Touring on a road bike?

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by runner_guy2381, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. runner_guy2381

    runner_guy2381 New Member

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    I'm a 19 and planning my first tour. I've been a runner and swimmer forever and have recently gotten into biking. I bought a cannondale road bike with a CAAD8 frame last spring. I'm looking to start big by riding across the country.
    I'm wondering if anyone has experience touring on a road bike. I'm sure I can switch out the tires, but i'm mainly concerned about whether the bike will be able to handle a loaded rear wheel and whether or not the handling will be greatly affected?
    I'm hoping to not have to buy a special bike for this tour since most of my riding will be with racing in mind, and i'm trying to save up for a higher end race or tri bike.
     
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  2. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    It is hard to safelyconveniently mount much to the frame of a racing bicycle.
    However, a trailer such as a BOB will work. I suggest getting as big a size tires as you can fit. The other issue will be gearing low enough to pull the extra weight/wind load. I suggest looking into a mountain bicycle rear derailer along with a "new" cassette with 32 or 34 largest cog and a longer chain to go along with it. I suggest trying it out with full load and into a 20 MPH wind and a 8% grade to make sure.... before taking off. You might also look into what the smallest front chain ring you can mount/shift with your FD.
     
  3. drfish

    drfish New Member

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    I have been amazed at what I see on the trans am. I have seen lots of guys riding road bikes with really narrow tires pulling bobs, they seem to do just fine. The keep your legs, knees and other body parts in good shape for when your old you could look into a big rear block, you may need a new rear changer but it might be worth it. In the early days of touring we or at least I toured with a short WB big geared bike and had a great trip.

    I am sure that it will handle like a loaded bike but by the time your a week into the trip you will wonder why you even worried.

    I would look at putting the biggest rubber you can on the wheels within reason, it will help smooth out the road. 700-28or32 might be a good choice.

    :) :) :) :)
     
  4. runner_guy2381

    runner_guy2381 New Member

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    Thanks for the reply's. So you don't think I should even try to load stuff on the bike, but just pull it with some kind of trailer?
     
  5. drfish

    drfish New Member

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    Not knowing what the actual model of cannondale you have its a little hard.

    If it is a short wheel based, tight road frame, without braze ons buy a trailer of some sort. There is a large wheeled, trailer where the gear is hung in bag off an intergrated rack, might be worth looking at. Do a google for extrawheel.

    If its a long wheel based bike with ample rack mounts, the worlds you pineapple!
     
  6. richy

    richy New Member

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    I'm assuming by 'road bike' you mean racing bike? Touring bikes are also road bikes, and they (rather obviously) are perfect for touring.

    But first, I'm wondering why you want to ride across the country after just getting into cycling. The transam is long and arduous, and quite a time commitment as well. Short tours are a great introduction, and can be a lot more fun as well, since you can skip the boring parts (such as the plains).

    That said, there are many reasons not to tour on a racing bike. They aren't built to hold racks. While you can mount racks with clamps, carbon tubes don't like being squeezed. The wheelbase is too short, the BB too high, the gears aren't low enough, the wheels aren't strong enough, and with most modern racers, there isn't enough tire clearance for anything wider than a 25. You want to minimize the chance of breakdowns, and this implies a strong, reliable bike, as conventional as possible.

    THAT said, many do tour on racing bikes, particularly with trailers, as others have pointed out. But I wouldn't do it.

    Rich Haubert
     
  7. Nature Geek

    Nature Geek New Member

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    Hey,

    I'm in the same predicament. I have a R500 cannondale racing bike. I am planning on going form Vancouver to San Diego this summer. I actually just bought the bike yesterday. I decided agaisnt a touring bike for your same reason, because I want to do triathalons when I get back, and so thought it would be wiser to spend the money on a bike I will get more use of in the future. I'm thionking of taking a bob trailer because thinking the panniers maybe too heavy for the road bike.
    But, I am now second guessing my purchase....

    So, let me know what you end up doing. Take care and happy adventure planning!
     
  8. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    The #1 tip is to take aboslutley as little as possible. Every item adds up to more weight.

    Let me repeat that;

    Take the bare minimum
     
  9. Fango

    Fango New Member

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    I am in a similar position - I have a Specialized Allez Double, which has mounting points for rear panniers.

    Just wondering how much weight you'd recommend putting in panniers? I have contacted the manufacturers, but they haven't replied.

    I am in the UK, thinking about doing London-Edinburgh (about 510 miles) and staying in youth-hostels along the way. I'd go as light as possible - waterproofs, a spare set of bib shorts & jersey and a towel.

    Any advice?
     
