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Describe your moments heading off on tour

Old 06-20-19, 11:42 AM
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BikeWonder
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Describe your moments heading off on tour

Describe that feeling you had leaving on your first tour, second etc; what did it feel like? What was going through your head? What were you concerned about? How do you think about a tour now and what did you learn from before?

I read a lot on everyone mentioning that leaving for one is the hardest part, but from there it's smooth sailing. Just wanted to see what everyone else's experiences were like.

I would liken it to having your first driver's license and that feeling of "freedom" of having the ability to go anywhere you want.

My first feeling was fear on a bikepacking trip. Simply because I didn't know what to expect. I brought too much gear expecting a spoke to pop out or my chain to break, my tire to go flat or something worse.

I had a 32 spoke wheelset that held up just fine. Chain was great, but I should have brought chain lube. Now I'm about to embark on a trip to Vancouver and I'm excited once again. I truly feel like a kid again about to explore a neighborhood.
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Old 06-20-19, 12:15 PM
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Roll down the driveway, start tour. Thinking? Where's lunch, when is lunch? Learned? Dry bags are good. Carry enough dry layers, a warm layer and one to keep dry in. But not too much. Best tip. Start early, be flexible on everything. Never pass up a good meal. Cheers.
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Old 06-20-19, 03:27 PM
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I learned to pace myself, after the first day of the first tour, just six weeks ago. By the end, I knew it would take all day to get to my destination, whatever the distance. I look forward to the next one. It was the first time I'd ever finished a ride at a different place than I started. I was excited at the prospect.
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Old 06-20-19, 09:57 PM
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I shake in anticipation, full of adrenaline. Best drug ever.
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Old 06-21-19, 08:21 AM
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Most all my touring is with my children, family, or with a group of teens- so all of it must be planned out well.
If its just me, then I dont care where playgrounds are, I can ride another 15mi if needed to get to a different campsite, and I can start the day not close to breakfast without much issue. But with how I usually tour, those things are planned out, so my moments before heading off are usually filled with reviewing the plans for the 10th time. Because its important to be flexible, the plans usually have branch off sub-plans to account for delays/issues.

For me, working thru possible scenarios is calming and creates confidence. So regardless of if I am with others or alone, reviewing plans and possible alternatives to said plans is calming. Nothing better than feeling calm before heading out!
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Old 06-21-19, 08:41 AM
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I got a opportunity to lead a Tour in Europe, to afford to go at all ..

GF @ the time got abandonment issues in her head , because I could not bring her too .

the relationship went up in flames, ended just when I was scheduled to fly out ..

so I was not a happy camper trip leader/type , and was replaced by the time the trip got to CH..

I had sorted out the kerfuffle with SNCF & the bikes ,, making the pre booked hostel * nights across southern england
getting people across on the ferry to Brittany, *AYH organized the tour and group.

cut loose in Bern with a return flight back I went off on my own and got to AMS on time ..

been solo ever since.. 30 years 2 more solo trips 91, into eastern Europe right after the Warsaw pact dissolved

97 when Ireland had not yet had the Stormont agreement, still British soldiers on the streets of Derry,

and Princess Diana had yet to die in a high speed crash in Paris.. I was in Scotland at that time..






....
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Old 06-21-19, 09:37 AM
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Leaving is seldom an issue. I always have thoughts of turning around on the second or third day. I’m not far enough from where I started that I couldn’t go back and get in the car to drive home or just ride home or catch the next flight home. By the 4 day, I’m far enough along that going back would take too much time and going forward might get me back sooner. I’ve also settled into a routine by the 4 day.

I had stuff happen that made me want to just abandon the whole tour a few times. On my Brussel Sprout tour (see sig line), I had 4 blowouts on two tires in the first 25 miles and spent the night in a toilet...thankfully it wasn’t an outhouse I had to beg a ride from someone in the campground back to my car and I just about turned around and went home at that point. I did drive to Shreveport so that I could ride in Louisiana but then decided to go ahead and just shorten my tour. I was very glad I did. Arkansas was a (to me) surprisingly wonderful place to tour.

On my Poking Around the Poconos tour, my first night was on the shores of Lake Erie in late April. The temperature dropped to a record low of 22°F and I had a 40°F summer bag. It was a long cold night. I was about to load up and go back to my car parked at the Toledo airport when I saw my keys flying off into the trees in the beak of a bird. As I was 1000 miles from home and those were my only car keys, there was no going back. Thankfully, my wife was going to meet me in Philadelphia in 3 weeks so she could bring me a key. The only problem was that my bike key was on the same ring. Thank goodness for bolt cutters which I didn’t have.
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Old 06-21-19, 09:59 AM
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I remember having one thought back in 1991 in Seattle, having just flown in and assembled my bike: where the hell is my touring partner. He decided to do a trip to Mt Rainer and was about four hours late.

