bike touring newbie's



megandh

New Member
Oct 23, 2006
2
0
0
:D hey there everyone,

we are planning a cycle trip around europe next summer, for about 5 months(hopefully mostly wild and paid camping), taking in scandanavia, eastern and western europe... never done something like this... but thought it would be a great way to see europe... and a great experience.... from the good to the bad....

we have been looking at second hand bicycles.... in fact meant to be looking at one in a couple of days which is apparently an tourer (advertised) but might be a hybrid... by company called falcon.... never heard of it, but then again we are not experienced riders(on internet not much info either)

Just a couple of questions maybe to help us on our way
- how many gears are probably recommended, i know it could be a broad question, but need to learn somewhere i guess
- are hybrid bikes suitable for touring, or are they more designed for city use (as they seem more in our price range 150-200 pounds)
- possibly anything of major importance to look at when buying secondhand
- also anything about the brand falcon i guess, since looking at one soon

I have been looking around this forum, and cannot seem to find this info, so sorry if im repeating things that have already been answered.

But i must say i have found plenty of other things that should differently help, if we decide to do this.... which i am 90% sure

thanks people

peace

meg and h
 

xilios

New Member
May 2, 2004
103
0
0
Hi, it looks like your planing a very nice tour around Europe.
There is nothing wrong with used hybrid bikes, I bought one for 300 euro's in 2005 and have rode it for over 8000kms with no problems.
There a a couple signs you should look for in a touring bike.
The gear range should be prety wide, ours is 42/32/22 up front and 11-34 rear, that should get you over any hills (mountains) on a loaded bike with no problem. You would need a comfortable sadle since youll be sitting on it for many hours a day.
You need at least two bottle cages as you need a lot of water, even though its Europe there still many parts where it would be difficult to get water on certain hours of the day.
The front forks should have holes on the sides about half way up for hooking up the front racks.
If the bikes have flat handle bars you should think of getting bar ends for the extra hand possition.
Also investing on new tires is also a good idea, I would highly recomend Schwalbe merathon tires, (do a Yahoo search) they are bullet proof, after 8000kms and no flat.
You can visit our web pages and check out our bikes, also go to the links and stuff page, there are many webpage links there with a lot of tips.
If you have any further questions don't hasitate, were happy to help
cheers
 

blackbird05

New Member
Dec 6, 2004
76
0
0
Hey megandh, welcome to the forums!
Xilios has already covered some some of the major areas, so all I have to add is a couple of little points.
I also think hybrid bikes are a good, cheap alternative. I've seen people doing long tours on heavy iron mountain-beasts, and they managed just fine. Bring a small repair kit if you feel you'll be able to use it. Take the time to get a basic knowledge of simple repairs. It's a simple machine, even taking your bike apart to box it, and then putting it back together again will teach you a wealth of things about bike mechanics. A caveat with hybrid/used mountain bikes is that the smaller your wheel diameter, the heavier your bike and wider your tires, the more work it'll take you to do the distance on a tour. If you're up for the challenge and don't mind a little extra work though, that's no problem! You'll end up burning more calories and being able to eat more delicious European pastries that way:)
There's a difference however between working your body and hurting your body. The bike you get must be properly sized to accomodate you. Remember, you'll be in that saddle for hours every day, for months. Little strains and dicomforts you may not even notice for the few hours on the bike can accumulate and cause you pain, or even injury, in the long run. Take your bike to a good bike shop and ask them to size it for you (seat height, stem height etc). Tell them you plan on doing a long tour. Takes your bikes on a test ride where you bike for a weekend with the same load and the same distance that you plan to do at the start of your tour. Pay attention to what your body's telling you - are your knees/lower back/wrists screaming at the end of the ride? Research how you should prevent injury because of this, ask your physiotherapist, doctor or an experienced cyclist. If your handlebars can accomodate them, consider getting Aero bars for your bike. My biking partner and I didn't and I ended up learning to balance my elbows on my flat handlebars two months into our 4 month trip just to vary my body position. I highly, highly recommend them. The other alternatives are getting a bike with drop bars, or using bar ends like Xilios suggested.
Don't skimp on the tires, just to reiterate Xilios's suggestion. Cheap tires like ours blew (not due to puncture, just discintegrated) 1500 km into the trip under their load. The good ones are worth the expense. Getting puncture-proof tires or not is a personal choice. Ours were not, and I think I ended up fixing about 5 flats/2000km/bike, which wasn't too bad. Always carry a spare tube or two.
If you've got any more questions, feel free to post them on these forums. I can't emphasize enough how much the folks here helped me out when I was in your shoes.
Have a fantastic time planning, your 5 month tour sounds like the trip of a lifetime!
Cheers,
Blackbird
 

john74

New Member
Sep 19, 2006
31
0
0
if your interested in falcon bikes check out claud butler bikes they are made by falcon cycles maybe a bit better quality than falcon bikes themselves. to be perfectly honest if you are on a limited budget i would checkout dawes or claud butler. in my opinion i would not like to take a trip of that length of time on a falcon i had one about 10 years ago and one of the chainstays snapped (which is a major part of the frame). but good luck on your journey you will love it..:D
 

rubydoob

New Member
Dec 23, 2005
9
0
0
49
Oooh sounds exciting, I got into touring just last year but not attempted a real biggie yet. I agree with all of the above but suggest you avoid falcon, I don't think they are up to the long distance.
If your going second hand see if you can get a giant or trek (but not sure £200 would be enough) dawes and claud butler are both reasonable or marin do some nice hybrids, hybrids are pretty good and just upgrade the important bits like saddle and handlebars to something comfy.
I found this http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/framesizehelp.asp really useful for getting the right size frame, although intended for road race bikes it gives you a good idea, the right size frame makes a huge difference to your back/knees/hands.
I use my old mountain bike frame but have changed saddle, added end bars, fitted road tyres and am just upgrading chainset (the front cogs) to 48/38/28 which give me a better speed on the flat (but means I have to work harder on the hills!) with a 11-27 cassette on the back. If your feeling brave SPD pedals and shoes help out with the power but need a bit of practise!