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.shtmlhttp://www.adventure-cycling-guide.co.uk/othergear.htmhttp://www.rolling-tales.com/http://www.biketouringtips.com/index.htmlhttp://travellingtwo.com/http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/tips.htmhttp://www.climbbybike.com/index.asphttp://www.bicycletouring101.com/Physic ... ration.htm