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Touring without carrying your gear?

Old 09-12-22, 08:03 PM
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Bald Paul
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Touring without carrying your gear?

I don't really know if this belongs in this forum, but...
When I was young, I toured quite a bit through New England and Nova Scotia. I carried my tent, sleeping bag, clothing, cooking gear, etc all on the bike.
Well, those days are well behind me now. Now my idea of touring is traveling from hotel to hotel, eating at local restaurants, and laying my 70 year old body on a nice, comfy mattress after a long, hot shower.
I've been thinking of planning a multi day ride, but my current bike really isn't set up for panniers, or even anything remotely large enough to load some clothes and personal items. Has anyone ever tried calling something like an Uber or Lyft to pick up a small piece of luggage, transport it to the next stop, and drop it off? Of course, this would have to be arranged with the next night's accommodations, as the luggage would arrive before I would, so they would have to keep it somewhere until I arrived to check in. To be honest, I'm not even sure Uber or Lyft would do this, but perhaps there's some other way (taxi? Do they still have taxis??)
Suggestions welcome. Note - I have looked into the organized tour companies, but most of them are almost $700 per day, if not more. A little steep for my budget.

Last edited by Bald Paul; 09-12-22 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 09-12-22, 08:05 PM
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Polaris OBark
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What about using one of those third wheel trailers?
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Old 09-12-22, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
What about using one of those third wheel trailers?
Thought about that, but most of them I've seen either attach to the rear axle (nut or QR type) or seatpost. I have through axles, and my seatpost is carbon fiber, so I'm not crazy about clamping any load on that. And really, they would be overkill for the amount of stuff I would be transporting.
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Old 09-12-22, 08:40 PM
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Robert Axle project for the trailer.

Handlebar bag, and/or one of those really long bikepacker seat bags and/or a frame bag?

(I have no idea about your Uber/Lyft question. In fact, I have never even used one.)
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Old 09-12-22, 08:51 PM
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Puzzled why a bike cannot carry a rack and small panniers with change of clothing ?. You described a "credit card tour". You need a change of cycle clothing, some street clothes, rain gear, maybe warm sweater and tights, lunch snacks, toiletry items. If not a rack, a bike packing setup with a large front bag strapped on the h-bar and a rear under seat bag would probably carry all your stuff. Just Google "bike packing bags".
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Old 09-12-22, 09:56 PM
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Bike tour companies transport a group of riders with a van and a trailer that carries the bikes. The support people provide a sag wagon, tools for repairs, food, and arrange lodging. The only downside is being in a group and exposed to whatever bug they arrived with to start the trip. Three times I have had people come who were sick when they left home but did not want to lose their deposit. Each time they passed the bug to me.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:21 PM
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In the not too distant future, I plan to do something like this around Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Spain.
But lease a car with my girlfriend driving from town to town, over a two month period.
And probably take a day or two rest days in-between rides.
You could do something like that to travel in style. All it takes is a willing companion.
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Old 09-12-22, 10:30 PM
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Toured with a Seat Post Rack. 2000 mile month
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Old 09-12-22, 11:19 PM
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After I did this a couple of times, I realized it was time to buy a touring bike. (First time I was without one since age 18, and I realized I had enough extra bike parts laying around to build at least half of it, so I got me a Soma Saga frame and made the best touring bike I have ever had, and it saves wear and tear on an expensive fragile custom road bike.)
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Old 09-13-22, 02:20 AM
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Bikepacking style bags is the way to go. My first bikepacking trip was road based and we stayed at B&Bs.
Carbon bike with carbon seat post. Gearing was a bit high however. I also overpacked.


Now I use my gravel bike, venture off road, and do carry my camping kit. It also has much lower gearing. Still carbon though
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Old 09-13-22, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rivers View Post
Bikepacking style bags is the way to go. My first bikepacking trip was road based and we stayed at B&Bs.
Carbon bike with carbon seat post. Gearing was a bit high however. I also overpacked.


