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Messages - pptouring

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General Discussion / Re: cooking stoves for bike travel in Europe
« on: August 09, 2014, 06:01:55 am »
If you are touring in Europe no reason to mess with a liquid fuel stove. Fuel cartridges are ubiquitous throughout Western Europe and relatively inexpensive.

Ok go with that. Hate to disagree, but we have met several cyclists that have had trouble finding cartridges in a pinch and they're not exactly cheap either. Gas stations are everywhere! For less than 2Euros we fill up two bottles they last over 3 weeks and we cook some pretty good meals. :-)

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: August 02, 2014, 04:50:26 am »
::).  After 2 weeks on the transamerica,... We do laundry more often in laundromat...

Really? Two weeks and you're already doing laundry?  Funny. Try using your sink to hand wash your stuff and then it won't be under used. ;-)

Ok, we'll give it a go. After 17 months on the road now, here is what we have.

Most valuable/used - MSR International stove, GSI Backpacker cookset, cups, sporks, headlights with white & red lights (except when we were in the Arctic Circle and had 24/7 daylight/ red lights used for wild camping and to save your night vision), pack towels for that once a week shower, baby powder for the bum, boonie hat & Walz Cap, wool Buffs, everything Merino wool, kitchen sink (used to keep beer/wine/food chilled, washing clothes, washing us, washing dishes), our stuff sacks that dub as pillows, Crocs, Thermarest Z-Lite pads, 550 cord, tarp, Helinox Chair One, Leather Man tool, bike mirrors, just to name a few items.

Least/never used (but valuable) - first aid kit, spare spokes, cables, tubes, helmets, cycling shorts, Seal Skinz waterproof socks, Steripen, just to name a few items.

Gear Talk / Re: Packing a DSLR?
« on: August 02, 2014, 03:46:01 am »
Check out Lowepro's Toploader Pro series. We used to put our DSLR into our handlebar bag (which is fine too) and our extra lenses and stuff in our panniers. However, we now use Lowepro's Toploader AW70 (8+ months) and put a couple extra lenses and stuff in our handlebar bag. Everything you need is right there when you need it.

I also prefer using their 4 point harness system over the shoulder/waist strap system. It works great while on the bike and when you're off the bike hiking around towns and/or woods and while you're wearing a small backpack. Just a thought.   

General Discussion / Re: cooking stoves for bike travel in Europe
« on: August 02, 2014, 02:06:39 am »
Hope I am not to late! We've been touring around Europe & Morocco for almost 16 months now and we just left Finland yesterday, in fact we are sitting on a ferry now back to Germany. :-)  We have the MSR International stove (over 6 years now) and have had zero issues with it or getting fuel for it. We carry two medium size fuel bottles and have never had a problem buying/paying less than 2 Euros to fill them up. When we flew from the US, I disassembled and cleaned our stove and put it in a plastic bag (disassembled) and I left open our fuel two bottles a couple days before flying so there were no fumes. I left the tops off and put them in our bike bottle cages for the flight and again no issues. Forget about buying white gas in Europe!!!! We normally use the lowest grade fuel and again never an issue.

If you are coming to Finland, bring with you a mosquito head net and some Deep Woods Off or similar with lots of DEET as well as some coils to burn in and around your tent. The mosquitoes are unreal right now!!! If you have any questions please feel free to email me.

Also, I would like to add, bring something to carry extra water in (ie MSR Dromedary bag or similar) and either drops or pump/filter. We each can carry 3 bottles of water on our bikes, but sometimes that was not even enough. It has been very warm over here and to be honest, some of our best weather to date was in the Arctic Circle. The towns can be spread out sometimes (we went once 130km between towns), so you will need to get your own water; especially, if you plan on doing any wild camping (which is totally legal here). 


General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« 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. :-)

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 08, 2013, 11:36:13 am »

I think that level of determination to finish is the primary predictor of success.  Resourcefulness comes next.  Some experience with packing for  and living with their gear on some form of extended travel (backpacking, canoe camping, etc.) is quite helpful, but not absolutely necessary.  Bicycling experience comes in at a distant fourth in my estimation.

