My first tour (I didn't make it)

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
theDaveB
Posts: 267
Joined: 18 Feb 2013, 3:09pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Contact:

My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby theDaveB » 19 Aug 2014, 11:28am

Been planning my first tour for a long time and finally decided to go for it on Sunday, parents picked me up today and am back home.

Didn't plan to go far and wanted to stay within picking up distance if anything went wrong.

My plan was cycle from Runcorn to a campsite between Talacre and Prestatyn (St Mary's). This is about 40 miles door to door via NCN routes. Next day, cycle to Conwy, next day cycle back to St Mary's, next day home. Looked easy enough I thought, so loaded up my trailer and off I went at 8:30 Sunday morning.

At about 13:00 am just past Connahs Quay and decide at this point still could turn round and go home or carry on, as am enjoying myself I carry on. At Bagilt I follow NCN 5 off the coast road and over the hills (BIG mistake) this killed me and walked it for about 2-3 hours. It was the steepest hill I have ever walked up and pushing my bike and fully loaded trailer was a killer. If I knew at the time how long and steep it was i would have turned back and stayed on the coast road.

I arrived at the site at 17:50, checked in (good laugh at reception telling my journey), put tent up and went the pub for dinner. Straight to bed then, hardly slept due to weather (very windy) and couldn't get comfy. I had a sleeping bag and mat but just ached and had to keep turning over.

Next day went for a quick cycle to check how my legs where, they hurt a lot! So decided to stay put and not bother going to Conwy and just cycle home next day. Cycled into Prestatyn and bought a inflatable mattress and pump as I new I needed a good nights sleep if am cycle home the next day.

Next day (Tuesday) legs still hurting, parents came and picked me up (only a hour by car). So am back home now and wondering what went wrong. It was either the distance or personally I think pushing my bike up the hill for that long killed my legs as I was fine up until that point.

Who ever decided on the route NCN 5 from Bagilt to Gowant, I want to meet them their and watch them cycle it!

It was great though to finally test all my stuff -

Trailer - fine, no skewer problems, was a bit wobbly at first but soon got use to it (cheap Chinese one).
Bike - Felt fine no punctures or other problems (decathlon original 5 night and day).
Tent - Brilliant in the wind and rain (Vango 250)
Stove - Great, made the best tasting coffee ever!
Sleeping bag - Was warm all night, even had to unzip it due to being to warm (Quechua S20).
Rack bag - Excellent, holds enough for day rides and the fold out panniers hold my lock and cable perfectly (M-Wave).
Cape - Brilliant, kept me dry and can cover handlebars and back rack (Quechua Forclaz 100).
Sandals - Very good but a bit slippy on the pedals if the bottoms got wet but dried quickly (Teva).
Phone Holder - Very good and was waterproof (Top-Move).

Things I learnt -
Take paper maps, my phone died and I would have been knackered if I was in the middle of nowhere
Pegs to hang wet stuff on guide ropes
Examine route and check for hills, maybe even google street view it if possible
Take a teaspoon
Something like a spatular for cooking

Edit: Made it second try - viewtopic.php?f=16&t=90133

Dave
Image Attachments
IMG_0409.jpg
IMG_0404.jpg
Last edited by theDaveB on 4 Oct 2014, 9:04am, edited 2 times in total.

beardy
Posts: 3382
Joined: 23 Feb 2010, 4:10pm

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby beardy » 19 Aug 2014, 12:08pm

So am back home now and wondering what went wrong


Dare I suggest that you took too much kit with you. Each to their own and we all have our own styles but there is a reason why some of us are a bit obsessive about keeping the weight of our kit down.

Or alternatively if you want to carry a lot of kit, you attempted too many miles/hills.

This is just a suggestion from somebody miles away who doesnt know you.

My legs hurt as I just did a camping trip with a lot of climbing and I wouldnt have liked to attempt it with a trailer full of kit instead of my two panniers with a pair minimum of lightweight camping gear.

