I'm planning a 340 mile pittsburgh-to-D.C. bike trip along the allegheny/c&o canal bike trails, and i'm planning on camping most or all of the nights --- i'm getting a super lightweight tent to carry with me...

what advice do the experienced riders have for a newbie? the longest trip i ever made was 72 miles in a weekend when i was 13 from cumberland to DC... and it was a great time, so i want to do it again, only this time -- a longer trip, now that i'm 23.

advice for safety, morale, how to carry supplies (light backpack a bad idea in addition to bike pack? what sorts of bike packs are best for weight distribution and carrying things?), advice regarding safe diets, safe travel, and anything else you can think of as "basic" and important for me to know.

i want to leave in 2 weeks and i'm planning now. there's only so much time before i have to get a new job.

2 Responses to advice for long bike tours…?

  1. crazydave says:

    I did a solo ride from Georgia to Upstate NY in 1987. I averaged about 100 miles a day. I didn't camp out, I stayed in motels along the way. After being in the saddle all day, sleeping on the ground didn't seem like much fun.

    I would stay away from using a backpack, it will put too much strain on your back. Get a set of rear panniers and a trunk rack. If you need more space, get a set of front panniers. Any local bike shop should be able to help you out with those things. Practice riding the bike while it's loaded; it will handle differently than when it's empty.

    Know how to make basic repairs on the road. If your bike is in good working order now, chances are you'll only get flat tires. Carry a patch kit and a few extra tubes and also a good frame pump. You might want to get a good light system in case you get caught out after dark. A reflective vest and leg bands wouldn't hurt either. Also bring a cell phone in case you get into trouble along the way and to keep them informed of your progress back home. I didn't carry any food with me, I just stopped along the way as needed. And most important: Have Fun!!

  2. Jay P says:

    For that long of a tour, you really do not need toooo much gear. A backpack really is not desirable. It will be cumbersome and not to mention hot. Rear paniers are the first choice. Get a nice set of bags to fit over a rear rack. You can bungee your tent to the top. If you need more room, I would suggest front paniers mounted on a low rider rack. Blackburn makes the best racks in my opinion.

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