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I am new to biking beyond what I did every day as a kid/teen, and I realize this is a very serious undertaking. I am in shape but not for a ride like this, so I will train. I have a new bike, a hybrid, and don't know much about bikes other than how to take the tires off. I want to ride with a camelback and the basic of basics.

Is this just ridiculous or can I do this by August 2016? What would you recommend to begin? I am female, healthy but with a heart murmur. I would be going at a moderate pace, time is not an issue. Bike from Toronto to Florida, Fly home from Florida.

Edit: Thank you for all your input! I will be seriously considering all of these points. It's a great community here, I really appreciate this!

  • Can you tell us how far you mean by 'long distance'? It means different things to different people. – Andy P Jun 3 '16 at 13:02
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    That's about 2,400 kilometres - you're talking about a significant expedition, which will take you from 2 weeks to a month, or more, depending on daily coverage, and rest days. Will this be a supported ride or are you carrying everything? Are you going with a group or alone? – Criggie Jun 3 '16 at 13:08
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    No one seems to be addressing contact points. You will be spending a lot of time in the saddle, you need to ensure the fit and contact points (saddle, handle bars, pedals + shoes) work for you. Repetitive stress injuries can quickly sneak up on you when doing large mileage. – Rider_X Jun 3 '16 at 16:04
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    I would recommend that you search up bike touring webpages that can provide extensive information on how to prepare the trip, or get a book on the subject... there are many details that you want to known beforehand instead of wishing you had known when you are out there. Also plan bailout methods – gaurwraith Jun 3 '16 at 16:47
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    When you can ride 100 kilometres, on each of two sequential days, then you're ready for this trip. Plan on two days riding and then a rest day, it will take you 36 days to complete. – Criggie Jun 3 '16 at 21:50
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Is it very ambitious? Yes! Can it be done? Yes!

To make it work, you are going to have to invest practically all your free time preparing, as you have a lot to do.

Bike Maintenance

You are going to want to learn the basics of bike maintenance.

  • Fixing punctures
  • Adjusting gears
  • Changing brake pads
  • Repairing a chain

Logistics

You said you want to take just the basics, but do you know what yet? Can you fit it all in a camelback? And if so, do you want all that weight to be carried by your body each day? Would some bikepacking gear (apidura/revelate etc) make your trip more enjoyable?

  • Spare pair(s) of padded shorts?
  • Spare cycling jersey?
  • Spare socks/gloves
  • Warm layers
  • Windproof/Waterproof layers
  • Off the bike clothing?
  • Repair kit
  • Basic first aid kit?
  • Toiletries?

Navigation

How are you planning to navigate?

  • Maps or a GPS?
  • If its a GPS, how are you going to charge it?
  • GPS powered by AA batteries so they can be replaced?
  • If its maps, where will you store them?

Sleep

  • Are you going to stop for the night at Hotels/B&B's?
  • If so are you going to book in advance?
  • What will you do if you don't book and everywhere is full?
  • Or will you camp with a lightweight sleeping bag and tent?
  • If so, where will you put those on the bike?

Training

  • How much distance/how many hours will you cover each day?
  • How does how far you can ride now compare?
  • Can you recover well enough to do it again the next day?
  • You'll need to put in a few days as long as you are planning on your trip to ensure you are not getting sore neck/shoulders/hands/back/bottom.

Fuel/Nutrition

How are you planning to fuel? You'll need to figure this out too and incorporate it into your training to find out how your body responds.

  • On the bike food?
  • Energy drinks?
  • Cafe stops?

Once you have answered all these questions, and you have put the hours in on the bike, then you are ready for what will surely be an amazing adventure.

  • And plan for uncertainty, e.g. flood, rains, bikes broken, theft , etc. Avoid "exploration food" etc. – mootmoot Jun 3 '16 at 14:13
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    I would add a suggestion for panniers. Looking at the Camelbak site, all their packs are fairly small day-packs and I think carrying enough supplies for a 2+ week journey in one would be difficult, even allowing for restocking food every few days. Additionally, August is hot. It will only get hotter the further south OP goes, and the sweat build up behind a backpack will be miserable at best, and lead to damp/wet items in the pack at worst. Nothing like hitting your night's stop point only to find your dry change of clothes is damp. – FreeMan Jun 3 '16 at 15:00
  • That's why I suggested bikepacking gear - in my mind, unless carrying a very large load panniers are obsolete. A seatpack, bar bag and small frame pack (for hydration bladder) will give ample storage for the basics, especially if not camping. – Andy P Jun 3 '16 at 15:03
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    Yup, a huge downvote for backpack. if you've been on several tours and have your packing down to a fine art, you might be able to pack light enough to fit it all in one small backpack, but it will still be on the heavy side and very sweaty. – SSilk Jun 14 '16 at 18:49
  • I also disagree with dismissing panniers. I just did my first tour last year and used panniers. If I did another one I would consider frame bags but as a first time tourer, I think it's hard to get your head around how little you really need with you, so you tend to overpack to the point where frame bags wouldn't hold all your gear. For me, packing last year, no amount of seasoned advice would have convinced me I should leave home w/o my Tablet/Kindle/zillion tools, etc. That all got mailed home two weeks in, but that's something I had to learn for myself. – SSilk Jun 14 '16 at 18:52

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