BTW, even among those who tried a big first tour and failed to finish many probably had a positive experience.  What is the big danger, that they might have to pack up and go home without reaching the other coast?  That is not exactly the end of the world.


BTW - DaveB I could list several more folks that we have met over the years that started out with absolutely no idea or very little of what they were getting into and still made it. You act as if they are heading down to cycle the Atacama Desert in Bolivia or something. They are crossing the US, they understand the language, they are a phone call away from help, they are young, and they sound as if they are in great shape. They'll be fine and who knows, maybe after they land in California, they'll either turn around and head home or cycle towards South America.  8)

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 08, 2013, 04:04:27 am »
Hello everyone,

I have been hanging around this forum for a little while as I plan a cross-country bike trip with a couple friends. We are planning on going from Savanna to San Francisco this summer. This trip is going to be a charity ride. We are new to this so we are looking for all the help we can get.

With our route we are planning on hitting the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and a few other locations. Do any of you have any suggestions about this route?

Sounds like a fine plan to us. Enjoy and have fun.

We do not have bikes. Because this is a fundraiser and we are college students we do not have a lot of money to spend on bikes. We are trying to not spend over $800 on a bike but preferably less. Do you have any tips for getting a good bike in our price range? What would you recommend for a cheap touring bike, or would you recommend that we try a different type of bike. Could we get a hybrid or mountain bike to work well for this trip? We also heard that you could take a normal road bike if you pulled a trailer. Is that true? We could probably get a nice used road bike for cheap.

During our travels, we have come across all types of bikes and bike riders. We hosted a girl from Vienna that traveled from Vienna to Spain, then crossed the Atlantic on a sailboat, cycled Cuba for a couple months, then jumped on another sailboat to Florida. She then crossed the US on her MTB bike. After reaching California, she sent the bike back home to Vienna and then put together another bike, piece by piece and proceeded to cycle up to Canada and back down to LA on it. We also hosted a guy from Canada that flew to Florida with a backpack. He then decided he wanted to give bike touring a try, so he bought an inexpensive hybrid bike and toured across the US wearing a backpack. We met a British couple in Spain that decided to buy a pair of very used commuter/hybrid type bikes and tour around Europe. He wore a backpack and she had a pair of cheap panniers. In France, we met an English chap touring on a Specialized Roubix (road bike) wearing a backpack. We met a French guy traveling on a "Walmart" type bike dragging a homemade trailer. I guess what we are saying is that you can tour on just about anything and still have a good time. I would not wear and/or recommend the backpack route, but it can be done and they didn't seem to mind. They were all having a great time.

If a couple of the guys were to get mountain bikes while the others had touring or road bikes would the mountain bikes be able to keep up? Would it take a lot more work to stay with them or with smooth tires could they ride with the road bikes just fine?

You're bike touring, not racing, so the stronger rider(s) will have to adjust their speed to the weaker rider(s). We are touring on 26" wheels and we have no problem keeping up and/or dropping folks riding on 700c wheels. Smoother tires would not be a bad idea.

Have any of you done a fundraiser trip where you were able to partner with a LBS and they provided gear for you? We are hoping that we can get some good deals because it is a fundraiser but we are wondering what we should expect.

Can't help you here, but we have come across several other long distance tourists that have. They sent out sponsorship type letters telling the company what they were doing and asked for some help. In return, they agreed to advertise on their blog (company logo) and to do some sort of product review. In exchange, they either received the item for free or at a really good price. Remember though there are a lot of folks out there doing this, so have a good letter and good luck.

If you have any other tips or comments that would be awesome too. We are getting really excited about this trip but there is a lot to figure out. This forum has already been a lot of help and I am sure that I will be seeking more advice in the future.

To help with your budget, check out for lodging and support. Do a search on bicycle touring or something similar and reach out to individuals with blogs for help. Go over to and read through some of those travel experiences. Forums are ok, but many times you'll get responses from folks that have limited experience.