User avatar
TrevA
Posts: 2555
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby TrevA » 19 Aug 2014, 12:25pm

I find that's it's normal for your legs to ache on tour. I find that the ache goes away after about an hour of gentle riding the next day.

You say you didn't make it, but it seems like a good trip to me. You may have not got to your planned destination, but plans can change.
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com

wearwell
Posts: 332
Joined: 3 Feb 2011, 8:45am

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby wearwell » 19 Aug 2014, 12:40pm

1 Too much kit.
2 Trailer.
3 Not enough time to get into it.

Days 2 to 3 can be the worst for a beginner with things only getting noticeably better towards the second week. Three weeks and you are flying!

PH
Posts: 9608
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby PH » 19 Aug 2014, 12:57pm

theDaveB wrote:d couldn't get comfy. I had a sleeping bag and mat but just ached and had to keep turning over.
Dave


Don't write it off as a failure, sounds like at least some of it was good fun and it's all part of the learning curve. As others have said, that's a lot of kit, you need to either cut down on the kit or the mileage.
What you do need to sort out is how to get a decent nights sleep, if you haven't recovered from the first day the second will be harder and so on till it's no longer any fun.
I'd look at getting the camping right, on your next adventure why not ride somewhere a day away, spend a couple of nights and ride back? While it's fresh in your mind, get all your kit out, work out what you didn't use and don't take it again! Over my first few tours my lugage went from 30kg down to 10kg and back up to around 15kg where it's stayed since, you need to find what works for you and the only way of doing that is to get out there and do it.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 4054
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby pjclinch » 19 Aug 2014, 1:08pm

PH wrote:What you do need to sort out is how to get a decent nights sleep, if you haven't recovered from the first day the second will be harder and so on till it's no longer any fun.


Yup.

If you're not sleeping because it's windy then a set of ear-plugs may help.

There are quite a few values of "a mat" available, and they vary from luxurious to... not so luxurious. Something that can get a bit of air in it (plain air beds are okay in warm weather but often not warm enough once it's cooling off) is usually more comfortable. Self inflating mats like Thermarests are widely held as comfort benchmarks, and there a cheaper brands than T-a-R if you're short of cash. Thicker mat means more confort, but also more bulk and weight... you choose, you lose. Things like the T-a-R NeoAir range are light, low bulk, acceptably warm, but also rather expensive.

But if you can get a comfortable mat and shield your ears from the wind, after a good day's ride you'll typically get the Sleep Of The Just.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

theDaveB
Posts: 267
Joined: 18 Feb 2013, 3:09pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Contact:

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby theDaveB » 19 Aug 2014, 1:48pm

Just been looking at my route and the point where I could of turned back but was happy carrying on was 30 miles from home, I only had 11 miles to go. If I had stayed on the flatter coast road (a548) I reckon I would have felt a lot better.

We'll at least I know for next time :-)

Regarding my load, can't see what I could get rid of. There was nothing I didn't use, apart from food and drink but that's more down to cutting my tour short.

Dave

wearwell
Posts: 332
Joined: 3 Feb 2011, 8:45am

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby wearwell » 19 Aug 2014, 2:05pm

We just came back from 3 weeks in France camping cycle touring. About 50 miles a day on average including some hills (Col de la Bataille 1313 metres about the same as Ben Nevis). Didn't walk up any of them! We getting on a bit (69 and 63). Each bike plus kit weighed about 30kg. Could have been lighter - lot of stuff we didn't use.
Mat and pillow important. For pillow I had a dry bag (with clothes in) which stayed inflated half the night.

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15161
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby Si » 19 Aug 2014, 2:09pm

I would second what others have said - it wasn't a failure, you went touring and got some new experiences - that's what it's all about.....and a few tours down the line all the pain will be forgotten and you'll laugh about it.

