Starting to tour

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Barrenfluffit
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Joined: 20 Oct 2009, 5:31pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby Barrenfluffit » 28 Feb 2012, 4:40pm

I found one of ann mustoe's books really helpful.

My approach was note down all the stuff that whirling round, large and small. later you could group things together and try to see how it slots together. Some things will need an immediate answer, others rely on things you don't yet know. One of my lists was called "questions for Ann Mustoe". It was for things I'd like to ask her about bike touring if we met. In practise it was filled with questions which she wouldn't be able to answer because they relied on things that couldn't be known.

But dividing up idea's and thoughts in this way made it much easier to prioritise. Also new things could be given an appropriate importance without becoming dominant. A must do list springs from this categorisation too.

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stephenjubb
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Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Starting to tour

Postby stephenjubb » 28 Feb 2012, 5:41pm

Barrenfluffit wrote:I found one of ann mustoe's books really helpful.

My approach was note down all the stuff that whirling round, large and small. later you could group things together and try to see how it slots together. Some things will need an immediate answer, others rely on things you don't yet know. One of my lists was called "questions for Ann Mustoe". It was for things I'd like to ask her about bike touring if we met. In practise it was filled with questions which she wouldn't be able to answer because they relied on things that couldn't be known.

But dividing up idea's and thoughts in this way made it much easier to prioritise. Also new things could be given an appropriate importance without becoming dominant. A must do list springs from this categorisation too.


Unfortunately that inspirational women died but died doing what she loved.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituar ... ustoe.html

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Cunobelin
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Re: Starting to tour

Postby Cunobelin » 28 Feb 2012, 6:31pm

+1 for not being too planned.

Many of my best discoveries have been because something looked interesting, or a quiet road just looked inviting

Mattie
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Joined: 23 Feb 2009, 9:19pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby Mattie » 28 Feb 2012, 7:35pm

I think the most valuable lesson that comes with a bit of experience is to know that there are emotional Highs and Lows to cycle touring, I did not realise that at first ! So when things are bad, you are somewhere you do not like, or there are hills and headwinds or rain, is to know that the dark mood is only a passing thing. Top tip number 1 !!

bogmyrtle
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Re: Starting to tour

Postby bogmyrtle » 28 Feb 2012, 8:04pm

It can help your confidence if you know you can deal with simple maintenance issues like mending punctures. When you get your bike see if there are any courses near you or any independant bike mechanics who will show you some basics.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

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foxyrider
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Re: Starting to tour

Postby foxyrider » 29 Feb 2012, 7:46pm

bogmyrtle wrote:It can help your confidence if you know you can deal with simple maintenance issues like mending punctures. When you get your bike see if there are any courses near you or any independant bike mechanics who will show you some basics.


Now thats one of the best bits advice i've ever seen on here! My living for several years was exclusively selling high end touring bikes, we took a call one March day from one of our customers touring in Russia, these were the days when mobile phones were still quite rare. He was stood next to the main eastbound road to Moscow, but why was he calling good old Blighty? Well he had a puncture and didn't have a clue what to do let alone have the right kit to get going again. In the end we had to airfreight tools, tyres and tubes out to him!

Ask away on any subject, you'll get a wide variety of advice, some helpful, some not but all given with enthusiasm for riding and exploring on two unmotorised wheels (well three occasionally!)
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

velo-city
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Location: London, UK

Re: Starting to tour

Postby velo-city » 1 Mar 2012, 10:12am

After a few charity 60 mile rides, I ventured onto Paris on a road bike (uncomfortable, but relaxed over three days), and then London>South of France camping for just over two weeks on a semi-loaded hybrid, and now I love touring and am hooked.

I was in the same boat at the start - not really knowing what to do. What to take, bikes, how much to carry, how many miles a day, security, etc etc.

For France, knowing I was going for two weeks and camping for the first time, meant a lot of research. I got pretty confused along the way, as some sites are written by experienced cycle tourers who do thousands of miles over many months without thinking about it, others by people who want to be totally self-sufficient in far-flung places, some just grab their bikes and do it. So not all the info was appropriate for what I was doing. Still, most of the stuff I wouldn't have had a clue about if I hadn't researched before hand.

The rest you learn along the way, and you work out what you like and how YOU like to travel.

From my limited touring - a few of the most memorable things than came from my research v actual doing were:

-Nutrition. I didn't eat enough (vegetarian who eats fish when necessary), and as such really suffered on about day 7-8 of two weeks. I was totally knackered, and my body ruined. I nearly gave up. After a good nights rest and hearty meal, I felt a lot better the next day and managed hundreds more miles. You use up a LOT of energy cycling, especially carrying a load. Make sure you eat what you need, which is usually A LOT. And it really helps to know what foods are, what you need, and when. I hadn't done much research on this, but its now my main focus for cycling. I also tried to 'copy' some tourers and take all the cooking gear along - it seemed like the done thing and I agonised over the right equipment (another minefield). As it turned out, that didn't work for me at all - and in Europe, unless very remote - I'd prefer to leave all that gear behind and eat out, and just carry 'emergency' food. The extra weight/time/hassle of cooking and cleaning just didn't seem worth it (to me).

-Fitness. Some say, 'just ride and you'll get fit on the way'. Well, this is definitely true, but for the next long tour I'm training harder beforehand. I was 'reasonably' fit before attempting 900 miles, and very fit after two weeks cycling, but having now done it once, I would prefer to be a bit fitter at the start too! It makes it more enjoyable being less knackered.

-Speed. I ride a lot with a friend who's a better cyclist. Even just 1-2 mph above my 'natural' average speed makes it much less enjoyable for me and I tire much sooner. I prefer a slightly slower pace and to stop and look at things. If you're not enjoying it at any point, maybe try slowing down a little. For me it makes a huge difference to endurance.

