Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
chrismisterx
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Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby chrismisterx » 20 Nov 2018, 10:58pm

After some advice on Touring bikes.

Me and my wife are pretty new to cycling and now ready to buy our first bikes for a tour we have planned this coming May, its a 3/4 day trip from North Shields to Moray in the north of Scotland Via the coastal route, 4 day stay over and then a 3/4 day return via the highlands.

So we need 2 bikes quite soon so we can begin our training for the trip. We have a budget of around £600 each for the bikes and I have a few questions.

1st what bike to get?

Saw this one B'TWIN HOPRIDER 900 URBAN HYBRID BIKE for sale at £550 seems to have quite a lot of stuff on the bike for the price but I read a review that says its heavy, would that be a good entry level tour bike ( our first few tours will all be UK based )

Any better options or what should I be looking for in a tour bike?

2nd training?

What sort of training plan should we follow, going from zero to Touring in may, its approx 350 miles up north 4 day break 350 miles back.

lastly any tips or anything else we need to know?

thanks for the help.

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mjr
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby mjr » 20 Nov 2018, 11:30pm

350 miles in 4 days is pretty hardcore bikepacking or audaxing territory IMO, so you'd have to go aero, but if you're the one from the other place, you've not been riding far long, so are you sure?

On the other questions: I look for comfort and reliability in a touring bike, but I only do 40-60 miles a day touring with luggage.
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1982john
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby 1982john » 20 Nov 2018, 11:42pm

Unless you have endurance background I'd recommend either doubling the time to 8 days or half the mileage - you could do 350 miles in 4 days round a windy coastline but I'm not sure how much fun it would be!
You haven't said if you're planning to stay in B&Bs or carry camping gear which makes a big difference to the type of bike you need. But make sure you get a range of gears that suits your needs. That's where I went wrong with my first touring bike.

chrismisterx
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby chrismisterx » 21 Nov 2018, 12:01am

mjr wrote:350 miles in 4 days is pretty hardcore bikepacking or audaxing territory IMO, so you'd have to go aero, but if you're the one from the other place, you've not been riding far long, so are you sure?

On the other questions: I look for comfort and reliability in a touring bike, but I only do 40-60 miles a day touring with luggage.



Hi there, yup from the other site, decided to join a couple of other forums to get as much help and advice as we can.

We only have 12 days, and the wife really wants to spend 4 of them with her parents, so that leaves 4 days each way for traveling ( or worse case if training fails, maybe ride up and train back :lol: )

Once we get an idea of what we need, will start the process of getting started, its these first few steps to avoid making mistakes and wasting money thats my big concern.

hoping to keep luggage down to the bare minimum ( sending our going out clothes for the 4 day stay up to her parents house in advance ) so its just our traveling clothes, tent etc.

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horizon
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby horizon » 21 Nov 2018, 1:31am

chrismisterx wrote: tent etc.


So it's camping then?
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

chrismisterx
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby chrismisterx » 21 Nov 2018, 6:50am

horizon wrote:
chrismisterx wrote: tent etc.


So it's camping then?


Yes, or more likely a mix of camping / Bed and Breakfast.

On the trip up was thinking ( again this is without checking the route out yet as its early stage planning ) 3 nights camping either wild or at sites and a night at a bed and breakfast in the middle.

The stay in Scotland we have her parents house as a base to explore the surrounding areas, the trip back will likely be the same 3 nights camping either wild or in sites, with a night in a b&b.

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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby eileithyia » 21 Nov 2018, 8:01am

Welcome to the forum. Can't comment on the specific bikes but generally Decathlon is my go to advise for those with a budget for a bike.
Make sure they are fitted correctly and have everything you need; mudguards, pannier racks etc.
You will need panniers etc to carry your kit.

Training? sounds like you are doing very little cycling at present. i would advise start getting the miles in. What are you doing now? What can you achieve in a day do you know? Can you do 90miles unloaded 2 days running? Because if you can't you are potentially on a non starter.
As with anything you can start with 10-20 miles and build up increasing mileage as you go along over the winter.... and yes remember winter is looming with days where you will not be able cycle.
Personally daily regular cycling is as important as a whole week with no miles and try to get 2 big days of cycling in at the weekend.

Make sure you have a couple of practise weekends away, with the bikes loaded with all the kit you think you will need and practise loading and unloading.
Remember the downsides of cycle camping; cycling all day in the rain, having wet kit, pitching and cooking in the rain, living in a cramped small tent for the evening and potentially having to get up the next day and do it all again with kit and tent to pack up...... will you have a back up plan?

