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On a budget but want to start touring...

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On a budget but want to start touring...

Old 07-11-19, 07:50 AM
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Cat Daddy
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On a budget but want to start touring...

So I'm doing a couple of one-day cycling event rides this year with a friend of mine, but I want to start expanding my horizons into self-supported touring, starting with a couple of 2-4 day excursions. However, due to my current financial situation, I need to make-do with my older Specialized sport/racing bike, which I bought new back in the spring of 2008. I think it's what they call a compact frame bike, where the top tube is angled a bit, instead of straight like older road bikes used to be. It does have attachment points on the back where a rack can be mounted (but nothing on front). I have no clue what brands of racks/panniers would work for my situation. I understand that striking the rear panniers with one's heels can be an issue when mounting panniers on a road bike, and I would like to avoid that. I've also been thinking of a used B.O.B. trailer system. I've seen a few on Craigslist for around $200, but so far none are close to where I live. One other thing I'm giving consideration to is that my personal weight is around 210-212lbs currently, and I'm wondering how well my aluminum road racing bike would handle the weight of myself plus cargo. I've seen folks on the forums mention getting tires for one's bike that have more spokes. I'm not sure if that would work here or not, but it's certainly something I'm willing to look into.

What advice or suggestions do y'all have? What have I missed?

Thanks!
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Old 07-11-19, 09:17 AM
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- look at a rack that can set the bags back a bit further to help reduce the chance of heel strike. 2 examples are below. I use the bottom one on my touring bike.
https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...hoCdj8QAvD_BwE
https://www.amazon.com/Axiom-Journey.../dp/B07BHTSTJL

- buy some panniers. there are all sorts of sizes, prices, and quality. in general, cheaper price = lower quality(lack of durability and/or shorter lifespan). These will cost $40-140 depending on what you choose.

- buy some tiedowns. these allow you to lash your remaining stuff on top of the rack. bungee cords are one option, but arent adjustable. There are lots of adjustable ones that cost $5-10 and work well.

- buy a front handlebar bag. this will let you store a little bit up front so at least not everything is on the rear wheel.



Sure there is a chance your wheels arent up for the task, but the only way to know is to try. Do some day rides around town with full weight on the back and if the wheel is an issue, you are in town to get help/fix it. There is also a chance the wheels are perfectly fine and can handle the weight without issue.
All the weight on the back will make the bike steer differently. Just learn how it feels and adjust. It isnt tough to do.
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Old 07-11-19, 07:22 PM
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Model and a picture would be helpful.
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Old 07-11-19, 10:02 PM
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Go as cheap as you can. If your finances are limited, give up luxury or trying to look like a pro tourer.
Scavenge anything you can, then try a few tours. If you like it, then you can start to invest some money.
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Old 07-11-19, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Go as cheap as you can. If your finances are limited, give up luxury or trying to look like a pro tourer.
Scavenge anything you can, then try a few tours. If you like it, then you can start to invest some money.
Heh. And here I am with over $500 invested for great quality components, equipment, and the bike itself. Spend easily $1000 prepping myself for 1000km starting tomorrow. When venturing the Rocky Mountains, you never know what you might encounter.
But well worth it I hope. I saved up for this trip. But I definitely could have have cheaper while also at the expense of realibility and weight.
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Old 07-12-19, 06:30 AM
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Here is a little inspirational reading material.

https://tomsbiketrip.com/how-far-can...-touring-bike/
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Old 07-12-19, 06:47 AM
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Check out Ebay, for panniers and the BOB, it is possible that postage will not be too outrageous. Also a lot of people are selling on FB Marketplace, check them out too. I think you are going to be fine, can't wait to hear about your first major trip.
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Old 07-12-19, 08:53 AM
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Wish

Also, check out wish.com. I have been looking on there for bike stuff and its suprising what you can find for a good price.
Also, if you are worried about heel striking panniers bags then check amazon for some of the cheaper bags that dont use the rack. You will end up more aero at the same time. They are a little limited on space but not too bad if your not bring the kitchen sink.
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Old 07-12-19, 03:13 PM
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Make your own panniers. Check online for instructional pages on making kitty liter bucket panniers. You can get the buckets at the local dump and reuse them for some useful, like bike touring.

