Author Topic: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!  (Read 1281 times)

GuitarStv

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GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« on: June 02, 2018, 07:19:12 PM »
I've been trying to increase the distance of my weekend bike rides without dropping the speed too much this year, with the eventual goal of 160 km (100 miles) in around 5 hours.  Today I did a 130 km loop with 2200 ft of climbing on a fairly windy day in an unfamiliar area in four hours and thirty five minutes on my 25 lb steel touring bike . . . which I was pretty happy with.

It has been a slow, incremental process of dialing in each part of my bike fit.  Last year I got the reach and saddle/handlebar drop just right.  I spent a hundred and fifteen bucks and changed my saddle to a Specialized Power Arc this year (can't recommend it enough if you want to spend long periods of time in the drops but usually find that your balls go numb), which has radically improved ass/'nads soreness on long rides, and have added a behind the saddle water bottle mount so I can carry three 750 mL bottles with me (two bottles works for me in the 80-100 km range, but not more than that or I end up super dehydrated and feel hung over the next day . . . and I hate stopping to spend money on water).

I'm about 195 lbs at the moment and am running a 28 mm front and 32 mm rear tire at 75 and 80 psi respectively.  This is great for the crappy roads that we've got around here (and works OK when I get a bit lost and end up unexpectedly riding rougher gravel).

Keeping sweat out of my eyes has been a big problem in the past as well.  You start working hard going up a climb, and then when you crest the top you've got so much stinging sweat rolling into your eyes that you can't safely enjoy the descent.  I've tried an old 1980s style fuzzy sweat band, a cotton cycling cap, headscarf thingie, a sweat wicking cycling cap, even some kind of plastic gutter thing that's supposed to redirect the sweat to near your ears  . . . all of them end up dripping into my glasses/eyes after a while, since I'm leaning forward.  I've settled on a Halo II headband, which is your typical sweat wicking headband with some kind of rubber sweat stopping thing in it.  It sounded like a goofy idea when I read about it, but it works really well on a bike.

I'll usually bring three or four bananas and 10 - 15 big dates on a ride (along with some gatorade mix from powder in 2/3 of my bottles), but found an online recipe for peanut butter and chocolate oat energy bars a couple weeks back and made a batch . . . so was trying them out today.  Seems OK.
 At least it's lighter than the bananas.

lhamo

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2018, 07:42:17 PM »
Wow -- I was reading yesterday about people who do the famous Seattle to Portland ride in 1 day.  203 miles.  Not my idea of fun.  I did manage to ride 23 miles yesterday on a bike that I am learning is much too small for me.  Looking at proper touring bikes, but hard to find them in stock in XS frame sizes to try out, and the idea of sinking $1k+ on a bike I'm not sure will fit properly is scary.  Mad at REI for not having their ADV 1.1 touring model in my size -- at least there I could return it if it doesn't work out. 
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GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 06:55:41 AM »
Usually you can make a too small bike fit OK for you by putting a longer stem on it, dropping the handlebar position, and raising the saddle.  You might also try moving the saddle fore-aft position back a little bit.

Going a long distance on a bike is really just a matter of stubbornness.  At a moderate pace with lots of breaks, anyone can ride long distances.  If you want to ride long distances quickly, that's where things start to get uncomfortable.  :P




Solo vs Group Riding - I end up going faster when with a group, and can go about 10 - 20% further for the same level of discomfort.  (If you can do 80% of your distance on a solo ride, you'll be able to do the full distance on a group ride.)  Just make sure that you find a group that's going at a pace you can maintain . . . and if you're huffing and puffing to keep up at the back, don't take a pull on the front.  You'll just blow up and get dropped.

Cleat positioning - I had always understood that the cleat on your cycling shoe should be placed under the ball of your foot . . . somewhere between the lump of the first joint of your big toe and the lump of the first joint of your little toe.  This is the way that I set mine up for a long time.  Then I did some reading about mid-foot cleats, and started playing around with things a bit to see how it would change things.  About 1-2 cm closer to the heel from the typical position is much better for long rides.  Although the first few rides like this will feel a little odd, it ends up reducing the amount of stress on your calf muscle.  This means less cramping and soreness.  (You do have to remember to lower your saddle a bit though, because the further back cleat position will mean your feet don't reach as far down.)

