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Intro help from forum

Old 11-21-20, 06:54 AM
  #1  
Jno
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Intro help from forum

I am a keen middle-aged road cyclist who has followed, enjoyed and benefitted from the forum threads that pertain to my riding interests. Yesterday, my friends and I finally resolved to ride across Canada. Before I confront the infinite possibilities I expect to arise from “web research”, I have a couple basic questions I hope the members of this forum can answer:

1. Is there a significant reason to prefer a 3 ring or a 2 ring setup if I’m likely carrying enough for some degree of self-sufficiency but hoping not to haul more than 50-60 lbs?

2. Is there a bike store in Southern Ontario that has any particular expertise/emphasis on touring (bikes and gear)? Every store with which I’m familiar is dedicated either to high-end road bikes or to general neighbourhood cycling.

3. Do people whose tours include a regular (weekly) “motel night” recommend hub-driven generators?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:58 AM
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howdy southern ontario feller or lady,
1- yes, absolutely a triple ring touring bike will have sufficient low gears that make touring with camping stuff etc more enjoyable. I'll try to make this short and sweet--yes, with bike packing being the more popular thing now, the issue is that a lot of bikes are geared higher, as bikepacking tends to have less of a load weight--but it means being pretty darn minimal. Touring with four panniers isn't as popular as bikepacking, which is smaller bags strapped to the frame etc made more for offroad riding.

And yes, while tents, sleeping bags etc are lighter than before, doing a multi month trip like crossing Canada is going to mean that for the average person, you'll be carrying probably 40lbs ish, maybe less (unlikely) and maybe more (likely but not recommended)

have you ever heard of the gearing term " gear inches" ? Its a number that represents the combination of your front gears , the chainrings, and the rear gears, the cassette, along with the wheel size . It doesnt matter to know the math behind it, its just a good reference point, an actual number or range to look at in bikes gearing.
In touring bikes, traditionally a range of 20-100 gear inches is what you're looking for, because carrying 35, 40, 50lbs on a bike needs much lower gearing.

play with this one, and see how it works,
https://www.gear-calculator.com/

or this
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

In general, a proper touring bike comes with gearing that it is in this range, or very close.
Just be careful that in bike stores, most employees have never toured, and are 25 years old, or are 40 but have never toured....so you will be told that X bike is "fine" for touring. It might be, but just be aware that a dedicated touring bike will have the gearing that is a lot easier on your middle aged body.

given that you havent toured before, its really hard or impossible to appreciate how low gearing is important, most of us with lots of touring experience learned the hard way, so we try to help inform new tourers to be aware of this

2-sorry, only can help you with Montreal, so no help really

3- Ive never used a dyno hub, but I have found over the last few years, that in campgrounds, plugs tend to be more available. Ive been in campgrounds where dedicated areas are set up for bike tourers, a shelter, chairs, many plugs--but les face it, you probably arent going to find that in 'Flin Flon, Manitoba....
The usual thing is to scout around in bathrooms, laundry room and judge the surroundings if you can leave it, or not and watch over it.
I crossed France a few years ago camping nearly the whole time and plugs were available easily at campgrounds when needed.
I dont use much power, ie not for navigation etc, so can get away with taking a power bank battery and charge it when needed, but you may want to look into the whole dyno hub thing, lots of people do but it really depends....Just be aware of course of the extra cost of geting a wheel built up for this.

and heck, now we come to #4---which is the whole unknown of next summer re Covid. I hope not, but its certainly possible that travelling may still have issues , or at least, unknown issues next summer. We can only hope.

