Author Topic: Some basic questions from an old newbie  (Read 388 times)


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Some basic questions from an old newbie
« on: June 10, 2021, 03:09:49 PM »
 At the age of 58 I am planning starting some touring.  As I explained in my thread about Shand vs Thorn, I am a roadie so am used to longish rides on light bikes sitting on a plastic razor blade carrying and wearing next to nothing.

The more I explore about bikes and kit the more confused I seem to get.

I have narrowed down the type of touring I am likely to do and the style of bike I should consider.  That's where it stops at the moment.

Luggage - planning, at the moment for rear luggage but it's likely the bike I choose will cope with front too. 

Are all racks and panniers compatible?  For example will Ortlieb fit on a Tortec?

How do know if a particular model will fit around a disk?

Other luggage will be a bar bag and something for the top of rear rack.  I presume that bar bags come with a mounts to allow them to be taken away from the bike like a handbag?

Handlebars - I was thinking of butterfly bars but some of the advice in Thorn's mega PDF has made me rethink.  I don't want drops so am thinking flats with bull bar ends and then I see a bike with Jone's bars.  I take it they are used to give more tube space for attachments rather than hand positions?  Is this worth it?

Saddles - I have a pretty tough backside and very rarely have problems with pressure points and saddle sores.  I have always used the saddle which came with my bike(s) and have never needed to swap my current saddle on to a new bike.  The most I have ridden back to back is 5 days with say an average of 60 miles.  All saddles have been narrow and hard.  Now I seem to come across people talking about wearing in their Brookes, rubbing it with oil concoctions or hitting it with a rubber mallet. 

On a long tour is my bum likely to react differently than on a 5 day road riding holiday?  (I realise that this is very personal but I would like to hear others' opinions of switching from a road to a tour bike.)

People also carry a cover for their saddles.  Presumably this is for leather, Brookes style, saddles, i.e. to protect the leather rather than my shorts?? 

Is the Brookes Cambrio any good?

Dynamos - the last dynamo I used on a bike ran on the tyre wall and sapped about 30% of my effort and lit a 2sqft patch directly in front of the bike.  Now I am seeing hub systems which cost as much as my first road bike.  I will need lights and normally (we night ride sometimes) I have USB charged LEDs front and back with one strong beam for seeing. 

What should I be looking for?

Clothing - Most of my kit is lycra or light weight man made.  I do have some merino wool jerseys.  The tour I have planned is around the med so, on the whole, these jerseys will be fine. 

Do people tour just with lycras bibs or shorts or do they wear shorts over the top, MTB style?

I have a waterproof jacket which barely covers my torso and arms.  It is mostly used for stopping windchill on high and long descent when on holiday.  Are rain capes more common when touring?  If so any suggestions?

Shoes - Any touring bike will have SPD pedals, double sided probably.  My MTB shoes are SPD but they have more flex than I like - I get a bit of pain near the ball of my foot if I use them for longer rides (over about 35 miles).  If I get SPD shoes which are as stiff as my Spesh road shoes they will be pretty useless for walking.  What's a good compromise?  (packing extra shoes is bulky)

Apologies for so many questions and thanks in advance.


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2021, 03:44:04 PM »
Most luggage will fit to most racks.
Racks are wider if they fit over discs.
The bag clips are adjustable for position and some for the width of the rack tube they hold on to.
Bar bags will have a clip at the stem or handlebars which allows it to be taken off easily, weight at this point may affect handling.

Handlebars are best tried out to see what suits - borrow a bike or two with different kit.
For myself straight handlebars with ergon grips (very supportive) took away the need for bar ends.
If you need several hand positions then other types of bars are required.
Rohloff gear changers fit best on straight handlebars.

As you are approaching maturity on age you may find it comfortable to sit more upright on a wider saddle possibly with some form of suspension - rear springs, suspension seat post etc..
I only use the brookes saddle cover when the bike is parked in the rain.
Tyres come into this category as well as tyres less than 2 inch wide are not as forgiving to ride over current (poor) road surfaces.