I also second another couple of points made: that does look like quite a load you've got there....I'm betting that that tent does weigh a fair bit compared to the average one-person bikebacking tent. Obviously we can all only take what we can afford but there are lighter, smaller tents around for a reasonable price if you have a good look. Got my vango 100 second hand from this very site and whereas it's no where near as good as some tents, it also cost the best part of £400 less (it was £20 IIRC) and has done me very well for summer camping.

Likewise, my legs always tend to hurt like heck in the first two or three mornings of a tour. But during the day they get better and as I settle into a modest rhythm everything calms down.

Richard Fairhurst
Posts: 1604
Joined: 2 Mar 2008, 4:57pm
Location: Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 19 Aug 2014, 2:10pm

theDaveB wrote:Who ever decided on the route NCN 5 from Bagilt to Gowant, I want to meet them their and watch them cycle it!


I think it's generally recognised that this is only an interim section - that is, until a cycleway is built along the coast. The coast route is slowly being extended and should now be pretty much complete from Ffynnongroyw to Gronant, I think, which leaves seven-ish miles to do.

Find a route-planning website you like and use its elevation profile function. Here's NCN 5 along the North Wales Coast:

Image

No prizes for working out which bit is the inland section. ;)
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

ipswichcycler
Posts: 97
Joined: 10 Sep 2013, 9:19pm

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby ipswichcycler » 19 Aug 2014, 2:18pm

I agree with what others say about not seeing it as a failure. It's all fun getting out and about. Perhaps it was that you knew that you could be picked up that made it harder. I find hills hard but they are easier when you have no choice. For me I think cycle touring is 60% mental 30% haribo and 10% physical ability.

theDaveB
Posts: 267
Joined: 18 Feb 2013, 3:09pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Contact:

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby theDaveB » 19 Aug 2014, 2:27pm

Cheers everyone.

Yeah my tent is heavy but I really like it and was only £100, plus the fact my bike and trailer fit in it.

After close examination of my route, the amount of times it took my around the houses across the same A road is pretty soul destroying. I reckon I could have cut 5 miles off if I knew at the time. I saw I could go via the NCN 5 all the way, so I did!

Dave

User avatar
Vantage
Posts: 2814
Joined: 24 Jan 2012, 1:44pm
Location: somewhere in Bolton
Contact:

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby Vantage » 19 Aug 2014, 2:39pm

Congrats on getting as far as you did :)
As others have said, from that photo of the bike loaded up, it looks like you took everything bar the kitchen sink. Your tent alone weighs almost twice as much as my Avior X2 and that's no lightweight compared to some, so a special congrats on just getting up that hill on NCN5! A local hill here that's about half as steep has me often getting off and walking my bike even unloaded.
I gave up/was beaten back on my own first tour earlier last week so my hats off to you for even making it to your first site and as others have said here and on my own thread, we can but learn and try again :)
Here's to taking a knock and getting back up :)
Bill


“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.” ~ Eddy Merckx
It's a rich man whos children run to him when his pockets are empty.

thirdcrank
Posts: 30044
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Aug 2014, 2:51pm

It seems to have been a combination of the weight and the terrain. I had my first lesson about this when I was 13 and went youth hostelling in a dreaded school journey party (SJP in the YHA handbook in those days) on foot in the lake District. I'd packed my rucksack a bit like Marksman Sam

Sam carried a musket, a knapsack and coat,
Spur boots that 'e'd managed to wangle,
A 'atchet, a spade, - in fact as Sam said,
'Ed' got everything bar 't kitchen mangle.


At least, a trailer keeps the weight off your back, but it still has all to be moved up hills. As a former BoB YAK owner myself, IIRC they weigh something like 11kgs unladen. That's almost another bike before you even begin to load it up.

I'd say take less stuff or stick to much flatter terrain.

User avatar
honesty
Posts: 2575
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 3:33pm
Location: Somerset
Contact:

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

Postby honesty » 19 Aug 2014, 3:02pm

Sports Xirect have the Zephyros 2 tent for £105... At 1.8kg its a pretty decent weight.

I find day 2 the hardest to get started on, and day 3 to be the worst for my legs.