Oh and have at least enough money for a bus ticket home should all else fail. Get out and have a great tour.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 08, 2013, 02:53:39 am »
...I'd suggest you postpone your cross country ride for a few years.  Buy a road bike now.  Ride it for a half dozen years.  Ride 5,000-10,000 miles a year for the next half dozen years.  Learn about bicycling.  Then ride across the country....

Thanks for writing this as you saved me a fair bit of typing.  My first reaction on reading the OP was incredulity.  These guys don't own bikes, don't know what type to buy, don't currently ride and don't say what, if any, charity they are trying to assist.   Amazing.

Well it's a good thing that these two did not ask for your advice. Dave and Loretta, with no cycling experience, bought bikes and gear and have been traveling for several years now.

Dave ->
Loretta ->

General Discussion / Re: Start date spring 2014
« on: November 27, 2013, 03:20:59 pm »
Sometimes yes, sometimes no, mostly yes outside of large cities and mostly no within large cities.

Interesting! Not that I would really ever want to cycle on the Interstate, but it could come in handy. Thanks for the tip!

Gear Talk / Re: Durability of Dry Bags?
« on: November 27, 2013, 02:33:06 pm »
We've been on the road for more than 8 months now and our Ortlieb dry bags seem to be holding up pretty good. I carry a tent with poles and stakes as well as a UL tarp and its pole in mine. If anything would have rubbed a hole in my bag, it would have been the tarp pole for sure. My wife carries our down sleeping bag in hers. So far they've seen action from Florida to DC, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, France, England, and Scotland. Lots of camping!

General Discussion / Re: Start date spring 2014
« on: November 27, 2013, 02:24:56 pm »
is it legal to cycle on the Interstates out west?

General Discussion / Re: First Major Tour Advice
« on: November 15, 2013, 07:58:54 pm »
Wild camping can often mean your water supply is a stream or a tank.

8 months on the road and we have yet to drink from a stream and/or a tank (whatever a tank is).

Here's a tip. Buy a MSR Dromedary or whatever you like that holds water and top it off before setting up camp. You'll have plenty of water to cook with, wash your dishes, and make coffee in the morning.

You might want to carry an active, pump-style water filter, some purification tablets and maybe a gravity filter system.

Not a bad idea. We are carrying a Katadyn Hiker Pro pump, tablets, Steripen, and water drops and have only used the Steripen once in Morocco, other than that the rest is packed away nicely.

You drink the local water at your peril, not necessarily because of micro-organisms, although there's a huge risk to making life miserable for two or three weeks or your tour very short, but to help remove trace elements your digestive system has never encountered. The tablets will only work on organisms. Boiling water does not remove trace contaminants.

Again 8 months on the road and all has been ok so far.

You can research the cleanliness and sanitation level of municipal water supplies on the interwebs, just takes a bit of looking.


Look you will be fine traveling throughout the U.S. and all of Europe. Their water is fine. We have filled our bottles and MSR Dromedary from small town fountains (very common in Spain & Portugal), bar taps,  faucets on the outside of houses and buildings, water hoses, graveyards (yes graveyards because the flowers need water), public bathroom sinks, playground drinking fountains, people's homes, fire stations, convenient stores/gas stations, and many places that we have forgotten about.



General Discussion / Re: First Major Tour Advice
« on: November 13, 2013, 08:12:01 am »
Hi guys, next April I will be buying my Surly LHT and will do some overnight and long weekend Touring next Summer. I plan on Touring the US in 2015(I'm in Canada)I'm not sure what I'll be spending each day. I will camp and use Warmshowers alot, but is $20-$30 per day for food acceptable? How long could I go with around $10,000? Would that last a year? Or perhaps see the US for 6 Months then go to Europe for a few Months?

Currently we have been traveling since March of this year. Started in Florida, rode to DC, then flew to Madrid. Since landing in Spain, we have been to Morocco, Spain, Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal, Spain, France, England, Scotland, and now in Germany with family. Here is what we can tell you.

