Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Grolsche11976, 31 Jan 2018.
for me to be comfortable I need a roof, a bed and a toilet/shower that isn't an outdoor walk away.
You'll find most people on campsites are actually quite affluent it's the skint ones in the B&Bs. I remember when I first took Maz away camping she was surprised at how pleasant everyone was although the funniest thing was when we got home her (adult) children asked "How was camping then Mum" with a smirk on their faces that soon disappeared when she replied "It was fantastic, we're going again next month but I'm going to buy a bigger tent" which she did................................................I'm the poor b*gger that had to carry it though.
I also dislike B&Bs/Hotels having stayed in a load of grotty ones with my work, I've only ever stayed in one that I'd willingly visit again,
If I had to list the places I like and go back, or would go back, to it'd be a fairly long list.
nowt wrong with camping. It takes you close to nature, just how mother nature intended.
I've recently become a slightly obsessed with the notion of cycle camping. It came out of asking my daughter, who has spent much of the last six years confined to bed, if she had any things that she really wanted to do in life, and she said she dreamed of cycle touring around Scotland. So I built her a touring bike based on an old rigid steel Kona Smoke mountain bike and assembled myself another based on a Tifosi Classic audax bike. Hers is a little gem. Mine has zero clearance under the crown and stay bridge so I'm in the process of swapping all my parts over on to an old Marin Kentfield I picked up for £35. It's no heavier than the Tifosi but will take a great big tyre. Its 700c but I'd have gone for a 26inch wheel size if that had come along sooner.
We've got all the panniers, bar bags and camping equipment and we've got our electronics sorted with the use of dynamo hubs and battery banks.
Daughter doesn't really have a clue about anything so she and me will have a practice tour together (taking in Orkney I'm hoping) and then her mum will permit her to go off on her own.
I'm unfeasibly excited by it all.
What a truly great Dad you are!
This is a fact I've tried to beat into my children's heads - to no avail.
From someone who knew little about owt. I was pretty much 30 BEFORE I discovered the joys of camping, albeit it initially in a car.
Each to their own of course.
On your orginal question, I'd check out
And tom's other writing and books.
Recently he wrote this;
Haven't read it yet but he tends to be sensible.
In short his view is that you can tour on almost anything. One of his tours was on a bike that he got for free.
Depends where you choose to camp and the conditions.
The best bike is the one that fits you whether a MTB, dedicated touring bike or fast road bike. Work out what you want out of your touring whether you will indeed camp or stay in BnBs or hotels, whether you will cook or eat out, where you are going, terrain - flat or hilly, road or off-road and the time of year which will influence your clothing and sleeping choices and distance you can ride in a day. If you do take a tent and all the gear that goes with it including stove, fuel, etc it will add some considerable weight to your bike. You will have to decide whether carrying the weight is what you really want to do. However, the more you take the more sturdy your bike should be, especially the wheels, and the rear wheel in particular. I would suggest a 36 spoked rear wheel as a default as lesser spoke counts can mean spoke and wheel failure which could rather shorten your trip or be a PITA to get fixed. If you are going to stay in hotels, BnBs and eat in cafes and restaurants you are likely going to be carrying a lot less stuff. You decide you write your script. You don't mention budget, only that you want to spend as little as possible which suggests to me you haven't really costed your new hobby properly or you are a cheapskate. You could buy really cheap stuff that will not last and be no end of grief to use and will no doubt be binned during or soon after your first few days meaning you have to buy more stuff to replace it. Accumulating good kit including a bike suitable for what you want to do that fits you is not cheap, but provided you know what you are getting into and recognise where you can make compromises and cost savings then you will probably enjoy your tour a lot more and likely go again. Bear in mind there is no right or wrong answer, just what works for you. You will go through a process of trail and error like everyone else before you but you can learn from others' mistakes and experience. Advice might work for you, it might not. The most important advice is to ride a bike that fits you properly otherwise you will have a less enjoyable potentially miserable time. You could well be riding for 8+ hours everyday depending on your itinerary or route so you need a bike which is set up so that it fits YOU and not some one else.
I am feeling you have not really done much cycling???? The best bike to do your first tour on would be your current one. Fit a good strong light rear rack (Madison Summit my choice from Tredz £24 or for full on expedition Tubus rear rack £80-90 from elsewhere e.g. Spa or Wiggle. Steer clear of Blackburn racks as they are rubbish poor welding, welds break), get some good panniers such as Ortlieb back roller classics, fully waterproof and rugged, as you can keep these if you later upgrade your bike to a more suitable bike (or easily sell them) and off you go. Don't go too far just do a tour around where you live, see how you get on wild camping and it's not too far to come home if you decide to abandon. The most common mistakes newbie tourers make is to try to ride too far in their first days and weeks if they do not have much experience of cycling all day and riding a loaded bike which takes a heavy toll on them and they abandon. Also they take far too much stuff which is inevitable. Even I take too much stuff but as I ride regularly and the bike I ride everyday is the bike I tour on I know my limits. A man has got to know his limitations. Also don't expect to ride 80 miles a day on a fully loaded touring bike if you are riding hills and mountain passes the whole day. You might only make 30-40 miles a day if that. If really steep only 25 miles. Then you have to factor in carrying food and water even if you are not planning to cook, so you need space for this in your panniers and also to factor in the extra weight. 5 litres of water is 5 kgs and when you are climbing a 20% slope you will wish you didn't have all the weight on your bike. But cycle touring is not a race so settle into your own rhythm take your time where necessary.
So initially I would suggest you do a short tour around where you live perhaps for a weekend or a couple of days during the week on your normal bike as you know this best and also the area. Get some good waterproof panniers such as Ortlieb and maybe a cheap tent, sleeping bag and mat, food and water and off you go. See how you get on and whether you actually enjoy yourself will dictate whether you want to spend more ££££ on your new hobby. It can become expensive. Generally lighter and stronger is ££££££.
If you do want to consider a touring bike then you cannot go wrong with a Dawes Galaxy. It has all the mounts for fitting racks front and rear, bottle cage mounts as well and I think 36 spoked wheels. Some one will correct me I am sure if I am wrong. Maybe you can pick one up second hand but make sure it FITS YOU. You might need to get some one who knows to help you which might mean changing stem - shorter or longer, bars, saddle for/aft, seat stem. Just because you buy a bike complete doesn't mean it will automatically fit you. It might have fitted the last owner but you are different.
If you live near a Decathlon check them out as they do some good own brand stuff at cheaper prices. I would highly recommend Ortlieb panniers though. Buy cheap buy twice and you can always sell them if you have to. Cheap rubbish will always be cheap rubbish with little re-sale value.
You said you had done a lot of reading. Have you found CrazyGuyOnABike.com? If not check out this website as it is the leading website on cycle touring where ever in the world. It is a fantastic resource and people are friendly and happy to help. There is also Youtube which has quite a few really really good vlogs on cycle touring where ever, bikes, equipment, RTW trips, etc. You name it, it has been covered at some point by some one.
But the important thing is to go. Cycle touring is so much fun, most of the time. Yes there are bad days where you question your sanity and pointlessly rage against the wind and rain but you will learn so much about what works for you and indeed learn about yourself on your tours especially the initial ones, what you are capable of, the seeds of larger dreams will be planted. You will feel a great sense of achievement when you return home.
HTH and good luck.
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