Bike advice

The Food Forum's Evil Twin. Trying to lose weight or get in shape? Tips, encouragement, status reports, and so forth go here.
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, we are not health professionals. Take advice with salt.

Moderators: Mighty Jalapeno, Prelates, Moderators General

Bike advice

Postby Alasseo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:11 am UTC

I'm currently looking at taking a year+ vacation in Europe starting in 2013, and am getting pretty set on biking it. I've never seriously biked before, so I don't know much about the nomenclature of biking.

I'm looking at picking up a decent-but-cheap used bike in March to start training. I'd then sell it and get a very nice bike just before the actual trip, with the same goals for gear.

My training goals are to be able to do a solid 150km a day for several days, or 225km in one day with a rest day after, with a 35-40kg pack on. These goals are higher than what I expect to actually end up doing in Europe, but a little overtraining seems like a good idea for this.

Some real back-of-the-envelope estimations for my trip have me taking about a year to bike 17500km (I'm not planning on just biking for the sake of biking, but actually stopping and seeing the sights, visiting cool places, so on), at a cost of around $20,000 USD, including flights, but not including bike/gear/shipping thereof. If needed, I will cut my trip short rather than make sacrifices elsewhere.. If instead of all of Europe I only see the Nordic countries because I end up spending too much money boozing it up in Amsterdam, so be it.. but I'll try and avoid that. ;)

I'm in decent shape right now, but like I said, not biking shape. I currently run 5km (without a pack) in under 20 minutes, can comfortably do somewhere over 10km in an hour (still packless) and have done 6hour+ hikes (in fairly hilly terrain) with a 30kg pack. So.. what sort of bike should I be looking at? What sort of gear to go with it? do I have reasonable goals? Is the trip itself reasonable?
Eruantale wrote:(I did... I've always wanted to get a Dudley Do-right out of a vending machine)
User avatar
Alasseo
 
Posts: 526
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:25 pm UTC

Re: Bike advice

Postby EvilDuckie » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:37 pm UTC

A good place to start would be http://travellingtwo.com/, they have an e-book for sale that's literally packed with good advice and suggestions. It's worth following them on twitter as well.

150 km per day for several days in a row is quite something, especially when you've got a bike loaded with all your stuff. If you want to see a bit of your surroundings while you're at it, I'd be surprised if you can do 20 km per hour on average. So on your cheap training bike, try and do a short tour, see how you handle that in terms of distance and time. Try and find a pace that you're comfortable with and can keep up for a long time and then plan accordingly (say around 80% of that pace to give you some extra time for a photo shop, or to get lost).

Don't get your real bike right before leaving on your trip. Get it a few weeks early so you can get used to it. Learn how to fix the most common types of technical mishaps (flat tire, broken spoke, broken chain) yourself. Ride in any kind of weather (especially cold, windy and wet) to see how you like that.

In terms of bike: hybrids seem to be the most popular for bike touring. They've got the geometry of a mountain bike, but the tires are narrower (though still with some profile) and put you in a more upright position compared to a road bike. You probably want to look out for a sturdier set of wheels what with the extra weight. Iirc there's also special touring frames, which offer a bit more comfort and stability.

Hope this helps.
Quack!
User avatar
EvilDuckie
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:29 pm UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Bike advice

Postby fizzgig » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:21 am UTC

You might also want to look into getting racks for panniers on your bike rather than carrying a pack. A lot of people ride with backpacks over short distances (like commuting to work), but I don't think they're as popular over long distances. I think having that weight on your back can get a bit uncomfortable in the position that you tend to be in on a bike - you'd probably end up putting a lot of weight on your hands, which gets uncomfortable very quickly.
User avatar
fizzgig
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 10:35 am UTC
Location: Canberra, Australia

Re: Bike advice

Postby Paranoid__Android » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:11 pm UTC

I've cycled fairly extensively (~5000 miles) through western Europe and Scandinavia so should be give you some fairly good advice. I've not been through eastern Europe. Feel free to ask any questions.

Edit: I think your goals are easily reasonable, Europe isn't that big so ~10,000 miles should allow you to cover most of it. it's only about 2000 miles from Istanbul to London by bike.

First of all definitely go for panniers, you probably won't be able to carry everything you need in a pack and it would be very uncomfortable. I'd recommend getting a hybrid bike and fit schwable Marathon plus tyres on them (you'll never get a puncture with them), also ideally train on that bike as you'll get used to it's riding style and it will make the trip easier. make sure you buy lots of food on Saturdays as ALL shops are closed on Sundays in continental Europe, including most supermarkets. learn to love supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidel.

You'll definitely need a tent, aim to buy one that is as lightweight as possible and that can be put up and down in the rain without getting the inside wet. If you go to Norway this will be especially useful. you probably need some kind of cooking facilities unless you want to eat out every day which will be EXTREMELY expensive. I'd recommend some kind of camping stove, campingaz is sold fairly widely throughout Europe.
EDIT: considering your budget maybe you wont need this... $20,000 should go a long way if you're sensible. (except in Scandinavia where it'll last you... not very long, also you may not be able to find accommodation, especially in the remote north as towns can be more than a days ride apart). even so it's good to have a backup.

