8

I am not a pro and I have never taken a long bike trip before, but I think I am up to it. The trip is not going to be one-go. I'll stop for rest. I am thinking that if I do 10 miles a day, I should be at my destination in two weeks.

I really need help with the following:

  1. Do I need to put myself through easier challenges/trainings before I embark on my planned trip?

  2. What food and equipment do I need?

  3. I am travelling in between two cities in Mississippi. What should I be wary of? Or what can I expect?

Really, any help will greatly appreciated!

  • 3
    How fit are you? A normal healthy person can ride 70-100km in a day. I think you can do it in 2-3 days – azer89 May 25 '15 at 0:41
  • 1
    If you can run 9 minute miles, you should be able to ride 10 miles/hour comfortably. What this does not tell us is what endurance you have. Until riding fit, the time your bum is on the saddle is probably you limiting factor, not the effort required. – mattnz May 25 '15 at 1:02
  • 15
    I'm confused. You say you have a passion for cycling but you also think that cycling ten miles a day for a couple of weeks might be a significant challenge. I don't understand how a passionate cyclist can have no feel for how long it would take to cycle ten miles in relatively flat terrain or how difficult that might be. – David Richerby May 25 '15 at 9:20
  • 1
    Mississippi will be hot and humid; so you will need water and more water (and easy to metabolize high energy food). – Max May 25 '15 at 13:49
  • 3
    Trips like this in the US are planned around where you can stop, not traveling the same distance every day. Are you camping and taking all your gear with you? Are you staying in towns? Is there camping or a town every 10 miles? Where will you get water and food? As others have said, this should be a 3 day ride. Maybe 4 if the stops don't work out well. – Gary E May 25 '15 at 16:33
8

Do I need to put myself through easier challenges/trainings before I embark on my planned trip?

That depends. What is the farthest you've cycled in one go before now?

I suggest you skip your next gym visit and go for a 10 mile cycle. If that works out, take a 20 mile cycle the next time.

What food and equipment do I need?

A spare tube, tyre, mini-pump and tyre levers are essential. So is a helmet. Use winter tyres if you're expecting poor weather conditions or a lot of debris on the roads. (Winter tyres are more resistant to damage)

Panniers are quite nice, because carrying your gear on them is easier than a backpack and doesn't give you a sweaty back. A speedometer is also nice, because it gives you an easy way to see how you are doing (even the cheapest will have distance since reset and odometer functions).

You will also need:

  • Water - however much you need so that you can have about 2 litres (half a gallon) per day. If you can refill multiple times a day, this probably means you're fine carrying one litre (~ 1 quart)
  • Reasonably energy dense foods - Nuts, bananas, etc...

I am travelling in between two cities in Mississippi. What should I be wary of? Or what can I expect?

I'm not familiar with the area, so I can't help specifically with that.

If you're camping and it gets cold overnight, make sure you have something tasty, energy dense, non-perishable and OK to eat cold. When you wake up cold and your gear is cold, you need some food to help you warming up. Nuts are good.

  • +1 for having a go at specifics. I'm going to wait see if the OP updates the question :-) – andy256 May 25 '15 at 11:12
  • I'd bring along a spare tire too since he'll presumably be far from help. I rarely get flats, but the last time I did, a piece of road debris ended up slitting the sidewall and I don't think even a "boot" would have held - a riding parter rode a few miles back to a nearby bike shop to bring me a replacement tire. On the backroads of Mississippi he may be in for a long wait before help arrives. – Johnny May 25 '15 at 19:01
  • @Johnny agreed. I'll edit that in. – frodoskywalker May 26 '15 at 8:33
  • Mississippi is not the Great American Desert. Towns are 10 miles apart or closer, a farmhouse is always within sight. And they are, for the most part, friendly, courteous people who will gladly help you out if you should have such an incredibly unusual experience as shredding a tire. (A broken spoke is a far more likely problem.) – Daniel R Hicks May 26 '15 at 11:32
  • Towns may be 10 miles apart, but bike shops (and even Walmarts) are much farther than that, so he may be counting on the kindness of strangers to drive 20 miles to pick up a tire for him. Road shoulders in Mississippi are unpaved and often gravel and glass strewn, so I don't think it's unlikely that he'll get a flat, and perhaps even an unrepairable flat. He can (usually) limp along for quite some time with a broken spoke, but he'll be in for a lot of walking if he can't repair a flat. – Johnny May 26 '15 at 16:01
4

I think your greatest challenge will be keeping to only 10 miles (16 km) per day.

You do not mention

  • any cycling experience

  • your fitness level

  • if you have a bike

  • if you expect to camp

  • if you will cycle on roads

  • what you intend to spend.

A person in normal good health could expect, with a little training, to ride 20 miles (32 km) before lunch and the same after lunch. So the entire trip could take four days.

A fitter person on a road bike, touring bike, or similar, could do it in three days. A fit and seasoned cyclist would be aiming at two days.

So such a trip is certainly possible. If you update your question with answers to the above points, I'll update this answer to respond. And probably others will chime in also.

There are also other similar questions on this site that you can check out. Look under the tags on the question, eg .

  • 1
    You do not mention ... if you have a bike indeed – Cthulhu May 25 '15 at 12:00
  • 2
    I don't even know how going only 10 miles a day would work in reality. Where would you even sleep? You most likely want to be in a place with a hotel or designated camping area every night. Sure you could just duck into the bush and pitch a tent, but that seems like it might not be the best idea. You'd have to have a very good route planned, because depending on where you go, it could be 40 miles between places you could buy food. Packing 4 days worth of food and water (although purifier or chlorine tablets may be an option) would make for quite a bit of extra baggage. – Kibbee May 25 '15 at 12:48
3

I have done 120 mile touring and it was over either 2 days or 3 days.