come back with any questions. Thats what we're here for. Lots of us have decades experience touring, so have reasonable views on things, and are similar to your age, or older...
Do expect of course to get all kinds of opinions. Like noses and other things, we all got em eh?
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Old 11-21-20, 10:07 AM
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Jno
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Thank you for the thoughtful reply. If you don’t mind a follow-up? Since triple seems to come standard with the “typical” stock touring bikes (LHT, Sutra, 520 etc) is the consensus that the quality of the stock gear groups is at least “ good enough”? (Sora, for ex). As a roadie, I was always skeptical of the stock offerings in bikes at the price point of these touring bike models. If you had any recommendations in this regard, I would certainly welcome them.
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Old 11-21-20, 01:02 PM
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I can understand that especially as a roadie, "Sora" certainly has a chintzy memory and feel to us who have ever felt the older sora stuff. The 8 speed Sora sti shifters with the Campyesque thump upshifter clearly had a clunky, cheap feel to them, but I can say from having put newer 9 speed Sora sti paddle versions on a bike for my wife, they took the trickle down from Tiagra 9 spd, that these shifters are a lot nicer feeling than the 8 spd, and feel pretty much the same as my older 9 spd tiagra brifters.
As for fd and rd , being more of a touring guy, I've used deore stuff for 30 years, and this level of derailleurs (which I imagine Sora is at that level now) is a perfect touring bike component---reliable, inexpensive if needs replacing, and can be found just about anywhere in the world.

some of my bikes have XT stuff on them, and its generally accepted that XT probably has some higher quality materials than Deore, but frankly, Deore stuff works perfectly perfectly well, and Sora is probably very close.
I admit that I personally would prefer deore and up, but I thinks its fair to say that touring a slightly less snappy shifting set of components arent a big deal, given the more laid back aspect of touring. Again though, that said, deore stuff has a very decent feel to it. As an example, I put Deore 10 spd trigger shifters on my wifes touring bike (a surly troll that came with thumbee shifters) and with the Deore rd, the bike shifts very crisply and feels great.

if you arent aware, Sora is used so that a bike can use 9 soeed sti shifters and triples and rd's can that take 34t cassettes .
Shimano mountain bike stuff, deore included, is that dynasis cable pull, so you cant really use sti stuff.

I guess it really comes down to you hopefully riding some bikes to see how they feel to you, and we're talking just the tactile feel of shifting components here, not even getting into the feel of how the bikes ride--which has to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt unloaded cuz they are made to be competent with a load, so they are never going to feel like your road bike.

take a look at specific touring models, specs change, but I know the newer Disc trucker with the revised frame uses Sora shifters sti but they goofily use a 50/39/30 triple, whereas before they used the more ubiquitous 48/36/26 which is a much better touring crank for the 36 and 26 especially.
Fairly certain the Kona Sutra still uses that, although with bar end shifters.
520 I think is Sora also.

research away, come back with questions. We know someone looking at touring bikes for their daughter and they've asked me for advice, so I've been thinking a lot more of stuff to recommend them and to give them the basics, this explains all my blah blah blah....
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Old 11-21-20, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
[,...] is the consensus that the quality of the stock gear groups is at least “ good enough”? (Sora, for ex).
Shimano offers several trekking groups. We ride on XT (assembled on a LHT frame) and are completely satisfied with it. XT is the MTB equivalent of Ultegra. Sora is a road group. Probably equivalent to Alivio.
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Old 11-21-20, 04:34 PM
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It really comes down to what shifters to use, and what is limited to what.

what bikes have you been considering? I kind of assumed a drop bar preference.
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Old 11-21-20, 04:56 PM
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Thanks again for both replies. I think my inclination is to at least investigate the possibility of upgraded groupset(s) but with covid, I may be a while finding a place that even has frames or bikes available. So, it may be a while before I re-surface with more questions.
Stay healthy
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Old 11-21-20, 05:15 PM
  #8  
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I think the stock gearing now is pretty good. A decade or decade and a half ago the cranksets on new touring bikes often were road triples, they lacked the low gearing you need. But the manufacturers realized that and now most touring bikes with a triple will have adequate gearing.

Hub generators (or dynohubs), I like them but I think that if you are in a motel one night a week, you can charge up a powerbank or two and get by without. I try to be self sufficent because I rarely sleep indoors on a bike trip, getting things charged up in a campground can be a hassle with potential for loss of equipment. If you were starting from scratch with a bike frame, rims, hubs, spokes, etc., I would say get the dynohub because the cost is the price difference between the dynohub and the other hub. But if you buy a new bike off the shelf, the cost of a dynohub is much more because you are replacing a brand new wheel that you already own. Plus the cost of the electronic gizmo that converts hub alternating current into USB power. It can add up. But, if you plan to have your phones on during the day, and if you plan to use your phones when it is chilly outside (batteries run down much faster in cool weather), then you might have some problems. My phone is either off or in airplane mode. If I want to check a forecast in the morning, if it is a chilly morning I will warm up my phone in the sleeping bag first.