I later got him back by putting rocks in his panniers.
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Old 06-21-19, 10:44 AM
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You don't need to bring chain lube unless you are out on dirt roads with no service.
Stop at petrol station, look in trash for empty oil bottle..... has enough oil left in it to lube chain.

I didn't take enough... second day, sun going down, high winds on coast highway, one dried banana, half a baggie of granola, half a bottle of water....no place to sleep.
You make do.... then you are really happy when you get to a good spot.
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Old 06-21-19, 05:59 PM
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Describe your moments heading off on tour
Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
Describe that feeling you had leaving on your first tour, second etc; what did it feel like? What was going through your head? What were you concerned about? How do you think about a tour now and what did you learn from before?

I read a lot on everyone mentioning that leaving for one is the hardest part, but from there it's smooth sailing. Just wanted to see what everyone else's experiences were like....

Now I'm about to embark on a trip to Vancouver and I'm excited once again. I truly feel like a kid again about to explore a neighborhood.
Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
I shake in anticipation, full of adrenaline. Best drug ever.
I’ve not thought about about such feelings before, so thanks for the chance to reminisce. Most of my/our (with girlfriend then wife…same person) tours have been pretty perfunctory out and back local tours, and just getting ready were our thoughts.

Two seemingly challenging tours come to mind though with the thoughts, “I (we) can do this.” The first was my very first overnight tour 50 miles out then back, to visit relatives, with no long distance cycling experience:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Back in the 60’s in the Motor City, I had an “English Racer,’ and longed to tour at about age 14, but then joined the car culture. In Ann Arbor MI in the 70’s I really realized the utility of bicycles for commuting, and began touring on a five-speed Schwinn Suburban…
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… So while this [time now] is my pinnacle of bike ownership, I started out in 1972 as a poor college student on a $90 Schwinn five-speed Suburban with wire baskets that on my very first weekend tour imbued me with a love of cycling that has been my lifestyle since….
then as I further describe in my cycling biography
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…but soon bought a Mercier as did my girlfriend, later my wife. We toured in Michigan and Ontario.

In 1977 we moved to Boston on our bikes, as a bicycling honeymoon from Los Angeles to Washington, DC
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
The trip was back in May to June of 1977 on our honeymoon as we were moving from Michigan to Boston and managed a two-month hiatus from work. … within few miles turned inland past San Juan Capistrano and onto the Ortega Highway and our very first mountain pass ever.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Route 74 [Ortega Highway] between San Juan Capistrano and Lake Elsinore, due to its narrow width and high traffic volume, holds an ominous claim to fame as one of the most dangerous highways in the state
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I can remember two distinct times on that trip when either one of us hit low a point, and were bouyed up by the other; me in Kansas and her in Ohio.

BTW, that trip was 32 42 years ago and we're still together.
We have toured in New England and the Maritime Provinces, and one trip to the DelMarVa peninsula.
While our touring days are in the past, I have attended a few far-away organized weekend rides in conjunction with informal "Fifty-Plus Forum Annual Rides." (link)

I have described my anticipation driving from Boston to Watkins Glen, NY for the first one I attended in 2010; I had been on BikeForums for two years prior
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...After reading all the pre-departure postings, as I drove to Watkins Glen on that beautiful Friday morning I had the strong ideation of a group of disparate people who did not know each other, traveling separately en route a mutual destination with a shared yet vague purpose in mind; not unlike the characters in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"...:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...For those Rides, the draw besides the new scenery was meeting other BF subscribers.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 06-22-19 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 06-22-19, 02:39 AM
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Prior to touring, I had done a whole lot of long distance cycling events and even more rides of various lengths.

I get nervous before long distance cycling events ... but not before heading out on a tour. Heading out on a tour is like going on a casual day ride somewhere.

Plus, I've usually been spending so much time wrapping up things at work, packing, etc. etc., I'm actually rather exhausted when I set off on a tour.
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Old 06-22-19, 04:24 AM
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[So far, 2x60 days with kids + 3x16 days with spouse.]

Always with a sense of exhilaration/discovery/adventure.

This summer we are on our alternate spend-the-summer activity. We plan another long tour with kids for next summer. I can't wait. (Might be that the little one prefers the alternative, though )

This spring my wife and I were unable to ride our short tour, and regret not making the extra effort (although that would have been next to impossible). We can't wait for next year.

---

Most of our trips are fairly planned rather that spur of the moment affairs. Wife and kids are actively involved in route planning. The general idea is discussed over dinners. Routing details (which city, museum, park, etc.) as well, but to a lesser extent. I take care of details such as considering elevation gain in determining a reasonable day's distance, targeting a stopover and considering alternatives and whatnots. We leave with an itinerary that is probably similar to what operators do.