Keep using the kitty liters and ride longer. Why improved on something that works. Instead use something that works and save the money and ride further.
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Old 07-13-19, 02:16 PM
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I vote for Bob or maybe if you could find an extrawheel trailer. Or hell, even just a cheap kids trailer off of CL. Give the bearings a good tune-up, get some decent road tires(low/no tread) and go ride. If you don't need all of the parts, take them off. Personally, I'd ditch the canopy/cover part for less weight and better aerodynamics. Your current bike, especially given your weight, isn't going to be great for loading a ton of crap onto a rear rack. Even if the rear wheel doesn't fail, it's gonna handle like crap.

As mentioned, cat litter buckets have been used by many as a cheap, rugged(more than panniers), waterproof system. A small kids trailer, stripped down, with a couple kitty litter buckets laying down on their sides for less wind resistance. That would make a great, Cheap set-up and not reduce the handling or reliability of your bike.

Edit: Random idea that just popped into my head - Completely strip the kids trailer to frame and wheels. That's the least weight and most aero. Then get some heavy duty shock cord and tightly weave a hammock onto the trailer frame. Put your buckets/dry bag on that with a bungee net over top to hold them down. That will provide some suspension so that your stuff isn't banging and bouncing around if you hit some big bumps, pot holes, on and off of the road edge, etc.

Last edited by 3speed; 07-13-19 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 07-14-19, 06:53 AM
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You don't need specialized gear to start. When I started bike touring in the mid-70s, I'd never heard the words "pannier" or "chamois," or even "Shimano." I stuffed a few old surplus camping items in my old high school gym duffel bag, tied it between the brake levers of a borrowed Schwinn 10-speed, rolled up some clothing in my old Scouting sleeping bag, tied it and a pup tent to the book rack that came with the bike, and took off on a two week trip. I had $40 in my pocket and came home with change.

Later I gradually spent more money on gear and the bike, but not to start.

Even now, I don't use a handlebar bag or front panniers. I use a set of Arkel Drylite panniers that cost under $100. Sum total of camping gear, including a nice tent and down quilt, is around $500. I use home-made rain gear, thrift-store clothing, cheap running shoes on platform pedals. I've never owned a bike worth $500. (I know cyclists who spend more that that on shoes and pedals!)

And a simple lifestyle at home allows me to tour long and often. I pay $100/year for a Tracfone plan, seldom used, on a salvaged free phone. I share many expenses and barter services with neighbors and friends. I'm working today on my wood pile for cheap/free heat next winter. Most important, daily cycling allows me cheap transportation, keeps health care expenses to a minimum, and keeps me in shape for the best vacation travel I can think of.
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Old 07-16-19, 05:09 AM
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On a budget but want to start touring...
Originally Posted by Cat Daddy View Post
So I'm doing a couple of one-day cycling event rides this year with a friend of mine, but I want to start expanding my horizons into self-supported touring, starting with a couple of 2-4 day excursions.

However, due to my current financial situation, I need to make-do with my older Specialized sport/racing bike, which I bought new back in the spring of 2008

What advice or suggestions do y'all have? What have I missed?

Thanks!
In reply to the basic premise of your thread title, perhaps you may find useful advice from this Touring Forum thread from May of this year, “How do you guys afford the time and money and company to do long tours???”
Originally Posted by fuji_owner View Post
I've been dreaming of doing a bikepacking tour for many years now. But I can't figure out how to get started. I mean, I see all these posts and photos about bike touring and camping in all kinds of places.

I wonder what kind of jobs you guys have, that you can afford to take several weeks or months off. I get 3 weeks in a year, and that needs to be distributed among all the vacations. Traveling to all these exotic places means it's not going to be just a Saturday day trip.

I wonder how you came to save up so much money. Don't you have mortgages, bills and other expenses?