Modern dynohubs are wonderful, will illuminate enough road with modern led lamps and can also provide a charge for other devices through suitable electronic converters.

Clothing is personal, use what you have found suits you.
Cycling capes work well in one condition - pouring rain and little wind, sadly (or happily) very rare conditions.
If you are going to cycle in bad weather then breathable and waterproof clothing is needed.

I now use spd cycling sandals riding without socks except for icy/snowy when I would wear waterproof socks or just walk.
Wet shoes take too long to dry.

Camping in the rain tip, small clothing items (without any metal) can be warmed/dried in the campsite kitchen microwave…
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 03:50:36 PM by julk »


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2021, 07:08:01 PM »
A lot of the answers will be a case of suck it and see, but here goes...
I've never had or heard of an issue with decent rear luggage and racks, I have no experience of but have read of some issues with front racks, particularly the style that go either side of the forks.
Thorn put the rear disc brake fitting well out the way behind the dropout, rather than along the seat or chain stay, I've used three non disc specific racks without having to bodge anything, I think one needed a 5mm spacer.  It depends in part on the calliper, the BB7 is a good bit wider than the Spyke or any of the hydraulics.  I like hydraulic discs, unless I was going somewhere remote, I think the pros outweigh the cons. Though my Mercury has a V brake front and my folder is on mechanicals as the fold would make hydraulics vulnerable.
Saddles - I like the Cambrian C17, but there's no telling if they'd work for you.  I prefer them to the leather ones I've had including the B17 and they're easier to live with.  I have the all weather version (Four of them) early versions had a habit of breaking at the nose after a couple of years, but the all weather seems to be a stronger build.
Clothing - I don't tour in anything I'm not also happy with off the bike, even when it's technical clothing.  it matters less if you're not camping, there isn't much that can't be dried overnight in a hotel room, though the laundry can become a chore.
Padded shorts/bibs - I usually don't wear them touring, I do if I'm going to be in the saddle hour after hour, but touring isn't like that.  Not for me anyway, I did 3 X 100 mile days last week, average 8 hours riding but over 12 hours elapsed time, I don't find I need the padding I would if I just did a straight 8 hour ride. .
Shoes - I've recently started using flat pedals and grippy shoes, that's as much about a knee injury as anything else, but after 25 years of SPD's I'm not missing them. Which has surprised me!
Dynamo hubs are such useful things on any non racing bike I'd have one unless there was a good reason not to.  They all work fine, output and resistance are close enough to be indistinguishable.  There's various tests and reviews, on different criteria different models are slightly ahead, but I doubt anyone could tell in a blind test.  I have the set, SON, Shimano, SP, the SON has the usual German engineering and longevity, the Shimano is like any other Shimano hub, lasts well and is often scrap when it's had it's day, the SP is a lesser known quantity.  The brakes and fork will determine the choice of hub, thru-axel more limited than QR.
I carry the same waterproof jacket I would on a long day ride where there was the possibility of rain.  But on tour, I'm usually flexible enough to sit the worst of the weather out.  There are times when I end up riding all day in the rain, but they're pretty rare.

There's no right and wrong, well not much! I'll sometime get home and think something could be improved upon, but I can't think when it's been critical. I've also bought kit on route, sun hat, extra socks, warmer gloves, and carried stuff that wasn't worth the space.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 07:13:03 PM by PH »


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2021, 09:06:20 PM »
Handlebars - I was thinking of butterfly bars but some of the advice in Thorn's mega PDF has made me rethink.
I've got my bikes fitted with these handlebars (they come in several different versions). They are effectively flat bars with very large removable bar-ends which offer a comfortable (for me) forward position w hich I couldn't get with the bar-ends on Ergon GP1L grips. I did however, modify the AHS bars by fitting Ergon grips on the straight section of the bars (there's a photo here I note, however, that there's a recommended all-up weight limit for the AHS bars but I don't expect to exceed that.