If you are not familiar with the website https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/, you should be. There are trip logs there from all over the world. If you read some trip logs, you learn about what touring is like day to day, finding groceries, fixing stove problems, meeting interesting people, bike problems, fantastic scenic photography, descriptions of how good the beer tasted, etc. That will help you get in the frame of mind on how to prepare for a bike trip.

You said you are doing this with friends. At some point you will get angry at friends, at times you will appreciate them more than you can ever imagine. When I bike tour with a friend, or go on a canoe trip with one, or any form of strenuous trip, I always have a goal to do 10 to 20 percent more than my fair share of the campsite chores. If your goal is to always do more, you will never get angry at others for not doing their fair share. It has been my observation that groups can disintegrate quickly if people feel that others are slackers, which may or may not be the case. Just offering some food for thought here.

Roadies always like brifters and generally do not like bar end shifters. You will find touring bikes that offer both. My advice is use what you want to use. Decades ago, brifters would have made me nervous, but they have been making them now for enough years that the manufacturers have figured out how to do a good job. That said, when it comes to gear you want reliable, easily replaceable, easily repairable, and robust (non-fragile) gear.

I tour on tires that range in width from 35mm to 57mm. Across Canada, that would be almost always paved, I would use 35 or 37 or 40mm wide tires. Some might try that with 32mm if they are packed pretty light. Fenders are good. Thus a bike with capacity for 35 or 37mm tires inside fenders is what I would be looking for. Plus of course the triple crank.

If you have a group, it would be useful if at least one person knows how to true up a wheel and replace a spoke. Presumably everybody knows how to adjust cables, brakes and derailleurs.

If I was going to go across Canada, I would have nearly new cassette, nearly new chain, and nearly new tires on the bike before I left home. But I would probably put 100 to 200 km on everything to make sure it is all working well before starting, that is why I say "nearly" new.

Rack bolts, fender bolts, cleat bolts, they fall out. I think you should use some blue (removable) thread locker on all of those bolts, Loctite is a common brand. And you want to carry spare M5 bolts. And spare brake pads.

A lot of bike tourists that you meet will not have a handlebar bag. But I always tour with one, I have my valuables in it, when I go in a restaurant or grocery store, my handlebar bag comes in too. Mine is not waterproof, thus I need a waterproof cover on mine.

Those are my key pieces of advice. You are going to have a great time.

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Old 11-21-20, 08:05 PM
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Thanks for tips. I will follow them for sure!
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Old 11-21-20, 08:20 PM
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Where approximately are you located in Southern Ontario?

In Fergus, Ontario you have The Bicycle Tailor and you have True North Bicycles both of which cater to touring bicyclists. True north also makes custom touring bicycles.

Cheers
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Old 11-21-20, 09:11 PM
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My latest touring bike is a gravel bike with a compact double (50/34) and it works fine for me. My self-contained load is less than twenty pounds though, so my gearing needs are different. If you're going with a traditional 40+ pound load I agree you'll want a triple crank.

I wouldn't use a generator hub, but my power needs are minimal. I carry a phone and it stays off unless I need to make a phone call. I use paper maps for navigation and I'm not a photographer or blogger. Battery life with LED lights is such that I usually get a whole season on one set of batteries per light.
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Old 11-21-20, 09:25 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
I am a keen middle-aged road cyclist who has followed, enjoyed and benefitted from the forum threads that pertain to my riding interests. Yesterday, my friends and I finally resolved to ride across Canada. Before I confront the infinite possibilities I expect to arise from “web research”, I have a couple basic questions I hope the members of this forum can answer:

1. Is there a significant reason to prefer a 3 ring or a 2 ring setup if I’m likely carrying enough for some degree of self-sufficiency but hoping not to haul more than 50-60 lbs?

2. Is there a bike store in Southern Ontario that has any particular expertise/emphasis on touring (bikes and gear)? Every store with which I’m familiar is dedicated either to high-end road bikes or to general neighbourhood cycling.

