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Updated: 1 year 13 weeks ago

Re: South Downs Way on a touring bike ??

15 May 2016 - 8:14pm
I've done SDW several times on a MTB. On a dry day I would say it could be done on a tourer, although I wouldn't fancy it.
In the wet I would suggest it would be dangerous. I came off several times with knobbly tyres and lacked grip in some of the hills, even with those.

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Re: Long touring without front panniers

15 May 2016 - 5:21pm
FarOeuf wrote:, if you want to ride faster they're more aerodynamic, etc, etc....

Now, there is a lot which I agree with in your post, particularly in regard to having a choice being a good thing, and it's just a case of going with whatever is your preference. But I have to object to unsubstantiated claims to scientific fact.

I take it that your are assuming that, because the frame bag presents a slightly narrower front profile (sans rider, at least), that means it is more aerodynamic, but aerodynamics is not that simple. I could equally argue that, since an equivalent volume of panniers would be mounted further back (and crucially, behind the rider) and lower to the ground, then panniers would be more aerodynamic - there is a reason that fighter jets and fast cars tend to be wedge shaped.

And I would equally be making an unsubstantiated claim based on opinion, not fact. At the end of the day, any differences are going to be trivial, and dependant on the exact setup - and even the materials used.

I am not trying to be argumentative, I just think that spurious claims of 'fact' on a matter that is almost entirely subjective, does nothing to help matters.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

15 May 2016 - 11:15am
bohrsatom wrote: I cycled up a very short 14% hill just fine but honestly the kinds of hills which could cause your front wheel to come off the ground will be too steep to ride up anyway!
Try cycling around Devon/Somerset! I just managed the toll road up from Porlock; the hill from Lynmouth to Lynton defeated me due to front wheel lift. But I agree such hills (>20%) are not common, and can of course be walked.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

15 May 2016 - 11:00am
We have a couple of kit threads in the 'too good to lose' section

This one is very detailed viewtopic.php?f=42&t=85590

This one is about minimising kit viewtopic.php?f=16&t=48438

Both threads have some disucssion and opinions about whether certain items are needed, benefits of some items, etc.

Of course, you also have bring stuff for the little one. My advice, for having done this with kids: bring something that will entertain the little one, despite extra weight. His favorite toys, an electronic gizmo (ipad?), whatever works best for him. Not too much; just a couple of things because sometimes, one parent needs to go use the loo, while the other one is cooking or setting up a tent or something.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

15 May 2016 - 10:52am
With two of you, you can share the load of tents/sleeping equipment/cookware etc which makes getting everything into rear panniers more achievable. When I go touring with my GF I have a 20L Alpkit dry bag on my rack containing the camping equipment and she has the 13L version with stove, cookware, etc. We don't take front panniers because I have a carbon fork, so no lugs, but even if I did the extra weight of a rack + bags is at least 2kg and that's without putting anything in then.

We don't have kids so if you did go rear-pannier-only I'm not sure you could find space for their stuff too. It might be a struggle but you can always try it and see. A trailer may give you the extra space you need.

In terms of weight distribution issues you will be fine. We rode 4 months using the setup described above with no real problems. I cycled up a very short 14% hill just fine but honestly the kinds of hills which could cause your front wheel to come off the ground will be too steep to ride up anyway!

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

15 May 2016 - 8:38am
andymiller wrote:Take what you'd take for backpacking. Simple as that. (OK add in an inner tube or two, bike pump and allen keys etc).


You seem to have 2 potential baggage issues.
- Not enough capacity in luggage carriers - easy to check, just pack everything and see if it fits
- Balance on bikes caused by all weight at rear. As gloomyandy suggests, do a trial run. This does't need to involve an overnight camp, though that would be better; the main point is to load everything including child on the bikes and ride for a reasonable distance - approx. what you expect your daily mileage to be. Make sure you have a bail-out option in case you've misjudged.

