Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: HikeBikeCook on December 16, 2020, 09:59:57 am

 
Title: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 16, 2020, 09:59:57 am
I noticed on a couple of videos cyclists can weigh in their rigs at ACA HQ. I was curious about the range and/or average weights observed.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: John Nettles on December 16, 2020, 10:02:22 am
That would make a cool tidbit to include in the ACA magazine.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 16, 2020, 10:39:04 am
Of course one the cheapest and best ways to reduce total weight for the average American is to reduce the weight of the rider, but they don't weigh the riders. :)
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: adventurepdx on December 16, 2020, 01:52:41 pm
Of course one the cheapest and best ways to reduce total weight for the average American is to reduce the weight of the rider, but they don't weigh the riders. :)

I don't know you, HikeBikeCook, and you end your comment with a smiley face. But your comment can be considered a bit sizeist.
I'm on the heavier side and don't "look the part" of a bike tourist, whatever that means. But I've done my share of long-distance bike touring and did okay, overweight or not.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 16, 2020, 02:31:04 pm
I do too pack a few extra pounds compared to the ideal American image and my doctor once termed me as "fit-fat", just before I beat the machine on my stress test and he told me I was okay to go bike the Alpes. :)  Like I mentioned I lost 40 pounds hiking and too much weight loss was actually an issue. When I returned from my trip people were shocked  that I had dropped from a 38" waist size to 33". So while I can afford to drop 30 lbs. on a cross country trip my wife would be losing 30% of her body weight and be unable to cycle. So, my questions were more of a scientific nature. Did not mean to offend anyone.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: adventurepdx on December 16, 2020, 02:34:40 pm
I do too pack a few extra pounds compared to the ideal American image and my doctor once termed me as "fit-fat", just before I beat the machine on my stress test and he told me I was okay to go bike the Alpes. :)  Like I mentioned I lost 40 pounds hiking and too much weight loss was actually an issue. When I returned from my trip people were shocked  that I had dropped from a 38" waist size to 33". So while I can afford to drop 30 lbs. on a cross country trip my wife would be losing 30% of her body weight and be unable to cycle. So, my questions were more of a scientific nature. Did not mean to offend anyone.

No offense taken. I think everybody's body works differently. Some will lose weight on a cross-country tour, some will stay the same, some may even gain a few pounds. I did a four-month tour in 2011, and can't remember if I lost/gained anything. I'm guessing I maintained my weight or maybe lost a couple pounds. I think that as long as your body can do the miles and your bike doesn't become a hindrance in terms of weight, it's all good.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: jsieber on December 16, 2020, 03:53:19 pm
We don't keep a record of the bike weights but I asked Maxton who takes the portraits and he gave me the following info:

As far as I have seen the averages are a window between 85-105lbs... I have only been told by a few others about the record high of a guy several years back who had a boat in tow, but someone else should know the ballpark on that one. The heaviest I have personally weigh was a traveling tattoo artist who came in at around 170. Lightest I have personally seen for self-supported was in the low 40s.

Here is a link to the "Open Road" story (PDF) of the heaviest touring setup to come into the office so far. 280lbs!

https://www.adventurecycling.org/sites/default/assets/resources/20140501_OpenRoadGallery_SiplePoore.pdf (https://www.adventurecycling.org/sites/default/assets/resources/20140501_OpenRoadGallery_SiplePoore.pdf)
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: John Nettles on December 16, 2020, 04:27:24 pm
Heck, that is about 7 ultralight setups.  And I thought a friend was bad who carried 100 pounds (including bike and trailer).
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: froze on December 17, 2020, 09:24:48 pm
I'm not about to pay $800 for a tent, or $5,000 for a bike that weighs 5 pounds less than mine that I paid $1,400 for.  So I sacrifice some weight instead of money; everyone has their thing they want to do.  I try to find cheap places to lose weight instead, one of those places is my tires that came on my bike, they weigh 1600 grams a piece, I can get just as capable touring tires, and maybe more capable, that weigh under 600 grams each, that's 2,000 grams of rotational weight total I can get rid of, I just have to wait till these tires come back in stock again. I bought a cheap thin-walled aluminum cook set from Walmart for $14, you can't find anything lighter than that, but it does dent easily and food burns to the surface of the pan easily as well.  Then because of back fusion I had to get a heavier air pad than most of you would probably buy.

Water weighs a lot, I need water, so I carry about 136 ounces of liquid, I can go through that in a day!