3. Do people whose tours include a regular (weekly) “motel night” recommend hub-driven generators?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
1. Well you may want a 3 ring set up for 9 speed and similar type drivetrains, with the newer wide range cassettes and ability for sub-compact cranks (or even custom like White Industries VBC) for 10 and 11 and 12 speed you may decide that a 2x is just fine. If I am carrying a lot of gear and packing heavier certainly those easy gears are well liked especially slogging up big hills. My dedicated touring rig is a 3x9 but I have plans for a gravel bike thing that is going to be 2x11 and would give me decent gearing on the low end (not quite as low as a 26x34 but close enough) and lose a bit on the higher end which is fine I can deal easily.

2. I don't know as I am in 'Murica but I would check at the local shop anyway as some of those folks might know. I love all manner of bikes and while we don't focus much if at all on touring I do tend to try and take the tour curious clients and help them out. If nothing else one of those shops can help build your bike if you go more the frame up or custom route.

3. I recommend a dynamo hub for pretty much anyone doing any sort of adventure riding or commuting or just love gadgets. If you can swing it you will be happy. Having lights all the time you don't have to charge is pretty nice and also having ability to charge a device through USB is also pretty neat.
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Old 11-22-20, 12:00 AM
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if you're a roadie, you prolly don't have much (maybe none?) experience with heavy loads,
or riding really slow for a long, long time.

no amount of reading or collecting advice can prepare you for what is to come.
best if you can borrow a rig (or rent!) for a few days and try out different load
combinations on various slopes and surfaces and wind conditions.

with middle-aged knees you're going to want to reduce the load as much as possible.
you're going to have to learn to ride uphill sitting down....at.....a.......really........slow...
.............................pace.

20" gearing won't be low enough for that amount of weight, especially if you intend
to go outside where there are hills. and wind. and more wind. wind blows.
try to get something like 15 or 16 inch low gearing. your knees will thank you.

i've always ridden a triple, but lately i've found i hardly ever use the big ring.
if you don't plan to pedal downhill, not needed. coasting is fun, too.
might as well chuck the big ring, or replace with a super low-geared double.
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Old 11-22-20, 06:51 AM
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When you and your friends do this, if you are still at the big picture dreaming stage, you have not yet gotten down to details.

Philosophy on how far to go each day and how closely you want to hold to a schedule will be considerations at the earliest stage of planning. I will give you two examples of extremes, it would be up to you and your friends to decide where in the range between those extremes you want to be.

A friend of mine has crossed USA from coast to coast three times. Twice with Adventure Cycling Assoc. (ACA), and once with a group of friends. With ACA, they know months in advance where they will be every night. They schedule some off-days where you spend two nights in the same place, but otherwise they know how many miles to travel every day, regadlous of weather. When that friend of mine organized another coast to coast tour with friends, they did it all in motels, each day one person would drive the rented van to haul luggage, the others would ride. So, they had motel reservations made months in advance, like the ACA trips. This meant that if they were going to have killer headwinds for a day, they rode. If they were going to have three or four or five consecutive days of rain, they rode.

I have done most of my trips with a friend, have also done two solo trips. My pre-retirement trips were all one week in length, as the job got in the way for scheduling anything longer. After retirement, I think all my bike trips were at least three weeks without a critical time constraint at the end. Thus on my post-retirement tours with a friend, we would decide pretty much every day if we wanted to take a day off (typically no) and what our destination should be at the end of that day.

For example, when we did Pacific Coast, I had the locations of all of the California and Oregon state parks that had hiker biker sites in a mapping program in my 7 inch tablet, and we almost always stayed at one of those. Our end point on our Pacific Coast trip was San Francisco where we planned to take Amtrak (train) home. And unlike airlines, you usually can get a ticket on Amtrak on short notice (less than a week) without paying a huge penalty. So, we planned to make our train reservation when we were about two days away from our final destination, thus prior to those last couple days, we never had to worry about being on schedule because there was no schedule. Before the trip, I told friends and family that the trip would be four and a half weeks to six and a half weeks long, counting transport to and from the coast. In the end, it was 37 days, right in the middle of my estimate.