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2021, 09:18:14 PM »
Luggage - planning, at the moment for rear luggage but it's likely the bike I choose will cope with front too. 
Other luggage will be a bar bag and something for the top of rear rack.  I presume that bar bags come with a mounts to allow them to be taken away from the bike like a handbag?

IMO strong and stiff racks make a lot of difference. My preferences are either the Thorn brand or steel versions of Tubus. Both these brands uses tubes rather than solid rods. Another advantage of steel (except stainless) is that it can be repaired easily by welding or brazing if it ever does break.

My preference for touring bags :

- a pair of fairly large rear panniers (about 40 litres the pair). With 3 bottle cages on the frame, enough capacity for several weeks if not taking too much stuff and not camping. I only ride in Europe, where finding water isn't generally a problem. I use a small folding rucksack inside one of the panniers for valuables as I don't like handlebar bags, this doubles as an "overflow" bag, for example if I buy fresh food that won't fit inside the panniers.

- I add a pair of mid-size front panniers ( about 28 litres the pair) if camping, and the tent generally goes on the rear rack over the panniers.

I reckon the weight distribution and organisation of gear with front and rear panniers is better than just using very big rear panniers. I do have a pair of Ortleib Back Roller Pro panniers (about 70 litres the pair, so about the capacity as my front and rear touring panniers combined) but I generally use these for local shopping and for carrying bulky gear on local utility trips.

If you are really into minimalist touring and don't camp, you may be able to get way with just a big saddlebag (Carradice Camper Longflap, 23 litres) and a handlebar bag.


Agree with PH. Also have SON, Shimano and SP on various bikes. Drag is sufficiently low to leave the dynamo front and rear lamps on in daytime for extra safety (important in rain or dull conditions). If it isn't obscured by luggage I add a battery-powered LED rear lamp on the seatpost, but to save batteries on long tours I only switch this on at night or in very bad weather.

Clothing -

On long tours I take a minimum amount of clothing and do the laundry often. In cold weather 2 or 3 layers of Merino tops is good down to sub-zero temperatures, for very cold weather or cool and wet I use a Paramo rainjacket and Kamleika. But I also take a lightweight cape, which IMO is the best thing for downpours so long as there isn't too much wind.

Shoes -

I am old fashioned and have leather cycling shoes with small heels that can also be used for walking. I still use toeclips and straps. I also take a pair of lightweight sandals, these are useful when waiting for the leather shoes to dry after bad weather.


If you carry a lot of luggage or sometimes go off-road on tracks and paths, wide tyres cushion the bike, luggage and rider. They don't need to be all that heavy - I find 50 mm Marathon Supremes very good on my touring and utility bikes. And the 42 mm Marathon Supremes I recently fited on my fast day bike made itmuch more comfortable on rough surfaces without any appreciable performance hit over the previous 35 mm tyres.


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2021, 11:26:16 PM »
Not all racks play well with all panniers.  Ortliebs have a lot of adjustability, generally they fit well on most good quality racks. 

Not familiar with Tortec.  I am most familiar with Tubus, my favorite touring rear rack is Tubus Logo EVO.  That rack is great for panniers, but less useful if you are only carrying something on the top of the rack because it is quite narrow.  I use the logo for touring, but use a wider rack for general riding near home.

Some but not all bar bags can be easily removed for you to take with you into a store or restaurant.  I have not used an Ortlieb but Ortlieb handlebar bags do have a strong following.  The handlebar bags that I use have been out of production for several years, plus I made some major modifications to them so I do not recommend them.

Not sure why you are opposed to drop bars, being a roadie I assumed you would see the advantage of using drops in headwinds.  I can't offer any advice on alternative bars.  I am 67 years old, over a decade ago I did not use drop bars as much as I do now, but that was before I lost 15 percent of my body weight, which also reduced my pants waist size.  With that weight loss, the drops are more comfortable to use.  My drop bars, top of bar is roughly the same height as the top of my saddle or maybe up to 10mm lower.  Thus, my drops are much higher than on a typical road bike.  I use the Hubbub adapter on my Nomad Mk II to mount the Rohloff shifter to the right side handlebar end.

