Starting to tour

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
indy
Posts: 42
Joined: 17 Jul 2010, 6:06pm

Starting to tour

Postby indy » 27 Feb 2012, 7:41pm

I seem to have 1001 questions I want to ask about Cycle Touring but feel that posting multiple questions here every time I have questions would be unfair on other forum members.

I've spent the last week or so trawling all the usual internet resources i.e. Google, YouTube etc but can't seem to find anything that starts at the beginning i.e. how to plan a tour and what you need to consider in that planning to practical on the road advice.

I'd really appreciate if anyone knows of any websites or even a good (UP TO DATE!!!) book that could help me with these issues. I'm hoping to have got my bike in the next month or so price and stock not withstanding!
Cheers

Sierra Trekking
Posts: 18
Joined: 31 Jan 2012, 10:11am

Re: Starting to tour

Postby Sierra Trekking » 27 Feb 2012, 8:20pm

I'm in a "All the gear & no idea" phase at the moment, itching to get out for my first tour.

Like you I been browsing for sage advice, I haven't found any one definitive site but this one has lots of useful and interesting info:-

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/?o=1

bogmyrtle
Posts: 878
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby bogmyrtle » 27 Feb 2012, 8:44pm

I always feel a bit sad to read posts from people who think they need be able to talk the cycling talk and have all the gear to be able to get out and enjoy travelling by bike. You don't. I hadn't a clue when I bought a bike and a pair of panniers from a flood damaged sale but I just brushed the muck off them and cycled up the hebrides.
If you are a regular cyclist, you just need some ideas of routes that are within your capabilites. If you are not a regular cyclist, you need to get out on regular rides to get some miles into your legs and to get an idea of the distances you are comfortable with. After that, try a weekend away to get an idea of what it's like to carry luggage. After that, the world's your oyster. You will learn as you go along but if you don't get out there and get going, you will still be looking for websites this time next year.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

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stephenjubb
Posts: 674
Joined: 20 Jan 2008, 12:23pm
Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Starting to tour

Postby stephenjubb » 27 Feb 2012, 9:38pm

indy wrote:I seem to have 1001 questions I want to ask about Cycle Touring but feel that posting multiple questions here every time I have questions would be unfair on other forum members.

I've spent the last week or so trawling all the usual internet resources i.e. Google, YouTube etc but can't seem to find anything that starts at the beginning i.e. how to plan a tour and what you need to consider in that planning to practical on the road advice.

I'd really appreciate if anyone knows of any websites or even a good (UP TO DATE!!!) book that could help me with these issues. I'm hoping to have got my bike in the next month or so price and stock not withstanding!
Cheers


unfair :shock: :shock:
Nah your wrong mate, ask away it is what this forum is for. What does cause issue is when people post and cannot be bothered to do their research, like what panniers should I get, what bike etc. These have been answered a thousand times. :wink:

You clearly do not fit this profile and you have being doing lots of research so please feel free to ask.

PM me with as many questions as you like, I'm an experienced tourer and love to talk about it but can never find enough people to talk about it with. :( :( :( :(

ossie
Posts: 599
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby ossie » 27 Feb 2012, 10:01pm

I dont see a problem in multiple posts. There are so many different aspects involved it would be impossible for you to get a definitive answer on any thread. The subject is massive yet so simple, I am 4 years into it and still learning /reading.

I didnt suddenly decide I needed a new hobby, my cycling just morphed into touring....ie cycling a long distance with a basic road map and pitching a tent at a campsite....hey I am a tourer :D

I read a journal once on crazyguy about a middle aged lady who suddenly decided to cycle to India. No real experience, just got herself kitted out by her LBS and went. Her first big drama was a puncture after 1000k...she had never dealt with a puncture before :shock: yet she was cycling halfway round the world.

There are plenty of touring forums, join as many as you can and the help will come thick and fast.

iandriver
Posts: 2051
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: Starting to tour

Postby iandriver » 27 Feb 2012, 10:03pm

Hi indy.

