Author Topic: Greetings  (Read 6541 times)

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Offline mugs

Greetings
« on: January 01, 2010, 09:40:19 pm »
Hello everyone.
This post did not get much response in the PNW section so I am posting it here in hopes for more response.
Also I have done several google searches to find other touring forums out there (this one is a bit too sterile and dead for me) and have not really come up with anyting that is "grabbing" there were a few that were bike forums but they included all froms of biking. I am looking for just touring specific forums to be able to join/lurk about and learn info on, share passions with etc. So if any one knows of any other forums out there that would be great.

So here is the original post.

I am a touring newb but not a bike newb. I have been on the local racing circuit (Spokane Rocket Velo) for a few years and been an avid cyclist for 30 years now. I have been trying/wanting to a northern tier ride across America for about 22 years now (since I was 15 and read about it in one of my bike magizines)
I go by "mugs" because that is my trail name from backpacking and so I just use it on all my other backpacking and car forums. I am one of those crazy Ultralighter backpackers. My base weight (everything except food, fuel and water) is slightly less then 5 lbs. Yes you have read correctly  And yes I am more then comfortable and stay nice and warm so don't flame me and trell me I am going to die and that it can't be done.
I plan on applying the same philosophy to my touring, expcept I will obviously augment some things out for more heavier items. I.E. leave my 4 ounce tarp at home and take the 23 ounce fully enclosed tent, etc.
The one thing I have noticed is that the weights are heavy staring out...racks and panniers can weigh up to 8-10 ten pounds empty so I will be working on getting that one figured out a bit more.
I have my next installment of vacation in the middle of march and would like to make that my first virgin run of touring. So if anybody nows of a decent 2-3 day ride from the Spokane area heading south (snow will still be north) please let me know.
In the mean time I am glad to have joined and will be lurking and absorbing all the info I can that way I don't post so many annoying newb questions..I know they get old on the forums I am on so I will try to be curtious to you all here as well.
Looking forward to "meeting" you all out there in touring land.
Have a great day
Mugs (Doug)

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Greetings
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2010, 11:38:28 am »
You want to also lurk at Bikeforums.net touring section.

nun posts a plausible UL touring rig and has posted a recent picture.  And his gear list was on another recent thread.

UL advocates are either very tough or are liars. 

Offline CraftGeek

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Re: Greetings
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2010, 06:40:29 pm »
UL advocates are either very tough or are liars. 
Tsk, tsk...
Just because you don't know how a thing is possible does not mean that it isn't.

Hi Mugs,
I too am a noob tourist. The idea of making every ounce count is interesting, though I wonder if over the long run a pound or two makes much difference when the weight is on the wheels instead of on your back.

Where do you shave the most weight?
You mentioned fuel so I assume you cook. What does your kitchen kit look like?
Sleeping pad or no?
If hanging points can be found, would a hammock and tarp be more versatile and comfortable than a tent of equal weight?

Sean

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Greetings
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2010, 09:36:44 pm »

Tsk, tsk...
Just because you don't know how a thing is possible does not mean that it isn't.


Sure it's possible when its always warm, never rains, water is pure and plentiful, bikes don't break, when you fall down you don't bleed etc etc.  You have a lot to learn newbie.

Offline mugs

Re: Greetings
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 11:15:49 am »
You want to also lurk at Bikeforums.net touring section.

nun posts a plausible UL touring rig and has posted a recent picture.  And his gear list was on another recent thread.

UL advocates are either very tough or are liars. 

What I ment was: are there any other bike touring specific forums out there. I realize I am a minority with the UL/LW thing and was not looking for a forum related to that in specific. Just another forum to lurk on. So thanks for the link I will check them out.

Now in regaurds to you last sentence:
I look at it in almost the oposit. You have to be "tougher" to carry all that weight. You body has to endure more, risk injury more, deal with fatigue more, have to figit with more in camp, etc etc. And be satisified with covering less mileage and hurting all the time. I know I was there once.

Now my hiking kit is simple, I stay warm and dry no matter what the weather, setting up camp and breaking down camp is a breeze, I cover about twice as much milage now (30 vs 10-15 a day) and I am refreshed in the morning and ready to hit it again for aother day. I feel that I can do the same with biking as well. Hills won't be as dificult and the at the end of the day I will have energy to do other things. I could go on but that is it in a nut shell. I would say the only thing "were" tougher about is we have to be more inovative and resilent to be able to do more with less and overcome an obstical with more forward thinking then most.

