How-to Guide for FIRST TOURS

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by KnoxGardner, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. KnoxGardner

    KnoxGardner New Member

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    Hey folks,

    I put this PDF guide together for some lecturers I'll be doing around Boston this spring, helping people who want to go on their first tour, get inspired dand get out there on their bikes. These lectures mainly involve me unpacking my bike and making fun of my disasters on the road while of course going on about how much I love bike touring and how easy it is. :)

    Here's the handout.

    http://www.moderncrisis.com/bikenerd/Handouts/Your_First_Tour_PRINT.pdf

    For the newbies, if you've got a burning question that I am completely glossing over, I'd love to know it. For the old hands on this site, if you do take a look at this, 1. I am sure you will have something that you find important that I am leaving out, but 2. I'd still like to know of course what that is...as I've got about an hour to convert rooms full of willing newbies into gung-ho tourers! GRIN. Notably, I am not offering very specific gear recommendations, but will have a bunch on hand for folks to see how it works together...

    Thanks,

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com
     
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  2. origanic

    origanic New Member

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    This was a great start for me! You can read my post further down on the forum about how I am looking to do a "Tour du Canada". I am starting my research and training NOW, because I plan to go in May 2007.

    Thank you again! If you have anything else that could help me out here, that would be greatly appreciated!

    Sandie
     
  3. KnoxGardner

    KnoxGardner New Member

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    Sounds like you are getting some great advice from some other folks and that you have plenty of time to prepare. I had terrible snow on me for right after labor day (Sept 5) on my way through Glacier NP in BC on my way to Banff, a couple years ago. But I suppose that is the mountains for you. Cold at night, but dry and lovely.

    With two years to plan, I would say this: Get a Map of Canada and hang it on your wall to look at. Since it seems you are Canadian you can probably find room right next to the Canadian flag you have hanging around your place. Then just keep your eyes on the map and think about places you want to see. That will help keep your inspired. Until you get bored and you get an idea to go somewhere else. If that happens, go there instead and don't worry about Canada.

    I had a map of Brittany on my wall at work + a Brittany calendar for biking ispiration. I finally used the map, but I used the OTHER SIDE and never did get to Brittany. That is just how life is. GRIN.

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

     
  4. TrekDen

    TrekDen New Member

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    Thanks for posting this thread Knox. I hope someday i'll get to use the advice given. I bookmarked it for inspiration.
     
  5. KnoxGardner

    KnoxGardner New Member

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    I bet you have plenty of close to home overnight/weekend jaunts that would be fun, interesting and easy to combine with another form of transportation.

    Perhaps you can think of something, like bike out to a hotel about 50 miles from you. Bike the next day about 50 miles and then take a bus home from whereever you end up.

    I was surprised on how easy this is on the East Coast and it makes for pleasant weekends, (and training if you are doing something longer "in the season").

    Good luck to you on your biking.

    K

     
  6. MidBunchLurker

    MidBunchLurker New Member

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    Great guide. We've learnt many of the same lessons. One typo though - the link to crazyguyonabike on the last page, the "a" is missing.
     
  7. KnoxGardner

    KnoxGardner New Member

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    Oh, drats. There is always one thing that gets through it seems. I should have triple checked all the links and not changed stuff. I like looking at all those journals on that site. Thanks for the email, and the posted file is now correct.

    I probably also should have mentioned that the link is to a large print file and takes a bit to open. If you are only going to look at it online or have a slow modem, you could look at this one:

    http://www.moderncrisis.com/bikenerd/Handouts/Your_First_Tour_SCREEN.pdf

    Knox


     
  8. tukanuk

    tukanuk New Member

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    Thanks for the great guide I am heading out at the beginning of June for a cross Canada bike trip. I've been training since last September and saving my pennies and I am massive excited about getting started.

    Just talked to a guy today at one of the local bike shops about my plans and he was drawing maps on a receipt for me from when he was in BC. We were getting all excited... it was great. My girlfriend was standing there and I don't think she really had a clue what all the fuss was about but anyways...

    I read your point about the touring bikes and I'm thinking I'm going to spend the money on one. Actually, it's been my plan to buy a touring bike all along. Are there any particular touring bikes you recommend? I'm looking to spend about $1500 CDN with all the taxes on the bike. I looked at a couple Cannondales and Treks today but they didn't really do it for me. I saw a Devinci Destination http://devinci.com/english/desti.html in a catolgue and I really liked the looks of it for $1349.