Handlebars:  The age old wisdom of picking a road handlebar (measuring the width between the bony protrusions on your shoulders and then adding 2 cm) tells me that I should ride with a 45 cm wide handlebar.  That is crazy wide, and the bars that I feel most comfy on are 38 mm from hood to hood, flared outward at the drops to 40 mm.  Narrower bars are supposed to be more aerodynamic too, but the key reason I like them is less shoulder soreness.  I like a deep traditional drop on my bars because it gives very different positions when shifting around.  In the drops I'm very low, on the hoods I'm far forward, on the tops I'm very upright.  Being able to move between these positions helps to reduce discomfort more than with the compact bars I've tried.

Laserjet3051

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 12:51:04 PM »
On long (and short) road rides I run at least 100 psi. While its certainly not a plush ride, the higher pressure does afford increased efficiency. But as you mentioned, you have crappy roads, so perhaps its necessary.

I'm certainly no ultra-light fanatic, as a few grams here or there on a short to mid ride makes little difference, but on long rides such as you are targeting, the weight really adds up; a 25 lb bike is pretty heavy, do you have a lighter road bike?

I'm with you on the handlebar drops, I love transitioning between the different hand positions on long rides, makes a huge difference. Not to mention the forced aero tuck while in the drops when cruising DH at high speed.

Interesting point on cleat placement, Ive thought about it but never tried adjusting. Do you have your saddle height (and position) perfectly dialed in? Just a few mm can make gobs of difference......as I'm sure you already know. Congrats on the 2200 ft climb ride stats; impressive on a 25lb'er.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 03:28:41 PM »
On long (and short) road rides I run at least 100 psi. While its certainly not a plush ride, the higher pressure does afford increased efficiency. But as you mentioned, you have crappy roads, so perhaps its necessary.

My understanding (and you can correct me if I'm wrong on this) is that higher pressure increases efficiency only to a point.  Beyond that point, you're not gaining anything efficiency-wise but you're definitely making the ride less comfortable.  On rough roads (chipseal, hard packed gravel, and just really bad asphalt) higher pressures are actually supposed to be less efficient because you bounce over the obstacles rather than the tire deforming around them.

As mentioned, I'm running a 28 mm tire at the front, and a 32 at the rear.  I've pumped the 28 up to 95 psi, and a couple hours into the ride the buzz and vibration starts to make my hands really go numb.  Double wrapping the bars makes it a bit better, but after checking my times over a few weeks, I'm not convinced that there's much efficiency gain to be made there.  100 in a 32 mm tire would be quite uncomfortable.

I'm certainly no ultra-light fanatic, as a few grams here or there on a short to mid ride makes little difference, but on long rides such as you are targeting, the weight really adds up; a 25 lb bike is pretty heavy, do you have a lighter road bike?

That is my light bike.  25 lbs is in ready to ride condition . . . with pedals, bottle cages, saddlebag (multi-tool, quick link, tube, tire levers), and frame pump (not including the 5 lbs of liquid that 2.25 L adds of course).  I'm almost 200 lbs too . . . so don't get super excited about bike weight.  Anything I lose on the hills in a group ride I'll make up on the descents and flats.  :P

Which brings me to another point:

GEARING:
A front triple is awesome.  I've got a 30-39-50.  I might only switch into the granny ring once or twice on a long ride (usually if I misjudged a climb, and end up falling apart mid way up), but it's really nice to have.  The reason that a front triple is awesome is that you can run a 25-11 cassette in the back and have loads of tightly spaced gearing for every kind of situation.  When you go up hills slower than everyone else, and crank along the flats quicker than most you want those options.


Interesting point on cleat placement, Ive thought about it but never tried adjusting. Do you have your saddle height (and position) perfectly dialed in? Just a few mm can make gobs of difference......as I'm sure you already know.

Yep, have done plenty of playing around with my saddle adjustment.  Doing the KOPS fore-aft adjustment doesn't work for me.
I just move it as far back as possible, then start sliding it forward until I can't unweight my hands over the hoods any more.  Then it goes back a couple mm.  This tends to put me a bit behind what KOPS seems to advise, but is much more comfortable.  Height is pretty easy for me to adjust . . . which is good because I get pain over the kneecap when it's too high.  Basically the 'put the heel on the pedal and spin backwards until you're just barely able to keep your hips from rocking' test seems to place me right where I need to be.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 09:32:39 AM »
Food and Drugs Edition!

