Author Topic: Need advice from you! (the pros)  (Read 5116 times)

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Offline interpopulus

Need advice from you! (the pros)
« on: April 16, 2011, 03:05:01 pm »
I'll be biking across America solo this coming summer of '11, and I'm a bit worried (because I'm green as heck...).

I'm relatively new to touring, but have the proper mindset. I've been training for the trek, and have had some interesting experiences already.

Check me out at http://www.interpopulus.com/pages/missions/crosscountry.html,
and please let me know how I'm doing. Any advice or suggestions for what I could improve on/focus on would be great!

Regards,
A fellow enthusiast

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 07:59:45 pm »
You are off to a good start. If you have not already found it, go dig in the gold mine How To Department at http://www.adventurecycling.org/index.cfm.

Fred

Offline John Nelson

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 11:19:31 pm »
Does your website actually use the word "backpack"? How does a backpack fit into your plans?

Offline mucknort

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011, 12:11:59 am »
Wondered what the heck John meant by a "backpack", then found these quotes:

April 10, 2011
Training continues. This time with a lightely loaded backpack.

April 11, 2011
Today, I rode with a slightly heavier backpack,


I've never toured with a backpack and don't expect you will, either. If you want to add "weight" to your training rides, then put panniers or a trailer on your bike and fill em with rocks. A backpack just makes you top heavy and may affect your back unneccessarily. Nice photos on the blog, by the way.

Offline interpopulus

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2011, 01:19:35 am »
Thanks, gang!

The backpack was simply in lieu of yet possessing the panniers for the trip. I'll be getting them soon, and I'll replace the backpack.

Though that brings up another question: Would it be a good idea to carry a lightly loaded backpack for necessities (for when I must leave the bike to enter a store)?

I'd rather stray away from fanny packs...

Also, what'd you think about the site? What would a cyclist like to have me focus on?

Offline lovely_bunny

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2011, 06:43:48 am »
Cool!  My wife and I are going cross-country too this summer.  We're going NY-San Francisco on a mostly northern route. Perhaps we'll run into each other.

My wife has a lightweight vinyl backpack it's kind of like this:

http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/patagonia-lightweight-travel-pack?p=48817-0-247

but it's less fancy.  Empty, we can easily stuff it into a space about the size of a softball.  We're bringing it along to use for hiking day-trips.


Offline DaveB

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2011, 09:55:48 am »
Though that brings up another question: Would it be a good idea to carry a lightly loaded backpack for necessities (for when I must leave the bike to enter a store)?

I'd rather stray away from fanny packs...
A small backpack should be ok as long as you don't stuff it too full or heavy.  Another option is a detachable handlebar pack.  All have a carrying handle and most come with a shoulder strap making them easy to carry off the bike.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2011, 10:17:03 am »
On the backpack...  I skip that and just take my handlebar bag with me.  It has a shoulder strap, but I usually don't bother with that.

On the training with weight...  I never believed in that.  Riding should be as fun as possible.  I don't even ride the touring bike when not on tour, preferring the road bike when unloaded.  Just get some miles in.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2011, 01:23:28 pm »
I agree with the above. Don't train with a backpack. Just wait until you get your panniers. For a small amount of carry-around stuff, the handlebar bag will be fine. When I need more room (e.g., if I'll be away from my bike all day), I might carry one of my front panniers. Both have shoulder straps.

You will need enough mileage with your loaded panniers to learn how to handle the loaded bike and whether there are any problems with how you have arranged your gear, but 98% of your training miles can be done unloaded.

Offline interpopulus

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2011, 04:42:29 pm »
I'll take that to heart. The panniers I'll be using don't have a shoulder strap (unfortunately), but I'll see what I can do about possibly working around the supposed problem.

I'll probably be getting a handlebar bag with a shoulder strap. I think that was a great suggestion.

I know this isn't a website forum, but what did you (as a cyclist) think of it?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2011, 07:23:01 pm »
I like the website, but I think it's a bit lacking on an overview of your plan. You gave more information in the first sentence of this thread (i.e., "I'll be biking across America solo this coming summer of '11") than I can easily find on your site. Especially if you're going to be seeking advice, a bit more of an introduction would help. When are you leaving? How long do you expect it to take? Where will you sleep? Eat? How far will you ride in a day? How will you carry your gear? What's your budget? How long have you been riding? How old are you? What kind of bike do you have? How will you plan your route? Even if you don't know the answers to all these questions, at least state that you don't yet know.

You've got a lot to do and learn in a short period of time. Good luck!

Offline Patco

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 08:01:06 pm »
If you have not already done so, you may want to see the Crazy Guy on a Bike website. Thousands of journals all related to traveling by bike. Good, helpful info. And it is easy to post your own journal on the site. Give it a look.

Offline jimbo

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2011, 09:38:26 pm »
Andrew...you have a great sense of humor....keep that and you'll have a great time on your trek. Not taking your "tool bag" with you on your first outing was the best test of your ability to  bend with the wind. Good work.
Jim

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2011, 04:49:53 pm »
If you attach the backpack to a rack, then OK. A backpack on your back places pressure on points where you do not need anymore pressure than you already have. When I was planning my first long tour I tied weights from a barbell onto the rack and rode around like that. If you have panniers, you can fill two one-gallon milk jugs with water, place one in each pannier on the back, and two more in the front if you want, and get the feel of it that way.

Offline lovely_bunny

Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2011, 09:18:27 am »
If you attach the backpack to a rack, then OK. A backpack on your back places pressure on points where you do not need anymore pressure than you already have. When I was planning my first long tour I tied weights from a barbell onto the rack and rode around like that. If you have panniers, you can fill two one-gallon milk jugs with water, place one in each pannier on the back, and two more in the front if you want, and get the feel of it that way.

Yah, I agree, a backpack is not such a good idea.  I also agree that maintaining a FUN ride is important.  When I'm training (right now!) and I have a day where I really resent being on my bike, I take the next day off.

Another good idea is to do a weekend trip to really test out your gear.  We're loading up the panniers tomorrow with all of our stuff for our x-country trip this summer and taking it out for a weekend of camping.  This way we can experiment with different ways to pack and we can try out some new gear we bought, including a tent and stove.  It would suck to head out on tour and discover that there's a flaw with your gear on your first night.

I'm having mixed feelings about the fact that we'll also be testing our rain gear this weekend.