My two solo trips were about a month long, I flew to my start and end points, thus the airline ticket for my return home dictated an end date, but the route was up to me. One of those triips I had a route that I wanted to follow, but I had built in alternatives to make it longer or shorter if I felt like it. The other trip, I wandered about for about three weeks and then my final week was more closely scheduled to make sure I could make my flight home. For example, my 2019 Canadian Maritimes trip, I had been forewarned that if I did not have campground reservations for Canada Day weekend, the campgrounds would be full. So, a week before that weekend, I was on the ferry to PEI, the ferry had wifi, so I was trying to decide where to spend Canada Day weekend while on the ferry using their internet. Once I looked at the forecast and saw about five consecutive days of rain, suddenly the Hostel in Charlottetown PEI looked like the perfect place to stay indoors for the long weekend instead of in a wet and rainy campground. So, my route for PEI was discarded and I created a new route that would consume the right number of days before I got to Charlottetown. And I had a great time sightseeing in a rainy Charlottetown on Canada Day weekend.

So, how close to a schedule you want to keep with your friends, that is one of the first conversations you need to have and how you get back home at the end and how tightly scheduled that will be is a factor in that.
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Old 11-22-20, 07:56 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
if you're a roadie, you prolly don't have much (maybe none?) experience with heavy loads,
or riding really slow for a long, long time.

no amount of reading or collecting advice can prepare you for what is to come.
best if you can borrow a rig (or rent!) for a few days and try out different load
combinations on various slopes and surfaces and wind conditions.

with middle-aged knees you're going to want to reduce the load as much as possible.
you're going to have to learn to ride uphill sitting down....at.....a.......really........slow...
.............................pace.

20" gearing won't be low enough for that amount of weight, especially if you intend
to go outside where there are hills. and wind. and more wind. wind blows.
try to get something like 15 or 16 inch low gearing. your knees will thank you.

i've always ridden a triple, but lately i've found i hardly ever use the big ring.
if you don't plan to pedal downhill, not needed. coasting is fun, too.
might as well chuck the big ring, or replace with a super low-geared double.
saddlesore--excellent points and how you get across the slowness and slowed down mindset with touring in terms of average speeds etc that one has to adjust to riding loaded, especially for a roadie or any of us who get off on riding fast.
Its just a different mindset.

Jno--I follow pro peleton bike racing a lot, and think of this while touring often-- now I don't own or have ever used a powermeter, but I know that when touring, I have to put out more watts more consistently than when riding unloaded. Sure, I do unloaded rides where I hammer it, all the time in fact, but riding a touring bike all day that weighs probably 30lbs (a very average touring bike weight) plus 30, 40, 50lbs of crap, this means I'm humping a 60, 70, 80 lb bike along and up hills, all day, every minute.
Every slight uphill is way more work, every 10% climb is waaaaaaaay harder and takes way longer than unloaded.
All day you are working hard, and its rarely worth standing. I do it once ina while for a short time to change up muscles, but not much really.
Headwinds slow us down even more, cuz our bikes are like 19th century sailing ships with panniers and stuff.

so all in all, we have to consistently put out more power for waaaaay more time each day--so we get really damn strong after a week, and after a few weeks, even stronger.

re the 20 gear inch low thing, I was being diplomatic, thats a minimum, and even a bit lower is always appreciated, and takes care of your knees.
My tough touring bike has a low gear of about 17 gear inches--and yes I use it , regularly. Sure, not for long, but its there and it saves my knees--being able to downshift when its needed (short steep hills are extremely common in life, add a touring weight and you then notice them! )
Having low gears has no downside, when you dont need them, you shift up, simple as that. No issue, no shame.

average speeds touring are going to be slow. Of course it depends on the terrain and the hills. Ive toured in the majority of the Pyrenees, and in places like Guatemala and Honduras where its hilly as heck, and the daily average speeds in mountainy areas for me have pretty much been the same, even 25+ years apart. Average speed days of 15, 16kph are very common, and I've had less on killer days with 2000m climbing in only 50k or whatever.

my heavy touring bike uses a mountain bike triple, so a 44/32/22 and 11-34. It spins out for me at about 55kph , probably at a very high rpm like 120 cadence, but I can very comfortably pedal along at 30-40kph, which frankly on a touring bike is as rare as hens teeth---so dont fret about high gears.
This bikes range is 16.7-104 gear inches as a reference,but I set it up like this for trips in Latin America, so knowing I would carry more stuff and be in steep hills often.