Saddles, if you have been happy with non-leather saddles, stick with non-leather.  Some people like the Brooks Cambium saddles, they are non-leather and do not require the maintenance of leather.  I tried two Cambium saddles and was not happy, but I have generally not been happy with non-leather saddles.  But I know some long distance riders that like the Cambium saddles.  Only you will know if they work for you.

If your bum on a five day road riding holiday was happy, on a long tour it would likely also be happy.  If you used the drops on a road bike but do not have drops on a tour bike, you would be sitting more upright on a tour bike than on a road bike.  Thus, you might want a wider saddle that is flatter in back on a tour bike.  I on the other hand have drop bars on almost all my bikes, including touring bikes.  And I use the drops, thus I want the same saddle shape on a tour bike as a road bike.

Somedays on a tour you have longer days.  I have had 12 to 14 hour days on a tour bike, not often, but often enough.  If you have done some long randonneuring or audax events, then you know what a long day in the saddle is like.  But if your road riding was four or five, with occasionally a six hour ride, you might find that touring has longer days in the saddle.

Dynohub.  If you buy a bike that is off the shelf, adding a dynohub is expensive and you can add it anytime later if you want.  But, if you have a bike built up (such as a Thorn), it is much cheaper to get the dynohub at the start because the dynohub wheel would only have the additional cost of the dynohub, minus the cost of the plain hub that you would not be buying.  You can use a dynohub without the other electrics if you want to wait for a while until you know more about what you might like later for lighting and USB charging, thus buying a dynohub up front is not a bad idea if you do not yet know what you would use it for.

Lights, USB charging, etc.  When touring I use my dynohub almost 100 percent for battery charging.  If I am using my S&S coupled bike, I do not even install dyno powered lights on the bike.  Daytime when touring, I have one or occasionally two rear battery powered taillights flashing.  But I have never toured in a country where flashing taillights are illegal like Germany.  I have a couple bikes with a dyno powered taillight, but I consider that secondary to my battery taillights because during daytime my dynohub is used for battery charging and not lighting.  If I tour on one of my bikes that does not have S&S couplers, then I will have a small dynohub powered headlight, but it will get very little use on the tour.

I started the thread, link below with my general comments on what I used for charging and electrical devices on a five week tour in 2019.  That tour was with my S&S coupled bike (Thorn Nomad Mk II) and it is a hassle to assemble and disassemble the bike for transport, so I do not install dyno powered lighting on the bike at all.  Instead on that bike all my lighting is either AAA battery or powered from my powerbank.

I have installed dyno powered lighting on a couple other bikes, including my Lynskey Backroad.  I wrote up this thread recently on lighting on my randonneuring bike, this is on a different forum.  When I tour on my Lynskey Backroad, the lighting would be very similar to that described in this thread.  But again, mostly the dyno powered lights would be off, dynohub used for charging batteries.

Dyno powered lights, there are several brands, B&M seems to be a favorite for road riding because light beam is shaped quite well for road usage.  The B&M website has photos of examples of how the headlights work at night.  But some B&M headlamps have poor weatherproofing on the back and bottom of the light, tire spray can be a problem if you do not have fenders (mudguards).  You do want fenders don't you?

If you get a leather saddle, the leather stain can transfer to your shorts.  Decades ago all bike racers used leather saddles, they also all used black shorts.  Enough said.

My favorite shoes (SPD) are no longer sold, thus can't recommend them.  Your shoes that give you pain, try moving the cleats back about 5mm to 10mm towards the heel, effectively moving your shoe forward a bit.  That might help.  If it helps a little but not enough, move the cleats even more back.