I wonder how so many of you have willing and enthusiastic friends or partners who go with you.

Please answer these above 3 questions. Much appreciated!.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...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, but soon bought a Mercier [a French road / racing bike] 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 and then took the train up to Boston...
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….

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-16-19 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 07-16-19, 10:03 AM
  #13  
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In general terms there is:
- loaded touring where you are carrying camping gear on your bike in panniers, can be two or for panniers or less commonly in a trailer, or both,
- credit card touring where you are staying in motels or B&B over night, eating in restaurants, etc., in which case only a change of clothes and tooth brush is needed,
- and bikepacking which is a fairly new term that has been applied to carrying a minimalist amount of camping gear on the bike without using racks.

You did not clarify which you are talking about.

But your concerns about your current bike are valid concerns. Bikepacking and credit card touring can be done with a minimal amount of gear and without racks. I have seen people using bikepacking gear on road bikes on paved roads, so if you do an internet search and only find mountain bikes, do not worry about that.

If you have the the funds, you could start out credit card touring and see how you like it. Then if that works, then add the camping gear later.

I picked up a pair of panniers at a swap meet for maybe $15 that were in nearly new condition. And another pair at a garage sale for less than $10. Deals are out there if you watch and get lucky.
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Old 07-17-19, 07:35 PM
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Deals are out there. Just this year, I bought a Maruishi built Tange 2 Toure XC for $50 and a NOS 4 pc set of Cannondale made panniers for $42. Included was a low rider front rack.

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Old 07-18-19, 09:55 AM
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While we're on the topic of getting stuff together for first tours, what kind of tools would you say are absolutely necessary for touring?
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Old 07-18-19, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by REBA View Post
While we're on the topic of getting stuff together for first tours, what kind of tools would you say are absolutely necessary for touring?
None are absolutely necessary. But if you want to avoid potential trouble, you should have flat changing stuff. A set of hex wrenches can also be handy. I have never needed anything more. Knock on wood. Some people feel more comfortable with a chain tool.
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Old 07-18-19, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
None are absolutely necessary. But if you want to avoid potential trouble, you should have flat changing stuff. A set of hex wrenches can also be handy. I have never needed anything more. Knock on wood. Some people feel more comfortable with a chain tool.
Ditto, except, a definite yes on the chain tool.

Not wanting to knock brands, but have had 2 brand new Shimano chains snap on me. Switched to KMC and never had a problem.
If you have rim brakes, a spoke wrench is also a really good idea
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Old 07-19-19, 02:58 AM
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A good multi-tool is ideal. I use one from Topeak that has every size allen you could need for a bike, philips and flat heads, star bits, spoke wrenches, and chain tool. That plus a couple spare chain links and I feel pretty secure.
I don't understand what's up with Shimano chains. It's like they have a stubborn need to stick to ****ty chains or something. I use their shifters and derailers exclusively. I generally use their hubs, cranks, and random other bits. But Shimano chains are just terrible. And what's with this stupid press in, break off pin crap? They're difficult to install, you can't easily remove them for cleaning/replacement, and it's the only chain I've ever had break. I generally go for Sram chains, but have used KMC a couple times and they worked fine too.

Last edited by 3speed; 07-19-19 at 03:02 AM.
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Old 07-22-19, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
- buy some tiedowns. these allow you to lash your remaining stuff on top of the rack. bungee cords are one option, but arent adjustable. There are lots of adjustable ones that cost $5-10 and work well.
Can you give a link as a reference to one you are suggesting? I would like to know. Thanks
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Old 07-22-19, 10:14 PM
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Well, one hurdle has been passed. I picked up a BoB Yak Plus setup from a guy off Craigslist, for $100. It's in good shape (with some dings here and there) and the only thing missing was the Quick Release, which I ordered off Amazon for $25 and change. Once I get the QR I can attempt to attach the trailer to my road bike.