The biggest problem I find with a lot of weight on the back is that the front wheel can tend to lift on really steep uphills. The solution for a first tour is simply avoid steep uphills.

I've never carried a child on a bike but the average toddler or older will probably weigh as much as a typical touring load. and will be sitting higher if in a child seat, thus increasing any balance/stability issues. I'd have thought the trailer would be the best option but others wil have more experience of this.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

15 May 2016 - 6:14am
Take what you'd take for backpacking. Simple as that. (OK add in an inner tube or two, bike pump and allen keys etc).

A pair of rear panniers come to about 42 litres - so a medium-sized backpack. If you need a bit more put a dry bag on the top ofbthe rack.

Most people you see out on the road don't use front panniers.

I'd suggest having a system where you put things back into the same pannier every time - otherwise you risk going mad playing 'which bag is it in?' when you need something.

I use a 50mm webbing strap to secure my panniers and provide some extra support. But so far as I can see I'm the only person in the entire world who does this.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

14 May 2016 - 11:00pm
Cant use front panniers, no rack mount points. That is a potential issue I think. Everything will be on the rear rack apart from bar bags. Not sure if that is going to be ok or not.

I think we would go for a local ride fully loaded to get the feel for it. Mind you my partner is experienced having done some adventurous stuff overseas on self supported trips. Used an MTB with only rear rack and bar bag apparently. I guess is is ok but my bike is probably not as fogiving as a MTB (it is one of those so called adventure / gravel bikes I think).

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

14 May 2016 - 10:55pm
Whatever you decide to take, it is well worth having a trial run to a local camp site. This will give you a chance to get a feel for the bikes loaded and will help you sort out the best way to pack the bikes and check to see if anything doesn't work. It may also help in planning daily distances etc. Four panniers (plus rack top etc.) should be enough since some of the bigger things like tent and stove etc. can be shared.

First cycle tour - kit advice

14 May 2016 - 10:19pm
First tour, camping on sites, new area to us but we looking at a national cycle route (C&C up the Northumberland coast or similar) and we're experienced backpackers/campers. We'll be taking our kid who will be in a child seat or possibly a child trailer (we have one of those).

Now a lot of camping kit transfers so we have stove, pots etc. sorted. Indeed we are more than spoilt for choice on that front (I've had a stove habit from my wildcamping/backpacking past). We have sleeping bags, mats and wicking clothing too (not cycling specific though I am planning on getting cycling baggies with padded inner shorts).

So, what to take? How to pack it? Suggestions?

One difficulty is we are likely to only be able to use four rear panniers, currently have one medium bar bag and a top tube bag. Kit can be lashed to the top of the rear pannier on one bike. That is about all we have to carry the kit unless we take a trailer (combined child and kit). I am worried that all the kit on the rear pannier may affect handling. What is your opinion on that? BTW both bikes will not have the necessary front rack attachment points. Whilst there are front rack solutions that can be used with unsuitable forks we are unlikely to spare the cash to buy these expensive solutions. I was wondering if a bikepacking bag might be a good idea perhaps even a frame bag. What's your view on this?

BTW the bikes will have either front suspension or carbon forks. Not real touring bikes but we are not yet into serious touring but if we like this we may end up with a more suitable touring bike. We're all about owning only one bike due to money and storage so thi means we have bikes that suited our use but now are not ideal for touring.

So any general advice? Pointers, suggestions for kit that you consider worth getting, the go to kit, etc.?? BTW we are part way there with ortlieb rear panniers. Mine have the older fittings which means tool adjustment.

Re: New Route Planner

14 May 2016 - 9:36pm
Thanks to everyone for the really useful feedback. Sorry to hear that the panning was causing problems for some people - fingers crossed it is fixed now.