Now I use my gravel bike, venture off road, and do carry my camping kit. It also has much lower gearing. Still carbon though
Nice setups, both. When my wife and I were in California we ran into a group of guys on carbon road bikes, outfitted much like yours, riding from Portland all the way down to San Diego. There was also a guy that had joined up with them riding a Surly LHT fully loaded, and he apparently had a hard time keeping up. They pointed out that it's a lot more fun riding a road bike, just like it's more fun to ride down Highway One in a convertible Corvette than it is in an SUV. The roads there are generally very smooth and these guys didn't even have fat tires - they were running on 24 spoke wheels with skinny road bike tires.

I've only done solo fully-loaded touring, a long time ago on my '83 Trek 720. It's easy to see that if you take away the need for all the camping/sleeping/cooking stuff, and if you have access to laundry facilities every few days, it would be very possible to travel pretty light.

Last edited by Jeff Neese; 09-13-22 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 09-13-22, 05:22 AM
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Bald Paul Another vote for using bike packing gear. I just did an 8 day tour as you described riding from hotel to hotel as I've never had any interest in camping but love being outdoors. I just want a hot shower, bed and climate-controlled room at the end of the day. I'm 61. I didn't use panniers either. The bags on my front fork held my rain gear and some lightweight clothing to change into at the end of the day. The frame bag had my spare tubes, tools, and stuff to recharge my electronics. The under seat bag had a few more pieces of clothing in compression sacks to save space. I also had my iPad in that bag. Handlebar bag had my toiletries and a cable lock. The top tube bag was for snacks. My waistpack had my reading glasses, a pair of lightweight travel shoes, wallet and phone plus some more random snacks and sunscreen.

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Old 09-13-22, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
I don't really know if this belongs in this forum, but...
When I was young, I toured quite a bit through New England and Nova Scotia. I carried my tent, sleeping bag, clothing, cooking gear, etc all on the bike.
Well, those days are well behind me now. Now my idea of touring is traveling from hotel to hotel, eating at local restaurants, and laying my 70 year old body on a nice, comfy mattress after a long, hot shower.
I've been thinking of planning a multi day ride, but my current bike really isn't set up for panniers, or even anything remotely large enough to load some clothes and personal items. Has anyone ever tried calling something like an Uber or Lyft to pick up a small piece of luggage, transport it to the next stop, and drop it off? Of course, this would have to be arranged with the next night's accommodations, as the luggage would arrive before I would, so they would have to keep it somewhere until I arrived to check in. To be honest, I'm not even sure Uber or Lyft would do this, but perhaps there's some other way (taxi? Do they still have taxis??)
Suggestions welcome. Note - I have looked into the organized tour companies, but most of them are almost $700 per day, if not more. A little steep for my budget.
When I was lugging 100 pounds up the Col du Aravis back in the day, an older gentlemen of around your age would pass me and I would pass him. We got to the top and he waited for me. He bought me a drink at the chalet or some sort of building at the pass. He was just finishing a 6,000 mile or was it Km tour. He bought me the drink and later dinner because when he asked me why I was touring that region, I mentioned a certain cheese that I liked. Turns out he owned the company that makes the cheese equipment. So, I asked where was your luggage. He laughed and said, his secretary sends clean clothing to each night's hotel and the hotel mails it back to her. SO, there is that method.