As to gear such as sleeping bag, tent, etc., I am also into wilderness backpacking, so I have lightweight/medium-weight tents, a couple of mummy bags, and cooking gear. Some of it is a bit high-end, purchased when I was much better off, financially. I've been a member of REI since I was 15 or 16 years old. I'm currently 49.
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Old 07-22-19, 10:43 PM
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Talking bare minimum for weight and durability, vs price, in sleeping under the stars. Is a tent necessary? Which one? Isn't there a sleeping bag that does it all?
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Old 07-22-19, 10:44 PM
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Price wise, it looks like a great deal, but I've never toured with a trailer, so have no idea how it would be. It does save you money from buying panniers and other expensive bike related storage
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Old 07-22-19, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat Daddy View Post
So I'm doing a couple of one-day cycling event rides this year with a friend of mine, but I want to start expanding my horizons into self-supported touring, starting with a couple of 2-4 day excursions. However, due to my current financial situation, I need to make-do with my older Specialized sport/racing bike, which I bought new back in the spring of 2008. I think it's what they call a compact frame bike, where the top tube is angled a bit, instead of straight like older road bikes used to be. It does have attachment points on the back where a rack can be mounted (but nothing on front). I have no clue what brands of racks/panniers would work for my situation. I understand that striking the rear panniers with one's heels can be an issue when mounting panniers on a road bike, and I would like to avoid that. I've also been thinking of a used B.O.B. trailer system. I've seen a few on Craigslist for around $200, but so far none are close to where I live. One other thing I'm giving consideration to is that my personal weight is around 210-212lbs currently, and I'm wondering how well my aluminum road racing bike would handle the weight of myself plus cargo. I've seen folks on the forums mention getting tires for one's bike that have more spokes. I'm not sure if that would work here or not, but it's certainly something I'm willing to look into.

What advice or suggestions do y'all have? What have I missed?

Thanks!
Ok! Honestly, I think you really need a touring bike. Old ones are just as good, so you can find a good price for a serviceble old bike that will suit your needs perfectly. Find a bike you can afford with a triple crank. I'd find an old touring bike but a hybrid would work. I've even seen mountain bikes used as touring bikes.
It's a matter of being as comfortable as possible on a bike with gearing low enough to pedal up all hills and the carrying capacity you need to carry all your stuff.
You sport bike might be adaptable but it will be a tough job and even then you'll have a poor imitation.
Find a bike that fits, drop the size of the granny to 24 or 22t, make sure the big gear in back is no smaller than 32t and add racks front and back. Low riders are great but anything sturdy enough will do. You can often find some faded but sturdy panniers real cheap. You'll need a sleeping bag (don't skimp), a tent (skimp) and I think your good to go.
I think my first tent was a shower curtain. Since the makeover of your sport bike will significantly change it and you'll be "losing it", why not sell it and buy nicer stuff like a Brooks saddle.
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Old 07-22-19, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat Daddy View Post
Well, one hurdle has been passed. I picked up a BoB Yak Plus setup from a guy off Craigslist, for $100. It's in good shape (with some dings here and there) and the only thing missing was the Quick Release, which I ordered off Amazon for $25 and change. Once I get the QR I can attempt to attach the trailer to my road bike.

As to gear such as sleeping bag, tent, etc., I am also into wilderness backpacking, so I have lightweight/medium-weight tents, a couple of mummy bags, and cooking gear. Some of it is a bit high-end, purchased when I was much better off, financially. I've been a member of REI since I was 15 or 16 years old. I'm currently 49.
The trailer is ok but how are you planning on getting up hills with your road bike gearing?
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Old 07-24-19, 11:08 PM
  #25  
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I've done all my tours on a department store bike (Schwinn). Never really a problem outside the normal stuff like flats, and a lose bolt. I always mod the bike a little bit, putting on steel pedals instead of those cheap pedals. I use one of those Wald back racks with the steel panniers already attached. Gives me a wide space a million ways to attach stuff. Never a major mechanical problem.

You can tour on anything, but what I will say is you need a bike that comfortable to ride day in and day out. If your bike isn't comfortable, touring is hell and not fun.
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