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Old 11-18-2007, 02:40 PM   #1
Brandon Oto
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Long-distance non-race biking

So I have some friends in Paris that are making noise about me visiting them. It's not too expensive to ride the train, but it's a chunk of change, and also I am an ornery individual, so I had this passing thought about simply biking there.

It is about 300 miles and seems to be mostly level terrain. I'd have to figure out a route but it would presumably be mostly on city streets.

I'm not an experienced biker; in fact I biked rarely before the last few months, when I came over here and had to start cycling everywhere. (The car didn't fit in my carry-on.) This would basically be an average CrossFitter tackling a moderate bike trek on a whim. I suppose I'd give it several days each way, if not more; why bust my butt? The only reason to go faster is that it's currently winter and the weather may not be highly conducive to lollygagging

Any thoughts on the feasibility of this from more experienced cyclists? If it's not impossible, any tips?
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Old 11-18-2007, 03:34 PM   #2
Steve Forman
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

lets do this: an average CF can do this!!! that said I some questions and concerns.

First. 300 miles!!!! IF you do it in two days, that 150miles/day. in my prime of biking for 500 mile trips I would not do more than 120/day. doing 100/day is what I do now. But even at 100/day, it would be extremely hard to get on the bike the next day.

For you, I would shoot for less that 100/day. maybe around 70-80. Is your A** in shape? can you sit on the bike seat for that long? this would actually be my biggest concern for you. you would really need to train for A** for that.

When do you leave? its doable. but you need to start spending time in the sadle. I dont question your ability to complete the task, but its hard to just get on a bike and ride for that many miles.

steve
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Old 11-18-2007, 04:33 PM   #3
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

I bike 500 miles in one week across New York state, about 3 of the days are really hilly.

Here are my tips:

1. If you ride early morning or dusk, make sure you have blinking lights on your bike and reflective clothing. You can't make yourself visible enough.

2. Make sure you have at least 2 cages for carrying liquids. You're better off with a moderate sized carrybag up front and another one for the rear rather than a big one in one spot---you'll be more balanced with two.

3. When you determine a route, check the elevations online....what you think may be flat doesn't feel that way when you have to get up it on your own steam.

4. Make sure you have a dependable odometer/speedometer, you will need to know how far you've gone to stay on your route.

5. Get your bike checked and serviced at a good bike shop before you leave. Have an expert fit you to your bike. A mere inch off the ideal will fatigue you unnecessarily. Make sure you have CO2 cartridges or a portable hand pump and carry at least 2 inner tubes. You will get flat tires.

6. Carry a cellphone for emergencies.

7. There's nothing like Accelerade for those long stretches without a store to stop at. It's got the 4:1 carb/protein thing going. It's better than gatorade or powerade or anything like that. Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry. If you wait until you are thirsty or hungry, it's too late. You will bonk. Lara bars are also a good energy source. Accelerade comes in a powder, so you can carry it in plastic bags and just add it your water bottle when you need it. I usually start the day with water, and start drinking Accelerade after 50 miles. It helps beat fatigue.

8. Don't plan on riding more than 70-80 miles a day if you are not used to long distances. It's plenty.

9. Before you go, do as many 35-50 mile rides back to back as you have time for....it's good to acclimate your butt to the saddle, it will be easier and more enjoyable if you do.

10. If you don't use clipless peddles and shoes, consider getting them ahead of time and practicing with them. They make you much more efficient on the bike. When you go up a hill, sit back on the saddle a little and think about pulling up with your legs instead of pushing down. Open up your chest and breathe. If a hill is really steep, and traffic permits, go up making S's with your bike....like a skiing slalom, I think, only in the opposite direction. It cuts down on the slope.

11. Bring toilet paper for emergencies...

Susie
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:29 PM   #4
Brandon Oto
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

Great stuff guys.

- Any thoughts on the winter-weather aspect?
- Would it help to upgrade my bike seat to something more plush? The stock seat is a bit of a clunker.
- How helpful/important would pedal clips be on a ride of this duration? I haven't got them.
- What is the "correct" height for the seat? I keep fiddling with mine.
- To help with estimating my route, what's an average bike speed for a road bike on flat ground?

By the way, my bike is a back-braking upright single-speed
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:34 PM   #5
Victor Putz
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

Quote:
- How helpful/important would pedal clips be on a ride of this duration? I haven't got them.
I switched from regular free pedals to "clipless" pedals (you know, the ones with the clips) a few years ago and it was such a huge improvement I never ride without 'em now. On a long trek like that, they would, I think, be a massive help... although they take a little bit to get used to.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:45 PM   #6
Steve Forman
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
Great stuff guys.

