Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
PJ520
Posts: 897
Joined: 23 Mar 2008, 3:49pm
Location: Seattle WA USA

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby PJ520 » 13 Sep 2015, 2:20pm

ILast June I stopped by Adventure Cycling's headquarters in Missoula MT and one of the ACA founders has this free service where he weighs your bike and all its baggage. He said that most people are surprised at how much they are carrying, my Trek 520 and kit weighed 80 lbs i.e my bags etc. came to 16kg. The bloke after me thought he was traveling light, his bike and kit only weighed 79 lbs.! So it does seem you're on the heavy side. I carried about a dozen freeze dried meals, yet another good idea at the time, for over 1000 miles. I tried one meal early on and it was awful. After a long day the last thing I wanted was that rubbish. Eventually I left it at a camp site for anybody who was desperate enough.

Somebody suggested that front panniers make for more riding effort. I'm not sure about that. I find they add comfort, having a shock absorbing effect on rough surfaces which compensates for any extra pedaling effort they might cause.

The best advice I've seen on the weight thing is: if there's any doubt don't take it. Very hard to follow.

Oh and don't take a computer, use a notebook to keep a journal it's much better and easier to browse thorough long after your tour. I took an Ipad mini on one ride across the US. It's sterile thing and you have to fire it up etc. to look at your notes or make an entry. You can have people you meet write their contact info etc. in a notebook, much nicer. But that might be just me reacting to a lifetime in the computer business. I'm told that some people enjoy that stuff.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

User avatar
shane
Posts: 486
Joined: 15 Apr 2009, 3:13am
Location: On my bike
Contact:

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby shane » 13 Sep 2015, 2:49pm

I've travelled with everything from 5-50kg of crap hanging on my bike, and generally speaking each time the weight was right for the trip.

I'm now quite anal about weight and nothing goes in my panniers pre trip without going via my digital kitchen scales. It's amazing how much crap you leave at home when you see how heavy it is, 50g here, 100g there, before you know it you've dumped 2-3kg of stuff you probably wouldn't of used anyway. Sadly once on the road I carry way too much food and water 8)

That said, 50kg of baggage on a gravel road with a head wind isn't much fun :D

ImageA bad day by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

PJ520
Posts: 897
Joined: 23 Mar 2008, 3:49pm
Location: Seattle WA USA

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby PJ520 » 13 Sep 2015, 3:15pm

You obviously know whereof you speak Shane. I have no intention of riding in anywhere but Europe or the US so one thing I am not taking again is stove and pots. For me the thought of having a brew in a morning is very attractive but it never seemed to work out that way. Now if I was 50 years younger...
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

User avatar
Jimstar79
Posts: 96
Joined: 10 Sep 2013, 10:17pm
Location: Lake District

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby Jimstar79 » 13 Sep 2015, 5:08pm

oneten wrote:Just been packing today for my 3 - 4 week camping tour along North Sea Cycle Route / Monch's weg. I'm a bit ssurprised at the amount of weight - total of 25kg; 16 rear (incl tent, 1st aid kit and etc and clothes) and 8 at the front made up of small stove, spare gas canister,cooking utensils and cycle toolkit, plus bar bag with essentials. I read somewhere that a tourer shouldn't be loaded with more than 25kg max so am I setting myself up for problems?
( Did a 'dry run' with the front loaded up this afternoon and although it feels different, it handled just fine.!st leg of journey - Monday, Tilbury to Harwich).


Personally, I'd say this is possibly a bit too much but not too much to really worry about. You're are going to be in a fairly flat part of the world so I don't think you will have too much trouble with the weight.

I recently went to Scotland for just over 3 weeks and I started out with far too much food in my front panniers - and didn't repeat this mistake after I got to Scotland and managed to munch through the weight!! I started out with 10kg on the front, and 8kg on the rear which I soon got down to about 4-5kg.

However, some days I ended up carrying up to 7kg's (7 litres) of water on my bike - three in holders and the rest in panniers - because I was wild camping and trying to stave off dehydration, which had been affecting me a lot. You may want to factor in how much extra water you will also need to carry - will this be going on top of your 24-25kg weight - unless clean water is abundantly available along your route.
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
H. G. Wells quotes

oneten
Posts: 133
Joined: 11 Aug 2014, 2:49pm
Location: Whitstable, Kent

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby oneten » 13 Sep 2015, 9:56pm

Thanks everyone for some really useful advice! I've just been unpacking and re-packing each pannier and the two tins of beans have gone! So has all those extra underpants ( don't wear them in cycle shorts!) and pullovers. Likewise, do I really need to take a pair of cone spanners and two multi-tools when going to the cycling centre of Europe? :roll: Pack of wet wipes? Taking one about quarter of weight of first one. As stated, it's just a few grams here and there but I'm actually surprised by how much I'm managing to trim back. May still take a couple of paperbacks though but I've ditched the tablet and charger and will just use an iPhone.
Thanks again everyone!

cjs
Posts: 146
Joined: 4 Dec 2011, 10:13am

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby cjs » 13 Sep 2015, 10:36pm

psmiffy wrote:25kg is OK - dont worry about it - people write lots of things secure in their own beliefs - NSR is hardly the most mountainous route - if it handles OK - and you have packed what you want to take then go for it


Absolutely 100% Correct.

Last week I was pottering around Netherlands and Belgium after the Hebrides and wild camping with 4 fully loaded panniers, bar bag and rear rack bag (incl tablet, kindle, trangia fuel and full comfort camping stuff incl food .... Average millage in Benelux was 60 odd miles a day without breaking a sweat and leaving time for enjoying the trip. Came back from Brugges to Helmond (Eindhoven) in one day because I felt like it and it was sunny and no camp at the end - which was perfectly doable at a tadge over 100 miles and a F3 headwind... and I'm not particularly fit at 120kgs and 64 yrs...

