bike. They have stronger wheels than a regular road bike (would a 32 spoke wheel be ok), and are supposed to be pretty comfortable. Am I wrong with any of these points?

It depends on how light you pack.

YMMV, but I am not a fan of hybrids.

I recommend touring bike if you will pack moderately light to very heavy.  I like the Windsor Touring for that if on a tight budget or just frugal.  I rode one of these as did my two companions on the Trans America.  They worked out well and were inexpensive.

If packing light to moderately light a cyclocross bike can work well.  A touring bike can work here too.  A race bike could possibly work, but wouldn't be ideal unless maybe you use a trailer.

If packing very light to ultralight I'd recommend a road bike.  Endurance models work well, but I have been happy with sportier models as well.  I did the Southern Tier from San Diego to Florida with a 1990ish Cannondale crit race bike and was very happy with it.  I was camping and cooking, but going ultralight and carrying something like 15 pounds.  Packing that light apparently isn't for most folks though.  On the up side bikes of that vintage can be found dirt cheap.  They would need lower gearing than they typically came with though.  Also they do not all take racks easily.

I wrote up journals for my trips and also wrote a few articles that might be of use.  Check them out at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/directory/?o=JQ&user=staehpj1&v=13
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 03:35:41 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2013, 03:56:21 pm »
Tim, part of what you're seeing is honest disagreement.  If you want a single approach, ask one person.  Otherwise, you run into the situation first described (I think) by Mark Twain: A man with one watch always knows precisely what time it is.  A man with two watches is never quite sure.  When you post an open-ended question in an on-line forum, you're likely to get any number of responses from some of the thousands of people who've ridden that TransAm with any number of approaches, from piling stuff on a trailer pulled by a mountain bike, to training for a year and then putting an extra pair of gloves into the saddle bag with a credit card for lodging.  Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to integrate all the disparate advice and come up with your own approach.

(Another part of the discussion is probably winter storms across the country keeping many people off their bikes all weekend.  You get that, too, when you ask a question on an on-line-forum.)

Offline rabbitoh

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #41 on: December 09, 2013, 04:01:12 pm »
G'day Tim,

I can give you advice specific to the Grand Canyon, having cycled to both the South & North rims last year.

I cycled the ACA's Grand Canyon connector out of Wickenburg, so south to north. I deliberately planned my ride so that I would be at the North Rim on 15th May, which is generally when that road (Route 67) in, opens, although I believe that this date is not necessarily set in stone and is dependent on weather conditions.

It is beautiful riding and of course the scenery is magnificent especially along Route 64 between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View & all the way between Desert View to Cameron to Jacob Lake to the North Rim.

I know you will enjoy your ride and best of luck.

Dennis

Good Cycling
Dennis

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #42 on: December 09, 2013, 09:05:20 pm »


If you guys could expand on some examples of what a good cheap bike would be and what the concerns would be that would be great. Getting bikes is one of our main concerns because we are planning on heading south for a week during christmas break to try things out.



Thanks again,
Tim

I would recommend any of the below. You're liable to find something from this list on Craig's over the next few weeks.  You can get an excellent bike for under $400.

Bridgestone RB-T
Bridgestone T-500
Bridgestone T-700
Centurion Pro Tour 15
Centurion Elite GT 15
Fuji Touring Series IV
Fuji Touring Series V
Kuwahara Caravan
Lotus Odyssey
Miyata 610
Miyata 1000
Nishiki Continental
Nishiki Cresta GT
Nishiki International (note, not all years are full CrMo or full touring)
Nishiki Riviera GT
Nishiki Seral
Novara Randonee
Panasonic PT-3500
Panasonic PT-5000
Panasonic Pro Touring
Panasonic Touring Deluxe
Raleigh Alyeska
Raleigh Kodiak
Raleigh Portage
Raleigh Super Tourer
Raleigh Touring 18
Schwinn Paramount P15-9 Tourer
Schwinn Passage
Schwinn Super Sport, 1981
Schwinn Voyageur/Voyageur SP
Specialized Expedition
Specialized Sequoia
Trek 520
Trek 620
Trek 720
Univega Gran Turismo
Univega Specialisima

Sent from my HTCONE using Tapatalk


Offline zzzz

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #43 on: December 09, 2013, 09:22:56 pm »
Before you head south, go over to this place and see if they can help you out:

http://www.therecyclery.org/

pm

Offline zzzz

Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2013, 12:49:44 pm »
sometimes what we seek is right under our nose.

http://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=11649.0

It's a 21" frame and the post says 5'7-5'10". That should really be more like 5'6" to 5'8" although I suspect the current owner is 5'10" with how much seat post is showing in the picture. It can also be the right size for someone 5'10" if their legs are short compared to the rest of their body. And if it is a little on the small side, you can still ride it, it's better than the other way around.