Tips for bike touring

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by photosbymark, Feb 13, 2010.

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  1. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Well my goal is touring. I am going to start fairly close to home and fairly short days, but I would like some suggestions on light weight equipment that others might have used effectively. Very comfortable camping and in nature, but also smart enough to not try to reinvent the wheel. Things like light weight shelters, ways to carry a sleeping bag without the bulk taking up all the available space, Any must carry items to be comfortable or things like that would be helpful. One thing is for sure. If you did 40 miles one day, don't sleep that night and have to do another 50 the next day its not going to be fun. Any advise would be appreciated.
     
  2. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    Have you checked out the travel logs at crazyguyonabike? Lots of people have posted packing lists for their specific tours there.

    We might be able to help you more if you can be more specific about your needs-

    What temps will you be touring in? Tent or Hammock? What kind of budget are you working with? etc.
     

  3. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Thanks for the link. Will check it out. When this gets started, I hope to be in quite the range of temps. I have stayed in hammocks under improvised shelters from the rain, and I have stayed in many different types of tents and wondered if there were some specific advantages of each when traveling by bike.
     
  4. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    I like my Hennessey Hammock due to it's light weight, ease of packing, and you can use it anywhere there are trees. It's pretty comfortable too.

    The downfalls of a hammock are that they don't do well in cold temps without expensive and bulky underquilts. Some people also struggle with the lack of modesty that hammocks afford since they aren't enclosed on all sides.

    If you plan to tour when it's cold out and primarily camp at places where finding a flat dry hunk of ground isn't a problem a tent may be cheaper/easier.
     
  5. momule

    momule New Member

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    Mark -

    I know this is an new response to an old post but I thought I'd put in my 2C just for the hell of it. I do lite touring a lot, 1-3 day overnights, and I am a total believer in using a trailer instead of panniers. My choice was a Burley Nomad and it allows me to take fairly more than I would ever need for a short (even a longer) tour and does so with no stress on me or my bike. Many people like the BOB trailer because of it's single track back wheel but I don't ever do single track trips and the two wheel design is perfect. I have literally carried over 150 lbs on the Burley with no problem and if the load is balanced properly it handles really well. If you decided on panniers and racks and are a bit unhappy with that choice you will thank yourself if you look into a trailer. If you have to buy a Nomad to try it out and you don't like it msg me and I'll probably buy yours from you....after 5 years and a whole lot of hard miles mine is getting a bit ratty looking...although it still works just fine.
     
  6. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Actually with the new shop I am about to occupy, (waiting on the required 30 day period from concrete pour to applying floor to pass only a week to go) I am probably going to build a trailer. For short day trips, with a cc for an overnight I have just about enough space to carry what I need without it.

    Much of the real weight I am going to carry is in fairly expensive camera gear. Its insured, but I prefer to keep insurance as a bet I lose rather than one on which I collect. Its packed well, but there are trade offs either way.

    My problems is much of the stuff I need to carry isn't necessarily heavy, but its bulky or a shape that isn't easy to find a place for on a bike. Camera tripods even folded do not fit too well. Yet the big problem with a trailer for me might be the bike I use to pull it.

    I plan on doing most of my touring with a Sunray semi recumbent, compact long wheel base. The bike is already fairly long. Makes for a comfortable ride, but its not the most nimble fish in the ocean. Add the length of a trailer and I might be riding the cycling version of a mac truck. Now for many places that may not be a problem. Yet in traffic and on city streets, it may not work well.

    I just need to get healthy again to start rebuilding to mileage before it gets too hot to ride here.
     
  7. momule

    momule New Member

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    Mark -
    The trike that I tour with is a Catrike Expedition and I pull the Burley behind it. I've never measured the total length but I know it's long. I use a banner flag on the trailer and a smaller one on the trike when I ride around town as well as blinkies on the back (X2) and bright white headlights (x2) on the front. I get a lot of looks which is cool because that means that people are paying attention and slowing down.

    I'm not a professional photographer but rather a somewhat serious amateur. I have a Canon 7D that I take with me along with other sensitive stuff and all of that goes in a very cushioned bag on a cushioned rack over the back tire (a Schwalbe 2" Big Apple). Because I do macro work of wild flowers and lichens etc I put my two tripods and a light umbrella on the top of the Burley trailer on the optional rack tied down with bungies. Tent also goes on the top of the trailer and other stuff goes in the trailer itself. My typical total cargo weight with everything, (tent, lantern, bag, clothes, misc other gear comes to around 60 lbs and it all tracks perfectly with the trailer. When I don't camp I put camera stuff in a highly padded waterproof plastic box inside the trailer. Since the trailer is on two wheels I don't go on single track with it and the trailer itself is not suspended but I have two Schwalbe Big Apple tires that I run low on air and that work very well. Just because they usually only run with around 30PSI they still have great rolling resistance and they are bullet proof tires.

    I'd love to build my own trailer but I'm afraid that I'd spend more and in the long run end up with a Burley Nomad clone when I'm done.

    I enjoy your posts and am continually learning. Thanks for responding.
     
  8. Nigal

    Nigal YAY BAIKS! Tavern Member

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    As Mark eluded to sometimes it's all about bulk, not weight. I've been backpacking for years so making the jump to touring isn't too tough cause I already have all the gear I'll need. You can get some good lightweight gear for reasonable prices. If you're still interested I can hunt down links to some fine gear for you.

    I should be getting my Croozer Cargo Trailer this weekend for my birthday. Bad thing is I have to wait two weeks to get to hiot the road with it. 8(
     
  9. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    One thing I have learned over the years is what works for one, might or might now work else where. I am less concerned with my camera body, which I expect to replace every few years, than I am a lens (which most of them would be about a grand a piece to replace) which I hope to use the rest of my career. I have mine packed in a small hard aluminum case line with foam (egg crate would be better)and they are just small enough to fit in panniers on the back. Now the pannier isn't a shock absorber, but it also isn't transferring the entire impact to every bump in the road to the equipment either.

    A tripod won't work that way, though I have to admit I should use a tripod far more than I do. I'd settle for a mono pod but even that would be tough on the racks I have. Id love to have a way to have at least 1 light stand and umbrella (two would be better) so I could take a couple of the old potato masher flashes I have and effectively have a portable studio on a bike. Umbrellas are not heavy but they are bulky. Same with light stands.

    The cattrike is a great ride. My Sunray isn't nearly as nice and has two different issues. First is the steering is ahead of my feet so it makes the turning radius of my Sunray much bigger than the cattrike even without the trailer. With the trailer, particularly in traffic it could become unmanageable.

    Yea I probably could buy a trailer that would do the same thing and spend about the same, but honestly this time I'm going to build regardless. Its sort of like the guy that buys the vintage bike and spends more restoring it not including the time to do it, than its worth and more than what he could take down to a local bike shop and buy a new bike. Why do they do it? They can afford it and want to.

    Yet one thing about gear I learned when hiking years ago. If its going to be that big of an issue to carry, maybe I ought to rethink whether or not I really need it in the first place.