Questions & Solutions About Bicycle Touring

by jpc_touring-bicycle

Right here at Bicycle Touring Professional, I get questions on a regular basis about how you can plan, put together for and execute each brief and long-distance bicycle touring adventures. Most of those questions are available by way of e-mail and I take an enormous period of time out of my private schedule every week to answer every certainly one of these emails. However generally the questions are so lengthy and complex, it doesn’t make sense for me to take that a lot time to reply the questions requested… and that was actually the case with the lengthy listing of questions that reader Danny Levbine not too long ago despatched me.

As a substitute of writing up a solution to every of Danny’s questions and easily sending them again to him by way of e-mail, I’ve determined (with Danny’s permission after all) to publish each Danny’s questions and my solutions on this article. My hope by doing that is that you just additionally is likely to be asking your self a number of the identical questions that Danny is asking… and that my solutions would possibly allow you to in addition to you go in regards to the means of planning and making ready to your upcoming bicycle touring journey.

So, with out additional ado… listed below are Danny’s questions and my solutions:

1. Principally, I’ve not biked in any respect a lot since I used to be 10 years outdated and now have to start out over again I obtained to used to driving in every single place. The issue I’ve is mainly I’m out of shape- every time I peddle on my bike as onerous as I can within the highest gears I get drained after going solely about 4 or 5 miles and everybody else on the trail zips proper previous me. For instance, I went in a circle one time on my new bike about 30 miles spherical journey. The ultimate 7 miles of the trail have been on an asphalt path that was not utterly flat- it should have went up at a really slight incline. And it took me an hour and 5 minutes simply to go the ultimate seven miles, I always needed to cease and relaxation my legs have been too drained to pedal. I couldn’t go greater than 9 mph on the very quickest and I should have averaged solely about 7 mph. So how do I prepare my legs so I can cycle quicker at a velocity for an extended time frame with out getting exhausted so rapidly? My aim is to go at a median velocity of 12-15 mph for a number of hours at a time, so I can journey about 100 miles per day, sleep, after which proceed on the following day. However how do I make it so I can hold pedaling at 13 or 14 mph with out slowing down after the primary 20 minutes?

This can be a two-part reply. The primary a part of the reply has to easily do with getting in form and biking with correct kind. The getting in form half takes a while, however it’s comparatively simple. Experience your bike as a lot as you probably can… and you’ll get in higher form and using your bike will turn out to be significantly simpler. As for using with correct kind, there are most likely plenty of good books on this topic, however what I like to recommend you do is that you just discover somebody in your space who is aware of lots about biking and ask her or him for help. In terms of kind, you possibly can examine all of it you need, however having somebody there in particular person that can assist you make adjustments in your bike is one of the best ways to enhance.

The second a part of my reply has to do together with your expectation of constantly biking 13 to 14 mph and touring as much as 100 miles per day. The issue with this expectation is that, for most individuals a minimum of, it’s completely unrealistic. Below superb climate situations and on completely flat floor, 13 to 14 miles per hour is a sensible aim. However while you account for hills, visitors, wind, rain, navigation, and so on… going 13 to 14 miles per hour isn’t all the time attainable.

The identical could be stated to your plans of biking 100 miles day after day. Most individuals who go on a long-distance bicycle tour journey about 50 to 60 miles in a single day, so proper off the bat you are attempting to double what most individuals are likely to do. 100 miles is a protracted methods to journey on a bicycle and to cowl that distance for a number of days on finish takes an excessive quantity of bodily and psychological energy. If you’re at present struggling to experience lower than 30 miles in your bike, setting a aim to experience 100 miles day after day is simply not reasonable.

Like I like to recommend to all of my readers right here at Bicycle Touring Professional, you’ve set to work your method as much as these longer distances earlier than you even start fascinated by them. Begin out by biking about 20 miles per day. Then 30. Then 40… and 50… and 60. Then, as soon as you’re comfy with going a minimum of 60 miles per day, then you can begin fascinated by tackling a 100 mile or longer course. And even after tackling that 100 mile day, you would possibly suppose twice about doing one other 100 mile experience the very subsequent day. Your physique is more likely to be drained, sore, and in want of relaxation.

The issue with wanting to maintain a constant tempo (13 – 14 mph) and touring a sure distance every day (100 miles per day) is that for most individuals, this simply merely isn’t reasonable. And if you happen to get it in your head that you must be conserving that tempo and masking these sorts of distances day after day… and also you begin out on day one and aren’t immediately conserving tempo, your thoughts begins to suppose negatively and also you surrender on your self and the remainder of your bike tour.

I’ve seen this occur to dozens and dozens of individuals. They spend months planning their bicycle tour, they purchase all this costly gear, however they get on the market on day one with a bunch of unrealistic expectations, they discover that using their bicycle with a full load of substances is a complete lot hearder than they anticipated, they drop delayed, they start fascinated by all of the miles they’ve obtained in entrance of them, and so they surrender proper then and there.