Touring is so much fun, and you travel somewhere at a totally different pace and really get a feel for the places you visit.
Just have fun doing it!

I've pasted links below (in no real order) to my favourite sites that I've found most useful (some have been posted here already):

http://forum.ctc.org.uk/
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/
http://www.cycletourer.co.uk/cycletouri ... gear.shtml
http://www.adventure-cycling-guide.co.uk/othergear.htm
http://www.rolling-tales.com/
http://www.biketouringtips.com/index.html
http://travellingtwo.com/
http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/tips.htm
http://www.climbbybike.com/index.asp
http://www.bicycletouring101.com/Physic ... ration.htm

simonhill
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Location: Essex

Re: Starting to tour

Postby simonhill » 1 Mar 2012, 10:26am

Stephen Lord's book - Adventure Cycling Handbook covers most aspects of cycle touring in a small handy to carry book (sorry I get a mention, but no royalties).

Basically cycle touring is going from place to place. I'm sure you will have done this on a bus, train or car. It is just the same. If you are unsure, plan a one day 'tour' to friends house, then one day back and you will have done your first 2 day tour. Congratulations!.

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Starting to tour

Postby Barrenfluffit » 1 Mar 2012, 12:46pm

Stephen Lord's book - Adventure Cycling Handbook
+1. Most of the practical content is on the website: http://www.adventure-cycling-guide.co.uk/

I have the book and its seems to be pretty widely available. Shame about the royalties as it seems to have sold pretty well for such a specialist topic.

Cachao
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Joined: 23 Jul 2010, 11:56pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby Cachao » 1 Mar 2012, 10:15pm

As a new tourer who jumped in at the deep end I can see where you're coming from. Two points:

1. Start immediately. This weekend cycle 50 miles to a B&B, stay the night, then return. Doesn't matter if you take your own stuff or how you do it. The key is to get cycling properly. And this leads on to the second point.

2. Experience is king. If possible, cycle with someone who is experienced, it makes all the difference. If that proves impossible then these forums and resources already mentioned should do well but never come close to being a substitute for miles on the road.

Good luck

eileithyia
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Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: Starting to tour

Postby eileithyia » 2 Mar 2012, 8:32am

As usual lots of good and varied advise.

Bike maintenance is essential.

Dealing with the ups and downs and knowing they happen is also essential. And the bad days do not always occur with a day of bad weather, I ascended the Peyresourde in a very low mood for no apparent reason as it was a beautiful sunny day with glorious views (I have also heard of someone else who said they found the climb very hard so that might have been the cause)

As for where to go and how to start planning, well where DO you want to go; home, abroad, challenging, exotic.
How will you get there and where you arrive may dictate where you start and finish your trip ie train to Inverness for the highlands, ferry to the continent, European Bike Express, or flight to an airport near to your desired area to tour.

Once you've worked those out you can start planning routes... but never ever over plan and leave some leaway for exploring, side trips and/or changes of plans esp if something goes wrong with the bike.

With regards to routes and choices of where to go the world is your oyster....
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Dunkgrease
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Joined: 20 Feb 2012, 3:52pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby Dunkgrease » 2 Mar 2012, 1:45pm

Take a look at http://www.my-bicycling-adventure.com

You may also like to get a copy of The Bicycle Traveller's Blueprint by Daren Alff. http://www.bicycletouringpro.com/affiliates/idevaffiliate.php?id=163_4_1_16

eileithyia
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Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: Starting to tour

Postby eileithyia » 2 Mar 2012, 9:34pm

Another way to plan where and what you see; what are your hobbies/interests? A cycle tour can be built around or include visits that satisfy your way of life andinterests. ie as a Birdwatcher, riding thru the Carmargue to see th eFlamingoes was a highlight of one trip and on the same trip we saw the Vultures of the Tarn gorge aea.
For other people it might be visiting ancient churches, museums, ancient archeology sites, then there are the pilgrims routes.....
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

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syklist
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Re: Starting to tour

Postby syklist » 3 Mar 2012, 9:30pm

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

+1
<snip>
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.

+1

We started with the cheapest bikes we could find that had 21 speeds and a decent granny gear. We bought cheap panniers, an expensive tent, some cheap cooking equipment and sleeping gear that seemed like a good idea at the time. After a few weekends away near home we launched ourselves on an "epic" three week tour of Norway. On our first few tours we broke things, we realised that our sleeping bags were not warm enough, we added front racks to our bikes and upgraded our panniers. After three years we knew what gear we liked, what types of bike we wanted and splashed out on some decent tourers.
So long and thanks for all the fish...

Cycle Kitty
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Joined: 4 Mar 2012, 1:21pm

Re: Starting to tour

Postby Cycle Kitty » 4 Mar 2012, 2:13pm

:D Hi Indy

This is my 1st ever post to this forum but this Easter I'm going on my first ever tour! I'm doing the Trans Pennine Trail and back along the Way of the Roses over 8 or 9 days weather and legs depending. I cycle regularly (up to 65 miles in a day, hoping to increase) and I'm lucky to be doing this trip with someone who has done this twice before. I don't think I would attempt it without someone but that's just me.

I have been given loads of advice from experienced riders and I'm doing an overnight trip fully loaded with gear in 2 weeks to get the feel of the weight on my bike etc. Most of my equipment has been borrowed from friends/family and some bought to reduce the impact of cost on my first trip.

I hope when you have arranged where your going you have a great trip - I can't wait (with some butterflies in my stomach)!

Happy Cycling

Cycle Kitty :-)