The easy estimate is 10 miles per hour for a bike ride. You can easily ride 50 miles in one day. With a distance of 169 miles, you should take around 4 days. Sometimes, the average speed is closer to 15 miles per hour. Also, you may take more or less time per day.

I used both front and rear panniers. Placed camping and clothing in the panniers. The sleeping bag on on the back rack (can be used as a soft seat too). Tools on the front rack or an easy access pouch on the panniers. Another option is a bag on top of the front rack.

You will need a pump and at least two small water bottle holders or at least one large bottle holders.

Be aware of wind, and sharp turns. Remember, you bike has more mass on it, so it will be a little trickier to mount and steer.

Head lights and taillights are a must, at least the taillight. You want those cars coming from behind to see you.

You may also want to bring a mobile phone and a charger. Nice to have in an emergency. Small first aid kit tool.

As far as snacks go, the usual trail mix will do. Helmets are mandatory. A wet rag between your head and the helmet would be nice too.

Also, either drive the route first or explore it with Google Maps. Look for hills and see if there are any flat routes around them. Also, look for bicycle paths or routes. These bicyle paths provide more isolation between you and those nasty cars (moving or the stationary ones that have opening doors). Beware of sewer grates, they tend to do wreak havoc with wheel rims.

I used high pressure tires on my bike: 90 in the front, 85 in the rear. High pressure makes less friction on the road and your pedaling easier. Also, adjust your seat so that your legs stretch out at the lowest pedal point. This reduces the possibility of getting cramped legs.

As a side note: A normal person walks at a rate of 2 miles per hour. If they walk for a total of 5 hours per day, they will average 10 miles per day. A bike is 10 mph, and you can cover 50 miles during 5 hours. You may want to rethink your duration a bit. Also, break up your travel into segments. Each segment should end at a hotel or camping spot regardless of the distance.

  • 3
    Actually, average walking pace is around 3mph; a brisk walk is more like 4mph. – David Richerby May 25 '15 at 23:06
  • How did you plan the logistics? Where did you sleep and eat? – asef May 26 '15 at 2:33
  • Good answer, but I'm confused by the wet rag. Is Mississippi that hot? – frodoskywalker May 26 '15 at 12:55
  • The wet rag is a California thing and also good to keep you cool while burning calories. – Thomas Matthews May 26 '15 at 13:29
  • My experience has been riding from Santa Barbara, CA to Los Angeles, CA and from Los Angeles, CA to San Diego, CA. The first trips used hotels. The remaining times were camping. – Thomas Matthews May 26 '15 at 13:31
2

If you do not have a set schedule, and, in particular, you do not plan to cycle more than maybe 60 miles a day (through reasonably flat terrain) then anyone in decent shape can do a multi-day tour.

You do not say how you plan to be "supported" for this trip. If you will be carrying all your own gear on the bike ("self-contained") you need a decent bike with a reasonable rack and panniers, and you need good lightweight camping gear. If someone in a car will be carrying your gear then you just need a halfway-reasonable road bike.

Whether you plan to camp or use hotels, you will need to plan your route with stopping points -- while there are parts of the US where you can get away with just camping on the side of the road (or asking a farmer's permission to camp on his land), this probably not something you should plan on. (Of course, if you are supported by car you can be transported back and forth between bike stops and nearby hotels.)

Frankly, the "logistics" is probably a far bigger problem for you than the actual biking.

  • If you're planning for 2 weeks, you could probably do this on nearly any bike comfortably. – Batman May 25 '15 at 4:30
  • 1
    @Batman One could even walk in less than a week! – andy256 May 25 '15 at 4:48
0

Mississippi huh? Well I did this kind of thing in Georgia and in Texas and the common denominator is water and protein. Music (ala ear buds) no matter what are a good thing & so is a weather radio.

  • 2
    Riding on roads with earbuds sounds like a recipe for disaster. – Johnny May 25 '15 at 19:03
  • Yes and no to the music. Earbuds tend to seal out the world and vehicles sneak up on you. Open "over the ear" headphones with either glasses-clips or around the back of the headbands work okay cos you can still hear. Good music does help on the long boring flat roads, where noone can hear you singing along. – Criggie Sep 9 '15 at 0:57
0

There's a specific term for this: Bicycle Touring. I suggest you to get some information from online forums such as r/bicycletouring on reddit.

Normally, a bike tourist rides about 70-100km on the first few days of his/her tour. You mentioned that you go to the gym regularly, which is really good. I'm confident that you are healthy enough to accomplish your plan.

In sum, about your questions:

1) No you don't need training but you DO need to test your bike and gears since component failures in the actual trip would be disastrous.

2) The answer could be complicated. But you can eat carbs/fat/glucose such as boiled eggs, peanut butters, honey, etc. About the gear, at least, you need a rear rack. Also, you need to consider where you want to sleep: camping or a hotel?

  • 5
    "Boiled eggs" isn't really "carbs". – Daniel R Hicks May 25 '15 at 3:11
  • What is a "normal" distance depends very much on the experience of the rider. – David Richerby May 25 '15 at 10:40
  • 1
    @DanielRHicks Understatement of the week! A typical egg (about 30g) contains less than half a gram of carbs: eggs are nearly all protein, fat and water. – David Richerby May 25 '15 at 10:42
  • @DanielRHicks, thanks for the correction, I eat eggs for long distance biking. – azer89 May 25 '15 at 17:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.