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I am planning to go on a bike trip from Chicago to Milwaukee in the end of June. Is my Trek Allant, a recreational bike, suitable for the trip?

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People have ridden across the country on slow cruiser bikes, so this question is more about your patience and perseverance than the tool you place beneath your feet. Are you looking for training or motivation/encouragement or is this really about the bike? –  bmike Dec 19 '12 at 16:45
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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your bike is definitely fine for this trip. I've ridden further on a cheaper hybrid bike fully loaded, and I saw a few guys who rode the same distance on scavenged department store bikes.

For a 10 hour trip, I would try to pack light. You should be able to fit everything in one pannier or a rack-top bag. Make sure you have a few water bottles and food for the trip. If you plan to stop and eat, then you can carry a bit less. Get some electrolytes too, either a Gatorade or electrolyte powders/pills for your bottles.

Make sure you bring a decent toolkit enough to fix a flat, adjust your brakes, and include a small adjustable wrench, bottle of chain lube, and a spoke wrench (probably have this on your multi-tool if you've got one) just for good measure. Zip ties are always handy for repairs and hacks on the road. Don't forget a couple extra tubes, pump, and a patch kit. I wouldn't rely only c02 for a long trip.

As for comfort on the bike, you will definitly want some padded shorts (and probably some chamois cream), some gloves, and eye protection. A quality map as backup is nice in case your directions send you astray.

If you've got all that, then you should be fine. Plan a couple stops to refill your water and restock on food if you're not familiar with the route.

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Looks perfect, if the bike fits. You won't set any speed records, but it's probably about as comfortable for the trip as you could hope for, and certainly rugged enough.

There are several different lists around of what to bring on a trip. Depends in part on whether you'll have any "support" or not, but basically, in that part of the country, with a cellphone and money you're equipped for any problem. (Though I'd recommend some rain gear, assorted foodstuffs, including some salty and some not, pump and patch kit, and as many tools as you feel competent to use.) And, of course, plenty of water.

Take a break about every 15-20 miles to stretch your legs and let your rear end restore the blood flow.

(Looks like a fun trip!)

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152 Km?

Sure, the bike would make it. But since you ask this question, my guess is that you're pretty inexperienced with long-distance rides. If you're in good shape, you can expect to do about 100 km/day. And regular bike tourers know that you won't exactly reach that every day, either.

But to make this distance in one day, you'd need the kind of endurance that comes from already knowing you can make the trip!

Since I'm answering your question well after the proposed ride, I'd like to know how you fared in the first place. :)

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Yeah, it is a long trip. Definitely not a one-day trip for a novice (unless you're into self-abuse), but a fairly easy 2-day trip. –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 19 '12 at 16:34
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There are three answers, to quote the Windows dialog box:

  1. Yes - sure. 150km isn't that far and it's more likely that you'll fail before the bike.
  2. No - if the you or the bike is in terrible shape, then one or other of you will fail to make it.
  3. Maybe - in the same way as the general advice to a novice is to ask a physician for advice before this type of strenuous exercise, take your steed to a local bike repair shop and get their opinion.

You'll almost certainly be in bucket 1, although if you're asking the question, then assume the answer to bucket 3.

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