Last edited by gauvins; 06-22-19 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 06-22-19, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post

Always with a sense of exhilaration/discovery/adventure.
to me, this pretty much sums up the whole thing and the whole reason of doing trips like this.
We only have one life, and going on an adventure to see new things is a really neat thing to do with one's life, and to appreciate and be thankful that we were all born where and when we were, that allows us to do things like this.

I always say, I have the same feeling that Gauvin describes, now in my 50s as I did as a kid going off on my bike with friends, and that's pretty cool.
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Old 08-16-19, 03:50 AM
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I've done one short two-day tour that was originally considered a test run for longer tours not yet done. My touring bike had only previously been ridden with one or two paniers for bicycle commuting to work. I drove four hours to my starting point, loaded up my bike with the four paniers and handlebar bag (about 50 pounds), tent bag on my rear rack and a 25 pound dog trailer with a 75 pound dog. That's my 200 pounds with an extra 50 pounds on the bike and 100 pounds behind me.

As I mounted my bike, the only thing I could think of was the fear of possibly not being able to move all this mass. I remember saying out loud, "Perhaps I should have tested this at home." The dog and I had a good two-day trip. I don't think I went over 13 mph, but it was fun.
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Old 08-16-19, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
...
Chain was great, but I should have brought chain lube. Now I'm about to embark on a trip to Vancouver and I'm excited once again. I truly feel like a kid again about to explore a neighborhood.
I used to keep my chain lube in my tools and spares bag that resided in the bottom of a pannier. I never thought of lubing my chain when in the campground so it never got used.

For the past three or four years I have kept my chain lube in my handlebar bag where it is easy to get to. When my drive train starts to get noisy, I stop and apply chain lube. I do not use it often, but having it where it is easy to get to makes it much more likely that it gets used when I need it.
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Old 08-16-19, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When my drive train starts to get noisy, I stop and apply chain lube. I do not use it often, but having it where it is easy to get to makes it much more likely that it gets used when I need it.
+1. Mine goes in one of the outside compartments of my Bikepacker pannier. Easy to access. During my two-week trip in June I had several days of rain. Also did a decent amount of dirt riding. The lube got used.
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Old 08-16-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I used to keep my chain lube in my tools and spares bag that resided in the bottom of a pannier. I never thought of lubing my chain when in the campground so it never got used.

For the past three or four years I have kept my chain lube in my handlebar bag where it is easy to get to. When my drive train starts to get noisy, I stop and apply chain lube. I do not use it often, but having it where it is easy to get to makes it much more likely that it gets used when I need it.
I came back from my trip two weeks ago. Chain lube would have been nice. Became an issue several times. Next time I embark on a trip,I am either waxing my chain or getting it lubed.
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Old 08-16-19, 10:11 AM
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taking chain lube on a trip is a given. Gotta take care of that drivetrain. A clean and lubed drivetrain is a happy drivetrain.
A rag to do those super quick wipes to remove excess lube before dirt sticks to it, to wipe the chain clean before lubing when needed and to wipe road grit after riding in rain.
On long trips, invariably we always end up passing some fallen off or discarded shirt or something, so that can do grimy duty and then discarded.
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Old 08-16-19, 06:50 PM
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Summer of 1977, year before graduation from high school. Excited, really, really excited! Jubilant, happy, excited! Will never forget that feeling, and have experienced it with my cross country motorcycle trip, first foreign country visit, fist child, etc. Nothing can compare to that wonderful feeling of adventure!
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Old 08-16-19, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
I came back from my trip two weeks ago. Chain lube would have been nice. Became an issue several times. Next time I embark on a trip,I am either waxing my chain or getting it lubed.
Huh? Where were you that you couldn't pickup chain-lube or some equivalent?
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Old 08-16-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Huh? Where were you that you couldn't pickup chain-lube or some equivalent?
My fault, really. From Calgary to Revelstoke there was a lot of rain which affected drivetrain. When it got dry again my chain got all squeaky. I got a LBS to relube it for me since I decided to cheap out and not buy any lube. From Revelstoke to Vancouver there wasn't a lot of rain, but there was a lot of dirt.
As soon as I got to Van I gave my bike a good clean.
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Old 08-16-19, 08:28 PM
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Mild apprehension, usually. Three long tours. First in '74 the first time in Europe. Took my early Cannondale bags and a Pletscher rack to Amsterdam and bought a bike to hang them on. Biggest concern was finding an affordable 25" frame. Second was five years later, taking the same bike back to Europe for a work program at BMW in Munich and a tour after. Most recently was a TransAm attempt in '16. I knew I knew how to tour but forgot I wasn't 30 any longer. My biggest worry was wondering if I'd be able to sleep on the ground but that wasn't the problem; it was old joints and old muscles. I'll train more before the next attempt.
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Old 08-17-19, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Roll down the driveway, start tour. Thinking? Where's lunch, when is lunch? Learned? Dry bags are good. Carry enough dry layers, a warm layer and one to keep dry in. But not too much. Best tip. Start early, be flexible on everything. Never pass up a good meal. Cheers.
It occurs to me that I have never experienced what is probably a pretty universal experience here, leaving from home on a tour. The closest to home one of my tours has started was 1,000 miles from home. For me tours have involved getting on an airplane and flying somewhere. Sometimes that meant riding directly out of the airport and sometimes there was some kind of transition with an overnight stay in someone's home, a motel, or a hostel. Always there is nervous apprehension, nervous energy, and restlessness the night before.