Don’t be a kind of folks! Begin sluggish. Don’t anticipate an excessive amount of from your self. And benefit from the experience moderately than worrying about how briskly you’re going, what number of miles you’re masking, or when you will get to your ultimate vacation spot.

2. I’m having a tough time choosing out precisely the suitable bike. I do know there are a number of manufacturers which can be hottest like Trek, Schwinn, Cannondale, Fuji, and Specialised. Proper now, I’ve a TREK FX 7.2. However they informed me at a big TREK retailer within the metropolis of Highland Park, Illinois that the FX mannequin of bikes isn’t really helpful for lengthy highway trips- it’s extra for simply going as quick as you possibly can for a short while interval as a type of train like jogging. So what can be the perfect mannequin and model of motorbike for occurring longer distance, journey sorts of journeys for every week at a time? Is TREK model or are there higher manufacturers you’d suggest? One other massive downside is that this: I can not spend greater than six or seven hundred {dollars} on the very most on a motorcycle. So if I promote to somebody the FX I obtained proper now for a greater highway bike- loads of the TREK highway bikes value like 2 or 3 thosand {dollars} its ridiculous. Nevertheless, TREK additionally makes fashions just like the 720 or the 7,200 which can be solely 350-500 {dollars}. Are the 720 and 7200 good fashions as nicely for lengthy distance journeys? If not, have you learnt of any mannequin I can get as a highway bike that’s underneath 700 {dollars}? I’m not spending 3000 {dollars} on a bicycle thats simply ridiculous. I simply want a motorcycle that has good gear shifts, is one the place I can hook up saddle luggage and panears with clothes on them, and one that may take me about 90 to 100 miles per day for seven or eight days at a time.

As for what sort of touring bicycle you want in an effort to carry all of your gear and transport you many hundred miles throughout the nation, sure, I can suggest plenty of wonderful touring bicycles for you – See Right here. Nevertheless, none of those bicycles promote for $600 – $700 when they’re model new. Most touring bicycles begin at round $1,100 and go up from there.

The Trek 520, for instance, which is a wonderful little touring bike, sells for just a little over $1,300 when it’s model new ( and that’s with out tax factored in).

The most affordable touring bike I do know of is the GT Peace Tour, which sells for about $850 off the store ground. The Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker and the Fuji Touring are additionally good, low-cost selections.

For those who solely have $600 – $700 at your disposal, you’re most likely going to should discover a used touring bicycle… otherwise you’re going to have to barter a significant cope with certainly one of your native bike outlets. It might take a while to discover a bike for that value, however it may be finished.

3. My subsequent query is about navigating and touring on a bicycle. Like I stated earlier than, I’m not searching for an excellent skinny racing bike the place folks simply go as quick as they will for exercising or racing. I plan on utilizing a motorcycle for lengthy distance journeys the place I can discover a wide range of nationwide parks, state parks, forest preserves, and different protected areas. Now I do know that every county- (mine is Cook dinner County, Illinois) has a complete community of biking trails and paths to go on. However the issue is the final time I attempted to experience my bike from a Chicago suburb north to the Wisconsin borderline, I solely obtained about 14 miles after which I couldn’t discover what occurred to the path. Generally you recognize a path that’s for biking will break up in a city or metropolis after which you must go down a metropolis avenue to search out it once more. So then I solely obtained about half strategy to Wisconsin and needed to flip again. When your biking like that, how do you determine forward of time the place the path is positioned precisely all through its whole path so that you don’t find yourself screwing up the place your going? I imply the very last thing I want is to go on a protracted distance journey from Chicago to Wisconsin after which get lost the trail midway. Are there any web sites or folks I can name that you recognize of which can be liable for sustaining bike trails? That method I can map it out forward of time. Additionally, how do you discover the maps for the place your occurring a path? I used to be making an attempt to remain North final time and ended up veering west with out even realizing it.

Once more, I’ve to say that while you go on these lengthy distance bike excursions, you possibly can’t have unrealistic expectations about conserving a sure tempo or by no means shedding your method. Particularly within the cities! If you cycle within the countryside, it’s simple generally to simply put your head down and crank out the miles. However within the cities there’s typically instances an enormous quantity of navigation work that must be finished… and your distance per hour is definite to sluggish.

As for how you can navigate the bicycle paths in your space, that is going to rely upon the place you reside and the way nicely the bike paths are maintained. For you there in Illinois, this web site has plenty of maps that you may buy, which provide you with detailed data on the assorted routes that run all through the state of Illinois. Many different states and international locations have related web sites and maps if you happen to merely take the time to hunt them out.