I have thought myself about your challenge or desire to travel as described. Some of the tours like in Italy are even higher than $700/day, more like $1200-1500/day. Nuts. I have not completely worked it out but plan to do a similar tour as you. One concession is losing the cycling shoes, maybe one spare kit, a lightweight polo shirt and light slacks or maybe black rain pants that look like slacks. Or. Every second day if in the USA, have clothing delivery to your planned hotel using USPS priority mail (about 20 bucks each) and then ship your dirty clothes home. Another alternative is to stay in a really nice hotel every second night, the kind that will clean your clothes overnight for you. I want to tour Europe next spring. So, no USPS. I will be using a tailfin aeropack and maybe a small handlebar bag. The approx. 2 pound 20 liter aeropack will fit onto any bike and is waterproof and pretty light. Part of going light is disconnecting or minimizing electronics, batteries, and chargers. W/O a tent and sleeping bag, such a light approach requires having preplanned hotels booked. With a 17-18 pound bike and if I do not use a handlebar bag, 25-28 pounds total should be doable in temperate conditions. I would not hand my luggage over to an Uber-type operation. Your concern about attaching anything to a carbon post is ill founded. But the tailfin aeropack bears all of the load on your thru axles and very little at the seat post.
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Old 09-13-22, 06:25 AM
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Back in the old days (1880s-1910s), cycletourists would leave their hotel with instructions to forward their dunnage by rail c/o the next night's hotel. It was elegant touring for a more civilized age.

In addition to the old school backpacking bags that don't require racks,



there are the more modern saddlebags and handlebar bags, shown here sitting on racks but not requiring them.




And there are Old Man Mountain racks & the like for bikes that don't have rack eyelets.

Here's a wild and crazy idea: pack up two kits, and alternately UPS/USPS/FedEx them Next Day to your destination second day hence.
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Old 09-13-22, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Robert Axle project for the trailer.

Handlebar bag, and/or one of those really long bikepacker seat bags and/or a frame bag?

(I have no idea about your Uber/Lyft question. In fact, I have never even used one.)
Handlebar bag and long seat back aren't really an option. My handlebar has a Garmin, GoPro, and light. Seat post has my Varia radar/light/camera.

Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
After I did this a couple of times, I realized it was time to buy a touring bike. (First time I was without one since age 18, and I realized I had enough extra bike parts laying around to build at least half of it, so I got me a Soma Saga frame and made the best touring bike I have ever had, and it saves wear and tear on an expensive fragile custom road bike.)
Now and then I kick myself over selling my touring bike, a custom built Romic frameset, triple crank, bar end shifters, front and rear Blackburn racks. If I were going to buy/build something up, I would go with a steel frame. I'm not crazy about bolting / clamping things onto carbon - too much time spent repairing damage on race car suspensions.
I've never used Uber or Lyft either, and I can't seem to get the question answered by them. I'm pretty sure a taxi would do it, but they are becoming extinct, it seems.
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Old 09-13-22, 06:35 AM
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Review of the Tailfin aeropack. The low cost optional seatpost extender is essential in my opinion. The setup is super stable and can hold a lot of volume. I much prefer it to my bikepacking seatbag.


https://road.cc/content/review/tailf...eropack-268951
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Old 09-13-22, 06:48 AM
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Get a handlebar extender. That way you can relocate your gps, etc. so you can use a front bag.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073D88K9W
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Old 09-13-22, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
Get a handlebar extender. That way you can relocate your gps, etc. so you can use a front bag.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073D88K9W
That may work! Thank you!
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Old 09-13-22, 07:09 AM
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This is thinking outside the box but what you want is exactly what can happen if you ride in Spain on one of the main Camino de Santiago routes. While it is mostly geared for walkers, about 10% of the people ride either the actual route (mainly gravel) or a closely parallel road route. The best part is the more popular routes have luggage services where for about 10 euros, the company will take your luggage to your next lodging facility so it is waiting for you typically no later than 2pm, usually earlier. The transport companies shuttle probably a million pieces of luggage a year (literally) and rarely deliver the luggage to the wrong hotel (an "air tag" type device in your luggage allows you to track your luggage). Anyway, so the shuttle service allows you to ride the Camino with only your "day ride" items. I "think" there are 3 main routes with shuttle service, the Francis, North, and Portuguese. The North is supposedly the prettiest (I could believe it) but also the hilliest. The Francis is by far the most popular but I know very little about the Portuguese route.

This summer, my wife hiked the Camino while I toured it and other areas within a day or two ride of the Camino. She used the shuttle service every day and I used it periodically when I was on the Camino and never had an issue.

