Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
steveoworld
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Joined: 20 May 2013, 1:51pm

Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby steveoworld » 20 May 2013, 2:14pm

Hi All

My gf and I are considering a tour from the most southerly point of Spain (nr Gibralter) to Calais.

We have done some big mtb tours in the past but no road touring.

We have about 17-20 days to complete the ride but can always get on a train and return if things dont go to plan.

The approx distance is 1400 miles and our target is 100 miles per day, where possible.

We dont have specific touring bikes. We have Specialized Secteur road bikes which have the facility to fit pannier racks.

We want to take a light tent and mix types of accommodation on route to suit as required / desired each day.

I am concerned about the additional weight of loaded panniers on our road wheels.

What light weight panniers and racks would people recommend?

Would you recommend a trailer? If so which one?

We plan to travel very light.

What maps would people recommend? We haven't worked out a specific route yet but whatever we decide, i'm guessing it will be a rough guide as some route changes will need to happen on route.

Should I be thinking of using a sat nav? I guess there must be a way of charging it as we go. Any recommendations welcome.

Many Thanks

Steve

gordy
Posts: 246
Joined: 2 Feb 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby gordy » 20 May 2013, 9:44pm

Some general thoughts...

For a summer tour through Spain and France, a rear rack and two small panniers each is plenty. Ortlieb make fabulous panniers but Altura have a wider range at more sensible prices. Any rack will do, in my experience, as long as your bikes have the threaded sockets at the axle and on the chainstays. A hundred miles a day is fine, as long as you can both keep up a reasonable pace. Spain is hilly, and hot... but I guess you knew that!

I wouldn't worry about the pannier load on your wheels, although you might want to get a proper, reliable bike mechanic to check that they are true and tight before you go. A drive side rear spoke breakage is a PITA and will delay you for a day. You'll find the bike handles differently when it is loaded, but you get used to that after an hour or so. At the end of a tour, riding an unloaded bike is a very weird feeling.

A trailer isn't necessary, IMHO, and a trailer is a nuisance if you want to jump on a train. But once you opt to take a tent, more space is needed for sleeping bags and maybe mats etc. A bar bag is a wonderful addition to a touring kit. All your valuables go in one place and the map is clearly visible in the plastic sleeve. Personally, I don't bother with GPS, but many tourers do. Charging is possible by changing your front hub to a dynamo and using a B+M E-Werk or similar. That's an expensive way to produce a small amount of free electricity though!

If I was doing your tour, I'd have to go the other way. France is easier and I'd have to build up fitness before the Spanish mountains.

Maps: Can you get to London? Before a tour I go to Stanfords near Covent Garden and spend an hour comparing all the different maps. They have EVERYTHING in stock. 1:100 000 is the preferred option for most tourers, but I use the Michelin Regional maps usually at around 1:250 000. Getting detailed maps for 1400 miles across two countries is a costly business, and they weigh a lot too. Those of us who take little scissors to cut off the used bits of maps are nutters. You'll meet a few of those on the way. :D

Have fun. Don't fret about kit. Take some comfy off-bike clothes for evenings. Let us know how you get on.

gordy
Posts: 246
Joined: 2 Feb 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby gordy » 20 May 2013, 9:52pm

Me again.
I think I'd change the tyres on your road bikes for something a bit more solid. I've toured a lot on 25mm tyres but 28mm are more comfortable and, I think, provide a bit more suspension and protection for the rims. Heavy tyres will puncture less, but you'll ride more slowly (with apologies for stating the bleedin' obvious...)

But beware... a request for "the ideal touring tyre" on this forum will lead to fifty pages of arguments and strife. :roll:
Enjoy!

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meic
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Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby meic » 20 May 2013, 9:56pm

It does rather depend on how much the riders weigh.
Yma o Hyd

Onwards
Posts: 11
Joined: 21 Aug 2012, 7:35pm

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby Onwards » 20 May 2013, 10:25pm

Hello,

When I toured (albeit only a few days) with my teenagers they choose to take their Scott road bikes instead of mountain bikes and we put racks on and changed the wheels. We had done a single night tour before and found the roadie wheels and tyres punctured too easily and were a little unforgiving.

My youngest had a secteur before he grew and got the Scott and I'd have had no qualms taking it on tour - it's more off an all rounder and a more comfortable.

Definitely do a practice run or two - we learnt loads.

Em

Onwards
Posts: 11
Joined: 21 Aug 2012, 7:35pm

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby Onwards » 20 May 2013, 10:26pm

Onwards wrote:Hello,

When I toured (albeit only a few days) with my teenagers they choose to take their Scott road bikes instead of mountain bikes and we put racks on and changed the wheels. We had done a single night tour before and found the roadie wheels and tyres punctured too easily and were a little unforgiving.

My youngest had a secteur before he grew and got the Scott and I'd have had no qualms taking it on tour - it's more of an all rounder and a more comfortable.

Definitely do a practice run or two - we learnt loads.

Em

Cachao
Posts: 51
Joined: 23 Jul 2010, 11:56pm

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby Cachao » 20 May 2013, 10:30pm

Hi,

My friend and I were in your position a few years ago and got to where we are today in large part thanks to the wisdom of the CTC forum. So my first advice is to go back through the posts on my profile and find 'Cut that kit!' among other topics where you'll find some great advice, especially if you want to travel light.

