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Questions about overnighting on my road bike

Old 01-27-19, 07:08 PM
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Shinkers
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Questions about overnighting on my road bike

Hello,

So this year I think I'm finally going to do some overnight rides. I've wanted to for the last several years but I always talk myself out of it.

Anyway, the ride that I have planned would be 170 miles with about 30 miles of hard packed dirt in the middle (which is where I'd be camping). I'd be shooting for late May or June to do this, overnight lows would be in the 40's or possibly high 30's.

The main question I have, is that I'd like to use my regular road bike. For a few overnight trips, I can't justify getting a touring bike, and I really love my Trek 1200. It fits, it's geared well, and I've been riding it for years now. Looking around, I would say that my options appear to be a large seat bag like a Carridice or Revelate, or a small rear rack like the Tubus Fly. I currently have a Marmot sleeping bag that I bought years ago and never used. It just ended up in a closet. It packs down to ~14L which is still huge. Coupled with the sleeping pad that I have, I'd probably have a rack like the Tubus pretty much full (bag and pad on one side/top, with a pannier on the other). Would I be better off to invest in a smaller packing sleeping system (smaller bag and probably an inflatable pad) that could fit into a large seat bag, or using the bulkier gear that I already have and loading down a rear rack?

I know that this type of thing probably gets asked a lot. Sorry about that.

Thanks.
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Old 01-27-19, 08:00 PM
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I had the same dilemma where I needed a bag and a pad for maybe 3-4 nights a year. I ended up with a Teton Trailhead 20F bag from Amazon that stuffs to around 8-9 liters and can compress more (1325 grams with stuff stack), a cheap Ozark bag liner from Walmart ($7?) (270 grams) and a Klymit Static V inflatable pad (525 grams) from Amazon. Obviously person dependent but with some base layer clothes on and full mummy claustrophobic mode with only my nose sticking out I did 20F except for my feet unless I curled up (tested outside at my house). More normal conditions for when I actually need it is 40F or higher and I go mostly unzipped and I'm fine. My rack is an Axiom Streamliner. I use my compression bag with my clothes in it for a pillow. Maybe $140 total including rack. My opinion is based on a few nights a year. If you are doing more than that or in a wider variety of unknowns, conditions and situations, or require a hammock/tent or food etc.. no doubt there are better choices.

Whatever you decide and come up with, give it a test run first. What you end up with won't be perfect but it never is. You have to start somewhere.

Last edited by u235; 01-27-19 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 01-27-19, 08:07 PM
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I would think a trailer would be a good option. either a BOB trailer or an Extrawheel.
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Old 01-27-19, 08:21 PM
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I actually never thought about a trailer. That's a damn good idea. They aren't too horribly expensive, and would open up the door to taking more gear to be a bit more comfortable. Can't believe it didn't cross my mind.
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Old 01-27-19, 08:28 PM
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riding 140kms per day unloaded is one thing, but just be aware and start doing loaded rides and you'll see that the extra effort required and much slower average speed will be rather significant.

and you wont believe us until you do it, riding with x lbs of stuff on your bike, and which the gearing may no longer seem "fine", all this can easily show up any fit issues and or fitness issues and knees and whatnot can chime in rather loudly whereas riding unloaded, they were pretty happy.....

and while you're at it, get off my damn lawn! ;-)
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Old 01-27-19, 08:28 PM
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I do not think there is a good, better, best solution for what I expect is a 3 day tour. I would select the least expensive approach. It might not be the most convenient for packing as you might be finding unique approaches for attaching things on the rack. But, if the trip works and you expect to do more trips, then I would invest in better designed panniers, racks, fenders and perhaps a bike.

My first camping tour was 1975 on my Jeunet 10 speed. I can;t remember how I loaded my bike but it was about 600 miles round trip. I was too dumb, young, poor and before internet to get help. It was helpful that my riding partner, now my wife, had completed a longer trip the summer before on her Batavis. Enjoy the ride!

