Author Topic: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST  (Read 10489 times)

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Offline kbupp

First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« on: April 09, 2011, 01:46:49 pm »
Hello,

My name is Kevin and I've been an avid road cyclist for a few years now although none of my rides have consisted of multiple day treks. I have a few long distance routes marked on my bucket list but I just haven't found the time until recently to actually get out and disappear on the bike for a stretch of time...that is until now.

My wife and I have a trip planned to visit family in Baltimore, MD on May 7th and I just talked her into letting me ride my bike from our home in Clearwater, FL to meet her their on the 7th. A few hurdles lie ahead that I could really use some expert advice in overcoming
1. very short notice...only 17 days away. I'd have to leave on the 27th of May to allow enough time to make the trip.
2. No previous experience with a long distance trip like this although I am in very good physical shape from running and cycling on a regular basis.
3. I want to travel lite but have no idea what to and what not to pack. I planned on adding just a set of rear panniers and a front handlebar bag to my bike.
4. My bike is not a touring model. It's a Scott S20 Speedster which is more of a aggressive road setup. The guy at our local bike shop said that I should have no problems with this kind of setup but I'm pretty confident that he's never attempted a trip like this so his advice lacks the actual experience.
5. Safe routes. What is the best way to find a safe route along the way?

Any advice you guys/gals could give would be greatly appreciated. I'm super excited but want to make sure I have most of my ducks in a row before setting out into the unknown. For those conservative folks that may read this please understand that my personality lends itself to a spontaneousness nature with the unknown being an exciting component to any adventure I embark on.

Thanks in advance for your help and advice!

Happy Cycling!

Kevin

P.S. my direct email is kevin@MyRaceRagz.com for anyone who'd like to contact me directly.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2011, 02:46:31 pm »
My wife and I have a trip planned to visit family in Baltimore, MD on May 7th and I just talked her into letting me ride my bike from our home in Clearwater, FL to meet her their on the 7th.
1. very short notice...only 17 days away. I'd have to leave on the 27th of April to allow enough time to make the trip.
2. No previous experience with a long distance trip like this although I am in very good physical shape from running and cycling on a regular basis.
3. I want to travel lite but have no idea what to and what not to pack. I planned on adding just a set of rear panniers and a front handlebar bag to my bike.
4. My bike is not a touring model. It's a Scott S20 Speedster which is more of a aggressive road setup.
5. Safe routes. What is the best way to find a safe route along the way?

10 days riding.  Its about 1000 miles between Clearwater and Baltimore.  Doable.

No experience necessary.  Just ride your bike every day.

Traveling light.  Two pair shorts, one jersey.  Maybe a t-shirt and shorts for when you are done riding.  Biking sandals ans SPD pedals so no need for extra shoes.  Toothbrush and toothpaste.  Any medicine you use.  You will stay in motels every night.  So they provide soap and shampoo and towels.  Eat in restaurants or convenience stores.

Adventure Cycling has an Atlantic Coast route map.  I suspect it would get you most of the way along the eastern seaboard.  Already mapped for you.  Check where the towns are to be sure you can ride between towns that have motels.  Check the map to see what kind of hills or moutains are on it.  I think they talk about those things on the maps they sell.  See if the hills warrant you changing the gearing on your bike.  If so its easy to get a cassette with bigger cogs and a compact crankset.  Your racing bike will handle a 27-28-30-32 rear cog and 50/34 crankset with no other changes.  Except chain may need to be longer.  Front derailleur lowered.  If you're feeling like spending money you could get a long cage rear derailleur for fun too.   Not needed though.

Offline John Nelson

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2011, 06:15:13 pm »
10 days to do 1000 miles is doable, but it will be a lot more enjoyable if you can get a few more days. Or maybe your wife could drive you the first 150 miles go give you a head start. Remember that it will be somewhat longer than 1000 miles on the back roads you will want to use.

Are you in fact planning to stay in motels and eat in restaurants?

You don't need to take much if you are using motels and restaurants. Russ has already given you a good start. Take enough to allow you to fix a flat tire. Get the maps for the ACA Atlantic Coast route, and maybe also for the Florida Connector. Order them TODAY! The biggest mistake you can make is to take too much, so if in doubt, leave it out. Take sunscreen. Consider taking a rain jacket, but you can decide at the last minute depending on the 10-day forecast. The forecast may also help you decide what you might need in the way of warm riding clothes. Take a camera and a cell phone. You really don't need anything else except your credit card and some cash.

Offline csykes

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2011, 10:38:37 pm »
You may want to take a look at your tires.  23 or 25mm tires are normal on most road bikes.  You could probably switch to 28mm tires such as Conti Gatorskins which are very durable and should fit your frame.  Bigger tires are more comfortable for long hours in the saddle as you can run lower pressure without getting pinch flats.  A good pump such as the Topeak road Morph G will make it easier to top up your tires in the morning, the gauge is great and it works more like a floor pump than a typical hand pump.

You may be able to make your bike less aggressive by flipping the stem over and putting in a spacer. I did this to my Bianchi 928 which is race-oriented, and it keeps my back and neck much happier on long rides.

Offline bogiesan

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 08:41:13 am »
You do not say in your OP if you eveer ridden a full century yet you seem to be facing ten in a row. That's a lot of saddle time. And it's not just about your tissues being able to take the abuse; long distance riding is also about what goes on in your head. Can you stand to be with yourself for ten, twelve- to fifteen-hour days on your bike? Do you know how to stay hydrated and properly fueled for that kind of mileage?

