Am I mad, newbie tourer

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Ollie732
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Joined: 8 Mar 2019, 5:52am

Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Ollie732 » 8 Mar 2019, 6:03am

Hi.
I'll introduce myself as a newbie here.
I'm an overweight, smoker, father of 4 boys (+ 2 step daughters) unfit almost 40 year old who probably drinks too much too....
Once upon a time I used to be fit.... Went to France a week or so ago and decided, I want to ride my bike from one side of the med coast to almost the Spanish border, think midlife crisis, it'll be a credit card trip, no camping for me. I've managed to convince the wife to join me too.
I've got an old specialized MTB that needs a good service and lots of love, it's been ridden by me periodically in the last 5 years, normally just on kids bike rides pulling a kiddie trailer. The missis needs a new bike, she rides an old Apollo that was a Christmas present from her dad.
Started reading the pages of wealth and information on here and have to say what a great group of people that seem to be here...
I'm lucky enough to work part time so have to get in the mindfix of training and riding.
I've plotted a route using ridewithgps, averaging 60-70 miles a day (except one where its over a mountain)
We have no kit (and probably no idea)
Booked marked a few threads on here, where people are talking panniers and GPS things etc. Any ideas, help wishes of luck etc please write below, if you have something for sale let me know, I'd rather buy decent 2nd hand rather than cheaper new...
Oh, the bike ride is planned for mid September...
I seriously hope that me and my other half have found a hobby for us both, our only other joint hobby is the kids (think breaking up fights, trying to cook dinners, washing clothes etc :roll: )

Thehairs1970
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Thehairs1970 » 8 Mar 2019, 6:49am

Good effort. I think it's a great idea. 60-70 miles a day is perfectly doable but do remember it is reall different to doing 50 miles one day and 50 miles a week later. I'd plan some shorter days near the beginning and then increase as you go. I've never done this distance day after day. We tend to do 60km tops as this allows for plenty of stops and a bit of sightseeing. But we take our kids and camp so our bikes are heavier too. As you aren't camping, you should be able to keep the weight down. Be ruthless. You aren't going to need much evening wear!

Bike wise. Should be OK on a good brand hybrid. Make sure it has a good spread of gears. Low rolling resistance tyres will make a great difference but make sure they are puncture resistant.

Good luck. The weights gonna drop off.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Mar 2019, 7:14am

I'm not clear whether you intend to get cycling over the next six months or spend that time planning for your French tour which is to be a get fit exercise. The first is realistic, the second less so. I'd say the main thing is to get riding regularly starting now, preferably with your wife doing the same. Apart from anything else, this will reveal to you both your level of interest in cycling.

By coincidence, I had an email exchange yesterday in which I mentioned that my late brother - a heavy smoker but neither overweight nor a boozer - died from a stroke aged 47. I've never smoked so I don't underestimate what's involved in stopping but stopping will make cycling easier and do wonders for your life expectancy.

Ollie732
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Joined: 8 Mar 2019, 5:52am

Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Ollie732 » 8 Mar 2019, 7:29am

Thanks guys,
Giving up smoking is top of the list and the next 6 months will be training to get ready, I love cycling, up until my early 20's was the hobby of mine, then came along children and self employment, so down went the bike.... 8)

Bonefishblues
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Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Bonefishblues » 8 Mar 2019, 7:41am

(Seriously) consider a tandem for the trip. Much more sociable, any inequality in speed is ironed out, and the cost shouldn't be more than a single new hybrid if you buy second hand. Hire one for a day and see how you go.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Mar 2019, 8:00am

Ollie732 wrote:Thanks guys,
Giving up smoking is top of the list and the next 6 months will be training to get ready, I love cycling, up until my early 20's was the hobby of mine, then came along children and self employment, so down went the bike.... 8)


Right: you won't be the first member of this forum to have taken a career break from cycling which ruined the plan to win the TdeF a record number of times. :oops: You know what's involved and you are not going into this with unrealistic expectations. One thing you will find, which you may have noticed already is the speed at which the equipment changes: turn your back for five minutes and bikes get a couple of extra gears.

