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Looking for touring advice/tips

Old 01-11-16, 12:42 AM
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zmrider23
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Looking for touring advice/tips

I plan on touring from Delaware to Nebraska around 1,390 miles and I was looking for advice on the best route I should take. I plan on camping 85% of the time, what is everyone's suggestions for a ^one person tent, sleeping bag, and rain gear. I am curious in what brands you all use, what is lightweight, or saves space. I am getting some advice from a co worker who biked from DE to Venezuela in the 70's for a lot of the other stuff I'll need, but I appreciate any other information. Thank you.
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Old 01-11-16, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by zmrider23 View Post
I plan on touring from Delaware to Nebraska around 1,390 miles and I was looking for advice on the best route I should take. I plan on camping 85% of the time, what is everyone's suggestions for a ^one person tent, sleeping bag, and rain gear. I am curious in what brands you all use, what is lightweight, or saves space. I am getting some advice from a co worker who biked from DE to Venezuela in the 70's for a lot of the other stuff I'll need, but I appreciate any other information. Thank you.
Times have changed since the 70s.


Go into some shops and start looking at what is available. Visit MEC, REI, Army surplus, or whatever other sporting goods shops you have in your area. Read about the features of each of the tents ... especially features like their weights. Many of these sporting goods places will have tents up and on display so you can actually see what they look like and go inside to check them out.

Same with things like sleeping bags etc. Look at their temperature ratings, check out their other features.

Go look at what's available and do some in-person research.


I could tell you that our tent is a Quechua from Decathlon in France (which we picked up when we passed through Dunkerque in 2007) ... and that we really like it ... but that's probably not going to help you a whole lot.

Last edited by Machka; 01-11-16 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 01-11-16, 03:38 AM
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Since you don't currently have gear, I'm going to assume long-distance bicycle touring and camping isn't something you've done before. My biggest advice would be for you to do your research "on the road", buying gear incrementally and trying it out for short overnight or 2-3 day weekend trips. Credit-card tour for a single overnight the first trip to get your basic luggage and kit sorted, then start adding in the camping and taking longer tours

You can get great advice and recommendations on forums like this, but expecting everything to magically come together the first time when you depart on a 3-week tour is not a good strategy.

- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 01-11-16 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 01-11-16, 04:51 AM
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Can't help with the route, but these posts on my blog will tell you what I take whether it's a weekend or week long trip. For rain gear I generally rely on a Campmor Rain Cape. It keeps me dry enough without getting too wet. It's not great in the wind, but how fast are you going with a fully loaded bike anyway?

Marc
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Old 01-11-16, 05:02 AM
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here you can see my gear list

as nossas viagens: Equipamento

In portuguese but with google translator option on the right
You have already good tips in some answers, do one night trips to test/improve your kit.
Most important for me is good panniers like ortlieb, 100%waterproof
My tent, sleeping bag and pad are also from decathlon. (I've changed from a 15C sleeping bag to a 5C now in winter)
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Old 01-11-16, 06:50 AM
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If you'll be in the Western part of Nebraska, stop by this place...I took this picture in 2012.

Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

Wiki Carhenge Nebraska

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Old 01-11-16, 07:19 AM
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Another neat spot in Western Nebraska...the drive/ride to the top had a dozen plus tunnels on it:





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Old 01-11-16, 07:29 AM
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See the thread I just started about around the world by bike.
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Old 01-11-16, 07:36 AM
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My wife and I rode cross country in 2014 starting in Delaware. Here is a map of our route. Though we walk into Nebraska!
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.5151...4.katiPNhrySLU
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Old 01-11-16, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
My wife and I rode cross country in 2014 starting in Delaware. Here is a map of our route. Though we walk into Nebraska!
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.5151...4.katiPNhrySLU
Those parts of I-74 and I-70 are open to bikes?
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Old 01-11-16, 08:56 AM
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Woops! That was our generic map to show non-cyclists where we were going. Our actual routes may still be in our Ride With GPS Routes.
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Old 01-11-16, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zmrider23 View Post
any other information.

Milk is pretty much always a bad choice.
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Old 01-11-16, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by zmrider23 View Post
I plan on touring from Delaware to Nebraska around 1,390 miles and I was looking for advice on the best route I should take. I plan on camping 85% of the time, what is everyone's suggestions for a ^one person tent, sleeping bag, and rain gear. I am curious in what brands you all use, what is lightweight, or saves space. I am getting some advice from a co worker who biked from DE to Venezuela in the 70's for a lot of the other stuff I'll need, but I appreciate any other information. Thank you.
For tent I would go with the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 it is a two person tent that tends to be lighter comparatively to a lot of single person tents and is always well rated and reviewed. Having that extra space without extra weight means more comfort and storage possibilities.

