North west South America cycling

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North west South America cycling

Postby Finn.s » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:52 am

Hey everyone! I am only 14 years old, but I currently have really big cycling plans in the future. I ride 35km every weekend along the great ocean road, and I have plans to do a really big cycling trip in the north west tip of South America. I am starting in la Paz in Bolivia and ending in maturin in Venezuela. I just wanted to ask how much work would it be going from like 35 km a day every week to like 100km a day every day. I'm 14 right now. If I want to be doing that, then should I be riding longer? By the time I'm in my early twenties, do you think that I would be able to do that distance each day? Also, what would be the best bike? I want to get a really light road bike because it's a very long trip and I need to carry a lot of stuff, but I also will be going through a mountain range pretty much the whole way, and I do want to go on some of the dirt tracks and stuff. What do you guys reckon? Also, any extra advice would be great because this will be my first proper multi day cycling trip and I don't know anything about what to pack, how to pack, what to wear, what bike to take, how to get my bike overseas in the first place, etc. (;

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Re: North west South America cycling

Postby Warin » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:56 pm

Bicycle travellers don't worry about the weight of the bike while on the road. They do worry about the reliability of the bicycle. As a guide - light, cheap, reliable - pick two. If your touring bike weight is less than 10 kg your doing very well indeed. Do remember you will want racks front and back, tools and parts... and very low gears for gong uphill with luggage.

Make a spread sheet of what you want to take. In one column list the weights .. and then do a sum .. the bike is only one contributor.

Add the weights up and you won't be so worried by the weight of the bike .. rather more about the total weight.
Read what others travel with ... you have a lot of reading to do!

Google 'touring bicycle gear list' and you get a lot of hits ...
Crazyguyonabike is one source of many trip reports .. some with gear lists..

Oh .. God rested on the seventh day. Suggest you plan on every 7th day as a day off the bike. You have to do the washing some time, and shopping and writing home .. average it as 1 in 7 days.

You should do some tours here to get practice and see what works for you.

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Re: North west South America cycling

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:44 pm

You have youth and time on your side. Just gradually build up your weekly riding with a mix of distances, say two days at 35 km, one at 60 km, one at 100 km. You don't need to train by riding 100 km every day. You should focus on endurance, not speed. Some training should on a loaded bike - you need to take short local tours, overnighters or long weekends to gain experience. And don't neglect to take your rest days, perhaps do some cross-training by walking, running, swimming. You will be plenty fit enough for touring by working up to training 250-300 km per week.

There are two ways of touring - one is traditional heavyweight touring using a full-dress touring bike with racks and panniers and all the associated paraphenalia.

But some bike tourists (well a great many actually these days) do worry about the weight of the bike while on the road. Of course the bike must be robust enough to cope with road conditions you are likely to encounter, so it's not going to be a lightweight racer, but yes it's sensible to try to minimise the weight of your bike and gear.

The other way of touring - the mode which is gaining popularity is bikepacking, which is conceptually like ultralight backpacking only on a bike. Choose a gravel or adventure bike or MTB, strap on a seat bag, handlebar bag and frame bag and go. Of course you must use ultralight gear and learn how to pack light in order to carry the essentials in this mode.

You probably already have a bike. Bikepacking bags can be found at budget prices to get you started.

For heavyweight touring research the journals on as suggested.

For bikepacking start here:

Bikepacking 101

And note that despite what the traditionalists might try to suggest, bikepacking does not limit where you can go. Many bikepackers have already visited South America.

Bikepacking South America
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

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Re: North west South America cycling

Postby find_bruce » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:26 pm

I can ride >100km per day for multiple days, I can ride a bike with an extra 35kg, I can ride on rough roads. Can I do all three at once? Dunno, it has never occurred to me to try. My point is that each of these things makes it harder & you should train for each of them - Ron's suggestion of short local tours etc is an excellent one.

Philosophically are you sure do you want to ride that far every day? Traveling, especially by bike, is about the journey, what you see and experience along the way & the people you meet. The longer you ride each day, the less time you have to experience things.

For a bit of fun you might like to have a look at the Strava heatmap for South America - not searching for hidden military bases, but getting an idea where people ride & the roads less traveled

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