Remember for a trip like this your average speed will be in the region of 10mph, plus stops for 11's lunch 3's etc.

For a first trip like this with the distances involved i really would consider B&B as an intro to cycling and bring in camping in the future once you have had a bit more experience and knowledge.
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chrismisterx
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby chrismisterx » 21 Nov 2018, 8:57am

eileithyia wrote:Welcome to the forum. Can't comment on the specific bikes but generally Decathlon is my go to advise for those with a budget for a bike.
Make sure they are fitted correctly and have everything you need; mudguards, pannier racks etc.
You will need panniers etc to carry your kit.

Training? sounds like you are doing very little cycling at present. i would advise start getting the miles in. What are you doing now? What can you achieve in a day do you know? Can you do 90miles unloaded 2 days running? Because if you can't you are potentially on a non starter.
As with anything you can start with 10-20 miles and build up increasing mileage as you go along over the winter.... and yes remember winter is looming with days where you will not be able cycle.
Personally daily regular cycling is as important as a whole week with no miles and try to get 2 big days of cycling in at the weekend.

Make sure you have a couple of practise weekends away, with the bikes loaded with all the kit you think you will need and practise loading and unloading.
Remember the downsides of cycle camping; cycling all day in the rain, having wet kit, pitching and cooking in the rain, living in a cramped small tent for the evening and potentially having to get up the next day and do it all again with kit and tent to pack up...... will you have a back up plan?

Remember for a trip like this your average speed will be in the region of 10mph, plus stops for 11's lunch 3's etc.

For a first trip like this with the distances involved i really would consider B&B as an intro to cycling and bring in camping in the future once you have had a bit more experience and knowledge.


thank you some really good advice, we are new to cycling, I did my first 35 mile ride the other week ( it was hard i wont lie ) and then damn man flu hit, so didn't get to go out for over a week and a half. We hope with training we can manage to get upto the fitness required. We are thinking about an indoor bike to add extra training for when the weather gets too bad, hopefully that will help?

thanks again for your reply.

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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby tatanab » 21 Nov 2018, 9:12am

Of course we do not know your ages. When I was in my teens those sorts of repeated 90 mile days were quite usual when youth hostelling. Now in my mid 60s, and a lot softer, it is a very rare day indeed when I do 90 miles hauling light camping kit, generally I do between 60 and 70. On tour I meet many Germans and Dutch riding their expedition bikes with bulky bags of camping kit. For them 100 km is a long day, but cycling is a routine everyday experience. If you can get that sort of experience it will serve you well - just as eileithyla says.

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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby Oldjohnw » 21 Nov 2018, 9:21am

Small tour:Tyneside to North of Scotland?
John

simonhill
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby simonhill » 21 Nov 2018, 9:25am

I would say that that bike is not really appropriate as a first tourer( or last). The clue is in the title, "Urban". It is too heavy and not suited to long distance riding. Here is a good review of it. https://road.cc/content/review/245209-b ... prider-900

I don't know much about cheap tourers and although you can essentially tour on anything, some are far more appropriate than others. Do you want drop handlebars or straight ones is a pretty fundamental question. You don't need suspension, it adds weight and complicates things. Look for something you are comfortable on, that has or can take a rear rack and mudguards.

Decathlon seems a good place to continue looking, also look at some websites so you will know what to look for here's one https://tomsbiketrip.com/which-touring- ... uld-i-buy/

You also need to think about what will you be carrying and how. Camping normally involves a lot more than just a tent. Panniers are the norm for luggage. Some like just rear, others front as well. Then there's the possibility of a handlebar bag. You need to think about cost as well, a decent set of rear panniers will set you back over £100.

As Eli. says, you're heading into the worst part of the year, so any training will be a challenge. Also be aware that you could put quite a lot of wear on your bike between now and (presumably summer) departure so factor in some maintenance time and or costs.

Personally, I think your tour plan is madness. 85 miles for 4 days, then 4 days off to seize up before back on the bike. I'd take my time giving a max of 7 or 8 days to get there. If making good progress, extend your tour. Then stopover and get train back - maybe a day early and stop short to give a one day ride home.

Sorting out your bike, gear and route are all part of cycle touring. Don't see it as a chore, enjoy it.