For sleeping bag I like the UltraLamina from Mountain Hardwear (whatever temp rating you might need) because it is a decently light synthetic bag great for all conditions and quite comfortable to sleep in. I have the 45˚ bag and it works for most of what I do.
I would put that bag on top of a Sea To Summit sleeping pad (most of your heat is lost through the ground) which is very comfortable and easy to inflate and deflate. Instead of having long vertical tubes or many horizontal tubes it has smaller individual air pockets which provide a lot more comfort and stability so your pad doesn't fold up on you while sleeping and doesn't transfer motion from cell to cell. They are also quite lightweight and you can get them insulated as well.

I also highly recommend a sleeping bag liner such as the Sea To Summit Coolmax Adaptor. I have two of them one in plain Coolmax and one treated with Insect Shield and it is great either for summer time when it is too hot for a sleeping bag or for keeping the funk out of your sleeping bag and being something easy to wash. It is like a performance sheet sack. STS also makes some that add warmth to your bag if you should need that.

For rain gear I am a big fan of Mountain Hardwear again. Specifically anything with Dry.Q Elite which is a very nice air permeable waterproof membrane. I have the lightweight reasonably stretchy Seraction Pants which were designed for ice climbing which is high output and and the kick patches on the inside ankles are great for cycling to help protect against getting caught by the chain. For jacket I have the Chinley 3L but I don't think they make that anymore but any of their Dry.Q Elite jackets would probably work well. I chose what I chose because of the pockets for non-cycling use.

You could also go with Arc'teryx which makes some awesome jackets with Gore-Tex (and other materials) and either has or soon will be coming out with a jacket or jackets with the new Gore-Tex Active which is supposed to be a lot lighter and more air permeable and keep the water out of the jacket completely rather than having a sandwiched membrane and a DWR coating on the outside which can get soaked through. You can also find that technology from Gore Bike Wear which makes some great cycling specific pieces if that is your thing.

I do recommend doing a shorter local easy tour to test gear and make sure you would be comfortable going further and figure out what you know you need and stuff you might not. Especially make sure you know how to put up your tent in good conditions and use other gear. Learning how to set up your tent in a rainstorm would not be fun.

Things have changed a lot since the 70s so while your coworker sounds awesome and probably still has a few useful tips, you should know the information is quite old and might not still hold up. A lot of technology has improved and become lighter, stronger, faster...
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Old 01-11-16, 04:18 PM
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Realistically, you have to first establish your budget before you ask for advice. Then you might take a look at some comparative reviews at online sites, such as outdoorgearlab.com, and then maybe head to various retailers for a personal inspection...but now armed with some knowledge about features and suggested prices.
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Old 01-11-16, 04:42 PM
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It has to be exciting to plan such a ride! Take a look at https://www.crazyguyonabike.com
This is a great blog site where people who have toured write their stories and usually list equipment used. Also, The American cycling association (ACA) have excellent touring maps of cycling routes and bike paths. They are based out of missoula, Montana. I would recommend a 2 person tent. One that you can sit up in and store your gear in doors if it rains. Also, join "warm showers". This is a group that are bike and touring frioendly and allow you to shower at their homes and many will let you set your tent up. Fire stations are another great place to set your tent up. In terms of gear, most people who have toured realize tey brought too much stuff. There is a lesion there. Don't go cheap (walmart) on the gear....you get what you pay for. You also don't have to purchase the most expensive. Are you going to cook. There are plenty of Utube videos on building your own alcohol stove, or wood burner, Usually out of a pop can. Have fun planning. If you need a place to stay in SW Iowa, on highway 34, let me know.

Tom Young
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Old 01-11-16, 05:15 PM
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Read this thread as well: https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/12...ps-tricks.html
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Old 01-11-16, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
Since you don't currently have gear, I'm going to assume long-distance bicycle touring and camping isn't something you've done before. My biggest advice would be for you to do your research "on the road", buying gear incrementally and trying it out for short overnight or 2-3 day weekend trips. Credit-card tour for a single overnight the first trip to get your basic luggage and kit sorted, then start adding in the camping and taking longer tours

You can get great advice and recommendations on forums like this, but expecting everything to magically come together the first time when you depart on a 3-week tour is not a good strategy.

- Mark
Yeah I planned on doing a few weekends and a week long one before I do the 3 week tour. Thank you for the advice!
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Old 01-11-16, 07:56 PM
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Where are you planning on finishing in Nebraska?
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Old 01-11-16, 08:51 PM
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zmrider23
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Where are you planning on finishing in Nebraska?
Most likely Omaha.
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Old 01-11-16, 10:55 PM
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I've been experimenting with Strava Route Builder. It uses the Strava Heat Map of popular biking roads, and can make some reasonably good routes quickly.

See my previous review post here.

I tried to click Delaware then Omaha, but that was probably too far. So I tried again, Delaware to Cincinnati, then a second click at Omaha. It doesn't look bad. The routing through southern Ohio and western Indiana is mostly good to excellent. But there's a few short, steeper climbs that can be avoided. And a couple of the roads are kind of bad for bikes, but the alternative routes are quite a big detour.