To answer a few questions. It's not a commercial project, maybe one day. Gobybike is a limited company, but only because the Job Centre insisted on it for a New Enterprise Allowance grant, when my old College went bust and I was made redundant halfway through the teaching year. So I've also registered to comply with the Data Protection Act. I understand your fears about spam (I wish my students were as cautious,last week I got so carried away I ended up comparing Facebook to the Stasi )

Please feel free to play as much as you like - you only need an account to save and download. It also gives access to the User Profile, which allows some filtering & customisation. The e-mail address is requested so if you forget your password, you can reset it automatically. I didn't want people locked out sending me e-mails when I was away on tour!

Not sure of the etiquette (I've been a member for years, but mostly just a lurker on this board), but happy to start a new thread if the mods are happy for me to do so. Right at the beginning of this one, Richard suggested otherwise.

Re: Lightweight touring - How much can you pack in the bags?

14 May 2016 - 8:12pm
Apparently, the bend is to help put the rider's weight a bit farther back because of the big wheels and long wheel base and possibly to allow clearance when using fat tyres, though these are the fattest he's got at the moment.
The saddle drops as much as it need to ( not all the way) by opening the quick release seat post clamp.
Me, I take the pictures, write the stories and ride. I know little about such things. Too busy worrying about my weight.

Re: Lightweight touring - How much can you pack in the bags?

14 May 2016 - 8:05pm
Oh well you live and learn.
Someone with technical acumen will explain that.
Probably just fashion.
How do you drop the saddle
My newest bike is a 2001 skip trainer built up with used parts, so what do I know..............

Re: Lightweight touring - How much can you pack in the bags?

14 May 2016 - 7:55pm
Hi Natural Ankling,
this is the design of the frame - there is a bend in the seat tube. Have a look at a bike belonging to someone else.

Re: Lightweight touring - How much can you pack in the bags?

14 May 2016 - 7:35pm
Well......I was joking about the rider
Not my eyes so explain that with digital? camera

Re: Lyon to Ljubljana across the Alps: route advice

14 May 2016 - 4:54pm
andymiller wrote:before turning right to Kranjska Gora
This is one of the least entertaining climbs in the Alps. It's only about a 600m net climb over the Wurzenpass alias Korensko sedlo, but this is no switchback pass, rather most of the height is gained in a prolonged straight sections at about 1:5 steepness. It was bad enough going down it.

Re: South Downs Way on a touring bike ??

14 May 2016 - 9:40am
matt_twam_asi wrote:mercalia wrote:The Downs Link at that time was not very well surfaced, I hope it is better now?


(OK, I know that the southern part is better now according to Squeaker. Everything else is still hit and miss.)

That's 'better' in a 'fat tyred' bike sort of way: still not all bikes / weather

Re: First cycle tour

14 May 2016 - 9:35am
I'd go east or west from Bristol as you're unlikely to see that on an end to end. South Wales seems attractive but heading to Wiltshire will be a gentler introduction to touring.

I've recently done my first tour and was doing 50-60 miles a day but I think 40-45 would be a better number for planning. It may well end up as 50+ after a few wrong turns and unexpected road closures anyway.

NCN routes are mostly well signposted but it does vary depending on how much volunteer time and council support Sustrans has in an area. They do also often go the long way round, which I think is in order to pass close to more houses, to meet their "within x miles of y% of the population" aim, but that may be less annoying for touring than transport.

Re: First cycle tour

14 May 2016 - 8:35am
Since it will only be a short test-tour, not very far from home, I'm not too worried about things going tits up.

But really, barring injuries, the worst that is likely to happen is that it takes me an hour or two longer to reach my destination than expected and I get a sore backside. I'm more concerned about route-finding delays than getting physically tired.

As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Anyway, the Devon C2C does look interesting (if a little boringly flat). I actually did the walking version in 2012 across Dartmoor and Exmoor between Wembury and Lynemouth (6 1/2 days with ankle tendonitis and other ailments for the last 4 days so I'm used to pushing on regardless ).

Are the NCN routes well signposted generally? I'll be taking GPS gadgets and maps with me but I prefer it when I can progress smoothly without spending much time orienteering.
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