Author Topic: I got halfway there when...  (Read 16080 times)

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Offline JimF

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2005, 10:57:38 am »
I recently ended my first long-distance, loaded tour (3000+ miles). One bit of advice: consider finding companions. The right folks can make the trip more memorable. And, if you have a major problem, they can make the difference between disaster and managing a successful solution.


Offline dfege

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2005, 07:54:55 pm »
Crescendo, just read the thread of e-mails and you have already received a ton of great advice.  Let me confirm some and add some.  I have done many self-contained tours in the U.S., Europe and New Zealand.  Here are some of the things I have learned.

1.  I agree with the comment about a mirror.  I can't believe that more people don't recommend it. In my mind, a mirror is seoncd only to a helmet as it concerns safety. You can especially see situations occuring before they happen, like a semi coming from behind and an RV coming in front of you, and little space for you on the road in this scenario.  I have gotten off the road several times to let things pass.

2. Cycling in the rain.  Staying warm is the most important in the rain.  Gore Tex is the best I have found in a cold rain. In a heavy downpour I have found my state of mind to be my worst enemy, just thinking about all my gear getting wet, and sleeping in a wet tent in a damp sleeping bag.  When this happens, I just resolve to pay to stay in a motel where I can get a warm shower, and know that I will be warm.  It makes such a difference during the ride knowing I will be completely dry in a few hours.  And I agree with the comment about fenders. It can make a big difference in an all-day drizzle.

3.  For repairs, first take duck tape.  That can fix a lot of problems in the short run.  Second, I cut out relevant chapters from bicycle repair books, because I am such a klutz at bicycle repair.  I obviously can change a flat, but I can never change a spoke without refering to the book.  Also, take extra spokes and make sure you have the right lengths.  And tools, including a chain link remover.  Check with your bike store for a suggested list of tools.

4.  No one has talked about gear.  You ususally get what you pay for, so I think this is one place to spend the money.  You can go to other forums for ideas and opinions about panneirs.  REI and Adventure Cycling have good deals on high-quality panneirs, but they don't have a full selection.  Also make sure that you have high quality racks in the front and back.  Nothing like a rack bending and breaking in the middle of nowhere.

5.  And you didn't mention the kind of bike you're cycling. For what you're planning, I would defintely buy a touring bike, although others may have different opinions.  REI has a decent low price touring bike at aboub $600-700.  At about $1000-$1200, Trek, Cannondale have good bikes.  I have a Trek520 and it is an awesome touring bike.  At about $2500 you move into another class.  Waterford, for example, has a fabulous touring bike at this price.

Sorry to be so long-winded.  Hope this helps.


Offline Crescendo

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2005, 10:47:50 am »
Thank you all for your great advice. I did mention my bike in a previous post--it's a Specialized Sirrus Sport. I really like the bike, but I'm not sure how it rates as a touring bike. I've been told that the disc brakes mean I'll only be able to use a seatpost rack that will support about 40 lbs, and I don't know if that's going to cut it. Would I be better off with a trailer? I can travel pretty light, but in general, how much does your gear weigh? What would I have to do to the bike to make it more tour ready? Will I have to get different rims to better support the additional weight? I'd rather not have to go out and buy another bike if I can avoid it.


Offline JohnLee

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2005, 02:30:11 pm »
Channing makes first class racks... First class customer service.
Not cheap, but you'll get more than you pay for.

http://www.oldmanmountain.com/index.htm



Offline dfege

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2005, 05:46:00 pm »
You're right.  Sorry I missed what type of bike you have.  I dont' know enough about the Sirrus Sport and whether and what kinds of racks it can support. In addition, you'll need to check what panniers that racks support.  Not all panniers fit all racks.  You'll just have to check with your bike store, and see what they say.  I would also check if the bike can take a front rack. Front racks really helps to balance the weight...I have never weighed the gear I take on a self-contained bike trip, but I have always suspected it was between 30 and 40 pounds.  Others travel much lighter, but I don't know how they do it.  If you e-mail at dfege@aol.com, I will send you a list of what my wife and I pack on our tours.  Hope this helps.


Offline dfege

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2005, 05:48:48 pm »
Sorry, I forgot to say anything about trailers.  I have never tried a trailer, but I certainly see enough of them on the road.  I would again check with the bike store about trailers.  That may a a better option for the Cirrus Sport.  Tourist can debate for days about the pros and cons of panniers vs. trialers. They both seem to work.


