Author Topic: Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?  (Read 19770 times)

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Offline razor

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« on: March 08, 2007, 10:40:36 pm »
 I was wondering if anyone would like to share their story / stories about their low cost bike tour either on their own or sponsored by someone . I know a lot of cyclists enjoy the high tech. gadgets for their own sake and I am glad you enjoy them But... The stuff can be expensive and if you read any of the books and magazines you come away believing that you have to spend at least $5,000 just on a bike and equipment . Well I Know it ain't so. I would like the stories to get out there so others know you don't have to chose between paying the rent and going on a bike trip .

Razor
Razor

Offline razor

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2007, 11:11:44 pm »
  I will post a trip I went on when I was 18 . But I type so slowly that I keep getting timed out when I type it all in at once . So you're going to get episodes .
  For some reason I decided I was going to ride from Warren , Ohio to Ocean City N.J. about a 500 mile trip. I had a Raleigh Gran Prix . I put a rack on the back and bought a army surplus duffel bag and filled it with a large heavy cotton winter sleeping bag " it must have weighted 20 lbs " , a Boy Scout mess kit , a couple of changes of clothes , some underwear , a jar of peanut-butter and a loaf of bread , and a large piece of really heavy plastic sheeting . On the bike there was a water bottle , a road map , and for a tool kit there was a 6" adjustable wrench , a screw driver , and a pair of pliers.

Razor
Razor

Offline DaveB

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2007, 10:26:02 am »
....stories about their low cost bike tour either on their own or sponsored by someone

There is no lower cost way to travel than to have someone else pay for it. :)


Offline wanderingwheel

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2007, 02:49:49 pm »
Great idea.  I've done a number of trips up to a week or so where I simply packed a small backpack or a seat post rack trunk with a change of clothes, a sleeping bag, and a tarp and headed out.  I've done trips on my mountain bike I originally used for commuting to high school, a loaner road bike with a cracked chain stay, my racing bike, and my touring bike.  Whatever was at hand, just grab it and go.  These trips have taken me through California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, and all of New England.  Sometimes I know my exact route, sometimes I just have a general direction.  One-way trips too, thanks to trains and/or buses.

Sean


Offline John Hunka

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Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2007, 03:11:38 pm »
I own a Trek 520 that I bought around 8 years ago for $1,000.  Last summer, my wife, two friends, and I rode our bikes from Manhattan to Philadelphia using a map I bought from Adventure cycling for about ten bucks.  We took New Jersey Transit from Penn Station to Raritan, NJ.  We cycled from Raritan to New Hope, PA, where we stayed overnight at a small hotel run by a French-Algerian couple.  The following day, we rode from New Hope to Doylestown, where we hopped on the SEPTA train with our bikes to Center City Philadelphia.  We had some Chinese food for dinner, threw the bikes on the roof rack of my car, piled in, and drove back to Manhattan.  I would estimate that the entire trip, including the hotel rooms, gas, train fares, meals and tolls for four people was under $500 for the weekend.  We had a blast!

John Hunka
Manhattan
Trek 520, Burley Nomad trailer, 1985 Schwinn Traveler, Giant Halfway, 1965 Schwinn Deluxe Racer

Offline ride29

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2007, 05:26:35 pm »
Great topic. I'm heading out on my first tour this summer. ~4000 miles, ~62 days. I'll be completely self-supported, plan on stealth or gypsy camping every night, and plan on eating as cheap as possible. My hope is to spend about $15 day on food. Is this possible? (eating on fifteen bucks a day, I mean)

Daryl Bernard

This message was edited by ride29 on 3-9-07 @ 3:47 PM
Daryl Bernard

Offline jimbeard

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2007, 06:49:46 pm »
Book Ten Thousand Miles of America -Richard Suleski  http://www.thedairyair.com/10kofusa.html
Richard did his trip with minimal equipment and cash.
 Also check out  http://www.warmshowers.org/welcome for free camping/showers.
Jim

This message was edited by jimbeard on 3-9-07 @ 2:54 PM
Jim

Offline wanderingwheel

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2007, 01:26:09 am »
$15 a day for food is doable, but it is not easy.  My main concern would be getting quality foods and eating a sustainable diet, rather than simply fueling myself with cheap calories from things like candy.  On a short trip you can run at a slight deficit and recover after, but on a long trip you must always stay on top of your nutrition.  Figure somewhere in the neighborhood of 6000 calories per day and see if you can meet that at your grocery store for $15.  Are you bringing cooking gear?

A common diet for me on long tours is a box of pop-tarts or similar pastry in the morning.  I like these because they're easy to find, mildly appetizing, easy to eat while getting out of the sleeping bag and packing up, don't require cooking, and allow me to cram lots of calories down my throat before my stomach knows what hit it.  Any leftovers can be eaten while riding.  All-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts are also a good bet.

