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John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Re: touring on 08/12/2005 13:21:30 MDT Print View

Bicycles can cover huge distances and sooner or later, if you really enjoy seeing the world, you will find yourself in a country where you cannot speak the language and that is a situation in which it is hard to go ultralight. Temptation or good sense says carry everything you will need to fix all but terminal bike problems.

Closer to home we have bicycle thieves who learn from the internet how to defeat locks with the inside of a biro. Again, the temptation is to carry a lock known to resist attack for a significant period.

Nevertheless, cycling has a long history of major, ultralight endeavours or raids. The riders involved tend to be racers who fancy a crack at some big passes. Shivering the night away in a bus stop is a bit of a cliche, but I know people who have done it. They carry almost nothing, cover huge distances and spend the occasional night in a B&B to recover.

Steve Smith
(bardsandwarriors) - F

Locale: Wales
Applying UL to touring on 08/12/2005 15:39:24 MDT Print View

I've been putting together a light pack for a couple of years now with the help of the ultralight forums. I've taken it on a few short backpacking and touring trips, and just got back from a 6-day camping tour with a CTC group.

Base weight = about 14 lbs (would be under 10 lbs if I had money to spend), carried in:
- one 10 ltr pannier.
- a golite breeze (over half empty) bunjeed to the rack.

SHELTER. Living in the uk I need a tent with walls, due to open fields and changeable weather. I used a fly from an old 3-man tent + a vertical pole at the front (made from 2 short wooden poles held together with 2 jubilee clips). The bike is laid across the back where the fabric slopes down to the ground, and I sleep across the front. Weight 1.4k, will reduce to 0.7g when I sew my own design. The thin titanium pegs were invaluable for driving into hard stony ground near the road - something that cycle tourers will encounter more than backpackers.

Most of the others in the group used hotels, and carried similar weights or more. It was a lot of fun hammering up the hills faster than them, knowing that I wasn't being penalised for camping.

TOOLS. Perhaps tools + spares are the biggest difference between UL backpacking and touring. So with my eye on a future world tour, I've also been studying all possible repairs and itemising the lightest tools and spares which could be carried. I don't know of anyone else has done this, and if anyone's interested I'll upload the spreadsheet.


Edited by bardsandwarriors on 08/12/2005 15:51:15 MDT.

Kevin Lane
Back Rack- Source on 08/23/2005 09:34:01 MDT Print View

I am trying to figure out what a good back rack for my road bike (Specialized Sequioa - it came with those holes in the thing to put the rack to the frame). My shop just sells the standard (according to them) basic rack. Anyone have a specific shop to recommend for mail ordering a lightweight one? I just played with some idle thoughts and a comfortable,quick and dirty gear list, without food, water or medical stuff, is running around 8.5 pounds. If I add in tools and the other what nots, maybe I can top out at around 15 pounds. What the heck are these people pulling around? Just a slight alteration in the pattern of some items here would be great for ultralight biking, like a spinnaker poncho which could be used as a bike cover, etck

1. GoLite Hex 2lb 0 o
2. Poncho grouncloth 10 o
3. Inflatable torso pad 10 o
4, Fanatic Fringe Quilt 2 lb
5. Rain Pants 5 o
6. Bike Shorts
7. Bike Top
8. Wind Top 5 o
9. Rain Top 10 o
10. Gloves
11. Helmet
12. Underpants 4 o
13. Lightweight Long Sleeve Top 10 o
14. Two Pair Socks (one worn) 5 o
15. Town Shoes 1 lb

5 pounds 59 ounces

Or 8.5 lbs

Kevin Lane
Hands // Recumbents on 09/16/2005 04:43:56 MDT Print View

It is starting to get chilly out. Aside from Stevenson, does anyone know of VB Gloves out there?

How much more difficult are recumbents to get up hills than other bikes?


Jeremy McDaniel
(jerm409) - F

Locale: highest privy in the lower 48
light racks on 09/16/2005 16:42:32 MDT Print View

check out Tubus.

they have several racks that are half the weight of others and still hold about 35lbs, more than enough for a light load.