1. Don't count on Warmshowers because you may not be hosted.
2. Camping is the best way to stretch your budget. Wild camping is even better!
3. Camping in Portugal & France is cheap(er) and very good. In Scotland, you can pretty much wild camp anywhere you want. England and Spain camping can be fairly expensive. In the U.S. you are allowed to wild/primitive camp on all National Forest land (not to be confused with National Parks).
4. Your $10k should be fine for a year unless this includes airfare and travel medical insurance. Airfare to Europe with bike and gear will probably cost you $1000 - $1500. We paid just over $2k for 2 one way flights (including bikes) to Madrid and we also paid close to $2k for one year of travel medical insurance. Be prepared to cook and/or make your own meals because eating/drinking out adds up fast. Also, forget about buying bottled water, drink from the tap.   
5. Somebody mentioned replacing parts and gear. This depends on how new your gear is when you leave. We have already gone through two Thermarest air mats, a cracked crank arm spindle, and one split rim. However, all these items were still under warranty and we got them replaced for free.
6. Worse case scenario is that you run out of money before the year is up, but you still had a blast while it lasted.

What parts of Europe are you thinking? Over the past few years, we have bike toured through Czech, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and most recently the ones mentioned above.

Also, have you heard of If not check it out because it's a great way for you to extend your travel budget too. 

Our helpx experience ->

If you have any questions feel free to ask and maybe we can help.

General Discussion / Re: Hosting - WarmShowers
« on: November 13, 2013, 07:18:15 am »
Thank you for all of your input.  I have signed up and if you are ever traveling on the plains of Eastern New Mexico and need a warm shower, soft bed and a cold beer please give me a shout.  Thanks to all.

Nice and welcome to WS! We have been on both sides of Warmshowers as a "host" and a "guest" and have met some great and interesting folks. I'm sure you will too.

We've hosted a young lady from Vienna cycling solo around the world, a guy from Canada that was backpacking around Florida that decided to buy a bicycle and give bike touring a try, as well as a couple on their last night of a cross country (San Fran to St. Petersburg) bike tour. This past March we took off on a RTW adventure and have been hosted several times in U.S. and once in England. Twice in the U.S. the hosts that we contacted were unable to host us; however, they found a family member and a friend that was more than happy to have us. In Spain, we received logistical help from some WS folks and in England we were hosted by a couple that had spent a year long bike tour, touring South and Middle America.

What does turn us off is when the host wants a 2-4 weeks notice, but that is their right. As some have already mentioned, it's hard enough to know where you'll be from one day to the next, much less 2 or 4 weeks out. Unless of course, you are flying in or out of place to either start/end your tour.

Anyway good luck and hope you meet some great folks.

Barbara from Vienna -
Dave & Kelly from the UK -

And BillSNM if we end up passing through the eastern part of New Mexico we'll take you up on that cold beer.  8)

WS ID = ronpetra

Gear Talk / Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« on: October 18, 2013, 02:49:07 pm »
Why most Americans are obsessed with drop bars is beyond me. Go with a flat bar with some rise and a lot of sweep. Add Ergon GP5 or GP5 BioKork grips. The BioKork will need to be trimmed to work with grip shifters. Most likely you will not need a stem, if you do, the shop should change it out if you place the entire order with them. Get some very inexpensive bar end tap and wrap the bar ends for extra padding. Add some SRAM grip shifters (X7 or X9) , if your drive train is Shimano be sure to get the SRAM Attack shifters. Then pick up a pair of Tektro (they're cheap, but work) or Avid (better but more expensive) brake levers and you should be good to go.

As for the bike. Since you are on a tight budget take a look at Surly LHT and see if your shop can get all this for you at your price.

A little write up -
Ergon GP5 BioKork -
Ergon GP5 -
SRAM ATTACK for Shimano -
Labor = 1 hour and easy to do. Try doing it yourself so you learn how to make repairs if needed on the road.

hope this helps and if you have any other questions please feel free to shoot me an email. Currently, touring the world so it may take a few days to get back to you.


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