Clothing, you are a roadie, I think you already have it figured out.  But I included a few rain photos below, I prefer a good rain cover on my helmet.  I also use it in cool weather to cover up the helmet vents.  Sometimes I also wear an insulated ear band over my ears, you need to make sure your helmet suspension can be adjusted for anything you might wear between your head and helmet.  Rain covers for your shoes are worthless unless you also have rain pants.  Rain pants have to be long enough that they do not pull up above your shoe covers when you flex your knees.  I use suspenders with my rain pants, that way I am not constantly pulling my rain pants back up to my waist after they slipped down.  I like a good rain jacket that will work well in a campsite with a hood, but I never wear a hood when on the bike, I use a Marmot Precip jacket, I do not know if they are sold in UK or not.  One of the photos, I am wearing yellow glasses in the rain.  I also use a mirror attached to my helmet, I am in USA so the mirror is on the left side of helmet because that is where the traffic is.  If I was in UK, I would have to re-think my mirror options.  Sounds like you have lived all over the world, thus I think you have figured out everything you need to know for clothing off the bike too.  Cycle clothing, especially rain clothing, you want high visibility.

I will mention one non-rain piece of clothing.  A down vest packs down to almost nothing, weighs very little.  I can wear that open at the front if I do not need much warmth, zip or snap it up for more warmth, and if it is quite cool out I can put a stocking cap (stored in down vest pocket) on with a rain jacket over the down vest.  I take a down vest on almost all my trips.

The yellow glasses and also my sunglasses are wrap around with a reading glass bifocal insert that has a strong power (2.5 or 3.0 diopter) so that it is easy to read the map on my GPS which is close to my eyes when I mount the GPS on handlebar.

You were silent on gearing.  Either that means you made a decision (earlier you leaned towards Rohloff) or it means that you have set that aside for a future decision.  In a previous thread, I mentioned to you that I had three touring bikes, one Rohloff, two are 3X8 systems.  Both Rohloff and derailleur are good.

You were also silent on tires.  For pavement (tarmac) touring I prefer 35mm, 37mm, or 40mm wide tires.  Off road, I prefer 50mm or 57mm.  Get a bike with the capacity of the tire width you think you will want.

All of my 700c bikes that have fenders have toe overlap.  None of my 26 inch bikes with fenders have toe overlap.  I have no 650b bikes.  Is toe overlap a really big deal to you, or is it only a minor inconvenience?

Hope this helps.  And yes I answered some questions you did not ask.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 11:34:21 PM by mickeg »

Andre Jute

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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2021, 09:15:02 AM »
Some random thoughts:

Forget the rain cape. I went to some trouble to get a good one from The Netherlands and found it awkward beyond words even in ideal conditions, i.e. rain but no wind. Also, it offers you no protection from underneath. Even on well-drained roads, there is spray when it rains, and your feet will soon be cold and miserable, and then it will spread up your legs. The cape was shortly demoted to hill-walking duty where the air it circulates around the body is welcome and you're more likely than on a bike to be wearing solid, Goretex-lined boots an maybe even calf-covers.

Rain capes are not suitable in windy conditions even on foot, never mind on a bike, where on a busy road a cape could easily become lethal.


It is essential that one of your bags, usually the bar bag, should have a no-fiddle release so that you can put your valuables in it and take it with you every time you leave the bike even for the shortest period, and never be tempted to leave the bag while you dash into a building. It should of course also be big enough to carry a day's worth of snacks, and necessary non-valuables.

Modern hub generator LED lamps are brilliant. A B&M Cyo is the equivalent of the 6V lamps of VW Beetles of fond memory. You can use the best of the modern rear lamps, B&M's Line Plus, also driven by the hub dynamo, with it. You should choose your rack with fittings for attaching the rear lamp of your choice. I run the lamps on my bike permanently -- if the wheel turns, the lamps light up. It's a good security device and feasible if you sleep near a plug to recharge electronic devices (phone, navigational aids, emergency torch) every night and you therefore don't need the hub dynamo during daylight hours to recharge devices.

