Author Topic: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?  (Read 1090 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 115
  • Have been bike touring for over 50 years
Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« 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.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline John Nettles

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2020, 10:02:22 am »
That would make a cool tidbit to include in the ACA magazine.

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 115
  • Have been bike touring for over 50 years
Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #2 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. :)
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 500
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #3 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.

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 115
  • Have been bike touring for over 50 years
Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #4 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.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 500
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #5 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.

Offline jsieber

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #6 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

Offline John Nettles

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #7 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).

Offline froze

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #8 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!


Offline John Nettles

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #9 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. 

Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 500
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #10 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.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #11 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.

Offline David W Pratt

  • Road Warrior
  • ****
  • Posts: 64
  • Like bicycle based camping
Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #12 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.

Offline froze

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #13 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.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Average Touring Weight observed at ACA HQ weigh-in?
« Reply #14 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.