For me, the advantage is picking reasonable routes off the main highways in areas that I don't know. But these routes really need to be uploaded to a GPS, split into smaller sections. Look at the cue sheets, there's a lot of turns!

The maps can be edited by dragging a point on the route to a new road or city. It'll reroute to include that spot.

Here's the link: DE to NE

Last edited by rm -rf; 01-11-16 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 01-12-16, 09:57 AM
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Hi ZMRider23,

I'm planning a cross-country ride this spring and summer, going E to W from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Seattle, with Omaha Nebraska along the way.

Here is our tentative route, open to changes as road construction, weather, cyclists' suggestions arise: 2016 - A bike ride in Sussex County, DE.

Our route is based in part on trying to take many rail trails, which are good for us as our daughter is 9. So we take the C&O and GAP from DC to Pittsburgh, then a good portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail, then the Katy Trail across much of Missouri.

Hope this helps, and maybe we'll see you out there! We leave in early April but we'll be going slow so you'll probably zoom past us somewhere along the way if you're going this season.

Rob
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Old 01-12-16, 08:51 PM
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White_birch, your route through SW Ohio is okay, but I've got a more interesting route: ridewithgps.com/routes/11790518, with Points of Interest added to the route map.

This local map starts at your Mile 776.

At your Mile 780, stay on the trail.

On my map:
Follow the bike trail almost to it's end near Mariemont OH at mile 12.7. Route 50 is a main highway, but not too busy outside of rush hour, and they are used to seeing bikes there.

Mile 14.2 The local Graeter's Ice Cream has a shop in the center of Mariemont--get the chip flavors!
Mile 16.9 turn in to Armleder Park, then take the connector to the Lunken Airport trail. You might see business jets taking off.
Mile 22.2 Lunken Terminal building is a small 1930s Art Deco lobby, with a 1930s tiny airplane hanging from the ceiling, and murals. Also a restaurant (with outdoor seating in the back, and you can leave a bike in sight there.)
Then take Airport Road to connect to Riverside Drive along the Ohio River. It's a reserved bike lane to downtown.
Mile 24.3 St Rose Church has great views of the river from it's back parking lot.
Mile 26 The river side parks begin. Either stay on the road or take the park paths if you aren't in a hurry.
Mile 28 the new Smale Park has views of downtown, the river, the 1865 Suspension Bridge, and has many interesting features to explore. There's a bike station that has locking bike storage inside.
Mile 29 head back a mile to cross on the 1890s Purple Bridge, now it's for pedestrians and bikes only.
Follow KY Route 8 to the Anderson Ferry. Bikes are $1.00, and it's an interesting trip across the river.

Some of the roads on the way to Indiana are main highways, but avoid rush hour and you'll be fine. There's no good alternative routes without adding quite a few miles to the north. For example, this route--which only avoids maybe 5 miles of busy highway. But it's a scenic route through the Whitewater River valley, on mostly lightly traveled roads.

EDIT -- added links

Last edited by rm -rf; 01-14-16 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 01-13-16, 12:44 AM
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By going off of your newest post regarding your bike, it seems that weight may be a concern. After all, it's a road bike, not a LHT. No problem; in fact, many on this forum are ultra (I cut the tags off my equipment/clothes to save weight) light enthusiasts. This means that you'll have to either spend a little more to get lighter gear and/or cut down some of the luxury items. Something to think about.
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Old 01-13-16, 04:23 AM
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First you have to figure out your budget. You could spend $1K on good quality light wt. stuff. You can also buy heavier stuff much cheaper and take the wt. penalty. Your choice.
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Old 01-13-16, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by White_birch View Post
Here is our tentative route, open to changes as road construction, weather, cyclists' suggestions arise: 2016 - A bike ride in Sussex County, DE.
Just a couple of notes since rode in SD last June and was planning to ride in NB:

1. Chadron to Hot Springs is a long stretch with very few services and zero shade. There is a bar/casio near the state line and allegedly a service station a local told me about, but I don;t think there is much else. The only camping in Hot Springs itself will be on the left on U.S. 16 just before you hit the commercial center of town. Expensive ($30) for what it is, but the tent sites have full shade and are right next to a little creek. Don't let the chamber of commerce information center steer you to the campground at the recreation area. It's several miles of hill outside of town. I gave up trying to find it and went back into town.

2. Argyle Rd. between Hot Springs and Pringle is not paved.

3. When you reach Pringle, the only commercial thing there is a bar/restaurant (closed on Sundays). There is a volunteer fire company. Maybe one of those places will let you cap there if you need to stop. Otherwise, taking the Mickelson, you next option is Custer.

4. French Creek Campground in Custer looked decent. It's right off the trail and two blocks from the center of town.

5. Crooked Creek Resort in Hill City is nice, and right next to the trail. From there, there is only one commercial place (restaurant in Rochford) and no camping that I found until you reach Lead.

I will PM you with more later.
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