Am I mad, newbie tourer

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
thirdcrank
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Mar 2019, 9:26am

I'm a tough skinned *******....


That won't prevent discomfort in the backside for anybody who prefers planning to getting some miles in.

Ollie732
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Ollie732 » 16 Mar 2019, 9:28am

thirdcrank wrote:
I'm a tough skinned ********....


That won't prevent discomfort in the backside for anybody who prefers planning to getting some miles in.


True that, I've been called a pain in the buttock before, maybe it'll be payback time :wink:

Everyone is different, but from your personal experience, how long (hours a week etc) before you overcame the majority of butt soreness?

LollyKat
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby LollyKat » 16 Mar 2019, 10:23am

There are two kinds of soreness - the one that disappears after ? a week or two ? as your muscles and bum harden up, and the kind that never goes and only gets worse because the saddle doesn't suit your anatomy. I was criticised in an earlier post for being unduly negative. All I meant though (and I realise I wasn't clear) was that you need to allow time to find the right saddle FOR YOU - and there is an element of trial and error. One that is fine for 20 miles may not be so good over 70 miles. Fortunately there is a much greater range of saddles than there used to be so you should be able to find something to suit.

Ollie732
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Ollie732 » 16 Mar 2019, 10:29am

LollyKat wrote:There are two kinds of soreness - the one that disappears after ? a week or two ? as your muscles and bum harden up, and the kind that never goes and only gets worse because the saddle doesn't suit your anatomy. I was criticised in an earlier post for being unduly negative. All I meant though (and I realise I wasn't clear) was that you need to allow time to find the right saddle FOR YOU - and there is an element of trial and error. One that is fine for 20 miles may not be so good over 70 miles. Fortunately there is a much greater range of saddles than there used to be so you should be able to find something to suit.


This is possibly the hardest bit of the bike to set up? Is it just trial and error? I can imagine me buying a whole raft of different saddles before I get the correct one, then having to turf out her shoe collection to house it in :lol:

thirdcrank
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Mar 2019, 10:36am

Ollie732 wrote: ... Everyone is different, but from your personal experience, how long (hours a week etc) before you overcame the majority of butt soreness?


I've little personal experience of it, but I know of it from what others have said.

I only learned to ride a bike when I was 13 at Easter 1958 and I went on my first solo YHA tour during the school Summer hols. I have no memory of any discomfort from that time and FWIW, I suspect that that's what takes adults who return to cycling by surprise. I didn't do much cycling for several years after starting work and getting married in 1967. I first returned to cycling through necessity when a lack of parking at work (Leeds Town Hall) made cycling the only option. For the first couple of times - only five miles each way - I suffered real discomfort, but it soon passed. As a known keen cyclist at work, I was often asked for advice by colleagues, often after they had eg hired a bike on holiday and suffered the resulting excruciating pain.

Let me stress that I only posted this morning because of your "thick skinned" comment. The broader point is that cycling is the best way to prepare for cycling. Any initial soreness of the backside will soon pass, although I suspect the time needed to get over it increases with age. This isn't only about physical fitness but things like feeling comfy sitting on a bike and pedalling for hours on end. Not just physical comfort but also shutting out the little voice in your ear telling you it's all stupid. You are right to say that everone is different and one example I often quote is different approaches to a long ride. Some riders find it best to divide a ride into manageable chunks to be tackled one at a time, to avoid being overwhelmed by worries about the day ahead. That's always been disaster for me because I suffer from "nearly there" so interim destinations just multiply that. I've been better believing that there are still miles to go and being surprised by reaching the destination.

My opinion is that preparing for a tour of 70 miles a day from virtually zero is going to be hard but possible. Planning is obviously important, but less so than getting the miles in. If I've not suggested it to you already, a diary including your rides and excuses for not riding will be invaluable. If it includes plenty of rides, it will help banish the doubts. If it's full of excellent reasons for not riding, it may tell you that cycle touring - especially to a fixed final destination - is not for you: those same excuses for not riding will tend to present themselves every day of your tour.

IIRC, horizon has commented recently that riding provides the answers you seek.

