130 miles in two days?
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Joel Stephenson
(fooby) - F

Locale: Northumberland, UK
130 miles in two days? on 04/23/2014 10:23:13 MDT Print View

I've mountain biked most of my life and I'm in good shape, but I don't have much experience doing any long distance road cycling. The furthest I ever cycled was 40 hilly miles on a downhill mountain bike to get to a trail center we were on holiday near.

My plan is to cycle from my home to Keswick, around 60 miles each way as the crow flies, but on some very steep roads that go up and down varying from 160ft to 2000ft. I'm borrowing a fairly old and heavy hybrid hardtail to do the trip and plan to spend a day climbing in the middle, possibly two depending on how much food I can afford. Tiny budget, simple gear It's ghetto in the best of ways!

Do any of you experienced cyclists have any idea how many miles a fairly fit non-cyclist on a pretty heavy hardtail and a 25lb pack is likely to be able to cover in a day? I don't want to run out of food with a day left.

Thanks!

Edited by fooby on 04/23/2014 10:25:10 MDT.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
130 miles on 04/23/2014 10:28:13 MDT Print View

Not knowing anything about the route, riding 65 miles in a day on pavement shouldn't be an issue. I'd be more worried about all day riding with a 25lb pack on! Do you have any way to get a rack on the bike, and get that weight onto the bike?

Joel Stephenson
(fooby) - F

Locale: Northumberland, UK
Re: 130 miles on 04/23/2014 10:33:43 MDT Print View

Thanks Dave - a rack is out of the question as it is a very last minute trip. I have a day to get everything sorted and a budget of £20 ($33). I wanted to try and get to the Lake District on next to no money, as the £30 public transport costs are the only thing holding me from going every week! A rack would definitely be on my list for future trips.

The pack is just the standard expedition style pack that I use for backpacking and climbing. I was thinking that the fairly upright posture of the bike would make it bearable - it's not like I'm riding a race bike with dropped bars.

Edited by fooby on 04/23/2014 10:35:40 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/23/2014 11:06:28 MDT Print View

When I was half my age, I did a 150-mile, two-day bikathon. I was a little nervous going into it because the most I'd ever bicycled was 35 miles in a day and here I was planning to do twice that AND then do it next day. I calmed down when I remembered that I'd hiked 62 miles in a day and using a bike was bound to be easier. I'd done about three 25-mile training rides each week for a month prior and the big event went fine. But it was a supported event - water and snack stops every 10 miles, lunch served in the middle, and a sag wagon if you wanted to bail.

Adding 25 pounds (yes, get it off your back and onto the bike!) and all those hills? That's a lot of miles. And the middle day isn't a rest day - it's active, too. Is there anyway you can deliver, cache, or mail your 25 pounds to the climbing locale?

It sounds like you have time, "possibly two (layover days) depending on how much food I can afford". If you're bringing camping gear, could you do the 60 miles each way over 1.5 or 2 days? Or least be ready to.

And "60 miles each way as the crow flies"? I hear that as A to B, straight-line distance off a map. With twists and turns adding to the horizontal miles plus the more significant effects of the uphills. Can you get a driving distance using Mapquest.com?

Learn to use an aviation weather website with forecasts of prevailing winds. 60 miles with a moderate headwind is like 100 or more miles. I would have a go / no-go decision point prepared and a alternate plan if the weather isn't favorable.

Joel Stephenson
(fooby) - F

Locale: Northumberland, UK
Re: Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/23/2014 12:02:03 MDT Print View

Thanks for the detailed reply. That was a bit of a typo - I meant map miles, not taking into account elevation. I think the best bet might be to say four days, that way if it takes longer than I thought to get there or I need a rest before returning, I'll have enough food for a rest day, or if I feel up to it - another day in the mountains.

The weather forecast is pretty decent, cloudy without much wind, although I doubt it will stay that way on the moors.

Edited by fooby on 04/23/2014 12:03:38 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/23/2014 19:16:24 MDT Print View

Try not to carry everything in your pack. The more you can get onto your bike, the more comfortable you'll be. Big miles with a heavy pack will leave you saddle sore as all hell.

I don't know what sort of gear you carry, but with creativity, a lot can be lashed to your bike without racks or specialized bikepacking gear.