So I've estimated that all my gear, food, and water weigh about 70 pounds, plus the bike, and I'm at 105, or 101 when I get the other tires.  I guess from what've read, I'm above average, but at least not way above! So with my clothed bodyweight of 175 that puts me 280 pounds.

Ok, so what does all this weight that any of us carries really pan out in the real world of riding with saving energy and time, and for that, I found a very interesting article that you all should read:  https://www.cyclingabout.com/how-much-does-bike-and-gear-weight-slow-you-down/

After reading that article I'm no longer overly concerned about the weight that I carry!

Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: John Nettles on December 17, 2020, 10:05:51 pm
I read the article and I mostly disagree with the author's concept that weight really doesn't matter.  I agree with the basic concept the author has but, again for me, it just doesn't hold out, especially the more hills you have. I have done lots of weekend trips over my 40+ years of touring with a wide variety of setups, from basically unloaded to fully heavily loaded as a test ride for a multi-month, limited services tour.  And the weight made a huge difference. 

To test this yourself, load your touring bike up with your packs full of empty milk jugs or those air bubbles that come with packages you receive from Amazon or wherever.  If you usually have stuff on your rear rack, strap empty milk carton jugs onto it.  That would be the lightest weight and keeps most of the aerodynamic drag the same. 

Go ride a undulating road for 25-30 miles (a tour's half day ride) unless you plan to only ride in flat eastern Colorado.  After the ride, fill the milk jugs full of water that are in your panniers, strapped to your rack, etc.  Go ride the same route and see if how you feel afterwards. 

About a decade ago, I actually a did the above test (but only for 14 miles and the weight set up was reversed) and I noticed a huge difference.  I did it initially just trying to see if the water would help me get into shape faster.  Not only was my time like 13 to 15 minutes slower but I was much more fatigued.  Granted, I was not in the best of shape but the only thing to change was the water added to the empty milk jugs. Unfortunately, I did not weigh it. I just remembered I had at least 8 gallons of water on the bike or at least 64 pounds.  I was 5'10" and about 175 pounds at the time I would guess.  I don't have a huge amount of reserves so to speak in the old legs so when it gets hard, I feel it probably more than most. 

Other times, when on tour, I will buy a whole watermelon for the group and carry it the last 3-10 miles to camp and I always notice the extra weight.  My speed may not diminish too much as I try to stay with the others but I sure do have to work harder to do it. 

That said, I totally agree that aerodynamics play a huge part in it.  And I am NOT saying be a gram counter; bring what makes you smile.  I just think the article gives the impression that weight does not matter that much when, to me, it really does. 
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: adventurepdx on December 17, 2020, 10:31:20 pm
I think weight can matter, but not as much as some people make it out to be. I'll try to find the lightest weight yet durable stuff that's in my budget, but don't obsess over gram-counting. For me, the bigger deal is mass than weight. After doing a big tour about ten years ago with the "traditional" four panniers-handlebar bag-saddlebag-etc setup, I've reduced the amount of baggage I bring. It was just too much stuff to worry about, especially when I had to change modes of transit.The less space I have to pack things the less temptation to bring too much.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: staehpj1 on December 18, 2020, 08:46:43 am
Of course one the cheapest and best ways to reduce total weight for the average American is to reduce the weight of the rider, but they don't weigh the riders. :)
Some loss of body fat would certainly be a good thing for many of us.

The thing is that the packing decisions are specific to our touring, can be immediate, and don't require the same long term commitment as bodyweight decisions.  Bodyweight on the other hand is better thought of in the context of general health, long term general health and lifestyle (shouldn't be a crash diet to prep for a tour), and it does take long term commitment.

Sometimes folks suggest that cutting gear ounces when you are overweight is foolish.  I got from 50 pounds of gear to <15 pounds of gear base weight by making hundreds of decisions that were often a few ounces or sometimes less.  I can assure you that I'd definitely notice and appreciate that loss of gear weight no matter how fat I was.

I have ridden at a pretty wide range of gear weights and of body weights.  Lighter is better on both counts.  Being lean AND having a light load is heaven, but I can't decide to be lean the week before a tour.  I can decide to pack ultralight at any point though, and I always enjoy the lighter load even when I am heavier.