For your planned route I would advise to go for personal enjoyment above everything and not worry about weight.. be comfortable above lightness...
Kind Regards
Chris...

User avatar
sabrutat
Posts: 185
Joined: 15 Jan 2014, 11:23pm
Contact:

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby sabrutat » 14 Sep 2015, 8:27pm

It's completely a question of personal preference. I couldn't give two hoots about daily mileage, though I can bang out an 80 mile day with a 70kg rig once I'm fit, but I do insist on being comfortable, and I want my tent to be a home away from home, so I have a folding chair, a folding desk for my laptop (which also comes in handy for food prep and eating) etc. I understand many other tourists are on a schedule can't be as laissez faire about such things. To wit, I've been told a few times, by other tourists, that I'm carrying too much stuff. I typically reply: 'No, I'm carrying too much stuff for you.'

Image

User avatar
shane
Posts: 486
Joined: 15 Apr 2009, 3:13am
Location: On my bike
Contact:

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby shane » 14 Sep 2015, 8:39pm

sabrutat wrote: To wit, I've been told a few times, by other tourists, that I'm carrying too much stuff. I typically reply: 'No, I'm carrying too much stuff for you.'


Yup, its all choice, sadly some folks leave the rat race to go on holiday only to have a holiday rat race.

If you're comfy cycling with the x kilos an comfy using them who cares, its just a number and its your holiday.

beardy
Posts: 3382
Joined: 23 Feb 2010, 4:10pm

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby beardy » 14 Sep 2015, 8:54pm

Yup, its all choice, sadly some folks leave the rat race to go on holiday only to have a holiday rat race.


Though a lot of us also have quite a relaxed home environment and look forward to being able to let rip on our bikes as a holiday. :D

User avatar
sabrutat
Posts: 185
Joined: 15 Jan 2014, 11:23pm
Contact:

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby sabrutat » 15 Sep 2015, 2:38am

Shane, I spent a pleasant afternoon reading your blogs a week or so ago: you've done some crazy tours, man! Very interesting, and a definite inspiration. Looking forward to the next one!

User avatar
simonineaston
Posts: 2309
Joined: 9 May 2007, 1:06pm
Location: Bristol - work in... Yate!

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby simonineaston » 15 Sep 2015, 4:43am

sabrutat wrote:It's completely a question of personal preference. I couldn't give two hoots about daily mileage, though I can bang out an 80 mile day with a 70kg rig once I'm fit, but I do insist on being comfortable, and I want my tent to be a home away from home, so I have a folding chair, a folding desk for my laptop (which also comes in handy for food prep and eating) etc. I understand many other tourists are on a schedule can't be as laissez faire about such things. To wit, I've been told a few times, by other tourists, that I'm carrying too much stuff. I typically reply: 'No, I'm carrying too much stuff for you.'
I think that about sums it all up nicely! But it can all take a tour or two to get to the happy medium. I wonder what the average number of tours it takes to settle to the individual's preferred weight is? One things for sure, nobody gets it right first time out!
Every tour has "three halves" - Planning, Being There and The Review, each almost as enjoyable as the other... if I'm being super-organised (rarely) I'll actually get around to writing down what went right and what was a pain, in order to inform the next tour and make it even better than the previous one!
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

pwa
Posts: 10457
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby pwa » 15 Sep 2015, 7:27am

If you are camping, it is not just the weight that matters. Particularly in warm climates, I like to get the tent and all the other kit packed and on the bike by 8am at the latest, and the less kit you have the quicker and easier it is to get off.

User avatar
syklist
Posts: 1205
Joined: 19 May 2008, 6:43pm

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby syklist » 15 Sep 2015, 11:50am

borisface wrote:In my view anything you can't fit in a carradice longflap should stay at home

I am not sure that Syklist Junior would agree with you on that...
So long and thanks for all the fish...

User avatar
simonineaston
Posts: 2309
Joined: 9 May 2007, 1:06pm
Location: Bristol - work in... Yate!

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby simonineaston » 15 Sep 2015, 11:54am

Borisface would presumably leave Borisface J at home... unless BFJ would fit in the saddlebag! :wink:
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

User avatar
syklist
Posts: 1205
Joined: 19 May 2008, 6:43pm

Re: Weight when touring - how much is too much?

Postby syklist » 15 Sep 2015, 12:03pm

I can't see a reason why you have to limit the weight on a touring bike to 25 kg. After all, that is much less than the normal minimum/maximum weight range for cyclists (easily between 60 and 100kg). A 60kg cyclist carrying 30kg of baggage would still stress a bike less than a 100kg cyclist carrying 10kg (in their Longflap Saddlebag :)

If the bike/frame manufacturer specifies a particular upper limit for load, (rider + baggage) then it is probably worthwhile adhering to their recommendations - especially if your frame is still under warranty. The same goes for your racks make sure you don't go over their design limits.

You will find out what you need to take and what you can do without as you tour. A lot of people carry 25kg or more. We've had a few WarmShowers guests with bike and bag weighing over 50kg. One chap had four panniers on his bike (Ortliebs with extra external pockets) and a trailer with two more full size Orlieb bags on it.

The last time I checked I was carrying 18kg of stuff in four panniers + water, 16kg + water on my Brompton when touring (weights include the bags and stuff inside them). These days I have Syklist Junior in a light-ish trailer behind my bike which adds around 35kg (increasing by the day) to the weight I have to pull up hill. That alone makes any potential weight savings irrelevant. :)
So long and thanks for all the fish...