Some specific thoughts:
1. Number your lists on these sorts of things - it makes it easier for other posters to refer to what you're on about.
2. 100 miles a day is a lot; budget for 70 on your first proper tour and surprise yourself pleasantly
3. Michelin maps, 1:200 000 scale or below
4. Schwalbe Marathon 700c x 28 tyres on dedicated touring (that means heavy ones with drop bars) are what we use

Good luck

simonhill
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby simonhill » 21 May 2013, 11:05am

Rather a lot of questions in one post. While opinions and discussions can be useful, I think you need to think about how you want to do your tour.

Firstly accommodation. If you want to camp then you will be greatly increasing your luggage. If you are going to mainly camp then it is worthwhile, if only occasionally is it worth carting all that stuff around? Not just lightweight tent, but sleeping bags, sleep mats, etc. Can you afford (£'s) not to camp, do you want to camp? This is probably the first thing you need to decide.

You say "We plan to travel very light." If you really mean this then you have to look very carefully at your kit - the fact you are thinking about a trailer rather implies you won't be going light.

I lke maps for lots of reasons other than simple navigation - what do you prefer, have you used a GPS? will it have all the necessary maps? Charging is a big problem, will it last a day's run. You may find a GPS facility on your phone which will at least tell you where you are if you get lost or off route.

The more toys you take, the less light you go. I know, I took an electric kettle last time!

steveoworld
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Joined: 20 May 2013, 1:51pm

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby steveoworld » 21 May 2013, 2:03pm

Some great comments. Thank you all.

I was thinking of getting larger tires and the wheels trued / tightened before we go. Your comments have convinced me to do so, thanks.

As for direction, I am still leaning towards Spain to UK, as this gives easier and cheaper bail out options if needed. It also means we don't have to faff about at the end of the tour, getting the bikes packed for the plane home. We are ok with a hilly start. Most of our off road tours have been in the mountains.

We had only thought of a trailer, as we had concerns with our bikes capability to carry additional weight. That's a good point about the trailer on a train (if necessary).

Good comments about the need for tent etc. I guess we need to decide on how we want to spend the majority of the nights, as this may also effect the need for a trailer.

Cant get to London but Stanfords website is very useful, thanks.

I'm not really one for high tech solutions and am not going to get a new wheel for the pleasure, so will probably be using maps only. I will have an app on my phone for when we get lost.

Are there any reasonable solar power phone charging solutions?

We will be doing a couple to trial runs before we go.

Thanks again and all comments gratefully received.

chiwoman
Posts: 51
Joined: 10 Aug 2009, 9:01am

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby chiwoman » 27 May 2013, 6:55am

re solar chargers...I think the honest answer is 'NO, not yet'
lots of gadgets on offer but few that have had good reviews on the road
most people I know use solar for back up or trickle but still used plugs when they get to local cafes in towns

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foxyrider
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Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby foxyrider » 27 May 2013, 11:49am

Don't be put off by the comments about tyre sizes. I happily tour and camp on a machine with 25c tyres - its as much the quality of the tyres you need to look at.

Start the trip with new tyres anyhow but loaded touring will really impact the wear of the rear tyre in particular. 1500 miles loaded touring on a road bike with standard tyres and you'll be looking to replace the rear before you finish the trip! Swapping mid journey may just about get you back but not guaranteed.

Your Secteurs will take the 25c Schwalbe Marathons but you might not get the 28c in so beware!

You can get lightweight camping gear but you may have to spend some serious money although i spotted a 1.4kg 2 person tent for under £20 in Lidl last week!
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!

gloomyandy
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Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 10:46pm

Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby gloomyandy » 27 May 2013, 1:04pm

!00 miles a day seems like a lot to me. One thing you need to think about is are you planning on spending the bulk of the day riding or do you want to be able to enjoy the places you visit. Also it can be very hot in the middle of the day so you may not have as many hours as you think. As others have said I would plan to do fewer miles, if you find you can do more you get to either go further or have a few more rest days to enjoy yourselves.

albal1
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Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby albal1 » 27 May 2013, 6:29pm

I'm departing Gibraltar 24 Aug , heading for Cherbourg, tho I doubt we'll cross paths even if start dates are similar , as it's 50 mile per day average for me. You can use your 'apps' on the phones just check your data allowance in EU. I'm using x2 paper maps, France and Spain. Good luck.

andrewjoseph
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Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby andrewjoseph » 27 May 2013, 8:43pm

if you're camping, will you be cooking too, or eating at cafe's etc. if cooking, what equipment?

we use a trangia setup and it gives a hot meal and a cuppa for not a lot of weight.

while not greatly experienced tourers, we have got our kit down to about 20kg, shared so i have about 15kg on my bike.

we didn't choose the lightest kit, but stuff that was more comfortable. e.g. the tent weighs about 4kg, but the lighter tents we tried were too small to lay out straight or sit up in.

i strongly advise a spare folding tyre.
--
Burls Ti Tourer for tarmac
Saracen aluminium full suss for trails.

ossie
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Re: Newbie long tour kit / equipment questions

Postby ossie » 27 May 2013, 8:57pm

100 miles a day ? You need to seriously reduce that and get a reality check as it isnt sustainable unless you want torture yourself. I always shudder when I see 'Newbie and 100 mile days ' in the same post.