Lunch is often a bagel with nearly a pound of cold cuts, some fruit, and a quart of chocolate milk.  Dinner can be a pound of pasta (I carry cooking gear on longer trips) or a loaf of bread, a large salad, and some meat (large chicken breast, large steak, or fish) on occasion.  Throughout the day I will also go through either trail mix or candy on the bike, and occasional sodas or energy drinks.  It's real hard to pass up a large shake at Dairy Queen in the afternoon.

Sean


Offline razor

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2007, 11:00:29 pm »
Daryl for camping I was invited to camp on a front porch one rainy night . One night I slept in a baseball dugout " that could be a seasonal thing " another night I slept behind an abandoned factory . Another night I slept in a cemetery " a policeman had me more to a different part of the cemetery so the teenagers who came up to neck wouldn't run over me. Just some examples , I'm sure if you use imagination you can come up with many more.

Razor
Razor

Offline razor

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2007, 11:16:11 pm »
  DaveB it's nice that you have a keen grasp of the obvious , but why not not make a positive suggestion ? Maybe how to get people to sponsor you . A surprising number of people don't even have the money to go on a ACA tour . I think it's great if you have the money yourself or have parents that can front you the money but a lot people don't . This is about not making a tour cost any more then it has to.

Razor
Razor

Offline DaveB

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2007, 09:27:09 am »
DaveB it's nice that you have a keen grasp of the obvious...

Indeed, it's a talent I'm very proud of.   ;p

On a more useful note, one way to get good equipment at more reasonable cost is to check the closeouts.  I bought a Northface 20-degree rated light weight synthetic sleeping bag from Campmore for $60, or half it's normal price, because it was "last year's style".  Look for similar deals on camping gear and clothing.  

I would caution you to buy quality equipment since more than your comfort depends on it.  A cotton sleeping bag in a $20 X-Mart tent may be ok for a kid's sleep-over but can be a horror on a cold, rain soaked night.  You will be subject  a wide variety of conditions and must be adequetly equipped to tolerate them.  There is a "Traveler's Rule" worth remembering:

"It will be hotter than you think.  It will be colder than you think.  It will rain more than you think."

As to eating on $15/day.  I supose it can be done but it will be very difficult to sustain. As wandering wheels pointed out you will need a lot of calories and a reasonably balanced diet.  It's going to be very difficult to do both on that amount per day. You won't have the ability to buy in bulk to get the cost savings associated with that either.    


Offline razor

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2007, 02:56:23 pm »
 Thanks for the input DaveB . I think a lot of people forget you don't need the best equipment out there "It is nice to have if you can afford it ". What you need is good quality equipment , it doesn't need to be perfect . Thanks to the Internet there are a lot more discount stores to choose from . Campmore is a good choice of places to look for stuff .
  As for food I have had good success keeping food expenses under $25 a day , and usually well under that and I tend to eat at a lot restaurants " Mom and Pop places mostly " .

Razor
Razor

Offline ride29

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2007, 08:08:00 pm »
I can certainly bump my food budget up to $20 a day, but the cheaper I can keep it, the more touring I can do in the future! I am not bringing any cooking equipment with me (I have a nice little stove, but I just don't care for the hassle or want the weight). I have found on my (non-biking) travels that hot food is a luxury, not a necessity.

Currently I'm compiling a list of foods that travel and keep well, such as tortillas, peanut butter, trail mix, apples, bagels, pop tarts, granola bars (etc), tuna (in bags, not cans), hostess fruit pies, and so on.

I have no aversion whatsoever to eating cold canned food, handlebar bag-heated burritos, etc. One meal every day or so in a diner/cafe is probably a good idea, although I could see my eyes wanting everything on the menu and blowing my day's budget at one stop!

It will be one grand rolling experiment!

Daryl Bernard
Daryl Bernard

Offline closer

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2007, 08:59:35 pm »
Hi Daryl,

I would suggest that you try out dried fruits, such as raisins, currants, prunes, cranberries and dates, which are my favourite.
Bananas are a pretty complete food as well but don't travel as well as these.
Throw in lots of unsalted peanuts, for the fat and protein and you, my friend, have a meal, as well as mucho snacks to eat while riding.
If you are going to eat lots of tuna, try and stay away from albacore and go for the "light" tuna (packed in water, of course). Albacore tuna is from older fish, which have higher levels of mercury. "Light" tuna is from younger fish, hence lower mercury levels.
A good, although more expensive alternative is salmon, with a cheap alternative being sardines.
Hope that this helps.

Art



Closer to Free
Closer to Free

Offline DaveB

Cycling on the Cheap . How low can you go?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2007, 11:37:43 am »
One way to get a lot of calories at fairly low cost is to hit a "Buffet Restaurant".  The prices are pretty low, typically less than $10, and "all you can eat" takes on real meaning for touring bike riders.

That could be your one restaurant meal of the day and would go a long way to keeping your calorie count up and your costs down.  Just choose what you eat with some care as the selections aren't all "health food".