Offline mugs

Re: Greetings
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2010, 12:57:57 pm »
Quote
Hi Mugs,
I too am a noob tourist. The idea of making every ounce count is interesting, though I wonder if over the long run a pound or two makes much difference when the weight is on the wheels instead of on your back.
Sean

I would think maybe not as much, but I am sure we all will agree that trying to pedal 50lbs up a hill vs only 15-20lbs is a lot more difficult. Plus one will have more control and stability over their bike when not having the center of gravity being so offset around corners and on decents.  Even I don't expect to carry my A-typical pack weight...simply because I am not packing, I am riding. First off the panneires and rack weigh more then my whole hiking kit. But I can apply the same philosophy and transfer over a lot of the gear.

Quote
Where do you shave the most weight?


This is a very big question. But I will try to answer it in a few sentences. First off the biggest weight savers are also the most expensive to replace...Pack, Bag, Tent. But you can begin to pair down some things and get to a point to where that is the last plunge you have to take. When on a trip, instead of taking the whole 10 oz bottle of sunscreen, soap, or what ever, take a look at how much you actually use or have used in the past. Say it was only about 3 ounces or so or in some cases you never used it at all and can't remember the last time you did. Go out a find a smaller container (I have ones that are as small as 3ml's) and use that instead of the whole bottle.
After every trip take a real good look at what you used, how you used it, did you use it, how much you used etc. Begin to think about what way can I get multi use out of one item. I.E. Tent stake can be a potty trowel, a pot stand, a splint. The gear you take that never gets used, leave at home. The gear you think you might be able to not use, take it on the next trip and try not to use it. If after 2-3 times you find that you no longer need it leave it at home....Obvioulsy this will be different in the biking world. I may never use my tool kit on a trip, but I will take it every time. Hard to fix a bike w/o tools.  ;D But for most stuff you can apply this theory and you will be suprised how much you can pair down.

Quote
You mentioned fuel so I assume you cook. What does your kitchen kit look like?

I do what they call the "freezer bag cooking method" All of my main course meals are dehydrated and just needs to be re-hydrated with boiling water. So All I ever need to do is boil water. This greatly reduces weight because you don't have to take a whole kitchen with you, and camp clean up is minimal (I hated doing camp dishes and fiddiling with so much stuff to just be able to eat). Some use an alcohal stove that weigh a few grams, to a light weight canister stove such as the Colman Ultraligth F1, which weighs about 3 ounces, sans the canister. My personal favourite and system I have been useing for abut 4 years now is esbit. I have a esbit stove that weighs 12grams and my SnowPeak 600 which comes in a little under 3 ounces, and home made windscreen that is only a few grams as well. Then its up to the amount of fuel I carry. Esbit tabs themselves weigh .5 ounces and I use about 1 and a half per day so I just figure accordingly and then thorw in a couple of extra. I am sure I may have to re-think this a bit though. Esbit may not be readily availible in every town when doing a trans style ride (a 2-3 day loop of course would be ok) but then again neither would a fuel canister so I may take a combination of the two. On a side note however, I might add that "alcy" can be found just about every where so I may have to go back to useing that method....
"Alcy" being denatured alcohal which can be found in any hardware store. And HEET in the yellow bottle, which can be found in about any car parts store. Also very strong liquor such as 100 proof or above would work.

Quote
Sleeping pad or no?

Yes unfortunatly my back can't take a foam pad any more so I use what is called a torso pad, it weighs 9 ounces. It goes from my shoulders to just under my butt (this also doubles as my pack frame) then I use a small 1/8 thick UL foam pad (that doubles as a sit pad) for my legs and feet and my pack gets stuffed with whatever clothes I have left (rain gear, extra socks, under wear, the clothes I was wearing) and is my pillow. Obvioulsy this won't be possible to do while biking so I will buy a longer 1/8 thick foam pad. I think it weighs about 1.5-2 ounces in total.

Quote
If hanging points can be found, would a hammock and tarp be more versatile and comfortable than a tent of equal weight?
I can't really answer your question, I am not a hammocker. I do most of my hiking in alpine and above tree line, or in low land dessert type settings. So tress are hard to come by per se'. But I have heard from my hammocking friends that once you have slept in a hammock you will never go back.

I can say this...I feel that a hommack and tarp is heavier/about the same as a traditional tent. Which is way hevier then anything I have, or would want to have. Which is why I have never tried hammacking. I think a good Hennisey hammack weighs in at about 2.5 pounds. And for me that would be taking a step back. Even my single man tent (that I take for certain occaisons or a known type of weather pattern I might face) only weighs 24 ounces, and yes it is fully enclosed. It has a floor, vestibule, a door, the works.

I hope this answered some of your questions. If you have any more please feel free to ask. I am sure it will be a learning process of what works and what  doesn't for us newb's but if we head into with the right attitude and try to not even enter the "box" so we don't have to come out of it...we will be much farther a head.