Even an old roadie with a hard backside will eventually come up against the limits of physical endurance; on major tours that is an inevitable event when unforeseen circumstances strike. It's smart to specify the bike to put that barrier off as far as possible in the specification of the bike. Don't be grudging about fitting wide tyres, and I don't mean going from 19mm to 21mm, I mean something like a 40mm minimum, preferably low pressure tyres. I'm a strictly local credit card tourer, hardly ever away from home for more than three days, and the smartest thing I ever did was to specify a bike capable of fitting 60mm Big Apples: you don't think about them until the end of an overlong day in the saddle when companions are wilting and you're still alert because you don't hurt.


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2021, 09:29:11 AM »
You may find it helpful to consult posts on this forum by ourclarioncall.
Hit the search tab to produce many questions and answers covering a wide range of newbie subjects.
Replies ( as always here ) were wide ranging, topical and good natured. Highly entertaining and recommended.


Who always likes to learn 5 news things a day.
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2021, 01:03:28 PM »
One more answer to a question you did not ask.  In your other post you said:

I am normally a roadie cyclist - weekend 50-80 mile fast(ish) rides carrying as little as possible using a bike which is meant ti be as light as possible.  I also do some offroad on my MTB.  This also includes week long cycle trips to the alps or Mallorca.

However I am now planning a tour after retirement but none of my bikes are suitable for a long tour.  ...

Roadies that ride hard and fast for three or four, maybe five hour rides on an occasional basis but not on a multi-week basis with consecutive long days in the saddle often seem to mis-understand nutrition.  Roadies often think they need powders full of carbs to add to their water bottles and/or that they need to carry pockets full of sugary gels to get adequate fuel for every mile or km.

Touring is a low wattage endeavor.  Touring is not a race.  A long uphill slog with a headwind is a hard day, but it still is a lower wattage activity at a lower intensity level.  Thus, nutrition appropriate for lower wattage endurance activities is more appropriate, and that is where normal food comes in. 

Where you might be used to doing three or four or five hour hard and fast rides, fully fueled, I often will do three or four hours at a lower wattage level without any food at all.  Touring is not about starvation, but it is about training your body to use internal energy stores.

This is a very good summary of energy sources for endurance activities.  The chart of different energy sources for high, medium and low activity levels is the basis to understanding this.

I also like to bring some salty snack food along on a long bike ride, sometimes that seems to help prevent bonking, probably from a shortage of electrolytes.

You need the calories but not necessarily that much during the ride itself.  Leave the gels and drink powders home, eat real food. 

At the end of the day, you should also get some protein to aid in muscle recovery.  I like to carry some protein bars, often forget to have one but I try to remember to have one within a half hour or 45 minutes of the end of the ride that day.

But when an opportunity arises, do not forgo something like in the first photo.

The second photo, when I saw a convenient restaurant, I decided a good breakfast was in order.  But with this much food and with this many fats I did pedal a bit slower for a couple hours after the meal.  But, touring is not a race, it is about enjoying the trip.


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2021, 03:25:28 PM »
@julk - some good points on capes and shoes.  Being in Vietnam I almost live in sandals.  Going back to ordinary shoes will be a pain.  Same with long trousers, I wear shorts 90% of the time just now.

@johnr - those bars look interesting.  I've saved the photo for future reference.  Thanks.

@PH - thanks for your comments on dynamos and clothing.  I am now convinced on a dynamo install when the bike is ordered.  I am very comfortable in bibshorts even when not on the bike so I will probably wear them.  I have several pairs at home in the UK which are almost new so I may as well wear them out touring.  I can always keep a pair of shorts handy if I need to be more respectable.

@martinf - thanks for your comments on luggage.  I have some reading still to do but, at the moment, I think a 40l pairs of Ortliebs are likely to be the choice.  I still have some investigations on racks to do, once I have decided on the bike.  I haven't got as far as thinking about tyres but will target a bike with adequate clearance for mudguards and tyres wide enough for a rough tow path.  I guess circa 35mm+.