You have very little time to prepare your bike and your gear but you can do it.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline csykes

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 01:36:56 pm »
I don't think your bike has eyelets for racks in the back.  You could use a seat post mounted pack, but they don't recommend using that with a carbon seat post.  Another choice is the Jandd Mountain Wedge III which is a very large seat bag with bungees that can mount to seat stays with an adapter.  I read in Road Bike Action Mag about two guys who did a credit card tour from Victoria BC to Tijuana using that setup.   Good luck with your trip!

Offline whittierider

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2011, 03:23:26 pm »
I don't think your bike has eyelets for racks in the back.  You could use a seat post mounted pack, but they don't recommend using that with a carbon seat post.
easily remedied by replacing it with an aluminum one

Quote
Another choice is the Jandd Mountain Wedge III which is a very large seat bag with bungees that can mount to seat stays with an adapter.
I have that one.  I has almost two gallons' worth of space.  There are even bigger ones from Caradice, the Nelson Longflap and the Camper Longflap Saddlebag, that give three to four times that much space, kind of like having a small duffel bag back there but with internal supports so they don't sag or sway.

Offline sprocketman

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2011, 11:17:16 pm »
Hey Kevin,

I did the Atlantic Coast (Pennsylvania to Florida) last year, 1473 miles. The ACA Atlantic Coast maps are pretty good. They will keep you on quiet roads most of the time. However, food is scarce in some places. Always keep a good amount of food in your panniers. 100 miles a day will be tough. Some places in Maryland are hilly. If you get a headwind, it will be a long slog. Make sure all your gear is in top notch shape. Bike shops are far between. Carry lots of tubes and at least one spare tire.

Offline kbupp

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 09:52:49 pm »
Thank you everyone for your input. I'll try to address a few of the comments and questions that were asked throughout the different posts
 - just did the math and it seems as though my actual distance using ACA's maps would be more like 1450 miles...not very doable within my 11 day time frame. I'm planning on getting a ride to St Augustine, FL where I'll start with the hopes of being able to cover 110-120 miles per day able to reach DC or Baltimore or at least within 100 miles of it so i can call friends to pick me up:)
- Yes, I have ridden a century before although it was a more aggressive type of riding. I'm planning on two back to back easy going century rides this weekend to see how my body (butt) hold up.
- I planned on a mixture of camping and doing the motel thing. I have a super compact 1 person tent and sleeping pad that will easily strap to my rear rack without adding much weight. My local bike store did some slight mods so that I will be able to utilize a rear frame mounted rack/bag with fold out panniers.
- I plan on swapping out my 23mm tires for 28mm gator skins.
- Yes, I do know how to stay hydrated. I have previous experience in long distance endurance events just nothing of this magnitude with such little dedicated training.

My thoughts are that I'll have approx 12 hours of daylight and at an average speed of 10-12mph with stops and breaks when needed I should be able to handle the trip. I may leave a day early so that I have one extra day to allow for any unforeseen events that may occur.

All of you have been a huge help and all of your advice is much appreciated. If you can think of anything else that may be beneficial for me to know please feel free to pass it along. Thanks!!

Kevin


Offline sprocketman

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 12:13:28 am »
Kevin,

Do your test rides with your gear. I camped and my load was about 30 pounds. I averaged 73 miles a day for just over three weeks (with three rest days). Doing a century without gear is very different than with gear. 

Good luck and keep us posted.

Offline PeteJack

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 03:22:15 pm »
A 100 miles a day is a LOT. If you are using ACA maps follow them exactly. Stop and ponder at every intersection. The starts of bike paths can be particularly easy to miss, authorities often don't sign them very well. You can waste a lot of daylight taking the "obvious" route. Believe me, I've done it.

Offline kbupp

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2011, 02:50:55 pm »
Any suggestions on adding a GPS to my trip? I've read a lot of the other posts about which GPS's are the best but it seems as though it's hard to weed through all the different opinions. If cost wasnt a factor which would be the best choice for a GPS unit??

Offline John Nelson

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2011, 03:40:31 pm »
it's hard to weed through all the different opinions
You're just going to get all the same opinions over again.

If you're following ACA maps, you won't need a GPS. When you're camping, it may be a bit annoying trying to find a place to recharge it every night.

I hope you can find a way to get more time for this trip. Day after day of 100+ miles is going to rob some of the enjoyment--it's going to turn into a grind. It's not a question of whether or not you can do it. I'm sure you can do it. But it's a question of how much fun it will be. Also, remember that if you have X miles to cover in Y days, you're not going to find services at exactly X/Y mile intervals, so some days you'll have to do more than X.

Offline RoseandGary

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2011, 03:57:30 pm »
We used a Garmin Edge on our trip and by downloading your route a day or two before hand it eliminates having to stop and figure out paper maps.  When we camped we charged it overnight with a Solio solar unit that charged during the day by the sun.

We covered 7400 miles through 13 countries and loved using the Garmin ( we didn't use paper maps).  It is also very useful for keeping a history of exactly where you went and it is very useful to find hotels, campgrounds, restaurants and a host of other things and places you might need on the trip.

We uploaded a few days of routes by using www.ridewithgps.com  check out the sight it has some nice elevation and grade data as you plot a route.

Good luck.  

My opinion, 100 miles a day is not fun.  Smell the roses.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 07:32:11 pm by Fred Hiltz »

Offline staehpj1

Re: First long distance ride...need advice....FAST
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2011, 06:59:08 pm »
If you're following ACA maps, you won't need a GPS.
I know that I didn't find a GPS added much value when using ACA maps.  I sent mine home after a week or so.