Bonefishblues
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Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Bonefishblues » 8 Mar 2019, 8:08am

...or 16 fewer :D

nirakaro
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby nirakaro » 8 Mar 2019, 8:52am

You're not mad. It's a great idea. But one or two caveats…
Sixty-seventy miles a day may be perfectly doable, or it may be highly over-optimistic, depending on (both) your levels of fitness. You've got six months to decide which, so be prepared to revise you plans if necessary.
Most of France is a delight to cycle in, but the Mediterranean coast is overused, over-developed and over-priced. Not the bit I'd choose.
I've toured happily for years on an old Specialized MTB, so can recommend; but it may take quite a bit of tweaking to have it right for you (over the years I've replaced everything except the frame and forks!).
If your partner is less strong/fit/committed than you, make sure she compensates for that by getting a better bike than yours!

iandriver
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Location: Cambridge.

Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby iandriver » 8 Mar 2019, 9:07am

nirakaro wrote:If your partner is less strong/fit/committed than you, make sure she compensates for that by getting a better bike than yours!
And be prepared to carry more of the luggage.

France has some very nice trains if you need days off on the way or need to alter ambitions en-route. This is realistically the worst that will happen.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

simonhill
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Location: Essex

Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby simonhill » 8 Mar 2019, 9:26am

Agree with nirakaro, choose a different route. People often choose a route on paper for completely non cycling reasons. This may work, but often doesn't. My advice would be to choose a route that has decent cycling, not the constant built up horror the Med coast.

I also think 60 -70 miles is not only too ambitious but runs the risk of you not enjoying it. There are people here who will happily do that day after day, but they are also the people who will go out on a Sunday morning and ride 100 miles without thinking anything of it. They may be the majority on this forum, but from my experience they are not your average tourer.

I rode 75 kms yesterday and will ride 80 tomorrow. That's reasonable distance, given heat and a few hills. The 80 (50 mile mark) is a fair standard.

Fags - a packet of 20 cost about £10. Most people who smoke do about a packet a day. In one month, that is top quality luggage for you and the missus. Need I go on.

Beer is a necessity, but not too much.

I toured for years on a converted MTB, my current tourer isn't that much different. Plan what changes you need and start applying them. If you have suspension, think about changing to solid forks. A good rear rack, mudguards, decent tyres and you're nearly there apart from probably a new chain and rear cogs, but they can come nearer leaving date.

If you want advice on eg a rack, or tyres, I'd suggest making a separate post for each item. Tacking every item on to one long one is hard to follow.

Go and enjoy.

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NUKe
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby NUKe » 8 Mar 2019, 9:50am

Whilst 60 to 70 miles is do able, you might want to pick stops that are say 30 to 40 miles apart, that way you can do 60 to 70 mile but if you are not felling it you shorten the route. Especially as your using this as a holiday to be with the wife, long lunches, stopping off to see interesting places should be the order of the day. And to be honest it can be a bit boring just riding all day, day after day.
In terms of prep you have plenty of time, but start cycling little and often build up gradually, get the bikes fettled to how you want them, and try a few rides with the bikes loaded up, and above all make sure yourself and the wife can ride at a similar pace. You will get a feel for the distances you want to ride if you get rding now.
France has some really nice cycle tracks.
NUKe
_____________________________________

Bonefishblues
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Bonefishblues » 8 Mar 2019, 9:53am

Just building on the above, Bretonbikes of this Forum runs just such a service, designed for and by cyclists. Might be good place to start, before pressing the nuclear option?

ETA
Just noticed the poster above's name - no pun was intended!

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al_yrpal
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby al_yrpal » 8 Mar 2019, 9:59am

One of newbies big big mistakes is to ride mtbs on the road with nobbly tyres. Take em off and get some good smooth touring tyres. You will be flying then. 50 miles a day is great, it will enable you to look at stuff and enjoy. 70+ is too much IMO its not what tourings about.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

Oldjohnw
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Oldjohnw » 8 Mar 2019, 3:08pm

al_yrpal wrote:One of newbies big big mistakes is to ride mtbs on the road with nobbly tyres. Take em off and get some good smooth touring tyres. You will be flying then. 50 miles a day is great, it will enable you to look at stuff and enjoy. 70+ is too much IMO its not what tourings about.

Al


Sounds like excellent advice.
John

Cycling and recycling

mercalia
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby mercalia » 8 Mar 2019, 6:18pm

no one has mentioned you should get a check up by your doctor about what you propose to do esp since you have a family