The decision to be lean isn't something most of us will do specifically because we are going to tour if we haven't done it for our general well being.  It is more likely that folks will tour because they think they will become more lean and that will usually fail over the long run even if they lose weight during the tour.  Much better to separate the bodyweight issue from touring and make those decisions from a general heath perspective IMO.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: David W Pratt on December 21, 2020, 06:29:35 pm
If the bikes plus gear usually weigh <100lb. and the riders, usually, weigh >100lb. it makes sense that there is more scope for reducing overall weight in the riders.  My experience is that no matter how little I am carrying, or how many training miles I have put in, there is still a hill that requires getting off and walking.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: froze on December 21, 2020, 07:17:26 pm
If the bikes plus gear usually weigh <100lb. and the riders, usually, weigh >100lb. it makes sense that there is more scope for reducing overall weight in the riders.  My experience is that no matter how little I am carrying, or how many training miles I have put in, there is still a hill that requires getting off and walking.

I have to disagree with you on this.  Everyone has an ideal weight, drop below that ideal weight and your performance will drop off.  Even if you have two people exactly the same height but one guy weighs 170 pounds and the other 185 pounds you can't tell the heavier person to lose weight, if the heavier person is large boned then they will tend to weigh more, and some people are genetically bigger than others in body mass.  There is no simple equation that says you're 6 foot tall so you have to weigh 170 pounds.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: John Nettles on December 21, 2020, 09:31:21 pm
I guess I took David's post to mean that if you are trying to shave say 5# overall (bike, gear, rider, consumables, etc.), it may be easier to take proportionately more weight from the rider since that is the heaviest item.  For instance, when I weighed 175, shedding 5 pounds from me represented a little less than 3% of weight but if I tried to reduce 5# from a 40# bike (with accessories), the same weight represents over 12% of the bike.  Trying to shed 5# from 10# of consumables (water, food, shampoo, etc.) would be extremely difficult if you don't count shedding while you consume it.

While I agree that everyone has their own best weight, generally speaking, most Americans are overweight or obese and the vast majority could shed 3% of their body weight and it would improve their health, physical stamina, etc.  Of course, this does not apply to everyone but, in my opinion, most. We travel extensively internationally and we can usually pick out the Americans as they are by far the heaviest, myself included.

Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: hikerjer on December 22, 2020, 09:04:36 pm
I don't suppose we'll ever solve this equation since tourng weight is such a personal thing. And confusing as well. Are we talking about wieght of the bike, weight of the bike and racks and panniers/handelbar bag. With of the bike fully loaded with or without consumables. Do consumables include just water or fuel and food as well?  How much food and water - a day's worth, two days or whatever?  All very nebulous.

On my last tour this is how it worked out for me.:     

My bike, fenders, bottle cages and racks weigh in at 35.25 lbs.  Bike and gear, including racks, three bottle cages, four panniers/handlebar bag (no consumables): 72 lbs (it'll be a couple of lbs lighter this summer due to the purchase of some new, lighter gear)

I weigh 162 lbs so without consumables, it's 234 lbs.  Throw in consumables and you can add considerble weight depending on how much you carry, especially in regard to water which is, as has been pointed out, heavy. I find my weight, due to water, increases considrably in the desert.

I do think weight can make a difference, especially on the uphill, but not so much as in say, backpacking, where the weight is actually carried on your body and not a bike frame.  But everyone is different. Do what you're comfort demands and what works for you.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: staehpj1 on December 23, 2020, 09:11:03 am
I don't suppose we'll ever solve this equation since tourng weight is such a personal thing. And confusing as well. Are we talking about weight of the bike, weight of the bike and racks and panniers/handelbar bag. With of the bike fully loaded with or without consumables. Do consumables include just water or fuel and food as well?  How much food and water - a day's worth, two days or whatever?  All very nebulous.
Just me, but for me it is a little more simple.  When I talk about weight here it is with regard to packing choices.  I figure that others will have different situations, standards, and different needs.  So they may want to use different numbers, but it is important to say what number you are using.  That said if someone uses something other than base gear weight or maybe base total bike and gear weight, I am likely to gloss over and move on without really registering what the weight means.

I include gear, clothing, and the bags or panniers they are in.  I refer to it as gear weight to avoid confusion with total bike weight, and total bike and rider weight.  I could easily see an argument for including the racks in the gear weight, but it seems to me as if that muddies any real chance of meaningful comparison of gear choices wrt weight.

Total bike weight including gear is a useful number, but it is in my opinion a poor number to use in comparing gear choices since the bike would skew the numbers pretty heavily between folks who choose different style bikes (or folks who ride different bikes on different tours).  Also I try not to get too obsessed over bike choices, I am more inclined to ride one of the bikes I have and not worry about swapping components too much beyond what it takes to meet some minimum standards like sufficient range of gearing.

Total bike and rider weight might be very useful for the rider to evaluate a number of things for themselves, but it is a useless measure for comparing notes with other riders.