Happy Pedaling
Mugs

« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 12:59:28 pm by mugs »

Offline mugs

Re: Greetings
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2010, 01:22:14 pm »
Quote
Sure it's possible when its always warm, never rains, water is pure and plentiful, bikes don't break, when you fall down you don't bleed etc etc.  You have a lot to learn newbie.

I am sure I do have a lot to learn. Just like I did when I started out as a backpacker many years ago. I did not always have sucha light load. Micheal Jorden wasn't always Micheal Jordan was he.

But I will say that I have weather many a storm, survived many a friek snow fall in the middle of summer and stayed warm and dry. I have ha dto walk for miles on end in arid conditons to only find a dried up lake that was "supposed to be there" on the map and then had to adjust accordingly...You get the point. So to insinuate that it is only possible in ideal conditions only shows that your traditionalism is getting in the way of you freeing your mind. And not wanting to look at something from a different angle.

I have fallen down and bled many times, on the trail and on the bike. I have had to do road side repairs just like everyone else. Have you ever ridden 40 miles with out a seat or seat post because yours snapped 40 miles into an 80 mile race? I have !!! Its life you deal with it as it comes.

I carry apropriate gear and always plan for the worst. I have rain gear, and take it, I have extra socks and underwear and take it too. And far as the rain is concerned I welcome it at times. I used to go on training rides delibertly in the rain, just so I could know the envolope of my bike, that way in a race I could push it more when everyone backs off, it gave me an edge. 

I apreciate your passion and purist spirit. Just imagine if everyone got wind of a "more fun" way of doing such things a hiking and biking... Do you know how many advocites that would breed. Do you know how strong our voice would become in the government. Just imagine a bike friendly country where cars are not the norm and land exploitation is not the norm. Lightwieght hiking and biking may be the answer, it is slow to take off, but it only takes one to discover it then share it with a friend who shares it with a friend etc.

But again thanks for letting me know that I need to be cautious of the road ahead of me, and I am sure you will help support my new biking adventure through aged ol' wisdom of years of cycling. But I also challenge you to allow me to fall flat on my face and learn from it, and then go from there. Either that or I challenge you to a gear duel  :D

Cheers
Mugs

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Greetings
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2010, 02:38:11 pm »
Welcome Mugs,

I too was a racer who converted to touring many moons ago.  You might want to look over on CrazyGuyOnABike.  There is a Resources section that may very list other forums.  At least you can post the same question there and get a wider range of answers as it is more international in flavor (but still with a very North American emphasis).  CGoaB is definately touring-only oriented and most people are welcome.

Welcome to the slower side.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 02:40:29 pm by John Nettles »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Greetings
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2010, 12:34:20 pm »
I have been a consistent advocate that backpacking is good preparation for touring.

So I am going to recommend that you do some overnight tours, and that you use whatever gear you like for backpacking.

I will give you some heads up on some items that might want to review after your first tour. 

I think the caloric requirements for bike touring are a lot higher than those needed for backpacking.  Your experiments will let you subject this to the myth buster standard.

I also think some ultralight gear might not be tough enough.  I currently use a Big Agnes Seedhouse tent.  I have broad shoulders, and it is the only solo tent wide enough for me to sleep comfortably.  I have the heavy version of this tent as the UL version of tent seemed too flimsy for me.  I also have the heavy version of the ground cloth for the same reasons.

You might find that bike touring requires more clothes.  I do not wear my bike clothes in camp.  They immediately get hung up inside out to dry or washed and then hung up to dry.    When I did the Continental Divide in New Mexico, the temps ranged from 15F to 85F during the day.  Lots of layers where required.

I might add that all of my tours are 1 week or less (it sucks to have to work for a living).  I lay out my own routes, and I stay at camp grounds.  Lets just say that camp ground terrain can be abrasive.

I share some of your opinions.  I use an alcohol stove as it is so much more compact than white gas.  I still use my stainless steel MSR cook set as I do cook in it.  No freeze dried for me, I am a rice and pasta and gnocchi kind of guy.  I have a 45F bag as it is so much smaller than a 15F bag.

I think you will work out when you are willing to carry a heavier variant because it is worth it to you.
Danno

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Greetings
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2010, 11:38:12 pm »
I've toured several times south of Spokane through the Palouse country.  There are lots of rural roads and very acceptable weather in March/April.  I just get a road map out and make it up.  Even better is the "Washington Road and Recreation Atlas" by Benchmark Maps.  It will get you drooling over possibilities throughout the state.
May the wind be at your back!