Caffeine:
Yes!

Seriously though, study after study has shown the benefit of consuming caffeine prior to participating in an endurance event.  You go farther and report less discomfort.  You do not need 10 RedBulls though (and may God have pity on your tummy if you try it).  Anything over three cups of coffee isn't really going to be beneficial, but even just a single cup of coffee is significantly beneficial.  Caffeine stays active for about three hours in your blood before gradually dropping off, so if you're doing a coffee stop it would be good to plan one at around this time.

I don't typically consume caffeine during the week unless I'll be cycling, usually just having a cup of coffee immediately before heading out on my ride.


Baking Soda:
So, it turns out that this is legitimately a performance enhancing drug (read up about it - there's real science proving it . . . unlike most claimed performance enhancing supplements).  You consume 0.2 - 0.3 g / kg of baking soda mixed with water 2 hours prior to your activity and it reduced muscle acidity . . . which prevents that burning you get from lactic acid build up.  Having read this, and being curious (no burning muscles during a ride sounds good, right) I worked out that at 88 kgs I need 4.4 - 6.6 tsp of baking soda.

So, several weeks back I tossed five teaspoons of the vile shit into a mug of cold water, stirred it, and chugged.  Well, I tried to chug.  After about 1/4 of the mug was gone my gag reflex took over and I set the mug down.  Which gave me enough time to taste how truly horrific this mixture actually is.  I steeled my mind and repeated the whole process twice . . . but just could not force any more of this creamy white, weird, salty mixture down.  This was just the beginning of my journey of discomfort however.

So, I've got a pretty tough stomach.  In my adult life I've felt queasy only a handful of times.  I've thrown up exactly three times (alcohol, food poisoning, food poisoning).  My stomach immediately felt queasy.  Then lots of burping started.  This went on for an hour or so, gradually worsening.  This whole time I'm thinking 'Well, this was probably a mistake'.  After about an hour, the rumblings in my tummy wanted out.  REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted out.  I stumbled to the washroom and UNLEASHED THE FURY.  It felt like all my internal organs had been liquefied and pressurized.  Afterwards, I'm sitting there . . . kinda dazed, still nauseous, still burping, thinking 'damn, this better not ruin my bike ride in an hour'.  Also thinking 'Fuck, I need to eat something if I'm going to go on that ride'.  Then the eruption happened again.  And again.  This was like a 45 minute procedure of worsening condition and apparent imminent death.

One hour and 45 minutes later though, everything was cool!  Burping stopped, I was able to eat some breakfast.  I didn't weigh myself, but certainly felt lighter.  The bike ride went fine (although there did have some concern that an emergency stop might be needed if the tummy rumblings returned).  Maybe the burning in my legs was less?  I was feeling so happy to not be dead that the rest of the day was kinda a happy blissful fog to be honest.  In conclusion - baking soda as performance enhancer - not entirely recommended.  Unless you're a little overweight and will be doing a lot of climbing.  :P


Beets!
Beet juice is amazing stuff for your heart.  Again, this has been pretty heavily studied.  Optimum dosing is 5-600ml juice . . . which is like 6 - 7 beets juiced.  I don't have a juicer, so will typically peel and eat about a lb of raw beets before going on a bike ride and wash it down with a bunch of water.  No tummy problems or upset (you will pee some cool colours when you make a pit stop though, so mentally prepare yourself for that).  You will also poop some interesting colours the next day . . . unless of course you did the baking soda thing and are a poopless husk.  It may be entirely in my head, but I feel like I ride better after eating the beets.  Note - always eat the beets on an empty stomach  .  .  . because beets are gross, and if you're kinda full you won't do it.



Food:
I did the plain oatmeal before a big ride thing for quite a while . . . but always ended up being hungry.  Then I tried adding peanut butter and chocolate chips to the oats, which worked a lot better.  These days I'm on to pancakes though.  I mix up a batch of buttermilk pancakes, and throw into the batter several large scoops of chia seeds.  After frying in butter, I like to top with bananas and blueberries and a healthy quantity of fake maple syrup (you can take your gross distilled tree blood somewhere else thank you very much.  Aunt Jemima and I get along just fine.)  This seems to keep me full for at least a couple hours.