PaulaT
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby PaulaT » 16 Mar 2019, 1:08pm

I've ridden with CTC sections for many years and IME experience people who can ride 70 miles per day day in, day out are outliers. My rule of thumb, which I think works for most people, is plan to do 1/2 to 2/3rds of your Sunday day ride mileage. Pace is important too. About 12MPH is a good average which is within the capabilities of most people although with luggage on you're better planning on an average of 10MPH on flattish ground. You can always linger a little longer at the coffee stop if you find yourself ahead of schedule :) A modest daily mileage also gives you some wiggle room in case of mechanicals or a headwind and actually gives you time to stop and look at things other than the tarmac in front of your bike!

I echo what others have said about getting the miles in on the bikes. Turbo trainers have their place but they don't teach you about using the gears to best effect or how to pace yourself over a whole day's cycling. You'll probably find it more enjoyable to have a proper lunchtime destination, be it a stately home or whatever, to give your day ride a bit more purpose than merely grinding out the miles. WE do do this for fun after all :)

HobbesOnTour
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby HobbesOnTour » 16 Mar 2019, 2:01pm

Ollie732 wrote:This is possibly the hardest bit of the bike to set up? Is it just trial and error? I can imagine me buying a whole raft of different saddles before I get the correct one, then having to turf out her shoe collection to house it in :lol:


If you throw out the shoe collection than 70 miles per day will be doable - but you won't be using a bike and your backside will definitely suffer! :D :D

On the assumption that the saddle is in some way compatible with your ass (people have different anatomies!) then it really is a matter of trial and error and micro adjustments to get it just right. Forwards/backwards, tilt angle and handlebar height are all important. I cycled for a couple of days with a guy who was repeating a failed tour. He had ended up in hospital so bad were his saddle sores! He was very regimented and was focused on hitting his pre-planned destination every day. Discomfort was ignored - until it was too late. If anything, touring, to me, is all about the now - paying attention to where and how you are right at that moment. Pay attention to yourself and you won't go too far wrong.

I have an aversion to "training" for a pleasurable activity. I prefer to think of myself as "practising". It's less about cranking out the distance and more about the whole experience. So, I'd suggest picking interesting places to visit, packing a picnic and clothes for all weathers and heading off. Enjoying the time together. Figuring out pace, break times etc. Getting used to riding the bikes with some gear strapped on. Dealing with traffic, the weather, mechanicals. Work up to overnight trips. If you really want to do 70 miles day after day then you can work up to that, or you may just find that the destination 70 miles hence is less important than the journey. :)

thirdcrank
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Mar 2019, 2:21pm

So many of my hobby horses here. eg I think average speed can be misleading, especially as it can mean different things. I'd suggest getting to know your cruising speed, which in the language of averages might be your "mode". By that I mean the speed you know you can keep up hour after hour with allowances for big hills, strong headwinds etc. Riding faster than that will mean it has to be paid for later, possibly by a big reduction in riding speed. Then, to keep the mental arithmetic easy, if you know you can cruise at 10mph, then you will have seven hours riding to cover 70 miles with whatever stops you make on top of that. Reducing stoppage time is then recognised as the only sure way to reduce overall travelling time.

thelawnet
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby thelawnet » 16 Mar 2019, 4:26pm

Ollie732 wrote:So many questions, wondering dedicated gps system that I can upload route from ride with gps or to use smart phone alone but realise any (or most) mention of kit there will be a difference of opinion to what suits different people best.


A few points

Firstly for touring a lot of people like AA batteries for GPS. Cos you can chuck them away and buy new ones in the shop. On that point there is the Etrex 30x for example. But it doesn't have Bluetooth. So you need to mess around with cables & a laptop. Which is a bit rubbish IMO.

So then you've got say the Etrex Touch 35 which is similar but with Bluetooth. But then a lot of people prefer buttons to touchscreen.

Secondly smartphones vary a lot. You will need to do an 8 hour day or whatever with your phone on with Strava running. How is the battery? Certain phones can likely cope with this (big 4000 mAh battery, modern CPU), but most probably can't. I have a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. I think there's a new one. It's pretty good on this side.

But you'll need to charge it every day. Do you want a dynamo & usb charging on your bike? Maybe not, if you are staying in hotels each night.

Thirdly you could look at cycling GPSes. Again battery life will be the first thing unless you want to go down the dynamo road (I think not?). They will all charge from USB, so you'll probably want a USB charger that can charge all your devices from one outlet.

And then there is routing. If you have your phone (or a phone) on a mount, it will route as well as any dedicated GPS can. Some GPSes don't cope with route changes etc. well. Using the devices will help you here.

