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BEGINNER with Touring

Shaula2011-08-20 21:25:29 +0000 #1
Ok, guys - need some help, encouragement, advice!!! I turn 50 in June and have decided to ride from my home at the southern tip to Georgia to Athens, Georgia (where my daughter is in college) which is 270 miles away.

I have NEVER done over 56 miles in one day and that was a well supported charity ride. This would be a self supported ride with my husband acting as a SAG. I am giving myself 4-5 days to complete this ride. What advice do you have for a beginner on her first time touring event?
Dog2011-08-20 21:40:01 +0000 #2
I think that is a perfect way to celebrate your 50th birthday! Your husband sounds very supportive too! Map out your route and figure out where you can stay along the route...that will help you break down your mileage per day. There may be some segments where you will have short rides and other days that require more mileage. Planning the trip is half the fun and gets you motivated to train. Take pictures and please let us know how it goes. Have fun!
mariacycle2011-08-20 21:33:17 +0000 #3
Do you have a good idea of the route you would go (including incline)? Maybe you can go longer on an extremely flat leg of the tour and plan to go shorter on extremely hilly areas?
emily_in_nc2011-08-20 22:10:14 +0000 #4
The Adventure Cycling maps are great for planning out a tour too. We used them extensively when planning our tour across NY state: travelingtwosome.wee...-bike-tour-2004.html .

Here's a link:

My advice to you would be not to try to push the mileage too much since you'll be riding every day. You want to have fun, not torture yourself. Our tour averaged 62 miles per day, but we had a couple of significantly shorter days, and a couple longer days, and we'd trained a lot. You might want to shoot for averaging 40-50 miles per day.

Also, we found that front and rear panniers helped balance our load best without compromising bike handling. Don't overpack! You'll regret every pound on the hills. We washed out bike shorts and jerseys at night and could have gotten by with just two pairs of shirts and two jerseys, plus versatile, easy pieces for the evening. Minimize shoes -- aside from my cycling shoes, which had recessed cleats so that I could walk around town in them, I took only one other pair of shoes for off-bike use.

We booked all our lodging in advance but in many cases could have gotten by without it. Mid-week you can almost always find lodging unless there is something big going on in town. Good to do that kind of research in advance.

Don't carry a lot of food as that is one thing you can nearly always find along the way, but don't skimp on water/fluids.

Take a camera, and if you have one, a netbook computer or iPad. We did our tour in 2004, so I had to write all my journals on paper, then type them in at home, since we only had desktop computers back then. If we were to do this again, I'd take something I could keep an electronic log on -- it's amazing how much more you remember if you take the time to write a daily log while it's still fresh on your mind.

Most important tip of all: have fun! You will be doing something that very few folks ever have the opportunity to experience. And it is a great opportunity! Take time to smell the roses along the way, talk to locals, do a little sight-seeing. And report back here afterwards!
Shaula2011-08-20 22:22:25 +0000 #5
Thanks guys for the encouragement! I am getting very excited!!!! Of course, my friends and mother are worried sick but I figure that you only live once!!!!!! I will definitely report back my journey!
Tri Girl2011-08-20 22:21:08 +0000 #6
What a wonderful idea!!!

There's been lots of good advice given. Really, just TITS (time in the saddle) and working up to doing a few back-to-back long days. Every year I do a week long tour (not loaded, tho), and I find I'm fine with preparing with a few days of 30-40 miles back to back.

I agree that planning is half the fun. For me, the planning is sometimes more fun the actual execution. Remember that you're on a tour- and your pace doesn't need to be fast, you need to leave some time to stop and explore things that just scream to be explored. Take lots of pictures, stop and smell the roses along the way, and have fun!!!!

Oh, and we definitely want to read a report of your amazing adventure when you finish!!!
Chicken Little2011-08-21 00:18:33 +0000 #7
I think you need more guidance. I'm coming with you.
Tri Girl2011-08-20 22:06:52 +0000 #8

Originally Posted by Chicken Little

I think you need more guidance. I'm coming with you.

Well in that case, I'm coming, too!



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