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My First Bicycle Tour
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Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
My First Bicycle Tour on 07/19/2010 15:28:31 MDT Print View

I picked up an 80s Schwinn Tempo summer before last to use as a road bike and also with the intent to mount racks and panniers to it for bicycle touring someday.

This past weekend I attended a music festival held at the end of a Forest Service road about twenty miles and 2,500 vertical feet from town and I thought it the perfect opportunity to finally rig up my bicycle and do some bicycle camping.

I'm new to this and am using mostly older, used gear (aside from the camping gear which is UL and state of the art). The bicycle, components, and panniers are not super light but I'm still new to this.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: My First Bicycle Tour on 07/19/2010 16:15:17 MDT Print View


My hands hurt just looking at your bare handlebars. Are you saving weight by not using handlebar tape?

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
My First Bicycle Tour on 07/19/2010 16:47:18 MDT Print View

Not to worry, there's tape on there but it's white/silver in color so looks like bare bars.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: My First Bicycle Tour on 07/19/2010 17:37:48 MDT Print View

Looks like great weather and a fab campsite. Hope you had a great time. Was the music good too?

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
My First Bicycle Tour on 07/19/2010 17:40:12 MDT Print View

Weather was beautiful, the view from the campsite pleasant and the music was delightful.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
My First Bicycle Tour on 07/19/2010 19:23:51 MDT Print View

Great stuff. I did my one and only bike tour 26 years ago when I was 16. We toured Belgium and Holland, the two flattest countries in Europe. We came down the ferry ramp and then free-wheeled for two weeks :)) I used to love going round on my bike, it is so much more fun than being stuck in the car.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: My First Bicycle Tour on 07/19/2010 22:15:13 MDT Print View

It looks like a nice setup. WIth the wheelbase so short, did you find that you had to put the panniers further back than you would on a dedicated touring or mountain bike? Was the ride squirrely at all?

My first real bike tour was a one month circumnavigation of the north island of Japan, Hokkaido, with my brother when I was 17. It is still one of the best bike tours I've ever taken, maybe because it was all so new. Isn't bike touring a fantastic way to see distances?

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
That looks like alot of fun on 07/19/2010 22:48:46 MDT Print View

Ive wanted to do this for a long time. i have an old bianchi road bike with mostly original parts but it's in great shape. Looks like maybe you used a basic road bike as opposed to something designed specifically for touring. did you have to make any changes to the bike? were you pretty comfortable on this rig or would you suggest something else? I gotta try this real soon, maybe along the coast.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: My First Bicycle Tour on 07/20/2010 02:26:17 MDT Print View

Looks like his rack and panniers sit a fair way back, with the panniers starting around the hub. I'd have no trouble myself with heel clip on the panniers in that situation, and I'm US9.5 shoe size. So that set up looks GREAT!

Great tour mate, keep it going :-)

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: My First Bicycle Tour on 07/20/2010 03:51:31 MDT Print View

This setup would be great with heel clearance, but with the panniers so far back the offset weight tends to pull away from the front end of the bike and often causes shimmying in the front wheel or for the front wheel to be somewhat light on the road, thus causing the squirreling. It might just be that Sam's bodyweight was sufficiently forward to balance that, but I don't see how with his seat weight adding to the rear weight. That's what I was asking. A short wheelbase like this is naturally going to make the handling more twitchy and to make it difficult to get enough heel clearance for panniers.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: My First Bicycle Tour on 07/20/2010 06:30:08 MDT Print View

Sorry, yes I agree on the weight distribution. However it depends a lot on what his load is and where it is in those rear panniers. On a road bike with drop bars your weight is pretty frontward in any case. If he's only carrying say 7 or 8kg (UL load plus a couple of kg of food) in those rear panniers its not going to affect much. Shimmy is pretty dependent on the idiosyncracies of bike geometry, road conditions...

Dwn Ptrl
(dwnptrl_777) - F

Locale: Midwest
Just Back From Carson Pass on 07/20/2010 07:10:57 MDT Print View

Looks like a good trip!

I'm just returning from a ride over the Sierra Nevada range, from SFO to Fallon, Nevada on the Western Express route in June. Great trip: weather, temps, people I met—all outstanding.

Rode my Surly Long Haul Trucker, self-supported using front and rear panniers. Great learnings about gear (kept shipping stuff home), as well as what it takes to climb 6000' in a day with a fully loaded touring bike.