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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby pjclinch » 21 Nov 2018, 9:34am

simonhill wrote:I would say that that bike is not really appropriate as a first tourer( or last). The clue is in the title, "Urban". It is too heavy and not suited to long distance riding.


My tourer is "too heavy" at about 20 Kg all in. I don't really care, because the weight goes on things that matter to me like a fully suspended comfy chair. A touring bike should be one you're happy to ride on tour: there are no specific universal weight points, though lighter will work better if you're riding in a "more spirited manner".

simonhill wrote:Personally, I think your tour plan is madness. 85 miles for 4 days, then 4 days off to seize up before back on the bike. I'd take my time giving a max of 7 or 8 days to get there. If making good progress, extend your tour. Then stopover and get train back - maybe a day early and stop short to give a one day ride home.


I think this is a fair assessment. http://medphys.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/cycling/tourdunord.html is a diary of a 300 mile, 6 day cycle camping tour for two experienced cyclists. The biggest days we did were 60 milers.

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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby foxyrider » 21 Nov 2018, 9:49am

simonhill wrote:I would say that that bike is not really appropriate as a first tourer( or last). The clue is in the title, "Urban". It is too heavy and not suited to long distance riding. Here is a good review of it. https://road.cc/content/review/245209-b ... prider-900

I don't know much about cheap tourers and although you can essentially tour on anything, some are far more appropriate than others. Do you want drop handlebars or straight ones is a pretty fundamental question. You don't need suspension, it adds weight and complicates things. Look for something you are comfortable on, that has or can take a rear rack and mudguards.

Decathlon seems a good place to continue looking, also look at some websites so you will know what to look for here's one https://tomsbiketrip.com/which-touring- ... uld-i-buy/

You also need to think about what will you be carrying and how. Camping normally involves a lot more than just a tent. Panniers are the norm for luggage. Some like just rear, others front as well. Then there's the possibility of a handlebar bag. You need to think about cost as well, a decent set of rear panniers will set you back over £100.

As Eli. says, you're heading into the worst part of the year, so any training will be a challenge. Also be aware that you could put quite a lot of wear on your bike between now and (presumably summer) departure so factor in some maintenance time and or costs.

Personally, I think your tour plan is madness. 85 miles for 4 days, then 4 days off to seize up before back on the bike. I'd take my time giving a max of 7 or 8 days to get there. If making good progress, extend your tour. Then stopover and get train back - maybe a day early and stop short to give a one day ride home.

Sorting out your bike, gear and route are all part of cycle touring. Don't see it as a chore, enjoy it.


+1 for all that

Brands like Trek and Giant do lighter 'urban' bikes that could be used for touring but given the distances you are talking you will almost certainly benefit from something with drop bars. Unless you go s/h (minefield) you won't find 'proper' touring bikes much under £800 however you could get gravel bikes and go the bike packing route.

As for 'training' - well you don't say what level you are currently at so specifics are difficult. The main thing is to build up gradually so that you are comfortable doing rides of 100/120km. Then in the spring try some back to back days then add in a couple of rides fully loaded to get a feel for how that effects your gearing and the bike handling.

It is doable but will be hard work. Don't be put off by the nay sayers but there's no disgrace in adjusting things so it's a less onerous affair. Maybe use the train to take out a chunk of distance - do it for a different stretch each direction.
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby mjr » 21 Nov 2018, 9:55am

simonhill wrote: You need to think about cost as well, a decent set of rear panniers will set you back over £100.

Not necessarily. Top famous brands (Ortlieb) probably will, but utility brands like Basil can be found in a few of the better UK shops much cheaper and are still decent. https://www.reallyusefulbikes.co.uk/rea ... istant-35l - I did my first foreign tour with the regular version of these, hostelling.
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Re: Planning our first small Tour ( novice cyclists )

Postby pjclinch » 21 Nov 2018, 10:07am

foxyrider wrote:... but given the distances you are talking you will almost certainly benefit from something with drop bars.


The classic British tourer has drop bars. But there again, continental tourers generally don't: drops are cultural at least as much as functional on a tourer, and they are an acquired taste (having acquired it as a teenager I've subsequently lost it, and avoid drop bars these days). Butterfly bars or bar ends give you an assortment of hand positions if you want them, are compatible with a better selection of brake and gear changers that are relevant to loaded touring and given that tourers rarely use the drops don't mean your best braking position is one you hardly ever use.

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