Norway is beautiful but it rains a hell of a lot, I was there in the summer a few years back. We started off cycling in Tromso in August and it was 5°C outside and raining (it rained every day). Admittedly that was right up in the North but you get the idea.
Edit 2: if you're in Norway and someone says your destination is but 3 miles away, they could either be using the normal mile or the Norwegian mile, 1 Norwegian mile is roughly 8 normal miles, I found this out the hard way.

Make sure your wet weather gear is sufficient that you can stand under a shower for a few minutes and be completely dry underneath.

MAKE SURE YOUR BIKE SEAT IS AT THE RIGHT HEIGHT, very important as if it's wrong you could damage your knees badly due to extra pressure on them. if you're seat is too high the back of your knees will start to hurt, if it's too low the front. If at any point your knees start hurting alter your seat height immediately as it will only get worse until you can barely walk. this will happen over the course of a few days, not instantly.

As for distance, I normally manage about 1000 miles every two weeks but that's fairly fast going with no stops.

Your running fitness is amazing, but it won't help your cycling at all. If you want to train for it, cycle.
Do a week practice run somewhere just to make sure all your equipment works. but also likely to discard equipment you don't need without having to throw it away.

And finally make sure everything you have as lightweight as possible, this is very important for when you're going up hills.

Final edit: this website is really good for kit lists and planning ect. http://www.adventure-cycling-guide.co.uk/
The Great Hippo wrote:My dearest, most cherished friend, Paranoid__Android:
... truly, you are a champion among champions. ...
Sincerely and with great fondness,
~The Great Hippo


Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.
Paranoid__Android
 
Posts: 507
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:54 pm UTC
Location: Nottingham during term time, UK

Re: Bike advice

Postby akashra » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:02 pm UTC

For 150km a day, a proper bike fit is essential, as is time for your body to get used to it.

I'd give it 3 months to get your base fitness up, then get a proper fit (not a cheap fit) - Specialized BG fit or Retul. Then keep training that, and adjust about 4 weeks before going overseas. Pay attention to stretching and flxibility. As your body trains itself, your muscles are going to start tightening up if you don't pay attention to this, which will cause you problems down the track.

The main thing is training endurance, and getting used to eating on the bike.
For that kind of touring also, make sure you have a decent tyre. Durano Plus (note the plus, not standard) are great road tyres, but you'll probably want 35C tyres with some knobs as not everything will be bitumin.
( find / -name \*base\* -exec chown us : us { } \ ; )
akashra
 
Posts: 503
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:54 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, AU

Re: Bike advice

Postby Alasseo » Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

Thank you very much for the advice, all, particularly Paranoid. I just got off of my leave, and will by purchasing a bike in the next week or so. Plan is still to get a used (but still quality) bike first, and then about 3 months before leaving get a new, fancy bike.

Paranoid, if you are from the US, may I ask how you transported your bike across the pond, and how much that was (at least an estimate)?
Eruantale wrote:(I did... I've always wanted to get a Dudley Do-right out of a vending machine)
User avatar
Alasseo
 
Posts: 526
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:25 pm UTC

Re: Bike advice

Postby Paranoid__Android » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

Alasseo wrote:Paranoid, if you are from the US, may I ask how you transported your bike across the pond, and how much that was (at least a estimate)?

I'm not from the US, but a fairly standard method is to pack your bike into a cardboard bike box (normally free from bike shops- saves them needing to dispose of them) and then take them on the flight with you. It costs about $60-70 to bring a bike on a long international flight.
The only things you really need to do to the bike to make it fit is remove the pedals/handlebars/front tyre.

For the return flight all you need to do is find a bike shop to get another box.
The Great Hippo wrote:My dearest, most cherished friend, Paranoid__Android:
... truly, you are a champion among champions. ...
Sincerely and with great fondness,
~The Great Hippo


Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.
Paranoid__Android
 
Posts: 507
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:54 pm UTC
Location: Nottingham during term time, UK

Re: Bike advice

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:02 pm UTC

akashra wrote:Durano Plus (note the plus, not standard) are great road tyres, but you'll probably want 35C tyres with some knobs as not everything will be bitumin.
It depends where he's going, I learned the hard way that crosser style tires do not grip well on tarmac through corners, in any of the more mountainous regions that would seriously concern me; conversely the further you get from western europe the worse the road surfaces get and the likelyhood of unpaved roads increases at which point skinny touring or road tyres would be a liability too. Take both?

On a side note, Audax bikes are designed with very long distance road riding in mind; though like the events they're named for they're not all that common.
Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet,
This is not Done by Jostling in the Street.
User avatar
TheKrikkitWars
 
Posts: 2207
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:08 pm UTC
Location: Bangor, Gwynedd, Gogledd Cymru


Return to Fit Club

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest