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how to plan for a ....

Old 01-30-05, 01:54 PM
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ridetoofast
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how to plan for a ....

new to the board here and have a ?

what type of resources would one consult for a x-country trip, how much time, route, suggested 'pay load',
type of bike..etc

i would like to use my current bike for comfort reasons, but somehow don't think it would fit the conventional type as it is a trek fuel disc fs..
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Old 01-30-05, 02:02 PM
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A couple of good sources:

www.adventurecycling.com - Adventure Cycling publishes detailed cross country cycling maps and is well worth joining to receive their magazine and access to its archives.

www.crazyguyonabike.com - This site hosts travel journals from bicycle tourists.
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Old 01-30-05, 03:15 PM
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Try your local motor association (here in Canada I've used CAA - Canadian Automobile Association). If you're a member, you can get all kinds of maps, accommodations guides, and other brochures for free.

I'm not sure what you mean by "pay load" - do you mean how much it would cost (how much money you'd have to set aside for it), or do you mean how much stuff you'd have to carry with you?
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Old 01-30-05, 05:41 PM
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pay load = weight of the bob pull behind. i clicked both of the links and saw a time frame of 3 months for the southern tier...i think i would only be able to get a month off of work? i wonder if 30 days is feasable???
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Old 01-30-05, 05:58 PM
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First you need to determine how far you can ride in a day. Right now, what is the average length of your daily ride? How many days off do you take in a week? Do you know how fast you ride with a loaded bicycle?

Next you need to look at a map of where you want to go, and find out how many miles you've got to cover.

If there's a significant difference, you may want to consider modifying the route or doing a lot of training.


Do not assume that if you can ride 20 miles every other day on a light racing-style bicycle that you're going to somehow suddenly be comfortable riding 75 miles each day on a loaded touring bicycle.
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Old 01-30-05, 07:35 PM
  #6  
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30 days over 3,000 miles has been before. It really depends on the shape you are in and probably more important, the mental mindset that you have. I think it is possible but improbable for most people. I know I couldn't do it.

Just my 2 confederate cents worth.
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Old 01-30-05, 10:42 PM
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Old 01-30-05, 11:59 PM
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Hi Ridetoofast!

People have used all kinds of bikes to ride long distances including unicycles, rickshaws, pennyfarthings, singlespeeds, old ten speeds and of course modern recumbents and touring bikes. The important thing is to have a bike that is comfortable for YOU to ride and that can carry the weight of whatever you intend to carry with you.

What kind of touring will you do? For example do you intend to camp, cook your meals and to all intents and purposes be a self-sustained bicycle tourist or will you have a friend or family member etc driving a car carrying your stuff?

How much adventure would you like? Would you rather have someone else preplan the tour for you so that you just follow the course they've set or would you prefer to chart your own course? Both methods have their pluses and minuses.

For me the most important advice I can give anyone new to touring is to make surre they always include the fun factor once they hit the road. When in doubt lean in the direction of fun times and happiness whenever possible.

~Jamie N
www.bicycletouring101.com
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Old 01-31-05, 06:00 AM
  #9  
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After numerous tours, my advice:
1. Lay out all of the gear you want to take.
2. Find a way to take half as much stuff (and twice as much money).
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Old 01-31-05, 06:19 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by ridetoofast
pay load = weight of the bob pull behind. i clicked both of the links and saw a time frame of 3 months for the southern tier...i think i would only be able to get a month off of work? i wonder if 30 days is feasable???
100 miles a day is doable but it probaly isn't going to be much fun for 30 days in a row. why not do the ride in two parts over a period of 2 vacations. Then you only need to average 50 miles a day or better yet ride 60 miles a day and take a day off every 5 days.
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Old 01-31-05, 07:47 AM
  #11  
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I was hoping to do a cross-country trip as my first solo ride, but like you I couldn't get more than a month off. So - I changed my plans, and did a ride through the Rockies, starting in Idaho, heading north through Montana and into Alberta and British Columbia. It was a great introduction to solo touring - without the stress of forcing myself to ride large distances every day.

I'd encourage you to plan a ride that is reasonable to accomplish in the time that you have instead of forcing the cross-country ride into too little time.

--- Denise
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Old 02-01-05, 05:02 AM
  #12  
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Denise has it. Soak up as much of her material as you can on crazyguyonabike. Same with Jamie.