Laserjet3051

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 09:44:23 AM »
I seem to be the only one running a triple crank on the road......and I don't regret it. Like you, it affords great versatility on dramatically changing inclinations. There are some ungodly steep climbs in my neck of the woods, I really dont think my legs could take that beating on a compact (double) crank. The extra weight of a triple is neglible imho.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 07:07:28 AM »
I seem to be the only one running a triple crank on the road......and I don't regret it. Like you, it affords great versatility on dramatically changing inclinations. There are some ungodly steep climbs in my neck of the woods, I really dont think my legs could take that beating on a compact (double) crank. The extra weight of a triple is neglible imho.

Yeah, I'll never understand the current fad of removing the front derailleur entirely.  It's an incredibly mechanically simple part that rarely needs maintenance or adjustment.  Weight-wise, the derailleur is like 80 grams and the extra chainring is maybe what, 70?

Miss Tash

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 09:58:43 AM »
I do some long distance rides, too, and am enjoying your pain and suffering!  If you want the baking soda benefits without the side effects try Sport Legs tablets.  There's enough online reviews that I won't reiterate them here.  Also, Assos Chamois Cream.  Expensive, but worth it.
You triple guys are a dying breed.  Compact crank with 11-32 in the back.  I can climb trees with this rig and keep up on the rollers.  It's hard to explain why I like it so much better than my old triple except that shifting is a non-issue now.  I don't have to think about it.
Have you ever demo'd a bike with different gearing? 

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 10:39:28 AM »
Yes, I've tried a 2x11 setup.  It's certainly usable . . . but I just didn't feel there was any real advantage to it.  I don't really think about what gear I'm in with a triple either - after a couple thousand kilometers with a shifting system you just tend to go into autopilot (my winter bike uses bar end shifters, and a front triple . . . again, don't think about it  - the shifting just happens).

The 1x setups are garbage though.  The gaps between gears are significant enough to be noticeable.  It's a serious downgrade unless you typically ride around crosschained with a front derailleur.  The 1x system lets you be permanently cross-chained, so is a lot more convenient for this type of rider.  :P



You did remind me though, thank you . . .


Chamois Cream:
Always on a long ride, use extra if it's raining or very hot weather!  I use it mostly on the balls/leg crease area and will put a small amount between the balls/arse area.  Anything over 80 km and I'll tend to get saddle sores from rubbing/friction/sweat without it.  Apply to your body and pull your shorts up.  If you put it on the shorts and then pull up, it feels really cold, clammy, and icky.

Slee_stack

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2018, 02:01:12 PM »
I seem to be the only one running a triple crank on the road......and I don't regret it. Like you, it affords great versatility on dramatically changing inclinations. There are some ungodly steep climbs in my neck of the woods, I really dont think my legs could take that beating on a compact (double) crank. The extra weight of a triple is neglible imho.

Yeah, I'll never understand the current fad of removing the front derailleur entirely.  It's an incredibly mechanically simple part that rarely needs maintenance or adjustment.  Weight-wise, the derailleur is like 80 grams and the extra chainring is maybe what, 70?
Horses for courses. 

If someone will be alpine riding, you probably want as high a ratio range as possible...keep the derailleur.

If you live in less extreme elevation you may not need it.  I have a 2-up on my ride bike and a 3-up on my city bike.   I think I actually used the front derail. on my road bike a couple times in the past year....I'm not sure I've ever shifted the front on my city bike.  I do just leave the derailleurs on...but I don't really use or need them.

On dirt its a whole other story though.

I've never missed a front derailleur since removing it when I first got the bike (partially assembled).  1x11 is more than adequate for my typical XC/AM rides and with a NW front ring ....NO CHAINDROP!!!!   I mean EVER!!!   Chain drops suck big time and can be painful as hell if pushing hard on a gnarly climb.  I have a few scars to remind me of 'wonderful' front derailleurs.

Of course if you only ride pavement, gravel, and smooth dirt, its probably a non-concern.

As an aside, I got a recommendation from a friend the other day I hadn't though about.  This applies to all bikes and long rides. ...

If you are starting to lose your near vision, its a good idea to carry a cheap pair of reading glasses with you.   If you have a technical problem and need to be messing with chain pins (or any other tiny item), you will be that much more frustrated if you can't see things clearly too!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 02:04:27 PM by Slee_stack »

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 02:29:41 PM »
I have a 2-up on my ride bike and a 3-up on my city bike.   I think I actually used the front derail. on my road bike a couple times in the past year....I'm not sure I've ever shifted the front on my city bike.