To my way of thinking there is no point in trying to include consumables in any weight reported except maybe if someone were to report what their maximum load was at some specific point on tour.  For example it might be interesting to know what my total bike weight plus consumables topped out at when I had a long stretch with no resupply capability and carried far more food and water than usual.  The thing is that it is just an anecdote about some specific incident and I most likely would not know the number any way.  There isn't likely to be a scale handy in the middle of the tour when the situation arrives.

Food, water, and fuel are all extremely variable both throughout the weeks or months of a long tour, but even over the course of the day.  Then there is the fact that some may pack a weeks worth of food or more and some may pick up their food for the evening in the afternoon most of the time.  I'd usually have no really accurate way of knowing what that number would be at any point except before the start and maybe at the finish if I finished the tour somewhere with a scale (not a given).  I generally pack at home with no food, fuel, or water, fly to the start of the tour.  I assemble the bike in the airport and start riding from there.  Food, fuel, and water are obtained along the way and typically in small quantities frequently.  The notion of including some number of days of food is a non-starter for me because most often I don't carry any more food than enough to get to the next store with a bit of cushion.

For folks who might pack food for some number of days and maybe leave from home having already fully loaded and also having access to a scale that all up number may be easy to know, but it still isn't especially useful for comparing and evaluating gear choices.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 23, 2020, 09:36:59 am
When weighing in for bike touring or backpacking I always consider "dry" weight - that is no food or water. I carry a Jetboil and typically carry two of the smaller fuel cans and replace the empty one at the next opportunity, so for me two fuel canisters is part of my "dry" weight.

Water is a huge variable at 8.4 pounds to the gallon or about 6.5 pounds for 3 liters. Plus we often "camel up" hiking - meaning drink plenty of water when you find water so you are adding to body and packed weight. "Cameling up" is less enjoyable on a bike tour and, unless riding in dry areas, probably not a good idea.

Rider weight is a separate factor. A cubic inch of muscle weighs roughly twice as much as a cubic inch of fat and also requires more calories to maintain - so fitness of the rider is a factor in weight, as well as packed food weight to sustain that rider.

I think total dry weight of bicycle and gear, less food, water, and rider is the only near Apples-to-Apples comparison you can hope to make.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: froze on December 23, 2020, 11:02:03 am
I don't suppose we'll ever solve this equation since tourng weight is such a personal thing. And confusing as well. Are we talking about wieght of the bike, weight of the bike and racks and panniers/handelbar bag. With of the bike fully loaded with or without consumables. Do consumables include just water or fuel and food as well?  How much food and water - a day's worth, two days or whatever?  All very nebulous.



On my weights, I included everything and anything including stuff needed for 2 1/2 days. 
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: John Nettles on December 23, 2020, 11:08:18 am
Rider weight is a separate factor. A cubic inch of muscle weighs roughly twice as much as a cubic inch of fat.
Great!  Since fat weighs less, I don't have to train now because that will just cause my weight to go up  ;D .
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: hikerjer on December 23, 2020, 11:56:46 am
"When weighing in for bike touring or backpacking I always consider "dry" weight - that is no food or water" --

Agreed that that is probably the best way to handle the issue although I do think it appropriate to include the weight of the racks when stating the weight of the bike and gear. So, for me it would be combined weight of the bike, racks and bottle cages. Panniers would be in a separate "gear" catagory along with a myriad of other stuff excluding consumables..
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: hikerjer on December 23, 2020, 12:00:00 pm
Right. Now I can cancel the gym membership and use the money saved on fees to go to McDonalds. ;D
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: John Nettles on December 23, 2020, 12:03:43 pm
What is a gym membership  ??? ??? 
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: Pat Lamb on December 23, 2020, 03:10:33 pm
What is a gym membership  ??? ???

I think that's when you belong to a gym.

I belong to my bike.  And my dog.  And, oh yes, my wife.   8)
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: froze on December 23, 2020, 07:39:20 pm
What is a gym membership  ??? ???

I think that's when you belong to a gym.

I belong to my bike.  And my dog.  And, oh yes, my wife.   8)

I belong to God.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: hikerjer on December 23, 2020, 09:08:42 pm
Gym: a place where people go clad in minimum tight fitting clothing to inflict physical punishment on themselves and hoping to meet beautiful people of the oppsite sex and find mostly, people as oveweight and unhealthy as themselves. But at least they're trying.  Personally, I'd rather ride my bike.
Title: Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
Post by: froze on December 24, 2020, 01:05:51 am
Gym?  I know a guy named Gym.