FWIW, ambition is one thing, reality is another. The travelogues of cycling "tourists" are littered with stories of injury, disillusion, changed plans and feelings of "why did I do this?". Even unfinished stories leaving us all wondering what happened.

To be fair, there are many others who fairly radiate in their "achievements". And I am one of them --totally ignorant (or should I say unaware) on a trans-Nullarbor crossing almost eight years ago (Australia). I've learnt so much since then... but maybe not THAT much in terms of adventure and achievement. But then, I still hang out on crazyguyonabike for things like the continuation of a travelogue by a woman and her son who did an amazing trip down the US west coast some years ago.

Honestly, you have to assess a few things.

How much touring have you done already? Even a weekend overnighter or two? You know, I set up my tent in my unit and rolled out everything before the Nullabor experience. Just to make sure. And I never did an overnighter before the Nullarbor ride. Oh boy, was I in some trouble first night out with a whole series of "NO CAMPING" signs on my route!!! But I survived.

And that is a real question. Are you a survivor?

How much equipment have you accumulated, and just how comfortable do you want to be? Are you adaptable? Would you fall apart if you couldn't get to a campground/hostel/motel and had to camp wild somewhere? Can you cook? If you can't, could you survive 24 hours without sustenance? Would that situation enhance your experience or make it worse?

I have no idea of what a Trek Fuel Disk is, but the very description raises suspicions, reinforced by the idea of a trailer. And I might be very wrong.

So... experiment. Load up your trailer with the weight you expect to carry. Then blast down a hill at 60km/h and see what happens. Does your bike present ANY maintenance issues now. If it does, it certainly will on tour. Wheels in which you can be confident are critical. Punctures are a fact of life. Start with your bike in the best condition possible (ie, renew the drivetrain at the very least). Oh, and make sure your backside and your saddle and your shorts can continue talking to each other... a 60km ride around home is different from day-in-day-out riding of distances between 40 and 130km.

I haven't advanced things much, have I? Well... there is one answer that really is easy to give... Just get out there and do it!
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Old 02-01-05, 06:31 AM
  #13  
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sometimes the more you worry, the less chance there will be that you really get out and do it. sometimes itīs better that you just go and see what happens. i mean sometimes.
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Old 02-01-05, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Schumius
sometimes the more you worry, the less chance there will be that you really get out and do it. sometimes itīs better that you just go and see what happens. i mean sometimes.
What he said. It's good to plan but I've found the most important thing is to have flexibility and a sense of adventure--a good attitude, an open heart and an open mind. I've been caught in pissing down rain. I've realized I left my passport back at the last stop (and had to go back 30 miles to get it). I've been lost. But in all my days, weeks and months on a bike, I've never, ever had a real regret. Just do it.
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Old 02-01-05, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Schumius
sometimes the more you worry, the less chance there will be that you really get out and do it. sometimes itīs better that you just go and see what happens. i mean sometimes.
If you are committed, the feeling in the pit of your stomach -- the first time -- as you leave the things that you think are important to you, is MAGNIFIED because of that worry.

C'mon, it's like losing your virginity. And depending on how far you go in pursuing your touring dream, the start of EVERY tour is like a new love.

Like... that first day on ANY tour is consumed with a feeling... which says I have gone, but what if I fail. Failure is a big part of that first day. Is the bike good? Am I fit enough? Have I the right gear? Will people laugh at me? Will I get to sleep?

Thoughts of failure erode to nothing as each day passes. It's that commitment and determination that count more than anything else.

And when you've done your first day/week/month... you're a cycling tourist forever. Trust me and everyone around here.
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Old 02-01-05, 07:48 AM
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when i was on my first tour, funny to recall now, i didnīt know anything about bikes (never fixed a flat before), touring nor had any friends that knew bikes nor what possible difficulties that i might run into or whatever so i just bought a cheap mtb and some panniers and off i went, i wasnīt worried until like 10 minutes lafter when the panniers broke! i was totally panicked and thought damn what a short trip! then someone help me dealing with the panniers and i was able to start and finish my first tour.

then when planning for my second trip i was much worried, about the gear, the route, the safty, stuff like that, even then the feeling was great and worries gone when i hopped on my bike and left the city behind. it was so great that itīs impossible that i would go back to budget travelling (backpacker, bus, train, hostels everynight, etc) rowanīs right.
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Old 02-01-05, 08:27 AM
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good topic, i'm wanting to do my first tour also. One question, when heading out for one of these long multi week tours, do you plan where you are sleeping every night or take each night as it comes?
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Old 02-01-05, 08:38 AM
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i havenīt wild camped before and i donīt follow a route/plan strickly so normally everynight i check the map and guide book and whatever other infos i can find to see whereīre possible places to camp or stay the night cheap.