    Any advice would be great!

    -ben
     
  9. KnoxGardner

    KnoxGardner New Member

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    Hey Ben,

    Glad that helped you out some. I'll be making most of the Cross Canada trip myself this summer. I'm getting a bit a later start than I'd like heading from Boston up to Nova Scotia (and if I can get more money, New Foundland) before heading West to Seattle, stating in Mid July. I expect that I will stay in Canada most of the way, though have been seriously thinking about dropping down into US after the Great Lakes. But then there is no poutine! So this is a problem.

    When you hit Banff/BC/Rockies go to hot springs! Radium Hot Springs is just cool as hell and it feel swell.

    As far as selecting a touring bike, there are lots of posts in this forum, some getting rather passionate, about which bike is best. You should look at those and see what other folks specificy as far as bike types, gearing, components, and what not. There is a lot of great info there.

    Here are my two cents:

    TWO CENTS: Buy the bike that feels most comfortable. Try to forget about the cost. Ride as many touring bikes as you can find in your town. Don't forget to look at used touring bikes. And then buy the bike that feels most comfortable.

    I ride a Rodriquez tourer www.rodcycle.com, but you know why? Becuase when I went to the store, I did not want to give it back to them during the practice spin. I was not, like, eh, this feels tricky to ride, or eh, this is all right...I thought, "Do I really need my stuff and car at their store???" That is the kind of experience I hope you can find when you try out the different bikes. This bike was out of my price range: I handed it back. Went for a few more "practice" rides and ate beans and rice for a couple more months. It was that kind of sacrificing love. It is the kind of practice ride experience you are looking for.

    My partner is looking for a new touring bike. We are riding everything from $200 used Raliegh tourer to $3000 Co-motion. When he finds the bike that feels best, that is the one we will bring home (eventually if we have to save more money..um, like the Co-Motion, and I refuse to eat beans and rice again for someone else's bike...)

    Good luck on your trip.

    Drop me back a line if you've got some Canada tips and things not to miss. I am a notoriously on the road planner and will more than likely just wake up on the day I am leaving with only the vagusest notion of where I am going or what I will do when I get there.

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com
     
  10. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Hi Knox,

    Thanks for all your help and advice. I have been studying maps in and out and never relaized so many states have bike maps they woould send you for free. I found for Long Island, CT, RI and I have the rubels for Mass. Next week is go time for me to Boston...

    Your advice of going through LI was great as I looked through it and will go straight to Orient Point and catch a ferry to New London. I think it will allwork out and will make sure I know where the trains are in the states in case of emergency. I believe you said both trains and buses can take bikes? Correct? Like Peter Pan and such..

    Going with the Cannondale F600 with some slight changes added 35 inch Infinity tires, a more comfortable Italian seat and corking up the bars...I will have a few extras tubes and a small tool kit swiss armyknife style. Do you think I need a camelback?

    I am trying to go as light as possible so it could be a pleasue instead of real hike. Also should I have plenty of advil or ben-gay?? :)

    How many hours a day you usually do? I figured ride sun up to sun down. My bike guys feel I do not need fenders and have a couple paniers from cannon. How about clothing, any advice? Trekker said a couple of polo shirts and some shorts...think it may still be cool by next week in NE area?

    Thanks again for all your doing for newbies...

    -John Sirabella
     
  11. KnoxGardner

    KnoxGardner New Member

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    Good luck, John. I am compeletely envivious.

    Be sure to check ahead on the ferry times as that sounds like the hang up point on the trip. Should be just a fine fine time and I can't wait to try them. I hear that eastern Long Island is great for biking.

    Since we are not that far from New York, are weather is basically the same! You New Yorkers are crazy with everything that is not in the Boroughs seemingly at the edge of the known universe.

    Yep, Peter Pan will take bikes, though be advised on some heavy routes (Boston to New York Express) it is up to the driver's discretion on if he will take your bike on that particular run (i.e. it is already full of luggage) or if he will charge you the bike surcharge. They just slide it in underneath. Me: I'd never send my bike ahead or behind me. I'd be on the same bus with it. Our bus driver did not charge us the surcharge from Newport, so we tipped him the amount we would have spent anyway to help grease the wheels of kindness. I can't imagine you will have much problems if you decide you need to do this.

    The MBTA trains into Boston certainly take bikes. Yep. It is a dream.

    Have fun!

    Knox
     
  12. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Knox,

    I am keeping a feel free attitude about the whole thing as opposed to I MUST DO IT!! It is making a big difference in my feeling abougt the ride. I just keep saying to myself it is not a race, just a ride. Also there is no winning or losing. I have you to thank for that.

    I feel I am ready as long as my legs hold out. It is funny but the only place I have not gotten my maps from yet is LI, NY but CT, RI and MA came in two days after ordering from state websites. I have plenty of safety valves incase I give out between buses and trains.

    I just worry what part of my body will hurt the most and what can I do to minimize and take care of it. The weather has been unbelievable here and hope it holds out till end of next week. My wife wants to by me a GPS so she can track me and incase I am in a ditch find the body quickly to get the insurance money!! :eek: Love is a strange thing :p You know of any such device??

    Also hoping to loose a few pounds during this ride...

    -John Sirabella



     
  13. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Hi Ben,

    The bike looks great and I may have bought it, if I knew of it earlier for that price. Lately alot of people are recommending the Bianchi Volpe which is nice for the price. Steel frames can be mended if broken which can be nice, even though I do not know how important. Alot of people now want the mountain bike style with adjustments in the wheels to make it more touring. I was told all that matters in touring is comfort, comfort and comfort. You will be staying on it for many hours after all...trek also seems to be very popular ofcourse.

    From my research it depends on how much gear you plan to haul. I spoke with guys who went cross country and they said do not use trailers and the less you take the better you will enjoy it.

    I bought a Cannodale F600 (more city bike) which can really be transformed into what you want. It has disc brakes which are a big plus, mountain bike frame and shimano deodore XT so if I switch tires I can go to mountain bike and than back to touring in a simple switch of tires. For more comfort I added a san marco regal seat, Italian job which feels like a pillow. It is good at alot of things but will never be a speed demon.

    Well this is my two cents and hope my newbie advice helps you out...If you want to go high end you may want to look at the Co-Motion or Surly (??) bikes also.

    -John

     
  14. mwparenteau

    mwparenteau New Member

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    Great guide! It makes touring sound easy enough for people like myself. :D
     
  15. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Knox's guide was right on the money for me and I am sure it will be for you. Go in there would no attitude, no expectations and have some fun. It worked for me but next I will even try and make it more fun by going off route more.



     
  16. FatherBob

    FatherBob New Member

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    I found it an enjoyable read, and it jogged my brain in some pleasant ways. I like that it has a different feel from some of the other pieces I've seen people write on the subject.
     
  17. MadDaze

    MadDaze New Member

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    I'm working on a Web site that will cover cycling the Canal de Garonne and the Canal du Midi. Could I include a link to or a copy of your touring PDF on the English side?

    Harvey the White Rabbit (in Bordeaux)
     
  18. KnoxGardner

    KnoxGardner New Member

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    Hey,

    Sure you are welcome to link to this. No problems with that. I'm working on an edited version for a magazine (which will then I am sure be edited even more. Drop me an email I can send that link when it goes live.

    Canal biking in France just sounds dreamy. I got to ride around Northern France last year. It is just the best. I can't wait to get back.

    Cheers,

    Knox
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com
     
  19. MadDaze

    MadDaze New Member

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    Thanks for the permission. And you can send me the link at [email protected].

    Be aware that towpath riding can be rough! A bike buddy and I did the Canal de Garrone and the Canal du Midi. Except for 100km around Toulouse, it was all grass track or packed earth, loose gravel, LARGE tree roots and rocks, occasional mud, etc. For someone who had hardly ever been off asphalt and concrete, it was indeed rough! But then on the bright side it helped my bike-handling skills.

    If you liked northern France, come on down to the Gironde département in SW France. Hundreds of kms of bike paths as flat or hilly as you want, more châteaux than you can shake a stick at, friendly people, good food and wine, etc.

    Harvey the Write Rabbit in Bordeaux
     
  20. Batesy

    Batesy New Member

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    Not sure about France, but in the UK Hawthorn bushes seem to be rife along canal banks.... many a puncture to be had.
     
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