I can strap my shelter under my seat and down the seatpost and can get my sleeping pad and sleeping bag on the handlebars.

Maris L
(Ablaut) - M
Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/23/2014 20:00:59 MDT Print View

+1 on getting as much weight off of your back as possible. 10+lbs is noticeable but fine for me, but 25+lbs would leave my shoulders, neck, and ass very sore for that amount of time. Walking, you can move a pack that weight around every so often - wear it on one shoulder, lift it with your arms some, even carry it in front for a while. On your bike it's pretty much the one position.

When I bikepack with my road bike, I don't use a rack and I don't have any specialized bags except for a really cheap frame bag. I manage to get quite a lot off of my back, though, without ever having spent a lot of money on storage. I have my sleeping bag in a dry bag strapped between my handlebars. I have all of my clothing in a dry bag strapped under my seat. I fill my frame bag with as many heavy things as possible. What's left for my backpack is mostly lighter, bulky things like my cook kit and sleeping pad.

Wind, hills, and non-pavement terrain will be the biggest things to slow down the pace you THINK you can keep. Don't be overly optimistic. Prepare yourself for change of weather, altered route or time span, mechanical failure. Drink more water and eat more food than you think you need in the moment. Stretch!

All of that aside, just go for it! Trust yourself when you say you're in shape. It might get rough, especially mentally, but if you have the time to spare then you also have the time to adjust your pace, rest, and fall-back plans. My last bike trip was in October when I tackled 155 miles one-way overnight with unexpected temps near freezing. Prior to that, I was comfortable with the distances you are as well, and I didn't train at all other than my usual riding. It certainly beat me into the ground and my morale sunk very, very low. But, I finished it safely and now know what I can grit my teeth through!

Joel Stephenson
(fooby) - F

Locale: Northumberland, UK
Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/24/2014 02:06:57 MDT Print View

Great advice! You lot are ridiculously helpful.

My sleeping bag is the biggest flaw in my kit at the moment, weighing nearly 2kg, so the lashing it to the bars idea sounds like a great one! I could also store water in bottles on the bike, leaving my Camelbak bladder empty for hiking and camping, which would remove another 1.5kg.

Glenn S
(Glenn64) - M

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/24/2014 06:25:29 MDT Print View

Too much to cover, and little you can do about any of it anyway in the short time and limited budget. Knobby tires, straight bars, no racks, heavy pack, 26ers I'm guessing, SPD's?... It won't be fun, but it's doable. As noted, wind is bad. Cold wind is worse. Cold rainy wind is just plain numbing. I hope you have warm weather at least.

So on to some ideas you CAN use. It's a mental excersise in timing. Do the math. 10mph average is pretty doable if no big climbs without downhills. That's only 6 hours in the saddle at a fairly casual pace. I'd ride 2 hours, then rest, maybe 20 minutes or so. Ride 2 more hours and rest a good while, eat lunch, hang out, just chill for an hour. Then ride the last 2 hours and set camp. You'll keep from bonking that way. Keep snacks handy to munch on while riding between breaks. Obviously times aren't set in stone, you know the area, plan breaks around it. Take more breaks for shorter times if you want. Point is, to not hammer the first day out. If you want to hammer, save it for the last half of the last day.

Don't know about your area, but typically you get a lot more sun road riding than mtn biking, so maybe consider sunscreen or something. Might want to pack a little baby powder. Saddle sores are more prevalent in roading, since you're basically just sitting all day and cranking. Not like the body balance workout of technical off road stuff. Definitely use the bottle cages and don't backpack water. Bag on the bars has already been mentioned, just check all your cables when you crank the bars, so nothing binds up when you turn. Oh, and lock out your forks on the climbs if you have that option. You'll notice the bob a lot more on road.

Wear something bright. Use a blinky if you can get one. Common sense stuff I guess, but easy to forget if you just single track or off road.

Just pace yourself. No hurry, it's only 60 miles and you've got all day long to do it. Besides, how hard can it be? You're sitting down while doing it! You may be telling yourself one of these things before you get back home, but you're young, you'll be fine. Good luck!