Obviously if you have a phone or a USB-powered GPS then you can charge it when you stop. A power bank perhaps? They are generally 5 Ah, 10 Ah, or 20Ah. You'll need to consider both the charging speed of your phone and/or device and the power bank. A GPS may charge at 1A and have a 1Ah battery. A phone with a 4Ah battery that can only charge at 1A is not going to be much good. I'm not sure if you can get more than about 2A out of a powerbank at the moment.

Ivor Tingting
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Ivor Tingting » 16 Mar 2019, 7:11pm

thirdcrank wrote:
I'm a tough skinned *******....


That won't prevent discomfort in the backside for anybody who prefers planning to getting some miles in.


Love it. It's like when there is a British winner of the TdF there is a spike in top of the range road bike sales and you then see so many fat MAMILs out on the roads thinking they are Wiggo, Froome Dog or Geraint or even Lance. By mid end of september as summer fades they've all gone and the bike is relegated to the shed or Ebay. LoL.

This is a guy who doesn't even have a comfortable saddle let alone a bike loaded up with all his gear that he feels at ease with that he can confidently say he has ridden anywhere near 70 miles a day on, day after day after day. A guy who doesn't even cycle regularly any significant distance. The weak link here is his leg and his head. There is no substitute for having cycling miles in your legs. <Snip>
Last edited by Graham on 18 Mar 2019, 2:00pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Snip - unnecessary comment
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willem jongman
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby willem jongman » 16 Mar 2019, 7:19pm

Let's just give him a chance to start and discover what it is really like before ridiculing him. I agree he will have to get the miles in, and do some serious training, but he may well start to enjoy it, and recalibrate his expectations and ambitions in the process. There is nothing more convincing than personal experience.

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horizon
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby horizon » 16 Mar 2019, 8:43pm

I'd like to propose a vote of thanks to the OP for presenting us with a really interesting thread, to lay bare his ignorance (such as it is) and having the bottle to take a lot of criticism on the nose from strangers (as well as the courage to think about doing a challenging ride in a foreign country). Chapeau as they say!
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

Jamesh
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Jamesh » 16 Mar 2019, 11:29pm

I'm sure with enough determination the OP can do it. It's only 4 lots of 17.5 miles which tbh isn't that far speaks over a summers day?

So long as you build up to it a bit and you can confidently cover 20 miles you should be fine.
I'd suggest swapping the tyres out for slicks even cheap ones from decathlon, wiggle or Halfords.

Find a decent saddle that's not too narrow. If you have time get a brooks / spa leather which although uncomfortable at first will reward your determination.
Otherwise charge spoons are good as are rolls or turbos.

A good pair of shorts, cycling Jersey and mitts too.

Finally don't forget a helmet!

Jamesh
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Jamesh » 16 Mar 2019, 11:39pm

Vorpal wrote:If it helps the determined newbies...

When I was a teenager, my brother and I sometimes set off on our bikes with nothing but sleeping bags, fishing gear, a tent, and a desire to be someplace removed from 'civilisation'.

We once rode 70 or 75 mile from home with nothing but sandwiches and pocket change, without thinking about getting home again, or that it would get dark and we didn't have any lights (or an evening meal!) :lol:

We managed to survive a number of mad adventures like that.

I've also ridden myself fit, touring. I did that the summer after I graduated uni. Although I rode my bike to and from uni, because of being busy with studying & exams, I had not ridden more than 5 or 6 miles in one go since the summer before. So, I was completely unfit when my brother and I set off with a friend of ours on a tour. We only planned 30 miles per day starting out, though!


Those were the days.
My first tour was to an freind at Aberystwyth university on my 531 racing bike with rack lashed on and two panniers made from army surplus rucksacks which hanged too far down and the qr rubbed through to the cycling weekly I had taken with me as reading material.
I got there ended up getting a stomach bug and overstayed my welcome somewhat whilst I recovered.

We are still friends 20 years later and go on regular rides together happy days!!!

Jamesh
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Re: Am I mad, newbie tourer

Postby Jamesh » 16 Mar 2019, 11:47pm

nirakaro wrote:I fear Tyre Lady may have unintentionally misled us through an excess of modesty - this seems to be someone who knocks off marathons/ultramarathons by the dozen. I suspect it won't take her long to find her cycling legs, and then leave us in the dust.


Definitely sub 3 hour pace too!
And three peaks and OMM for good measure!