Crossing over Carson Pass was worth all the effort. Check out for maps and more info, or drop me a line. Also made a quick video slideshow of the trip on Vimeo:

Edited by dwnptrl_777 on 07/20/2010 07:18:06 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Just Back From Carson Pass on 08/24/2010 00:30:17 MDT Print View

Looks like a cool trip.

How do you find the Edelux?

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
My First Bicycle Tour on 08/24/2010 07:42:59 MDT Print View

I put this touring setup together using the road bike I already had along with some panniers I picked up cheap at the local bike swap. I found it to be less than ideal since the panniers had to ride way back on the rack. I did not have issues with my feet hitting them fortunately.

If I was to get into bicycle touring seriously I would procure a dedicated touring fame with long chainstays and sturdy rack bosses. I liked only having the two panniers and I estimate that with my camping style I could get by without having to use front panniers.

Dwn Ptrl
(dwnptrl_777) - F

Locale: Midwest
2 vs. 4, and the eDelux on 08/24/2010 09:01:08 MDT Print View

Great thinking regarding using two panniers versus four.

As much as my Surly Trucker setup is considered pretty ideal by normal standards, I've found that I have zero desire to hump that much weight again, ever, unless I absolutely had to. It's a fantastic build, and I'm thankful that the bike—and I—have the ability to move so much weight.

But the older (and wiser?) I get, the more I think about something like an El Mariachi Ti from Salsa. With frame bags and no racks. More offroad touring in a MUCH lighter setup...

And the eDelux: outstanding light, and even better when it's powered from the SON28 hub. Bright, reliable, and built for the long haul. I have two identical setups on my Trucker and Big Dummy, and everything came from Peter at

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
looks good. on 08/27/2010 06:20:15 MDT Print View

looks real good - you might want to put a rear fender on there - that will help keep your gear clean.

i bought a Surly Long Haul Trucker last fall to use for some touring and to cart around my 2 year old. he loves it! i'm heading out Columbus Day weekend for 200 miles on an out and back. using my backpacking gear and two rear paniers, i will be carrying about 10 pounds less than my son weighs. and the load won't jerk from side to side :)

the steel frame of the LHT is much nicer on long rides compared to my Cannondale road bike's aluminum frame. for me, steel is real when it comes to touring bikes. i would love it to be lighter, but i also want it to be bombproof (i'm 250#).

Edited by asciibaron on 08/27/2010 06:21:12 MDT.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Just Back From Carson Pass on 08/27/2010 06:23:32 MDT Print View

Dylan, awesome photos!

can you tell me about your bike setup? the handlebars look interesting.

Edited by asciibaron on 08/27/2010 06:25:42 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Just Back From Carson Pass on 08/27/2010 06:42:33 MDT Print View

Ah, bike touring. Love it. Two buddies and I, when stationed in Europe, used to take most of our leave all at once and tour a different country on our bikes, unsupported, for three weeks at a time. Saw northeastern France, East Germany, Ireland, Scotland and the south island of New Zealand that way. When I was transferred back to the States, we rode our bikes around Arizona for three weeks. A truly wonderful way to travel!

Life kept me away from touring for a decade, but I decided to celebrate turning 50 a couple of years ago with a short, 9-day bike jaunt around Vermont. I was on my bike, on an adventure, on my 50th. It was fabulous, and reminded me of why I enjoyed bike touring so much! Below pic is of us at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon back in '97. I'm in the middle with my Koga Miyata World Traveller!

.at south rim

Edited by idester on 08/27/2010 06:44:11 MDT.

alastair humphreys
(alastairhumphreys) - MLife

Locale: UK
well done on 08/31/2010 07:41:12 MDT Print View

well done - good to hear about your first tour,


Locale: Greater Gila
re: first bike tour on 09/09/2010 08:24:00 MDT Print View

well done on getting out on a quickie bike tour SamH.

Setup looks fine and nice to see someone touring without panniers up front, no matter what the touring distance.

You can get by just fine with a steel framed mountain bike frame, no need for silly bike touring specific frame. Obviously every bike tourist loves their Surly Long Haul Trucker, but I've read a good report saying that the Surly Karate Monkey makes a great touring bike as well. Long enough chainstays, steel, and when you aren't touring, put a sweet fork and fat tires on there, and you've got your mtn bike. Although if you are doing your bike touring 'correctly', you already have fattish tires and front suspension because you go into the wildest (and roughest) areas that a road/bike will allow.

I need to make a post about my DIY dry bag setup for people with short chainstays....