For ideas, many people blog on crazyguyonabike. You might want to check that out for equipment, route and other ideas.
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Old 01-28-19, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
I actually never thought about a trailer. That's a damn good idea. They aren't too horribly expensive, and would open up the door to taking more gear to be a bit more comfortable. Can't believe it didn't cross my mind.

that advantage is one of the major disadvantages. it's too easy to simply chuck some more gear in to fill the available space.


don't know the specs for your trek, but suspect the chainstays on a roadie would be too short for full-size panniers. trailer will fix that, and take weight off the rear wheel. small front bags combined with a trailer will even out the load.


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Old 01-28-19, 06:50 AM
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I say start out simple, then add stuff if you like it. Try your load on a ride around town, change things if it doesn't work.

Consider a down quilt for a smaller, cheaper alternative to a new bag. The one I bought for a bike tour, the Revelation 30 by enLightened Equipment, is perhaps the best piece of outdoor gear I've ever acquired. I just use a Z-rest for a cheap, durable pad, and try to camp on grass for a softer bed. I carry a single-wall silnylon tent made by Tarptent, also relatively inexpensive and easy to pack small. Look at Arkel Dry-Lite bags.

I'll also throw in an unsolicited story about my first tour in 1975, on a Schwinn Continental with one of those old steel book racks on the back. I loaded the sleeping bag and tent on rack, rolled extra clothes in the sleeping bag, tied an old gym duffel between the brake hoods for food, and took off from Chicago on a 1000 mile tour around Lake Michigan. It worked, and I don't think I've ever packed the same for any subsequent trip. Keep learning.
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Old 01-28-19, 08:39 AM
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Sleeping bag in a dry bag strapped to the rack is what I've done in the past.
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Old 01-28-19, 08:57 AM
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I traveled across the US on the ACA Southern Tier route using my Trek 5200 carbon fiber road bike. I just barely cleared the panniers with my heels, but it worked.
Everyone's touring style is different, but I'd focus on reducing your load as much as possible; the less stuff you take, the less weight you need to drag up a hill. Check out this guy's website: Ultralight bicycle touring He had great tips that I followed
For friends who have been on their first tour with limited budget, I recommend that they borrow a down bag and then use a liner. See if you can do this as well; if it turns out that you love touring you can buy a lightweight bag later.

Have fun!
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Old 01-28-19, 03:55 PM
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Pack a friend. If you have one at hand that has done overnight tours before, it makes a first camping trip so much easier and probable. You may not even need a rear rack for him ;-)

Other than that, +1 to jefnvk. Make use of what you have and see how it works for you. If you invest in expensive gear now and don't what what works for you and what doesn't, you'll set your focus on shopping and less on the ride itself. If all&everything fails, take a credit card with you, that buys you out of most shortcomings. The experience you collect later should allow you to answer your initial question in retrospective.
All my camping has been with a Marmot too, so far.
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Old 01-28-19, 04:10 PM
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Tailfin rack and panniers are perfect for short tours on road bikes. We have them, have used them for longer tours and they are simply excellent. Waterproof, super light weight and set up to make sure heel strike is not an issue. Will carry 36 lbs max which is far more than you need. We tour with full camping gear and keep it under 25lb per person easily and close to 20.

https://www.tailfin.cc
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Old 01-28-19, 04:23 PM
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Thanks for posting the link to Ultralight Bicycle Touring schoolboy2.. Very interesting and provocative ideas, some of which I have used to lighten my load while backpacking. Two important things he apparently does without for the sake of weight reduction are toilet paper and a cell phone. I guess he improvises on the TP but I wonder how many riders nowadays would venture forth without a cell phone.
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Old 01-28-19, 05:07 PM
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I won't travel without a cellphone, and I'm not cutting the handles off my toothbrush and razor either. But he does have a lot of great ideas. His first recommendation was to buy a gram scale, which I did and haven't regretted it once.

And I totally agree with JohnJ, keep your load between 20-25 lbs, you should easily be able to pack enough without exceeding that limit. However, I've seen lots of heavily loaded bike tourists with four panniers, a rack bag and a bar bag and all six are filled to capacity. Makes my knees ache just considering it.
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Old 01-28-19, 06:09 PM
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Thank you all for the replies. I can totally get behind doing the cheapest thing first to start out, but I'll need to figure out what that actually is. I guess my first move is to try and see what heel clearance would be like on my Trek. If it looks like I could clear panniers, then that will make things a bit easier to decide. I've read that using a 4 point rack with P-clamps is better than a 3 point rack like the Tubus Fly. Would you guys agree with this?

Staying under 20 lbs should be easily doable since I'm not really worried about taking much other than a sleeping bag and some cold food on top of some emergency things. Water will be relatively accessible along the way, and I normally ride with two one-liter bottles.

I'm excited to get going.

Edit: Here's what I'm looking at for heel clearance.

Last edited by Shinkers; 01-28-19 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 01-28-19, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
Thank you all for the replies. I can totally get behind doing the cheapest thing first to start out, but I'll need to figure out what that actually is. I guess my first move is to try and see what heel clearance would be like on my Trek. If it looks like I could clear panniers, then that will make things a bit easier to decide. I've read that using a 4 point rack with P-clamps is better than a 3 point rack like the Tubus Fly. Would you guys agree with this?

Staying under 20 lbs should be easily doable since I'm not really worried about taking much other than a sleeping bag and some cold food on top of some emergency things. Water will be relatively accessible along the way, and I normally ride with two one-liter bottles.

I'm excited to get going.

Edit: Here's what I'm looking at for heel clearance.
I do this kind of touring on a Gunnar Crosshairs which is a cyclocross frame with around 43cm chain stays. Using the Tubus Fly or the Tubus Airy (I have both), heel strikes were a problem with my 44.5 EU size shoes and a 58cm frame. When I went to the Tailfin rack, which rides better and the panniers that are specifically built to fit more racing oriented frame geometries (i.e. road bike vs touring geometries), these problems went away and there is plenty of heel clearance.

It took a lot of fooling around with the rack extra foot piece that Tubus sells and then adjusting panniers to their far back positions. That tended to make the weight ride farther aft than I would have wanted. The problem is the positioning angle of most standard panniers are built for touring frames that typically have very long wheelbases compared to more road geometries. This is where the Tailfin set up, besides being half the weight of a Tubus Airy (amazingly light 350g vs ~700g) wins because it's also set up for road geometries. The panniers have the mounting clips mounted at angles that make heel strike highly unlikely unless you have freakishly large feet AND keep the weight closer overt rear axle where it belongs.

We rode this set up down the Rallarvegen in Norway through an essentially 30 mile rock garden on 30c tires so, needless to say, it was a pretty rough test of the whole setup. This was part of about a 200 mile long tour over 8 days on everything from road to this gravel trail that should have really been an MTB trip. Not one issue and everything worked very well. I would say that the bikes rode very much like they would on the road without a rack. Very stable, no sway even when climbing out of the saddle, no rattles - just a great product.

Last edited by JohnJ80; 01-28-19 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 01-28-19, 06:40 PM
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I'm a big fan of Axiom racks - sturdy, functional, light, and affordable.
Streamliners and journey should work for you and set the rack back a bit to help with heel clearance. Also don't necessarily require P-Clamps as some models attach to the wheel axle.
https://www.axiomgear.com/products/racks/
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Old 01-28-19, 07:40 PM
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I would suggest the most important thing you can pack - which weighs nothing - is patience.

For me, touring is a different style of riding. If you try to ride loaded for touring the same way you ride your road bike normally, I would guess you will soon find yourself frustrated at your 'apparent' lack of progress and with how tired you'll become from trying to, by habit, maintain your normal road pace.

If you normally ride with the dial turned up to 11, try to ride on your tour dialed back to 5 or 6. You might even consider yourself lazy or a slacker riding at that pace, but an amazing thing will happen: you will notice things along the way you never noticed road riding. I would also suggest planning stops along the way to purposely make yourself ride a 'tour' and not a 'race'. Pick out a couple of points or places along the way that interest you, and stop at those points for at least a few minutes.

For me it took some practice to set the dial to 5 or 6 and leave it there, and you might not be able to do that for the entire tour and you might not even like riding like that on your first tour. I would offer that it is worth a try if for nothing more than the sights you will see on your first tour that will create the foundation of memories for the tours that follow.
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Old 01-28-19, 09:06 PM
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another recommendation on the axiom streamliner rack that has the setback that gains a few inches. Given how much you plan to carry, they are well made and would be fine, using lighter weight panniers will help also.
I put a streamliner on my wifes bike a few years back and its a perfectly good solid aluminum rack, not pricey at all as a bonus, and specifically designed for road bikes without eyelets for racks (hence the skewer mount system)
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Old 01-28-19, 09:55 PM
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I toured with a guy who used a road bike and bikepacking bags. Full frame bag and handlebar bag/cradle and he said he was set for a full day of riding between food stops. Had a ultralight tent, clothes, water/etc. Looked like a slick set-up as a larger saddlebag could be added too. Seemed like it worked great and he was happy, but very $$$.

These two were what he used:
https://salsacycles.com/components/c...thing_cp_db_fp
https://salsacycles.com/components/c..._ht_framepacks
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Old 01-30-19, 12:48 PM
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Divide your load front to back if possible. Best case, I would choose a low rider front rack with small panniers and a large seat bag. If you can rig up a front handlebar bag combined with a seat bag it should work also. Large panniers behind the rear axle can cause handling issues.
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Old 01-31-19, 11:34 AM
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Bikepacking bags. .. no Racks Looks like you bought a bike that requires you to bodge racks on.. anyhow..

Go, stay in a Motel . Ride back ... you wont need much.. its still a tour..

then its just 2 day rides.. 1 out & 1 return..


... 1st week in June, a lot of people will gather out here , and set off in a trans continental race - tour (no outside support) predominantly on road bikes ..







....
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Old 02-17-19, 03:48 PM
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Well FWIW, I ended up picking up the Axiom rack. The feet at the bottom place the rack far enough back to be well clear of my heels, and there should be no problem getting my sleeping pad and sleeping bag onto the rack with some bungees. I plan to couple that with a large seat bag, and a medium sized handlebar bag. That should be plenty of storage for what I am intending to do. Once it warms up and dries out a bit, I'll throw it on and start riding with some weight.

This was the least expensive option (Axiom stuff is pretty inexpensive, and the bags I picked up are Banjo Brothers), and looks like it will be perfectly adequate.

Thanks all for the help and advice. It is very much appreciated.
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Old 02-17-19, 09:44 PM
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[QUOTE=Shinkers;20799404there should be no problem getting my sleeping pad and sleeping bag onto the rack with some bungee[/QUOTE]

Try get some that cinch down. I don't know if you can get Little Grippa outside NZ, but they are far superior to bungey cords with hooks. It's my favourite piece of touring kit.

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Old 02-17-19, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
Hello,

So this year I think I'm finally going to do some overnight rides. I've wanted to for the last several years but I always talk myself out of it.

Anyway, the ride that I have planned would be 170 miles with about 30 miles of hard packed dirt in the middle (which is where I'd be camping). I'd be shooting for late May or June to do this, overnight lows would be in the 40's or possibly high 30's.

The main question I have, is that I'd like to use my regular road bike. For a few overnight trips, I can't justify getting a touring bike, and I really love my Trek 1200. It fits, it's geared well, and I've been riding it for years now. Looking around, I would say that my options appear to be a large seat bag like a Carridice or Revelate, or a small rear rack like the Tubus Fly. I currently have a Marmot sleeping bag that I bought years ago and never used. It just ended up in a closet. It packs down to ~14L which is still huge. Coupled with the sleeping pad that I have, I'd probably have a rack like the Tubus pretty much full (bag and pad on one side/top, with a pannier on the other). Would I be better off to invest in a smaller packing sleeping system (smaller bag and probably an inflatable pad) that could fit into a large seat bag, or using the bulkier gear that I already have and loading down a rear rack?

I know that this type of thing probably gets asked a lot. Sorry about that.

Thanks.
While I did not camp, I toured on a road bike for years. But lots of people go ultra light and carry camping gear less than many people take on a credit card tour.

Two things I would suggest. Pack it up and just go for a ride in your neighborhood. Another thing you might want to do is to forget about camping for the first time and just go for a credit card tour somewhere. If tha works out then try camping the next time.
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