Whit Kincaid
(razor) - F
Ascending on a recumbent on 10/19/2005 22:12:44 MDT Print View

This is arguably the most telling down side of riding a recumbent. Though I feel that much of it is psychological. When a rider on a conventional frame bike climbs a hill he has the option of standing on the pedals, rocking the bike frame underneath him and in this way aid his effort at ascending. The recumbent rider,being in a reclined position, does not have this option and and as a result cannot switch between the two riding forms to switch muscle groups and reduce fatigue. Many riders new to recumbents find this frustrating as they now are limited to only one possible form. Recumbent riders will typically be in a lower gear while ascending and have an even higher turn over. As a result of these and other factors, they are typically slower to climb hills.
However, while descending or while on level road they are usually faster (due to less wind resistance and/or a less fatiguing pedaling posture) and so, unless in very steep terrain,be expending less energy to cover the same route. As to HOW MUCH slower they are, that would depend on the degree of slope, the bikes that are being compared, and of course the riders themselves. So I really cannot answer that.
When I ride with a conventional pace line of riders that are on my riding fitness level I will make an effort to increase speed before reaching the hill, gear the bike down and spin like crazy. Typically on a hill of modest slope (I live in Florida after all) and 300 yards length I'll be 20-30 yards back when we reach the top. If there is a decent soon after the ascent I will start to quickly close that distance (again due to superior wind profile) and quite often pass the group.
So what is lost climbing is usually made up descending.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Ascending on a recumbent on 10/20/2005 02:35:58 MDT Print View


good explanation. i've never cycled. some of your info surprised me - it was sort of counter-intuitive to me. i'm sure you're right though based upon your experience.

i would have thought that having all of the force you exert going into the pedals would be an advantage for the recumbent rider. just in case this statement isn't clear, what i'm naively thinking is that the seat back reacts the force the rider exerts on the pedal, so very little loss. the rider on the more traditional bike has nothing to react the force of the push down on the pedal. so, depending upon the force of the push, the rider's body will want to rise up, right? sure, the rider's hands & arms intuitively try to keep that from happening, but i would think that there would be more "slop" in the system, resulting in losses, than with a rigid seat back. i'm also assuming that many riders have an extremely strong lower body and can (other than perhaps for the "balance" aspect) perform a one-legged deep knee bend. so they easily have the power/strength to lift their entire body weight upward significantly with just one leg pushing down.

is all this true, but the advantage is as you stated that position can be varied such the muscles are recruited and exercised in a slightly different fashion?

but then, this doesn't really address your observation as to "gear" and "turn over". are the two diff. types of bikes geared the same? oh..also, do they weigh the same?

another thing that interested me was the "rocking" of the bike frame. i've seen this, but can't picture right now, the angle of the leg to the pedal. if the body is held pretty much vertical and the leg also, then the pedal is angled (of course the ankle joint bend to keep the foot flat on the pedal). is this right? if so, wouldn't there be a reduction of force (simple trigonometry) going into the pedal. what i'm thinking is that it's like torquing a wheel nut on a car. change the angle of the torque wrench and you've applied less torque to the nut than the torque meter reads. is the bike frame moving sideways just an undesirable reaction to the force pressing down on a pedal on just one side at a time?

could you help clarify my confusion, please? just once again, i feel that you must be right based upon your experience (and my extreme ignorance of cycling), but i'm just trying to understand it on a more fundamental level - and i'm failing to do so.

thanks, in advance, for taking the time to teach me something. take care, pj

Edited by pj on 10/20/2005 03:45:54 MDT.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Ascending on a recumbent on 10/29/2005 13:57:14 MDT Print View

If you go on a century ride you'll soon realize that quite a few of the better riders will draft recumbents[and tandems]on the flats and then, of course,pass them on the hills looking to latch onto another recimbent.
This year I saw one'bent'pulling a B.O.B trailer on tour. My only dislike comes from visibility, it just seems like the autos don't pick you up as fast in their field of vision. There is a thread on general lightweight discussions about ultralight weight touring w/some links. I'm currently going out with a weight of bike + gear of 31#,can't seem to break the thirty pound mark this year. I also do a few epic tours that probably dovetail closer to my backpack outing weight. Do your self a favor and never plan a trip carrying a pack, you'll be crippled in twenty miles.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Ascending on a recumbent on 10/29/2005 15:42:59 MDT Print View

Hi Paul,

I'm a hopeless conventional bike guy who's only fiddled with recumbents, so can't further the comparison too much. I can add a bit on pedaling, though.