When I was considering starting or finishing at or near home it was always the end point rather than the start point. Even when I did ride the TA toward home, my end point was still 200 miles from home.

Maybe I should try riding from home some time just to have that experience.
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Old 08-17-19, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
I came back from my trip two weeks ago. Chain lube would have been nice. Became an issue several times. Next time I embark on a trip,I am either waxing my chain or getting it lubed.
Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
My fault, really. From Calgary to Revelstoke there was a lot of rain which affected drivetrain. When it got dry again my chain got all squeaky. I got a LBS to relube it for me since I decided to cheap out and not buy any lube. From Revelstoke to Vancouver there wasn't a lot of rain, but there was a lot of dirt.
As soon as I got to Van I gave my bike a good clean.
When I read a statement like, "waxing my chain or getting it lubed", when I read "getting it lubed" it sounds like you are getting someone else to apply the lube. Or when I read "I got a LBS to relube it for me", it makes me curious if you have personally lubed a chain yourself? Or what your aversion is to a quick application of lube?

If you ask 10 cyclists what the best way to apply chain lube is or what the best chain lube is, you will probably get more than 12 answers. So there is no single answer and some will have multiple answers depending on weather or type of riding. But 90 percent of the answers will describe a method that takes no more than a few minutes at most. I often skip wiping a chain after applying lube if I will be on pavement, I rarely take more than one minute to do it if I am skipping the wiping step. Even if I wipe it off with some disposable paper toweling from a rest room or gas station, that only adds a couple minutes including the time to discard what is left of the paper toweling.

Even if you had no chain lube and needed some, if there were no bike shops around, I have heard of people going into the trash bins at gas stations and pulling out the discarded empty plastic bottles that previously held engine oil, there likely is still a half ounce of oil in the bottle that could be used. I have also heard of cooking oil (specifically olive oil) being used as a chain lube, but I suspect that would not last very long.

If you are concerned about getting your hands greasy, next time you are at a dentist or doctors office, ask if you can get a couple pair of the disposable gloves that you can use when working on your bike. Or if left in a room unattended, help yourself to a few pair.
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Old 08-17-19, 09:46 AM
  #25  
BikeWonder
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When I read a statement like, "waxing my chain or getting it lubed", when I read "getting it lubed" it sounds like you are getting someone else to apply the lube. Or when I read "I got a LBS to relube it for me", it makes me curious if you have personally lubed a chain yourself? Or what your aversion is to a quick application of lube?

If you ask 10 cyclists what the best way to apply chain lube is or what the best chain lube is, you will probably get more than 12 answers. So there is no single answer and some will have multiple answers depending on weather or type of riding. But 90 percent of the answers will describe a method that takes no more than a few minutes at most. I often skip wiping a chain after applying lube if I will be on pavement, I rarely take more than one minute to do it if I am skipping the wiping step. Even if I wipe it off with some disposable paper toweling from a rest room or gas station, that only adds a couple minutes including the time to discard what is left of the paper toweling.

Even if you had no chain lube and needed some, if there were no bike shops around, I have heard of people going into the trash bins at gas stations and pulling out the discarded empty plastic bottles that previously held engine oil, there likely is still a half ounce of oil in the bottle that could be used. I have also heard of cooking oil (specifically olive oil) being used as a chain lube, but I suspect that would not last very long.

If you are concerned about getting your hands greasy, next time you are at a dentist or doctors office, ask if you can get a couple pair of the disposable gloves that you can use when working on your bike. Or if left in a room unattended, help yourself to a few pair.
Short answer: I'm lazy. I had lubed my chain prior to my trip but forgot my bottle at home and didn't feel like buying a new one. Not afraid of getting my hands dirty either. Nursing has gotten them more dirty than I can count.

But yeah, nothing too crazy. Just me being lazy for that part, but overall it wasn't as bad as it seemed. Thank you for the suggestions.
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