  10. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Cardice saddle bag with your gear stowed in it. Lighter than rack + panniers and you don't need to be concerned about your heels hitting the panniers.
    I have seen many "tourers" who do camp/cook with this arrangement. Since you won't ever be far from "civilization" you can get by with very little. I suggest a all-in-one bicycle tool set from a company like Park + spare tube + patch kit + pump (Road Morph is my favorite). If your tires can't make the round trip it may be a good time to swap them out before leaving or have a bicycle freindly shop picked out where you can do it on route.
     
  11. Fango

    Fango New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. Something like the Carradice SQR Tour looks ideal.
    [​IMG]
    This one is 16 litres.

    They also do a 23 litre version called the Carradura, which is also a saddle bag but comes with supports which fix onto the pannier mounting points.

    I'm slightly wary of putting all the weight on the saddle post because it's the only Carbon part of the bike, as far as I know...
     
  12. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Looks good, but I would consider a quality aluminum seat post.
     
  13. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Another thought, if you want to "spread the load" and you want to have easy/quick access to your map:
    http://www.topeak.com/2007/products/bags/tourguidehbb.php
    Having a small and light handlebar bag with a clear map pocket on top is very nice.
    Topeak has a nice selection of bags, racks, tools, and pumps. I am spoiled with the Road Morph pump and Alien tool. I also like their OS/Tubular rack W/ULock and MTX Rack-Top Bag for commuting. Maybe a cruize through Topeak's website would enlighten you on their items.
    I tried their super lightweight tents and think they are very interesting. I got stuck in a rain/sleet/snow storm once far enough from any civilization to pull off the road and setup my "instant cowboy camp" until the storm was past. topeaks tent allowed me to stay warm/safe/dry. I am not selling Topeak products, but they are very well designed and unique. (Don't know if Space Blankets are still avialable but I don't hike/boat/bicycle very far into the "unknown" without one).
     
  14. richy

    richy New Member

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    Sounds like you have the right idea with carrying a minimum amount. An Allez is a nice bike, and as you mentioned has rear rack mounts. I would use a standard Blackburn style rack (plenty of cheap used ones) and almost any set of rear panniers. You should be able to get everything in smallish panniers, with nothing on top of the rack. With food the panniers really shouldn't weigh more than about 8kg. Use a 23 in front and 25 in back for smooth roads - 25 and 28 if you expect rough or dirt, assuming you have the tire clearance with your frame. Make sure your spokes are tight enough, and carry spare spokes and either tools to remove the cassette or one of the those fiber-fix emergency spokes.
     
  15. Fango

    Fango New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. Just got a reply from Specialized, and they say "We don't have any weight limits on that bike [Specialized Allez Double], so you can put on whatever your rack will hold."

    Not sure what you mean here..? Pannier width in cm? Front/back?
     
  16. richy

    richy New Member

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    Sorry about the ambiguity. I meant tire width, in mm. Unless you're really light yourself, a 23mm in back is really too small.

    That's quite an interesting response from Specialized - not what I would have expected!
     
  17. leebm

    leebm New Member

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    I second the vote for using a Carradice saddle bag if you are planning to travel light. I have a Barley and am thinking about getting a Nelson Long Flap. I use the Bagman Quick Release Rack as my saddle does not have saddlebag loops on it.

    It's a great way to travel light and the Nelson Long Flap can carry a substantial amount of gear. One nice thing about using the Bagman rack is that you don't have to worry about the SQR on your carbon seatpost. Of course, I'm assuming you don't have carbon rails on your saddle. . .

    BL
     
  18. balaclavas

    balaclavas New Member

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    I am currently planing a cycle tour, Calais to Paris in time for the Tour de France. I am using an old (1970's) Carlton racing bike. I have thought about both the trailer and saddlebag solution, especially as atatching a rack will envolve using the mudguard eyelets and a seatclamp adapter of some kind. After some deliberation I have decided to attempt to use a pannier set. This decision was mostly based on prior experience (touring on a mountain bike) where the majority of the pannier space was full of lightweight tent. I'm hoping that I can keep the weight low enough and that the nearly 40yr old steel frame is built of sterner stuff than I give it credit for. Otherwise I will hace to use my 700c mountainbike conversion, which is currently in pieces.

    As far as handling goes, the front will be very light especially uphill, so a handlebar bag will be a great idea, it carries extra weight, forces some front end traction, and you can read a map as you go, nothing but win if you ask me!
    Hope to hear how all your endevours go and goodluck.
     
  19. islandboy

    islandboy New Member

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    Check out James and Rebecca's Pacific Coast Bike Trip They went all the way to Mexico. :cool: They did use a trailer though you may want to make sure you do not have the same experiance they did.:eek: He started out towing the trailer with a race bike, destroyed the frame and then continued with a surly cyclocross/touring bike.

    I really like my BOB trailer for short trips - lots of "comfort gear". I prefer a touring bike with front and rear panniers when we tour for more than a week. We toured New Zealand 2006 averaging 100 km a day loaded this way. The balanced rig was great.
     
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