Because the foot is locked to the pedal on any "real" bike, you actually apply drive force throughout most of the pedal stroke, the "up" foot is taking some of the load off the "down" foot, although the down stroke is still where a lot of the work still gets done. Stronger riders do this better than weaker ones, and they usually spin faster as well. The goal is to use more of your leg muscles and stay away from your anaerobic threshold as much as possible.

One thing you can't do on a recumbent is add your body weight on the down stroke, something that's done when you're getting tired or climbing a steep hill. I suspect body weight trumps a backrest in how much power you can ultimately apply, but will leave the actual answer to the lab boys. I'll add that on a road bike you also pull up on the bars with your arms when climbing, accelerating and sprinting.

Another thing you can't do on a recumbent is hop over obstacles, something I find myself doing several times on any ride (glass, debris, potholes, curbs, roots, etc.).

I don't know how a conventional road bike can ever match the aerodynamic potential of a recumbent and I don't know how a recumbent can ever be as light as a conventional road bike. Given two equal riders, the one on the recumbent will be faster on the flats and nontechnical downhills and the conventional rider will accelerate and climb faster. You can bet the farm on this (moo).

FWIW in all the organized century, double century and mountain rides I've done in California, recumbents have been either an oddity or completely absent. When I want to wheelsuck, it's behind a tandem ;-)

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Ascending on a recumbent on 10/29/2005 17:48:36 MDT Print View


many thanks for the insightful reply. for me, you've solved the mystery. my mental confusion (on this matter at least) is eliminated. thanks again.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Ascending on a recumbent on 10/29/2005 21:17:33 MDT Print View

The largest dealer of bents in the northwest is in my town, 85% of his clients are babyboomers looking for a cushy ride but the other 15% put a small fairing on those suckers and fly,I see more every time I do an event but I also prefer to hang onto a tandem.

Johnny Gish
(jtgish) - F

Locale: Coppell, Texas
BICYCLE TOURING on 10/26/2006 14:48:28 MDT Print View

I just transformed an older specialized hardrock into a commuter, but seeing this thread has got me thinking about touring.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: BICYCLE TOURING on 10/26/2006 15:06:06 MDT Print View


In 1999 I rode from Oregon to Virginia using many lightweight techniques from Ray Jardines PCT Handbook. My gear was so spartan that I could lift my bike/gear over my head. Several years back I put my journal and photos online. Hope you find it useful.

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
UL Toolset on 11/21/2006 13:31:49 MST Print View

Long time since I've been on this thread. Steve 1 has probably given up waiting for someone to take him up on his kind offer. If you are still watching Steve, I'm interested.

The cycle lock seems the real problem. Reviews I've seen suggest that highly rated cycle locks all weigh more than a UL backpacking set-up.

What tools and locks do you guys carry? Are you able to resist accumulating maps and reading material? I can't.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: UL Toolset on 11/21/2006 15:17:20 MST Print View

I carry a multi tool with chaintool (~150grams), 2 spare tubes, patches, a pump, short length of chain and extra powerlink, ducttape and strong tire boot. This is the long distance/remote area list.

No lock.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Re: Sequoia on 03/02/2007 16:46:03 MST Print View

The sequoia DOES have eyelets rear, and most model years have them front as well.

The whole story about debate about the stress on a touring bike should take into acount the weight of rider and gear. a 160lbs rider with 30 lbs of gear is still lighter than a 220 lbs rider on a sunday ride!

Justin Ling
(ling_jd) - F

Locale: columbus ohio
finally toured in true ultralight style on 06/03/2008 21:08:08 MDT Print View


Just finished 9 days with 7.2 lbs of base weight. 680 miles.

Edited by ling_jd on 06/03/2008 21:09:46 MDT.

Anne Serene
(serene) - F
Re: BICYCLE TOURING on 07/30/2008 19:48:38 MDT Print View