It's a serious downgrade unless you typically ride around crosschained with a front derailleur.  The 1x system lets you be permanently cross-chained, so is a lot more convenient for this type of rider.  :P

:P

But yeah.  If you don't use your front derailleur then I'm sure that not having one is a benefit.




As an aside, I got a recommendation from a friend the other day I hadn't though about.  This applies to all bikes and long rides. ...

If you are starting to lose your near vision, its a good idea to carry a cheap pair of reading glasses with you.   If you have a technical problem and need to be messing with chain pins (or any other tiny item), you will be that much more frustrated if you can't see things clearly too!

That does sound like a good idea.  I know some people will bring some of those latex gloves in a saddle bag to avoid getting their hands covered in crap too.

kenmoremmm

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2018, 01:12:38 AM »
i vote for triple in the puget sound area. my 29 mile RT commute is 1800ft of gain. i use the triple on two hills. generally crush most people except the guys on their $5k setups that are actually competitive cyclists.

dogboyslim

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 01:22:36 PM »
Have you ever done a brevet or a brevet series?  Those folks have great advice for longer rides.

I have always had a triple, and still do on my commuting/touring bike, but when I purchased my road bike a few years ago, there was no road triple to be had.  I put on a 50/34 compact gearing up front with an 11-34 in the rear (new ultegra rear mech me do that) lets me spin 80 rpms at 6ish mph and stay over 60 down to 4.5 mph.  My knees do bad things to me at slower cadence up a steep hill.

On my last road bike (destroyed in a move in 2012) I had a 28 granny and an 11x34 rear 9 speed setup with an XTR derailleur mated to road STI.  That was nice.  15 degree grade, 3.8 mph at 60 rpm.  I had moved from a very hilly area to a flat area, and when the frame was improperly packed and cracked a seat-stay, I just went without for a while, and used my touring bike.  Now that I'm doing more road riding again and there are hills again, I went for the best I could find.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2018, 06:51:54 PM »
Have you ever done a brevet or a brevet series?  Those folks have great advice for longer rides.

I've read a lot about randonneuring and brevets, it looks like a really cool thing to get into.  The ones held around here (http://www.randonneursontario.ca/sched/torsked.html) all seem to be 200 km + rides though, and I'm not yet at that level.  I was hoping that by the end of this year I'd feel confident enough to do those kinds of distances.




A couple important hydration related items not yet covered in this thread:


BOTTLE CAGES:
Cheap aluminum bottle cages are better than expensive cages.  Weight wise you're talking about a couple grams maybe, and you can bend aluminum cages to be extremely tight for rough roads.  I've been using a regular aluminum cage for a behind the saddle rear mounted bottle cage (holding a camelbak podium big chill water bottle) with no issues of my bottle launching at all.

WATER BOTTLES:
I've tried a bunch of different water bottles, and am 100% sold on the Camelback podium big chill water bottle.  It does everything that you want from a bottle.

- It's insulated, so stays cooler longer (if you freeze your second and third bottles they'll still be cool a couple hours into your ride even when it's pretty warm), and doesn't freeze solid when it's -20 and I'm cycling 40 minutes to work in the winter.
- It holds a decent amount of water (24 oz)
- It has an awesome nozzle.  There's a quick turn lock/unlock which very reliably prevents spillage of any kind, and a clever little valve that prevents drink from spitting out of an unlocked bottle in a cage when you go over a big bump.
- It's easy to clean . . . the whole nozzle comes apart and there's a wide neck on the bottle.

Bateaux

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2018, 06:50:19 AM »
I've never own a touring bike but, I'm going to get one maybe this year.  Anybody have experience with a Rohloff hub?  It's an expensive option and won't fit every bike.  Long Haul Trucker for example won't fit a Rohloff.  I'm tempted to just biy the Nashbar touring bike for $699 and make sure i like touring.  I don't think my old aluminium Cannondale road bike would last long with touring weight.  I'm a really big dude and it struggles with just me.   The Nashbar and other entry level steel frames don't have disc brakes.  With me, the bike and gear we'd be 300 pounds combined.  I want disc brakes.
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lhamo