i would like to try wild camp someday though, then i can just go you know.
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Old 02-01-05, 11:39 AM
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A good plan is to make some short trips before you embark on 'The Big One'. Start with a couple overnight trips and then some longer ones. Keep a list of every single thing you pack for each trip and when you get home, review the list and determine what you actually used, what you didn't like, etc. Use this to fine tune your list until you have a lean packing list of things that you really need and are happy with.

A common thing you see time and again in touring journals is boxing up about 20 lbs of stuff to send home. Usually happens about a week or two into the tour. A little practice ahead of time can avoid (or at least reduce) this.
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Old 02-01-05, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by x2mars
good topic, i'm wanting to do my first tour also. One question, when heading out for one of these long multi week tours, do you plan where you are sleeping every night or take each night as it comes?

I like to aim for a specific spot each day. On my recent tour ... it gave us a goal to work toward instead of just meandering around, it kept us on schedule because we had to be in certain places on certain days in order to catch planes, and it gave me a feeling of comfort to know that at the end of a long, long, hard day we would arrive somewhere instead of just being out in the middle of nowhere.

That said, we rarely booked accommodations. We stayed in hostels about once a week and I can think of two occasions in the 3 months where we called the hostel sometime in the middle of the afternoon and let them know we were coming. On one occasion we found out it was the only inexpensive accommodations to be had at our destination - a national park, and it was pouring rain and cold, so we wanted to be sure to get a room for the night. On the other occasion it was a weekend, and we thought it might be a good idea to call ahead just in case they were busy that weekend.

But most of the time we just rolled into our destination and began the search for some place to sleep - a hostel, a campground, a rest area with no "NO CAMPING" signs, or whatever.

Incidentally ... I don't know how the Tourist Information situation is in the US, but in Australia the Tourist Information centers were Wonderful! They were like small travel agencies, providing us with tourist brochures for things to see, accommodation information, good maps of the area, internet access, and everything. And they were in practically every town, even the small ones. My cycling partner and I rode at quite different paces so he'd often disappear into the distance and I'd crawl along behind. We made an agreement that if we arrived in a town, and weren't sure where the other person was, we'd go to the Tourist Information center and meet there.
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Old 02-01-05, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by supcom
A good plan is to make some short trips before you embark on 'The Big One'. Start with a couple overnight trips and then some longer ones. Keep a list of every single thing you pack for each trip and when you get home, review the list and determine what you actually used, what you didn't like, etc. Use this to fine tune your list until you have a lean packing list of things that you really need and are happy with.

A common thing you see time and again in touring journals is boxing up about 20 lbs of stuff to send home. Usually happens about a week or two into the tour. A little practice ahead of time can avoid (or at least reduce) this.

I agree wholeheartedly!! Before my 3-month tour of Australia I had done 1 week in Wales, and a couple of weekends in Canada. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I landed in Australia, and within that first week, I had packed up and stored about 10 lbs (we weighed it!) of stuff ... then along the way I tossed some more stuff, and mailed even more home.

I think I would have done much better if I had gone on more 1-week tours, or maybe a slightly longer one (2 or 3 weeks), before heading out on a 3-month tour. However, if your tour is only going to be one month, my advice would be to go touring on several weekends in preparation for the 1-month tour. Choose different routes for each weekend tour and incorporate as much different terrain/environment as you can so you get a feel for pushing all your stuff up a mountain and/or into a wind . . . and can then decide if you really want to carry that much stuff on a month-long tour!
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Old 02-04-05, 08:01 PM
  #22  
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(snip)

do you plan where you are sleeping every night or take each night as it comes?
02-01-05 08:48 AM

(end snip)

People do both. Personally I just start riding and when I reach whatever goal I set for the day I start looking for a place to camp. It usually works out fine for me but occassionally I have to look for a campsite just a little bit longer then I would like to.

Other people plan their tours around their planned daily destinations and book their campsites, motel rooms etc in advance or even the day before their planned arrival.

I suspect it comes down to your comfort level with just showing up and hoping for the best.

~Jamie N
www.bicycletouring101.com
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