I've been lurking on this thread a bit. Before I got into ultralight backpacking I raced bicycles competitively (individual time trials and ultra-marathon events). I'm not a big Internet surfer and found this forum by accident. The following is the details of my ultralight bicycle touring setup and personal opinions (and possibly extreme or controversial).
Frame Material: A good frame can be made of any material – if you like a particular bike don't let the material keep you from buying it. All things being equal my choice is and would be steel or titanium. From my experience to make a durable long lasting aluminum (and somewhat true of carbon) frame you have to make it overly stiff. Thats the trade off that seems to be the nature of the material. Either expect to replace it in 10 years – maybe sooner (I've personally ridden aluminum RACING – not touring - frames to the fatigue point) or deal with getting beaten up a little more – NOTE: this is my opinion.
Look for a bike with a “relaxed geometry” 72 degree or so (maybe less) head angle, a 73 or so seat tube angle and clearance for wide tires (more comfortable and better traction on rough roads). Also look for gearing that can handle tough climbs (a triple is traditional but a double with a small chain-ring is doable if you are a strong enough rider). Loaded touring bikes work, but are a little heavy. Some of the bikes sold as cyclocross bikes will work. I've ridden 24 hour ultra-marathon events on bikes more aggressive than this, but it takes extra focus and I had days to recover from the event later- competitions like that are a completely different type of riding. The long seat stays of loaded touring bikes are not necessary if you do not take rear panniers – I don't.
Because I've become overly picky in bikes and its hard to find a wide variety of bikes sized for women I had a frame builder build me a lightweight steel frame. I outfitted it with mostly Shimano LX components, STI shifters and Avid Disc brakes. I personally go without fenders or added lights (added weight, but thats a matter of choice).
I try to pack light. My packing list is at the bottom. I keep everything in my pack strapped to the racks, handle bar and seat bags. All the panniers I've found are made like old style backpacks (that is big and heavy). I might try some lightweight panniers if I come across a sub 2 lbs set though.
My opinion on locks is that if someone really wants to steal your bike they will. I use a length of 3mm cable with loops from the hardware store with a slightly undersized pad lock. It will keep the casual thief looking for easier pickings. I also don't leave my back unattended for more than a couple of hours and definitely not overnight.
I've put just over 1,000 miles touring the new bike and love my set up.

Happy travels,

Ultralight Bike Touring Gear List

Item - Weight (oz)
GVP 4 Pack and bungee-cords - 14.5
Handlebar Bag - 8.5
Seat Bag - 10
Rear Rack - 22

Sleeping Stuff
8'x10' Silnylon Tarp, 6 Tent Pegs - 15
Quilt - 20
Sleeping Pad - 16

Cooking Stuff
Homemade Alcohol Stove - 3.6
Alcohol fuel - 7
Snowpeaks Mug/pot - 4.5
Lexan Spork - 0.4
Silnylon Sack for food (i.e. next days breakfast) - 0.8
2 water bladders - 5.4

Waterproof Jacket - 11
Waterproof Pants - 8
Fleece Vest - 4
Long Sleeve Pearl Izumi Kodiak Jersey - 6
Bandanna - 1.2
Spare Jersey - 5
Pearl Izumi Boulder Bike Shorts - 6
Socks - 1

Tire Pump - 3.2
Spare Tube - 6.2
Plastic Tire Levers - 0.6
2 Glue less patches, 2 spare spokes, 2 zip ties (2) - 0.7
Multi-tool - 4.5

Compass - 1.11
Lighter - 0.6
First Aid Kit - 3
Toiletries - 1
Duct Tape - 0.5
Headlamp w/extra batteries - 3.5
Parachute Cord - 1.2
Maps - 2.3

T-shirt cut style cycling jersey - 5
Pearl Izumi Boulder Bike Shorts - 6
Socks - 1
Walkable Cycling Shoes - 7
Helmet - 9.7
Sunglasses - 1
Cycling Gloves - 4
ID/Money/Credit Cards/Keys - 2.6

Base Weight 198.3 oz - 12 lbs. 6.3 oz.
Total Weight 234.6 oz - 14 lbs. 10.6 oz.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Bicycle Touring on 07/31/2008 04:53:58 MDT Print View

This might be of interest. Marc Beaumont recently broke the world record for cycling around the world. Details of his bike can be found here. The rest of the site has some good info and links.

baz john
(baz) - F
bob on 07/31/2008 09:42:44 MDT Print View

been thinking a lot recently about bike touring... and keeping the weight down. did a tour of NZ a few years ago with crazy heavy gear that i don't use now.
i like the bob trailer. if you want to go off road or even ditch the trailer to hit some trails you can. change of tires maybe is about all you might do if your using an MTB. less stress on the bike with the trailer and less profile on the road unless you opt for a rack as well which is unlikely if your UL. I've taken a bike on a downhill course fully laden with a bob trailer. i was committed to a route that wouldn't have been so easy with a rack and pannier setup.
i've thought of using a tipi or a mid in the future...