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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I mean a real tour. MB, all of your weekend rides count as tours but for mere mortals like me, anything over 100 miles is a tour. Anyhow, I was thinking about escaping life later this year and heading up to Buffalo, NY. I can get from here to Erie, PA on bike routes. C&O from here to Cumberland, Great Alleghany from Cumberland to Pittsburgh, and the Underground RR to Erie. After that, it's on to Buffalo along the lake and I imagine they have a path all the way around it or at least wide shoulders.

So, what kind of leap would I be taking just trying to jump into something like this?

I've got all the gear I need for camping, I'm worred about the fitness part!

-Rob
 

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You will get fit while you are doing it.

It can be tough, it can be fun, it can be both at the same time.

Or if the weather is bad......

How many miles a day are you thinking about (I'd suggest that 60 is plenty, 80 is pushing it) and how many days of riding a week (I'd suggest that 6 is plenty).
 

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Hi Rob
I live in Buffalo, and I was thinking of taking the same trip, but in reverse. Buffalo to Erie, Erie to Pits, Pits to Cumberland, then on to Washington. Or, bus it to DC and ride home. This would be my first long bike/camping trip.
I've been commuting by bike; about 30 miles a day, and I'm going to start taking a longer way home each day...to improve my long distance fitness.
Most of the main Lake Shore roads have wide shoulders. No bike path exsist until You get Buffalo proper, then a series of paths will take you along the Niagara river to the Erie Canal towpath, or Niagara falls...then on to (Youngstown)Lake Ontario. This is where the paths run out. (I can send you an official bike map if you want it)
Alternately, you can cross the USA border into Canada...they have some awsome bikeway going to Niagara Falls, and onto Niagara on the Lake...but I not sure how you'd get back to the US side...some of the bridges won't alow bike to cross!
If you need a place to crash in Buffalo, I've got got lots of space...that is if you're not crazy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
MB, I was thinking more so around 40-60 a day and that's pushing it for me! I want to be able to kick back and relax to gather my thoughts about life, work, and just being free on two wheels.

Ray, I would have the family drive up and meet me in Buffalo and we'd hang out and head up to Canada for a weekend retreat of nothing. No need for the bike map yet as I'm just throwing ideas around. However, I do appreciate the offer!

We were up in Buffalo last year and it was such a fun town! VERY bike friendly I noticed! Well, we were downtown so that's the only part I can speak for. :)

-Rob
 

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I've never done a solo tour, but I have done two supported group tours, and I can tell you both of them are highlights of my life. So many good fun people to meet, and the laughter certainly out weighed some of the soreness at the end of each day.

If you are concerned if you are up for it or would like it, I highly suggest it. Both tours we camped at all locations. The support was to carry your gear and feed you. Feed you WELL!!!

I would recommend checking out adventure cycling association. The price is crazy cheap for what you get out of it (~120 a day for a 7 day tour).

I gaurantee you it will be the time of your life in a group. I am somehwat of a loner. I hate group rides, both road and mountain bike. But I didn't want to try something on my own as I am sure I'd get bored alone after a few days. I have zero regrets taking a group tour and made many good friends.
 

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No offense intended, but...Buffalo?!? Fun?!? Really?!? I've been there once to visit my brother when he was in school and I've been to the airport and the surrounding highways many times (used to do a lot of work with Lake Ontario water management issues). If it's a fun town, it's a well kept secret.

Anyway, to your original question, seems like if you ride regularly and are generally fit, you'll be fine doing 40-60 a day. And with the laid back attitude and I think you'll have fun. Sounds like a nice trip.
 

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I did a nice tour in Ontario: Sauble Beach to Espanola around Manitoulin Island and back. It was combination of camping and motels, and I think it took 6 days. Highlights include the Bruce Peninsula and National Park, Niagra escarpment, Manitoulin Island, which I believe is the world's largest island in a lake, lots of water, and 2 ferry rides ( I love ferry rides on bike tours). You can stash your gear at someplace like Little Current and do long day rides. I did that to Espanola and back, which is probably the most scenic part of the ride. I'd like to ride around Georgian Bay sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think I've decided to do the C&O path next month. Head up to Cumberland and wait there for the wife to come get me and then we'll all head out as a family for some camping at Rocky Gap.