On numerous occasions I have descended on touring bikes at 80-90kph, so gearing has nothing to do with top speed, its all about assessing the road situations and judging if you can safely let a bike run. The vast majority of times on downhills though the sail effect of panniers etc means you dont get up to much past 60 or 70k, but again, its all about assessing all teh various factors that one must properly judge, and you dont learn that on an internet forum.
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Old 11-22-20, 08:02 AM
  #16  
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Jno, Tourists post above touches on some really good points also.
Its very common to overestimate a daily distance, especially in the first week when we are getting our touring legs.
Be careful about the group thing, and hopefully you can ride loaded together to get a better idea, but really, for the firstt days, setting easier days like 50, 60km is really nice to gradually work into it. We have all started bang off with 100k days and its really damn hard, even at 25 but much harder when older, so being smart and working into it is a real plus.
If you are lucky, you and your friends can do some pretrip test trips of a few days, and try to be honest with yourselves about what distances are doable. Guys together can be competitive or not admit stuff is hard, so without knowing your group and you, this could be an issue. Getting a sore knee or whatever from overdoing it is a drag, and can be avoided if loaded training and longer rides have been done beforehand to really get a handle on planning your days together as a group.
Overpushing oneself to keep up with others is never any fun, and can lead to physical issues which then really can screw up plans.
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Old 11-22-20, 09:45 AM
  #17  
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I am eating these tips up, and will continue to make use of all of them, so i’ll offer one collective thank you for all of the care and time posters are taking for my benefit (and any future posters, please accept this thanks too so I don’t clutter up the thread with endless but sincere thanks).
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Old 11-22-20, 10:19 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
....If you are lucky, you and your friends can do some pretrip test trips of a few days, and try to be honest with yourselves about what distances are doable. Guys together can be competitive or not admit stuff is hard, so without knowing your group and you, this could be an issue. Getting a sore knee or whatever from overdoing it is a drag, and can be avoided if loaded training and longer rides have been done beforehand to really get a handle on planning your days together as a group.
Overpushing oneself to keep up with others is never any fun, and can lead to physical issues which then really can screw up plans.
I had a trip cut short exactly because I aggravated a knee trying to keep up with fitter cyclists day after day. A few years prior I did ride from Oregon to Maine with these same guys, and almost had the same problem doing 95 mile days right out the gate.

So to the OP guy, build up your training slowly to longer days and multiple days. For joints, saddle contact points, everything. And have a really low gear.
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Old 11-22-20, 10:39 AM
  #19  
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I would like to add my 2 cents, We have used a dyno hub for several years, it allows us to run head and taillights whenever we like, and keep things charged via usb. It is marginal for all charging all electric needs, but..., as it has been said there is often power available along the way, but what if it isn't available? I can keep our phone up or our "very small" battery pack and be covered for emergency use with no worry.
Sometimes we get off route, or camp a bit more, it's a nice, although expensive power choice.
I also like the 20" gear or less, when you need it, you need it. Our tandem has a 15" low gear.
And our mantra: "Less is more".
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Old 11-22-20, 10:45 AM
  #20  
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Endless sincere thanks are unnecessary.

I have three touring bikes, which I distinguish as light, medium or heavy/expedition touring. My lowest gear on each is 20.7, 19.3 and 16.2 gear inches, with the lowest for the expedition bike which has the greatest weight capacity. And I use the lowest gear on each of those bikes.

But I am at an age where I need to avoid over-exertion, so I use a heart rate monitor and when that tells me I am working to hard (which a steep hill at 3.5 mph or about 5 km/hr can do to you), I get off and push.

The friend that I have toured with, he never wants to do any navigating, which pretty much means that if I am ahead, I occasionally have to stop and wait for him to catch up. For touring, he even removes the computer from his bike so he has no clue how far he has gone. And when he is in front of me, he just gets annoyed that I am slow.

But I am not the speed demon that DJB is.

I have done two trips with ACA, and there everybody pretty much went at their own pace, I and others were often riding alone. I think it would be advantageous if each person in the group was prepared to do their own navigation so that if each person wants to ride at their own pace, they can. If you are doing long days, with headwinds, you really want to avoid having to pace yourself to a slower rider. Whether or not that means that each person decided between paper maps or GPS, that probably is a personal preference thing for how they navigate. I always have a GPS turned on when i am touring and have a paper map too.