It's not uncommon to tentatively poke touring with a long stick before embarking. It remember it feeling quite daunting until I actually got off on my first weekend away not too far from home with just about every bit of kit I could think of (over)loaded on the bike. We all started somewhere. My first tour never strayed too far from a train line :D

Have you seen the CTCs own resource sheets? http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4006

I can only echo the centiments above. Do ask.
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.....

irc
Posts: 4531
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: Starting to tour

Postby irc » 27 Feb 2012, 10:11pm

Ask away. Read everything here. Read elsewhere. As suggested www.crazyguyonabike.com is worth a look. Forums, articles, and accounts of tours. One article there on touring is

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=8401

The best way to learn is just do it. Even a two day ride near home is enough. Stay at a hostel or Travelodge or bed and breakfast. Camping is nice but means carrying more gear. Find quiet roads. Get out the big cities and there are quiet roads anywhere.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

pal
Posts: 372
Joined: 22 Mar 2008, 11:49am

Re: Starting to tour

Postby pal » 27 Feb 2012, 10:15pm

Yes, ask away!

But if you want other websites: Crazy Guy on a Bike, recommended above, is a great source of inspiration; for practical tips, perhaps try http://travellingtwo.com/ (or even buy one of their books? http://travellingtwo.com/shop/ebooks/biketouringguide -- I have the 'Bike Touring Survival Guide', and it's quite a good read, if only as a source of reassurance that there's nothing too complicated about bike touring, really...)

snibgo
Posts: 4604
Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 4:45am

Re: Starting to tour

Postby snibgo » 28 Feb 2012, 5:31am

irc wrote:The best way to learn is just do it.

+1

Reading up on a subject is great but can be overwhelming. Cyclists have different ideas on the kit for a day ride, let alone for multiple days. We plan differently, and have endless discussions about the most suitable paper maps or electronic wizardry.

The truth is, choices are often down to personal preference. I know where I like to ride, what I like to eat, what clothing I like, etc. I enjoy reading about other people's experiences and I may try out their ideas or not but I never assume they will be right for me.

When you've got your bike, see how far you can go in a day without exhausting yourself. Then try it for a weekend, perhaps pre-booking a hotel or campsite. Before you know it, you'll be touring around the world, if that's what you decide you want to do.

johnb
Posts: 793
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 8:05am

Re: Starting to tour

Postby johnb » 28 Feb 2012, 5:43am

snibgo wrote:
irc wrote:The best way to learn is just do it.

+1

Reading up on a subject is great but can be overwhelming. Cyclists have different ideas on the kit for a day ride, let alone for multiple days. We plan differently, and have endless discussions about the most suitable paper maps or electronic wizardry.

The truth is, choices are often down to personal preference. I know where I like to ride, what I like to eat, what clothing I like, etc. I enjoy reading about other people's experiences and I may try out their ideas or not but I never assume they will be right for me.

When you've got your bike, see how far you can go in a day without exhausting yourself. Then try it for a weekend, perhaps pre-booking a hotel or campsite. Before you know it, you'll be touring around the world, if that's what you decide you want to do.



The above advice from Snibgo is as good as it gets.
The lead Greyhound never has to look at another Greyhounds derrière.

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Cunobelin
Posts: 9183
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby Cunobelin » 28 Feb 2012, 6:42am

irc wrote:Ask away. Read everything here. Read elsewhere. As suggested http://www.crazyguyonabike.com is worth a look. Forums, articles, and accounts of tours. One article there on touring is

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=8401

The best way to learn is just do it. Even a two day ride near home is enough. Stay at a hostel or Travelodge or bed and breakfast. Camping is nice but means carrying more gear. Find quiet roads. Get out the big cities and there are quiet roads anywhere.


Making the mistakes is part of the fun!

A couple of weekends doing routes where there is a "Escape" if things go wrong will give you confidence and experience.

It is what w have all done!

My first "tour" with my wife was the Bristol and Bath Railway Path.