Tomorrow is shopping day! Going to pick up a rack at REI (see other post, "1219."

I might look at lights while I'm there; just in case....

-Rob
 

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Riding into shape

Here's a link to a blog where the individual rode across the county. I found it to be wonderful reading. He took his time getting across the county. He wasn't overly fit going into the venture, but he did make it coast-to-coat.

http://walt-fatmanonabike.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

I haven't done any long tours, but the four-day tour that I did with a friend is certainly a highlight. Thinking about that trip still brings a lot of pleasure.

kj1
 

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What? Me worry?
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Rob,

I've done more than my share of solo touring, and the best advice I can give you is to make sure you have a reasonable level of fitness before you start. A 40 to 60 mile day can be ambitious, particularly carrying the loads required to be self-supporting. Figure that making camp and breaking camp as well as cooking and cleaning up are going to require time that you won't spend if you stay in motels and eat in restaurants. You will also find that until you get into the rhythm of touring that you don't rest as well on a sleeping pad as you do in a nice warm comfortable bed. You may also have to add extra mileage getting to and from grocery stores, etc.

Plan to take your time and be conservative in your daily mileage goals until you know just how much you can do and still enjoy the next day's ride.
 

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I have done quite a few week-long supported tours, but haven't done any loaded touring. There's a big difference. Why don't you try some overnight weekend tours in the spring to get yourself in shape and see what it's like? It also would help you shake-down your gear requirements.
 

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I wonder about the camping aspect of a long tour. Where do camp - pitch a tent on the side of the road? It seems that a designated camping area wouldn't usually be readily available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@ StillRiding - Yea...I still have cross tires on the bike and went for a simple ride to the grocery store. The hills are no problem in the car but on two wheels under your own power, terrain shows a HUGE perspective! I will definitely work up a base fitness.

@ Tarwheel - I will do just that. There's a campsite about 20 miles from here that I could manage from backroads. I think it's a great idea!

@ SRV - I would pitch a hammock between two trees and hope for the best! If that does not pan out, pitch a fly and lay out the sleeping pad.

Thank you all for the answers. My ambitiousness is slowly dwindling away as reality rears its ugly face again! :)

-Rob
 

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It takes your body 7 - 10 days to benefit from an effort. So if your tour is less than 7 -10 days, you are not going to ride yourself into fitness. You should be able to handle the distances prior to your tour or you will suffer like a dog. :D
 

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What? Me worry?
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SRV, you are correct, areas where camping is allowed can be few and far between. Worse yet campgrounds are starting to charge almost the same as some motels. "Stealth" camping is risky for many reasons. One more reason why careful and conservative planning is necessary.

Rob, do not underestimate the requirement for a good night's sleep while touring. If you can't recover from the previous day's efforts, the next day is going to all that much harder, and the day after that impossible. Unless you really can sleep in a hammock, I'd nix that idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@ StillRiding - I wouldn't say I have mastered hammocking because that implies a lot. However, that is my primary means for camping unless the family is with me so I'm not overly concerned about that part.

Fitness is the biggest part to me and I'm going to take your sound advice and do something locally before I attack and conquer the C&O.

-Rob
 

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StillRiding said:
SRV, you are correct, areas where camping is allowed can be few and far between. Worse yet campgrounds are starting to charge almost the same as some motels. "Stealth" camping is risky for many reasons. One more reason why careful and conservative planning is necessary.

QUOTE]

Imho, fitness counts more than planning for enjoying tours. Too many interesting possibilities arise and spoil the best laid plans. Being able to ride 3 easy hours in the morning, take a good lunch break and 3 more in the afternoon allows a lot more flexibility. Some of the best touring memories are nights spent some nights in country church yards, with cyclists I met along the road, and a barn.
 

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mynamesrob....Fitness is the biggest part to me and I'm going to take your sound advice and do something locally before I attack and conquer the C&O. -Rob[/QUOTE said:
680 feet of elevation gain/loss shouldn't make all that much of a difference but it is easier to ride the C&O from Cumberland to DC than going from DC to Cumberland.
 
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