That could complicate whether or not you plan to eat lunch as a group or each on their own. One advantage to solo tripping is that I can eat what I want and when I want. I had no idea where I was going to eat lunch this day, until it became clear where I wanted to eat.




Paper maps get heavy, I would plan on at least one paper map for the group for each province when you enter that province, I like to have a paper map for big picture planning.

I mentioned above that at times with group dynamics, at times you may be angry at someone. The friend that I occasionally tour with, our first two tours we shared a tent but since then each of us brings our own tent. And now that I have done some longer solo trips, I firmly support solo tenting.

I have no clue if the group would try doing any of this on The Great Trail, meaning on gravel. When I was in the Maritimes, I often used the trail system instead of the paved roads. In the photo, I started on a trail as soon as I got off the ferry to PEI.



PEI had a nice trail system. I thought that their trails were better maintained than Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. But I was only in New Brunswick for two days, so my opinion on that province could be in error.

You will have days like this, so plan your clothing accordingly.



You are going to have a great time.
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Old 11-22-20, 04:36 PM
  #21  
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Tmsn, me a speed demon? yes, going downhills and around corners going downhill in mountains, but that happens once in a blue moon, and for all the rest of the time, I'm just an average slow ass tourer guy, slower every year.
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Old 11-22-20, 05:15 PM
  #22  
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Jno,
I haven't toured eastern Canada yet but have done quite a bit of touring in western Canada, including 3 transits between Alberta and Vancouver via Jasper and Calgary.
When you start drawing up plans let us know and I'll add some ideas on various routes.

FWIW, someone pointed out the difference between loaded and unloaded effort on bikes. That's pretty true. Going east to west you are mainly going downhill through the mountains but there are still some whopper long grinding climbs where you will appreciate lower gears.
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Old 11-22-20, 09:29 PM
  #23  
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Congrats on your planned cross-Canada ride. I started touring at age 62 when I recognized that if I didn't do my tours now, my body wasn't going to let me tour later. I'm 70 now and I just finished another tour here in Australia where I'm hiding out from COVID-19. Initially, I just mounted a rear rack and a bar bag on my carbon fiber Trek 5200 and rode across the the US in three segments using the ACA Southern Tier route. Later I got a used LHT which I've ridden on several tours in the US plus across France and Germany in summer 2019. Touring has been strangely addictive for me.

I heartily second the advice to read journals on crazyguyonabike.com . Over the years, and especially in the beginning, I got tons of great advice from journals on that site. I found that there were two common themes about Day 2 or Day 3 of a newbie's tour: 1. "I should have trained more"; and 2. "I have too much stuff". As for training, just ride lots of medium length rides (25-45 miles) in the weeks leading up to your tour start date. Make certain that some of those rides are on your fully loaded bike so that you can get used to maneuvering a fully loaded bike and also to insure that all your stuff fits and works as you might expect. Do an overnight ride if you can squeeze it in. Second, be ruthless about culling non-essential items; there are very few items that you can't replace along the way if you find you need them. Aim for 20 pounds not including food and water.

Mostly though, relax and have fun! You will have amazing experiences.
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Old 11-22-20, 11:38 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
howdy southern ontario feller or lady,
1- yes, absolutely a triple ring touring bike will have sufficient low gears that make touring with camping stuff etc more enjoyable. I'll try to make this short and sweet--yes, with bike packing being the more popular thing now, the issue is that a lot of bikes are geared higher, as bikepacking tends to have less of a load weight--but it means being pretty darn minimal. Touring with four panniers isn't as popular as bikepacking, which is smaller bags strapped to the frame etc made more for offroad riding.
I agree wholeheartedly but would add that just because bikepacking touring uses a little bit less stuff, if done in the way it is meant to be done...off-pavement or off-road...lower gears are a plus in those situations. There is also a wide spread idea in bicycling in general that low gears are for sissies. I run lower gears than just about anyone and using them doesn’t make me feel less “manly”.