- Any thoughts on the winter-weather aspect?
- Would it help to upgrade my bike seat to something more plush? The stock seat is a bit of a clunker.
- How helpful/important would pedal clips be on a ride of this duration? I haven't got them.
- What is the "correct" height for the seat? I keep fiddling with mine.
- To help with estimating my route, what's an average bike speed for a road bike on flat ground?

By the way, my bike is a back-braking upright single-speed

Average speed on flat ground, wow, theres a question! When I am training for a race I keep the pace at 21mph. when I train others I dont let them go over 17 mph. Id say somewhere between 17 and 19.

SEAT - actually its very personal. but the misunderstanding is that the more cushion the better it is. this is not the case with biking. you want a seat that looks uncomfortable. by that I mean no cushion or little of it. with the more cushion, it puts undo pressure on the arteries that feed your but and legs. this causing pain and numbness to, THE BOYS down stairs.

Clipless pedals are a must. it makes it easier to keep up the pace at a constant rate. you will be able spin your feet in a circle as opposed to always just pushing down, you get to push and pull at the same time.

Weather, face and hands the get the coldest. legs and bottom of arms are next. get good gloves. get removable lower leg warmers.( i dont usually use them but a must have with you in case) capileene undergarment for the chest with a good jersey. and waterproof good shoes to keep your feet dry.

thats all, should be no proplem. it you get cold, ride faster!!!
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:55 PM   #7
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

Wow, Brandon. I have a 'clunker' -- a single-geared, foot-braking heavy monstrosity with wire baskets front and back that I use to go to the farmer's market. I never ride that thing more than a couple of miles! The difference between that bike (known as Tootsie) and my road bike (a Specialized Roubaix affectionately called Tuesday: Roubaix Tuesday) is like the difference between an elephant and a race horse.

Frankly, I can't even imagine riding Tootse for 30 miles, let alone 300.

But if you insist....do you have a speedometer on it now? On the flats, if I've got 70 miles to cover, I like to aim for a cruising speed of about 16-17mph. That leaves me time to stop for meals in restaurants and still get in to my night's destination by dinnertime. I don't think I could sustain more than 10 mph on Tootse, frankly. Not for any length of time.

How many miles do you ride now?

And yes, the clipless pedals make a huge difference. You can pull UP on them as well as push down.

As far as how high the seat is, really, go to a bike shop and get fitted to your bike. It's another huge difference....find somebody who rides a lot and have them fit you...it's not just the seat height, it's the angle and height of the handlebars, how far the seat is from the handlebars...a myriad of angles and lines. Proper fit is the difference between comfort and agony on long trips.

Also, a softer seat isn't necessarily more comfortable. You also want to get your seat in bike shop, they should measure your butt. (They have you sit on a foam thingie that leaves impressions of your sit bones.) I almost kissed the girl who first fit me to my seat 'cause she told me I have an "average" sized butt.

Anyway, I think you are in for an interesting time..

Susie
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:58 PM   #8
Brandon Oto
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

How much do clipless pedals/shoes cost? And can you ride on the pedals without the shoes (for my usual jaunting around town)?
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:06 PM   #9
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

I don't remember precisely how much those items were...the shoes were around 70-80 dollars, I think, but I've been using them for over 2 years and they are holding up well. I have mountain biking shoes because it's easier to walk in them then the racing clipless setup. You can get off your bike, go in to a public place to eat, and not have to change your shoes.

I have pedals that have the clips on one side, and flats on the other. This is nice for city riding because you can leave your right foot out and on the flat side of the pedal when you know you are going to be stopping frequently. I've learned to flip the pedals and "feel" the clips so I can pretty much swap sides without looking.

Practice, practice, practice clipping and unclipping. I fell a few times at different points until the clipping thing became automatic. I have also "run out of gears" on some very steep climbs and gone to ground because I couldn't unclip, and gravity took over. The good thing when that happens it's a slo-mo fall. Much better than falling while going DOWNHILL!

Susie
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:54 PM   #10
Brandon Oto
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Re: Long-distance non-race biking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susie Rosenberg View Post
Frankly, I can't even imagine riding Tootse for 30 miles, let alone 300.
As a CrossFitter I had the words "easy" and "way" surgically removed long ago.

Quote:
do you have a speedometer on it now?
Nope. Is it important?

Quote:
How many miles do you ride now?
Just short distances. Maybe 5 miles a day or so to get around. No treks.

Quote:
Anyway, I think you are in for an interesting time..
Oh, Susie. Don't you know? I always have an interesting time.
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