Joel Stephenson
(fooby) - F

Locale: Northumberland, UK
Re: Re: Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/24/2014 09:11:04 MDT Print View

Thank you Glenn! The bike seems to have in between tires - hardly thin road tires, but not much tread and the option to pump them up really hard. I've found a super bright orange jersey, a set of lights and the forecast is overcast, so hopefully not to hot or too cold.

The route is basically a hard climb for around 25 miles up onto the moors with a few valleys to ride in and out of, and the second half is almost entirely downhill, so I reckon 10mph wouldn't be too unrealistic!

This is what has inspired me to do more biking / climbing trips - really good little adventure:

http://www.epictv.com/media/podcast/the-sufferfest-with-alex-honnold-and-cedar-wright---the-full-movie/275335?header_b=1&b=1

Edited by fooby on 04/24/2014 10:05:30 MDT.

Joel Stephenson
(fooby) - F

Locale: Northumberland, UK
Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/29/2014 06:17:30 MDT Print View

I've just arrived back from my trip! It was thoroughly enjoyable. Here's what I did and what I learned:

On the outward journey, I had only my food on the rack that was on the bike at the back. My pack felt comfortable enough with my backpacking gear and 1 litre of water. This was a bad move. By the time I got to my destination, I could hardly sit down.

I had two days wonderful backpacking in the lakes, couldn't have asked for better weather (most of the time anyway).

On the way home, I used the extra space in my food dry bag to put my cooking system and gas canister, along with my Camelbak bladder, leaving only my tent, sleeping bag, pad, layers and little bits in my pack - this was much much better! The bike felt heavy, but my body felt much fitter, even after three days hard work and very stiff muscles. I'm quite glad I wore the pack on the way, I learned my lesson!

I think I'm going to invest in some bags to attach to the bike next time, and just use a small day bag for the hiking. The only drawback is that I would have to camp somewhere that I could bike too - not much good for times like this weekend where I camped two out of three nights up steep mountain trails.

Edited by fooby on 04/29/2014 06:18:18 MDT.

Glenn S
(Glenn64) - M

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Re: 130 miles in two days? on 04/29/2014 07:39:20 MDT Print View

Glad it went well!

I kinda figured you'd have a sore rear end, especially with the added pack weight. Your butt on a bike is like your feet on a hike. Not a fun place for sore spots!

And yes, the bike will feel a lot heavier with pannier weight, watch your braking on wet or sandy roads, especially on downhills. Unlike mtn biking though, you're not throwing the bike around under you. Instead, you're just mounting up on top of it and keeping it rolling.

Of course you could get into the world of framebags and those jumbo saddle compression bags, and mtn bike with gear. I keep all the activities totally seperate, but that's just me.

Edited by Glenn64 on 04/29/2014 07:43:51 MDT.

Ben P
(benp1) - F

Locale: London
Bikepacking on 05/07/2014 08:29:47 MDT Print View

Check out the bearbonesbikepacking forum. Its a site for UK based bikepackers

There are plenty of mountain trails/trips you could do with your bike and kit together. Then you don't have to actually get to the lake district and back again, its actually part of the trip

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Re: 130 miles in two days? on 05/07/2014 16:09:28 MDT Print View

This is sooo cool; seeing the youth experiment.
Thanks for the update.
-Barry

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Bikepacking on 05/07/2014 21:32:24 MDT Print View

For a cheaper cargo system google Kitty Litter Panniers.. if you know someone with cats it should be done pretty cheap and holds a fair amount of stuff.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Cheap DIY Bikepacking on 05/07/2014 22:14:12 MDT Print View

Jake,

I just googled "kitty litter panniers" and, you're right - those no ends of pics and details and instructions. One detail I liked was putting reflective letters on the back:panniers

Although I'd look for even bigger letters if possible.

Daniel D
(Dandru) - M

Locale: Down Under
Re: 130 miles in two days? on 05/07/2014 22:42:09 MDT Print View

While on tour, I like to cover 60 kilometres per day but it normally ends up being 80 to 100 kilometres. The less distance the better because you want to be able to smell the roses along the way.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: 130 miles in two days? on 05/08/2014 14:00:01 MDT Print View

60km is a nice few hours... the OP stated that he was using the bike to get to and from a destination so the roses were at the end.