On the other hand, having higher gears are a plus. 1x systems allow for low gears or high gears but not both. 2x systems are a bit better but if the gearing is too wide, there’s a big hole in the middle of the systems so instead of choosing between high and low gears, you have no middle

play with this one, and see how it works,
https://www.gear-calculator.com/
By far the best one in my opinion. The ability to compare systems is very useful.

Just be careful that in bike stores, most employees have never toured, and are 25 years old, or are 40 but have never toured....so you will be told that X bike is "fine" for touring. It might be, but just be aware that a dedicated touring bike will have the gearing that is a lot easier on your middle aged body.
Absolutely. If someone tells you that X bike is “fine” ask them where they have toured.

3- Ive never used a dyno hub, but I have found over the last few years, that in campgrounds, plugs tend to be more available. Ive been in campgrounds where dedicated areas are set up for bike tourers, a shelter, chairs, many plugs--but les face it, you probably arent going to find that in 'Flin Flon, Manitoba....
The usual thing is to scout around in bathrooms, laundry room and judge the surroundings if you can leave it, or not and watch over it.
I crossed France a few years ago camping nearly the whole time and plugs were available easily at campgrounds when needed.
I dont use much power, ie not for navigation etc, so can get away with taking a power bank battery and charge it when needed, but you may want to look into the whole dyno hub thing, lots of people do but it really depends....Just be aware of course of the extra cost of geting a wheel built up for this.
I often stay at commercial campgrounds on long tours...I like to shower. I’ve found that you can sometimes poach power at a campground if there aren’t many people around and you can be sneaky. You could even ask a fellow RV camper if you can use their plug.

For extended off-road or remote touring, I carry an external battery. I charge it when I have a chance but most of the time it lasts most of a week. My GPS unit’s battery lasts for roughly 50 hours per charge so I don’t have to charge it for most of a week as well. In remote areas, my phone is on airplane mode.

]and heck, now we come to #4---which is the whole unknown of next summer re Covid. I hope not, but its certainly possible that travelling may still have issues , or at least, unknown issues next summer. We can only hope.

come back with any questions. Thats what we're here for. Lots of us have decades experience touring, so have reasonable views on things, and are similar to your age, or older...
Do expect of course to get all kinds of opinions. Like noses and other things, we all got em eh?
I agree. I’ve been doing things in very remote areas of Colorado (east of the mountains where no one ever goes). It’s a different style of touring but it’s socially distanced.
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Old 11-23-20, 12:06 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. If you don’t mind a follow-up? Since triple seems to come standard with the “typical” stock touring bikes (LHT, Sutra, 520 etc) is the consensus that the quality of the stock gear groups is at least “ good enough”? (Sora, for ex). As a roadie, I was always skeptical of the stock offerings in bikes at the price point of these touring bike models. If you had any recommendations in this regard, I would certainly welcome them.
Generally speaking, the gearing on “touring bikes” today is pretty much awful. The manufacturers probably can’t get good triples because there just aren’t that many out there. The Surly Disc Trucker, for example, puts what could be a good(ish) crank on the bike but the Alivio has riveted chain rings which limits the ability to replace chainrings or change gearing. The LHT uses the Sora crank which okay but the gearing is limited. There’s nothing wrong with the Sora line in terms of durability and functionality. The Sora front derailer is one of the best that Shimano makes. But the crank is a road crank so it can’t go below 24 teeth, if that.

I’m not picking just as Surly. Other companies are making touring bikes that have lots of issues as well. Almost all of them can be fixed but it takes money. Surly, in my opinion, has the least number of warts that are easiest to fix. I’d replace the crank on both with a Shimano mountain bike crank like a used Deore or XT 9 speed crank. You can find them on Fleabay regularly. They are pretty straight forward exchange.

The other alternative...much more expensive...is to build on with the components you want to use. My touring bike is a 2010 Cannondale T1 but it has zero components you’d find on a stock Cannondale. It’s a 9 speed drivetrain but has an 11-36 cassette mated to a Shimano XT 46/34/20 crank. I use an XTR rear (with a Wolf Tooth Road Link) and 9 speed Ultegra shifters. It works flawlessly. It has a good high (110”) and a very good low (16”) with over a 700% gear range. This gear system has served me on at least 3 multiweek tours in the eastern part of the US. The hills there are short but they are steep and brutal.


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