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2018, 10:44:32 AM »
Bit the bullet and bought an REI Co-op Adv1.1 yesterday.  This year's model. $1299 base price, but I will get the following discounts/credit back:

$60 dividend from last year applied
$130 regular dividend
$130 double dividend special this weekend
$75 extra dividend for using new REI credit card (came in the mail yesterday morning -- great timing!)
$200 gift cards ($100 sign up bonus + $100 minimum spend bonus on the CC)
$20 eventual dividend on whatever we buy with the gift cards

So, roughly $615 toward the cost of a new bike, with a 1 year no questions asked return policy (most of the other shops have a 2 week policy, and charge you a restocking fee if you don't trade for another bike already in their shop, and I have trouble finding things in stock because I need a very small frame).  I don't think I'll be returning it -- it felt marvelous on the initial test ride.  Last year's model was AWFUL though -- not sure what they changed, other than the brakes.  But the geometry felt completely different.  Glad I hadn't tried last year's model earlier or I probably would have passed.

Will take it out today for a ride with DH and DD.

Wherever you go, there you are

Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2018, 04:27:37 PM »
So, roughly $615 toward the cost of a new bike, with a 1 year no questions asked return policy (most of the other shops have a 2 week policy, and charge you a restocking fee if you don't trade for another bike already in their shop, and I have trouble finding things in stock because I need a very small frame).

@lhamo:  Awesome savings on a great bike.  Good job!

Be sure to take it in to REI for a tune-up (should be free) after a
month or two of riding.

Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2018, 04:33:51 PM »
Great replies on this thread all around!

One bit of personal advice from a former ultracyclist (RAAM, Furnace Creek 508,
24-hour races, multiple Paris-Brest-Paris events) ...

Focus your ride in-the-moment, rather than the finish.  Interestingly, similar to FIRE
principals. If all you concentrate on is the arrival, you'll miss out on the journey.  It only
took me about 100km of riding to figure this out ... ;-)

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2018, 07:40:26 AM »
I've never own a touring bike but, I'm going to get one maybe this year.  Anybody have experience with a Rohloff hub?  It's an expensive option and won't fit every bike.  Long Haul Trucker for example won't fit a Rohloff.  I'm tempted to just biy the Nashbar touring bike for $699 and make sure i like touring.  I don't think my old aluminium Cannondale road bike would last long with touring weight.  I'm a really big dude and it struggles with just me.   The Nashbar and other entry level steel frames don't have disc brakes.  With me, the bike and gear we'd be 300 pounds combined.  I want disc brakes.

Rohloff hubs are much more expensive, have to be built into a wheel (so prevent you from having heavy high spoke count wheels for touring and lighter faster wheels for regular riding), offer less range than a derailleur, make changing a flat more difficult, and are heavier than a derailleur.  The benefits are that you can shift gears when stopped, and they don't require as much maintenance.  I looked long and hard into getting one, but in the end the benefits just don't justify the costs.

The road bike that I've got is the Nashbar steel touring bike from several years back.  The canilever brakes (once set up properly . . . which took an awful lot of fiddling around to get just right) work very well (with Kool-Stop salmon/black pads), and I'm about 200 lbs.  I've had it loaded with 80 lbs of groceries coming down some extremely steep hills and stopping/slowing (while not great) was OK.  As long as you're cautious when the weather gets bad, you should be fine.  (Very important to keep up with bake adjustments as well, as rim pads will sqeual like a banshee under hard braking when they're even a little bit misaligned.)  Don't get me wrong, I'll definitely opt for hydraulic disc brakes whenever I get a replacement for my bike for a variety of reasons (no rim wear, better wet weather braking, better modulation, less fiddling required to get them set up properly, etc.) but especially if most of your weather happens in the dry it's not essential.

As far as touring weight goes . . . It's certainly possible to tour with 80 - 100 lbs of gear, but I'd focus as hard as possible on reducing that number.  That is simply a shit ton of weight to be dragging around with you ALL THE TIME, and I can guarantee that a lot of it is stuff you don't use ALL THE TIME.  Ditch the tent and get a waterproof bivvy sack, reduce the changes of clothing you're bringing, figure out if you really need to be lugging around that camp stove, propane tank, and those pots . . . or if you can get away simply buying stuff that doesn't need to be cooked, etc.  There has been a movement towards very minimalist/light weight bikepacking that I've found myself leaning towards as I get more into cycle touring, as I never have the time to do multiple month long excursions that really demand the huge quantity of gear:


It's easier on your wheels and frame.  It's easier on your legs.  Your bike won't handle as poorly.  You'll stop easier.  Your bike is lighter and more aerodynamic, so you go farther for less effort.)