Having a map with you (and figuring out how you can use it) goes to be an enormous assist when navigating your method throughout lengthy distances in your bicycle. However don’t get upset if you happen to take a improper flip and go the improper method. It occurs to everybody – even me! When it occurs, simply acknowledge your mistake, flip round, and get your self again on monitor. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask strangers for help. Most individuals are often very happy that can assist you discover your method – particularly in the event that they know the world nicely.

4. I wish to hold monitor of the miles I journey on this bike- so are there like these bike calculators you should purchase for doing that? I don’t desire a fancy Garmin GPS for my bike I simply want one thing that tells me the miles I’ve gone and the velocity I’m going at. What can be the suitable product for that that’s low-cost?

That is simple. The cheaper various to the flowery digital GPS system, that many bicyclists at the moment are carrying, is the “bicycle pc“. These small gadgets value about $20 – $100 USD and so they measure the speed at which your wheels are spinning, which tells the pc precisely how briskly you’re going and what number of miles you might have lined. For those who don’t wish to get a GPS system and all you need is one thing that may measure how far you might have gone and how briskly you’re going, then that is it! However be warned, observing this stuff all day and focusing an excessive amount of on the numbers could be emotionally draining – particularly in case your expectations are too excessive. You should definitely learn my article on why you would possibly take into account biking with out certainly one of these gadgets.

5. How do I promote the TREK bike I obtained proper now? How do I ship it and what web site do I’m going to to put up the bid for it on-line?

I’d attempt promoting your present bicycle in your native space first. Attempt putting an advert on (I’ve purchased and offered bicycles from that web site a number of instances). If that doesn’t work, it’s possible you’ll wish to place an advert in your native newspaper, or just take the bicycle to certainly one of your native bike outlets and ask them if they will promote your bike for you. For those who take it to a motorcycle store, they’ll be capable to inform you how a lot the bike can fairly promote for (it won’t be value as a lot as you suppose) and so they’ll take a fee (a proportion of the ultimate sale value) if and after they do promote the bike. I wouldn’t attempt promoting the bike on-line till you might have finished all these different issues first.

6. What do you do in case your using on a path in the course of let’s say a 400 mile bike journey after which it begins to rain on you? Can a motorcycle deal with heavy rain? Additionally- ought to I hold the bike within the tightest gearshift so long as I can hold pedaling at that gear shift?

If you’re out in your bike and it begins to rain, you might have two selections. 1) You may proceed to experience in it. Your bike ought to be high quality within the rain. Simply wipe your bike down as finest you possibly can as soon as the rain stops, in order to guard it from rust and corrosion. Or 2) You may pull over and get underneath some safety of some form and wait the rain storm out. The selection is as much as you!

The second a part of this query once more has to do with how precisely you’re purported to experience a bicycle. You don’t essentially wish to be within the lowest gear attainable on a regular basis. That’s a great way to tire your self out and blow out your knees prematurely. Like I stated earlier, there are most likely some good books on this topic, however one of the best factor so that you can do is likely to be to discover a good bicycle owner in your space who can educate you the right strategy to experience a bicycle.

7. If I begin out on a protracted distance biking journey that takes a number of days to complete- the place do you sleep alongside the way in which? I imply there are many forest preserves the place I dwell in Glencoe, Illinois however your not allowed to sleep in them in a single day. Are there particular oases alongside the paths for bikers that you may sleep out in? How do I discover the place they’re positioned? Additionally what about campsites- then how do I pack like a tent or sleeping bag on my bike?

Discovering locations to sleep every night time is, for me a minimum of, one of the tough and anxious elements of bicycle touring. In some elements of the world, discovering a spot to sleep at night time is a complete breeze. There could also be campsites, hostels, and inns for so far as the attention can see. However in different elements of the world, discovering a spot to sleep at night time (particularly an inexpensive place to sleep) is sort of unimaginable. So it simply is dependent upon the place you’re and the way a lot cash you’re keen to spend.

For those who plan to camp in your bicycle excursions and your tour is comparatively brief (lower than a month in size) you should use the Web to search out and plot out all the campgrounds alongside your route upfront. Then, when you hit the highway, you’ll know precisely the place every campground is positioned and the way far you must pedal that day in an effort to attain the following campground. See this text on route planning.

Some bicycle maps, like those produced by the Journey Biking Affiliation for instance, additionally comprise detailed data on the place precisely yow will discover lodging of every kind alongside their varied routes.

And as for the way precisely it’s best to carry your tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat in your bicycle, see these 4 articles/movies:

Properly Danny, I hope this helps. If not, these subjects and a complete lot extra are lined inside my e book, The Bicycle Traveler’s Blueprint.

Good luck on the market… and have enjoyable! If I may provide you with any extra recommendation it will be this: Fear much less about how briskly you’re going or what number of miles you’re masking… and do your finest to easily benefit from the experience.

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Questions & Solutions About Bicycle Touring  
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