Offline OmahaNeb

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2005, 02:07:27 pm »
I have both a trailer and front and rear panniers.  I seem to like the set-up that I am not currently touring with.  If I am touring with the trailer, I like the panniers better.  If I am touring with the panniers, I like the trailer better.


Offline Crescendo

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2005, 08:29:58 pm »
"I seem to like the set-up that I am not currently touring with."


That is exactly what will happen to me!  :p


Offline back-of-thepack

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2005, 11:11:19 pm »
aside from the already mentioned mult-use tools, mirror, shorts etc.. . .I would add a "candle lantern" to the list.  It requires no batteries  and  it provides just enough light at your camp-site for writing in your journal and/or exploring the area.  It weighs next to nothing & takes up very little space.  I wouldn't travel without it.


Offline ATSFfan

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2005, 01:12:58 pm »
I would also add to the comment made about the mindset in doing a solo tour. I've done three (two short ones, and last year did the Southern Tier (3,100 miles)) - the first few days psychologically require a real change, esp. if you're camping. You lose the nice bed, well-stocked kitchen and change that to a tent, sleeping bag, and a few cans of soup and fruit. Once you get over that though, days on the road and nights under the stars become a long-remembered experience. I sit here at work typing this and wish I was out in the middle of nowhere enjoying the scenery at 12MPH.


Offline fifthdown

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2005, 02:41:18 am »
Experience! You need it. Do a number of 2 to 4 hundred mile trips before you do the big one. Every small tour has taught me lessons about biking and about me.  I find out what I like, what I need, what I can do, and also, how to survive. There is a big difference between: miserable conditions knowing that your trip is coming to a close soon vs. miserable conditions knowing you have 2700 miles to go. You need many experiences to be able to know how to handle and enjoy your ride.  This forum can be helpfull but you need to have experience.


Offline bengarland

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2006, 06:05:30 pm »
I would also recommend looking at getting an Xtracycle add-on for your bike. I just ordered mine, so don't have any direct experience yet (but will add to the forum once I get some miles with it)... but from everything I have read, including NOT ONE single bad review, they are amazing and 100 times better than using a trailer.

It seems like if you're touring around the country, a trailer would be just one more thing to break. Plus it seems like it would be annoying to have it bouncing around behind you. With an Xtracycle conversion, it's all part of your bike.

Check it out:

http://www.xtracycle.com/


Ben


Offline bicyclerider

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2006, 10:25:41 pm »
I live in Sarasota florida. I've ridden solo across the southern tier and I'm planning a tour with aca in 2007 across the southern tier again.
I'm traing with a bob trailer. so email me.
Jean Andre Vallery

Jean Andre Vallery
www.bicyclejournals.net
Sarasota Florida
Jean Andre Vallery
Jacumba, California

Offline DaveB

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2006, 12:04:50 pm »
I would also recommend looking at getting an Xtracycle add-on for your bike. I just ordered mine, so don't have any direct experience yet (but will add to the forum once I get some miles with it)... but from everything I have read, including NOT ONE single bad review, they are amazing and 100 times better than using a trailer.

I looked at the web site you referenced and would have serious reservations about either product. Other than the manufacturer's site, where did you read the favorable reviews?  Any place that's really independent?

The "Xtracycle" seems to be a tandem with the stoker's seat and bars deleted and the space used for cargo.  It's got to be very heavy and awkward.

The add-on "FreeRadical" seems both heavy and awkward and, more important, looks like a broken frame looking for a place to happen. It will cantilever the load and rear wheel way out beyond the original wheelbase and the stress on the frame will be greatly magnified.  

I'll be very interested in your experience once you get some miles and time on yours.   I'll also have to trust that you have no interest in this company other than as a customer.

This message was edited by DaveB on 10-1-06 @ 8:05 AM

Offline TheDaltonBoys

I got halfway there when...
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2006, 09:18:24 am »
There are a few Xtracycles here in Austin, TX. so I've seen them around and they are to me just another different item with its own peculiarities. Not bad, not good, just different. I like what Dave B said in an earlier reply this thread...when I'm with the trailer I prefer the panniers and when with panniers, prefer the trailer...maybe the Xtracycle WITH a trailer, you sag for other riders, they cook set up camp....just a thought. Enjoy the Voyage....Mark of the Dalton Boys   PS - Haven't heard of any complaints with the Xtracycle other than undesirable, loaded, low speed handling & the fact that turning that long thing can be different.