Train to Bath,camped at Newton St Loe, cycled to bath and back, then on Sunday cycled to TRowbridge and caught the train back home.

No stunning milage, no great feat of endurance, but it did prove we could camp and tour.

(.. and halved the gear we carried the next time!)

tatanab
Posts: 3708
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby tatanab » 28 Feb 2012, 7:56am

As above- just do it, weekends to start with. I started my touring life over 40 years ago with hostel weekends with the local club. It taught me what I need to take and what I did not need.

Machine - I've toured on everything from a track bike (complete with sprints and tubs) for a week in the UK, to 24 geared touring bike in the mountains. I still carry all I need in a large saddlebag, unless camping. That is the key point for me, restrict your baggage.

Road planning - don't do it. For your weekend trips in the UK you don't have to research a route to follow, you'd just go and follow the roads on your handy Ordnance Survey maps. I do just the same in Europe, I have start and end points with a duration. If your tour is in the middle of Africa then I admit you'd need to do more planning, but for western countries I'd say not.

When in Europe I often come across French, Dutch and German tourists who are retirement age and out for a ride for a month or two. These are not what many British people imagine as cycletourists, they are people to whom 100 km is a long way but riding a bike is an ordinary experience. Having said not to bother with routes - a Dutch couple showed me a book they had. In the UK we might have standard routes like C2C, and the Dutch do as well except they go from southern Holland down to the Med. The book had a reasonably detailed route (with options), some advice on what to see, and advice on camping and B&B for towns along the way. For a comfort zone, that might be a place to start continental touring. Or, howabout joining a CTC tour group.

hamster
Posts: 3109
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby hamster » 28 Feb 2012, 10:09am

I started touring by flying to Spain with a slicked up MTB, panniers with clothes and a camera and a hazy idea of a route (and a return ticket). I stayed in B&Bs and small hotels.

In the end, experience is best, rather than reading up loads. A lot of it is finding out what works for you. Go out and try it - and have fun!

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georgew
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Joined: 27 Jan 2007, 4:23pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby georgew » 28 Feb 2012, 11:26am

I think the aspect most disregarded when we talk of cycle-touring and cycle-camping is the feeling of adventure and self-reliance that doing this can give you. To wake up in your tent knowing that you are at the start of a journey of a couple of thousand miles and that you will be mostly reliant upon your own resources, brings back those feelings once felt as a child when everything was fresh and new. To plan your route day by day with only your fancy to guide you intensifies this feeling of adventure. With me it was always the risk factor that made the whole thing so enjoyable. The knowledge that I would have to cope with any eventuality heightened my enjoyment of the whole experience. I wandered over the whole of France with my bike and tent for nearly forty years encountering many small acts of kindness from ordinary people who I'm sure would not have approached me had I been driving a car. Age and health problems make this now impossible but every year as summer approaches, I still feel that urge to load up the panniers and go.

ossie
Posts: 599
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby ossie » 28 Feb 2012, 11:40am

georgew wrote:I think the aspect most disregarded when we talk of cycle-touring and cycle-camping is the feeling of adventure and self-reliance that doing this can give you. To wake up in your tent knowing that you are at the start of a journey of a couple of thousand miles and that you will be mostly reliant upon your own resources, brings back those feelings once felt as a child when everything was fresh and new. To plan your route day by day with only your fancy to guide you intensifies this feeling of adventure. With me it was always the risk factor that made the whole thing so enjoyable. The knowledge that I would have to cope with any eventuality heightened my enjoyment of the whole experience. I wandered over the whole of France with my bike and tent for nearly forty years encountering many small acts of kindness from ordinary people who I'm sure would not have approached me had I been driving a car. Age and health problems make this now impossible but every year as summer approaches, I still feel that urge to load up the panniers and go.


A great post that sums up the spirit of touring and its so sad that due to health you cant tour any more. At least you have done it over many years and the memories you have are irreplaceable. A friend of mine told me that life isnt a dress rehearsal and its true, you really do live and see life on a bike and every tour is just as you describe, a great adventure.