Author Topic: Newbie Questions  (Read 7989 times)

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Offline jill

Newbie Questions
« on: June 02, 2005, 04:10:16 pm »
Hi Everyone,

I'd like to start doing some touring...but I'm not sure where to start.  Is starting with some sort of supported tour the best way to go or should I just dive in and go self-supported?  Any recommended routes?  I'm not new to cycling; I've been a racer-type for the past 8 or 9 years (now I'm ready for a new challenge!).  I do all my own wrenching for the most part and have a pretty good sense of adventure, so those aspects don't concern me. a touring beginner...should I use panniers or a trailer?  I know there's a lot of debate over that subject, but I thought I'd ask.

Any info you seasoned vets can give me would be so appreciated!

Thanks! :)


Offline wanderingwheel

Newbie Questions
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2005, 05:13:24 pm »
I can't think of any reason why you can't just jump in.  Expect to spend some time the first few days repacking and rearranging until you find a method that works for you.  If you have any backpacking or camping experience, it will be even easier.  

If you get a chance, try to take a weekend trip close to where you live.  Three-day weekends are great for this.  Pick a destination/campsite and ride to it.  Simple.

I like panniers, but a trailer will be easier to pack for a newbie.  Weight distribution is critical in panniers and it takes a few tries to get it down.  Also, a trailer can be used with nearly any bike.


Offline TheDaltonBoys

Newbie Questions
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2005, 07:50:30 pm »
Jill - What WanderingWheel said...big ditto. Rail-Trail trailer hauler, Mark of the Dalton Boys

Offline tgpelz

Newbie Questions
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2005, 02:58:47 am »
As has been said, start somewhere.

I have both panniers and a BOB trailer.

If I am going for a trip and expect to see wild life, I put my camera equipment in the trailer, inside a water tight bag with lots of protection for the camera and lenses.

Otherwise, I prefer panniers.

Borrow some panniers.  DON'T buy the cheapest ones you find in the catelogue.   Go for a few rides.  This will give you a hint regarding what you need.

I was amazed at how much water I needed.  I thought two 28 ounce bottles that the bike carries was going to be more than adequate.  

Now I carry almost a gallon, for short rides.  If I am going on a long ride, I fill up a 10 Liter MSR bag and take it with me.  

Trailer.   Borrow one and try it.

My wife like the Jandd Panniers.  She has her stuff on separate bags stored in the Jandds.

I wore out a set of Cannondale panniers over the years.  I loved them because they have gobs of pockets to store  things in their own pockets.   I now have Arkel bags.  These are even bigger with lots of storage spaces.  Thus, when I want my water filter, it is in it's own compartment.  When I want my tent stakes, they are in their compartment.  Food, stove, clothing, etc are likewise in their own spaces.

So, go for a short ride and find out what you need.  

Additionally, I carry two spare tubes, patches, 8 CO2 cartridges, tire pump, set of hex wrenches, three spare spokes, spoke tool.  I even have a bottom bracket wrench in one of my panniers.

I carry a full bottle of Advil, spare riding gloves, pair of warm gloves, a head/neck covering for cold mornings, three or four tee shirts, down vest, extra socks, long pants (gortex), Gortex Jacket with zippered arms and lots of pockets.

I also have learned to have a packing list in my handle bar bag so I can make sure I have everything for the trip.  

Money, credit card, tincture of iodine (for cuts,etc) Ace Bandage, stapler (got from the local ER doc)= great for closing bigger cuts.

I also carry a roll of black electrical tape.  Handier than duct tape - on my bike anyway.  

Many people think I travel overloaded.  However, the only recent trip that was cancelled due to mechanical difficulties was one that I had FIVE flats.  

Now I have Slime tubes, Schwalbe tires, slime tire liners and don't get flats.

Last week, I was riding in Denver, Co.  There are gobs of wonderful trails in the metro denver area.  There are also some NASTY thorns there.  My nephew had three flats due to thorns- then new slime tubes.    I just pulled the thorns out of the tire - no leaks.

So, Jill, you can see that I could go on and on.

Oh, get a good handle bar bag.  You can carry lots of stuff there.  Also get rain covers for your bags.   My Arkels came with the rain covers that fit nicely.

Offline damselfli

Newbie Questions
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2005, 12:12:43 pm »
i highly recommend the AC "How-To-Department" articles - look here :
and browse the archive library for more great how-to stories. it will give you itchy feet, for sure!
i love my arkels too - still squeaky clean.

just curious - which Arkel's did you buy? i'm heading out for my 1st 'test weekend', decided to use my GT34s (front panniers) on the rear - fit my 2 man tent on one side, clothes on the other, bedrolls on top. feels really really heavy on back.... will be riding in the neighborhood to check it out over next 4 days.

Offline scrooge

Newbie Questions
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2005, 10:48:44 pm »
My wife and I did our first tour last year using Bob trailers.  The primary reason we got them is because our current bikes didn't have rack braze-ons (none in my case, only rear for my wife).  They are very handy because you can quickly put it on any bike you own and take it off if you want to use your bike to cruise around town, or take the bag out and carry around firewood etc.  
Of course, I've never used panniers (and I admit that as far as looks go, I prefer a fully loaded touring bike to a trailer).
Oh yeah, the other thing you have to be careful with is making sure you know how to load the trailer--if you're not careful it can get wobbly at high speeds and if you're not very strong at slow speeds it might tip over (happened to my wife at a stoplight our first night out.  oops!)

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Newbie Questions
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2005, 03:06:32 pm »
I am kind of mixed on my feelings about BoB trailers. I have both and sometimes I use the trailer; more often the panniers. You have to work at balancing both of them, because an unbalanced BoB has a mind of it's own, just as unbalanced panniers will pull you to one side. I think I favor the panniers a bit over the BoB just because I have used them more and packing them is more instinctive for me. On a long trip, like the Great Divide or Lewis and Clark, unsupported, I will probably use both.

Ride safe,

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol-MN
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline dano

Newbie Questions
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2005, 09:15:19 pm »
Im kind of a newbie myself,but on the few trips Ive had a burley nomad and think its great(no tipping,easy to unhitch).That and a handlebar bag or a regular bike rack.Ive never tried a b.o.b. yet,and limited experience with rear panniers.The only problem was putting in to much weight before getting used to it.So start out easy.Just 'cause it has a 100 lbs. cap. I never need that much stuff!

Offline jill

Newbie Questions
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2005, 04:36:42 am »
Thanks for all the great info, everyone!  I decided to get a BOB trailer (although it's still in the box!).  Now I just need to decide on a tour.  Do any of you tour solo?  I'm having a hard time finding anyone who wants to go on a touring adventure, so I'm thinking about just going at it alone.  

Offline Peaks

Newbie Questions
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2005, 11:30:36 pm »
Well, prior to doing the Northern Tier last summer, we checked out ACA tours.  We decided to do it on our own.  Part of the reason was cost, and also we didn't want to take 3 months to go coast to coast.

Going on your own has its advantages.  No schedules to stick to.  Also, no specific route to follow.  It gives you a lot of flexibility.  

However, be prepared to be on your own much of the time. Not that many others out there doing the same thing.