If you want to ride "off Camino" Spain has tons of taxis (no Ubers) but due to high cost of gas, the prices to shuttle something via taxi could easily be $50 or more per shuttle depending on how far.

Spain is a wonderful country with friendly people and has relatively inexpensive food (3-course lunch and dinners with a bottle of wine included is typically around $12-$17 and lodging can range from $12 to around $50 for a hotel. Soda is more expensive than wine or coffee. Services are located every 3-5 miles on the main St. Francis (Francis) Camino route so never an issue finding food or bathrooms. English is mostly understood along the Caminos as it has a wonderfully diverse international participation. I speak very little Spanish and got along fine with the basics. If you did the main Camino, it would take about 2-3 weeks depending on your speed but since the shuttle services are available, you could take your sweet time. Oh, and the drivers are fantastic toward cyclists. The drivers are definitely amongst the best I have found in 45+ years of international touring. If you go, be sure to look at something like WeatherSpark so you can plan to avoid the hotter months because for some odd reason, very few hotels have air conditioning OR ceiling fans so sitting in a hotel room without either when the temps are 90* outside can be not too enjoyable.

In summary, touring in Spain is probably the same cost or cheaper than a similar 3-week trip in the USA, especially if you need air transport in the USA and is definitely a cyclists' area.
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Old 09-13-22, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
...have clothing delivery to your planned hotel using USPS priority mail (about 20 bucks each) and then ship your dirty clothes home. Another alternative is to stay in a really nice hotel every second night, the kind that will clean your clothes overnight for you...
Generally on tour, the clothing that's against my skin is light fiber that I can wash out myself and will dry overnight. YMMV
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Old 09-13-22, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
My handlebar has a Garmin, GoPro, and light. Seatpost has my Varia radar/light/camera.
Now I'm piqued to know what all is attached to your frame that prevents a frame bag.
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Old 09-13-22, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Generally on tour, the clothing that's against my skin is light fiber that I can wash out myself and will dry overnight. YMMV
The sink sort of works but the pad on mine doesn't dry overnight. Sometimes, I just go into the shower with kit on and do it all at once. I strap the spare bibs to the rear rack or bag, pad facing the Sun to completely dry. I've also worn the same bibs for around 800 miles several times, so, that is an option too. But, I was more thinking that I could spend $50-100 ever couple of days to have someone else properly clean my stuff.

Beyond cycling clothing, I got the impression OP wanted to stay in decent hotels and have a nice meal at night where grubby cycling kit would not fit. A merino polo and light slacks should stay clean on a shorter tour.
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Old 09-13-22, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
...my current bike really isn't set up for panniers, or even anything remotely large enough to load some clothes and personal items.....
As someone else noted: why cant you put a basic rear rack on your bike? You can often use various clamps if your bike doesnt have rack mounts.

Its sounds really fussy having to arrange an uber every morning, and having no flexibility for changing your mind about the days destination.

Most of my touring has been credit card style. Way back in 2001 I rode this improvised rig around France.. I went to France planning to "backpack" around but then decided to bike tour at the last minute and so bought this cheap bike used.

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Old 09-13-22, 09:08 AM
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sounds like what you are seeking is way more stressful than just carry some gear with You. OTOH - what do you really need to carry? By definition (hotels), you will be picking touring through civilized territories which come with stores along the way. At night, in your comfy hotel you put that fancy bathrobe on they give you in hotels and you wash your junk in the sink and let it dry and then you tour the next day. If You rip a shirt then you buy a new one in a store along the way etc ...

I am about to leave (tomorrow) on a 3 night trip from Burlington VT to Portland Maine. I packed camping stuff, toiletry kit but nothing to cook with. So if I was in the hotel I could leave the camping stuff at home as well as the toiletry bag and so in essence I could just tour with absolute minimum. (maybe a seatpost bag for my tools)

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Old 09-13-22, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Now I'm piqued to know what all is attached to your frame that prevents a frame bag.
Primarily, me. I have tried frame bags in the past, and detest them with a passion.
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