@mickeg - I don't spend a lot of time on the drops even in head winds.  Probably a sign of age and an expanding waistline (which is reducing now we are in lockdown and can't get out).  I do like the variety of hand locations that riding the hoods offers hence my thoughts on butterfly bars.  Your rain photos are familiar to me having ridden many Scottish winters, mostly with bib tights and winter boots.  They keep me dryish but, more importantly, warm.  On the subject of gearing my mind is not made up yet.  I am very familiar with Shimano derailleurs so nothing really daunts me in terms of use and tinkering however I am very tempted by the Rohloff perhaps even with the Gates belt.  More reading to come.
Lots of info in your post - needs a more detailed read.  Cheers.

@Andre Jute - thanks for your insights.  I have given up on the cape and will either use what I have (a roadies pro jacket which packs very small or my Castelli Profetti which is wind and shower proof and keeps me warm).  Wide tyres are given.  I have done enough offroad unintentionally on 23/25mm to know better.

@matt - thanks for your tips.

@mikeg (again) - nutrition.  Good points.  I tend towards a coffee & bacon roll during or at the end of a ride with cereal bars during.  Gels and drinks blow me up like a tube so I avoid.  I like my grub and will enjoy what I can find locally.  On longer rides in an unknown area we will take french bread stuffed with banana or jam both with peanut butter.  Eaten with a strong coffee its great for getting going again.  That's my kind of ice cream.  No wonder I carry too much self weight!

Thanks to everyone for your replies.

I am closing in on a couple of bikes - Thorn or Shand but the decision will wait until I get home and I get the chance to visit Shand and see their bikes in the flesh.

My planned tour is a long one.  4000km around the med from northern Spain to Athens going down the east side of the Adriatic.   Before then, and before I commit a lot of cash for a(nother) bike, I intend to have a few short rides next year at home.

I am sure I'll be back asking some more questions or sharing purchases and experience.

This place is great for information, very much appreciated.


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2021, 06:05:17 PM »
We generally credit card tour, between B&Bs or cheap hotels. Premier Inn in the UK are marvellous, but you cant always find one in the wilds.

Two rear panniers and a rack bag and carrying less than 20 kgs is fine. I've just got a cheap alloy rack, nothing has fallen off yet. The panniers are altura and reasonably storm proof. The rack bag can come off and into the shops carrying any valuables.

I use the cheap chinese LED lights with an external battery, and a spare. Good for 5+ hours on low power. I also run an android phone on the bar for mapping, with an external battery in the rack bag.

I find lycra slightly embarrasing in pubs and shops. So I wear some MTB baggy shorts over lycra shorts. With panniers you can carry a variety of clothing, I usually have a lycra short sleeved top, a merino top, a decent waterproof jacket and a thin gillet in case we are stopped somewhere cold and wet. Waterproof socks for those days in Wales too.

SPDs here, a pair of shimano offroad shoes allow walking on pavements and pub floors.

As others have said, its not a race and its nice to look up and around and stop when you feel like it.

Have a great time.


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2021, 10:08:44 PM »
I decided a good breakfast was in order.  Picture of breakfast !!!!
I remember this type of breakfast from my days working away from home and in staying in a certain Scottish B&B.  Commonly known as "Jessie Knights Cholesterol killer"
Took until 3pm to digest it and feel normal again :)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2021, 10:10:57 PM by energyman »


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2021, 07:19:49 AM »
Bananas, water and maybe some dried fruit and nut mix. Probably a bit hairshirt for some though!


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2021, 10:29:26 AM »
'Some basic questions from an old newbie'

Nothing old about 58!


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Re: Some basic questions from an old newbie
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2021, 10:52:28 AM »
'Some basic questions from an old newbie'

Nothing old about 58!

Very true!!