Clean Shaven

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2018, 08:33:35 AM »
The Nashbar touring bike is a decent deal. I suggest also checking out the Bikesdirect.com Motobecane touring bike. In either case, only buy that bike if you are capable of assembling it yourself and making all the needed adjustments. Local bike shops tend to not like building the mail order bikes brought in - expect to be charged a lot, cutting into the savings from buying online.

My former touring bike was an old rigid fork 26" wheel steel mountain bike, converted with street tires, drop bars, racks, fenders, etc. Worked acceptably. This could be an option for you, especially if you already have an old MTB sitting around and just want to try out touring to see if you like it.

I replaced it finally with a real touring bike several years ago - a Kona Sutra - also steel frame, but with disc brakes. Traditional touring bike like this one, or the Surly Long Haul Trucker, typically weigh more and don't ride nearly as nice as road bikes. They are built to carry heavy loads and are stiffer frames, which ride roughly without a touring load of weight. 

Bateaux

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2018, 01:08:22 PM »
Thank's for all the info.  It may be better to go cheaper and spend more wrench time.  Unless I find the perfect used bike.  Actually all my bikes we're bought used and maybe a third of retail price.  They are all Cannondale, which aren't known for steel bikes.
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aetheldrea

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2018, 11:02:57 AM »
Loved the story about making a baking soda volcano in your stomach. Seems like eating antacid to reduce lactic acid in your muscles would be like eating candy canes to keep your blood minty fresh, or thinking that eating eggs would increase your blood cholesterol, the body just doesn’t work that way.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2018, 11:06:25 AM »
Loved the story about making a baking soda volcano in your stomach. Seems like eating antacid to reduce lactic acid in your muscles would be like eating candy canes to keep your blood minty fresh, or thinking that eating eggs would increase your blood cholesterol, the body just doesn’t work that way.

I kinda agree.  There does seem to be widespread agreement that it works though:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475610/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262454/
http://www.sportsci.org/traintech/buffer/lrm.htm
http://doctoroffitness.com/resources/fitness-articles/item/q-a-using-bicarbonate-to-buffer-lactic-acid-in-athletes-2
https://cyclingtips.com/2016/06/improving-performance-with-bicarb-soda-how-it-works-and-how-to-do-it/

My favorite quote from the last article:
“I didn’t know if I was going to break a world record or s#@t my pants!”

Sounds about right to me.  :P

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2018, 11:24:40 AM »
Fuji Disc Touring is high on my list.  It's a bit of a jump in price from the Nashbar and regular Fuji Touring without disc brakes.   Performance Bike will deliver for about $1,100.  Really want a touring bike that can double as a gravel bike.  There is a Seven Mudhoney on Ebay with a Rohloff for $2500 that is my size.  My Cannondale loving buddy is steering me towards the Cannondale Touring.  I've got a few months to ponder it.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 12:36:48 PM by Bateaux »
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GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2018, 12:33:11 PM »
I like that it has a third water bottle holder built in.  Lots of braze-ons for attachments.  Just shy of 30 lbs though . . . that is a heavy beast.  :P

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2018, 12:35:18 PM »
Fuji Disc Touring is high on my list.  It's a bit of a jump in price from the Nashbar and regular Fuji Touring without disc brakes.   Performance Bike will deliver for about $1,100.  Really want a touring bike that can double as a gravel bike.  There is a Seven Mudhoney on Ebay with a Rohloff for $2500 that is my size.

Do you have REI near you?  The higher number ADV bikes are meant for off road touring.  Even the ADV 1.1 that I got can take pretty wide tires.

Wherever you go, there you are

Bateaux

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2018, 12:38:49 PM »
I'm in Louisiana and there are no touring bikes in any shops here.  I'll definitely have to try and fit the bike to me before purchase.  FIRE is in 2019 or 2020 I'll get a lot more use soon, but I'm not in any hurry to purchase yet.  Thanks for the input.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 01:11:00 PM by Bateaux »
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
 ― Antoine de Saint Exupery-

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