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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    2

    Biking from Texas to Alaska

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    Hello! I am new to the forums and to touring (but not to cycling). This coming summer, I and a few of my classmate from the University of Texas will be biking from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska to spread hope, knowledge, and charity in the fight against cancer (check us out texas4000.org). We will be training intensely the few months leading up to our departure, but before then, the longest I have ever ridden at a time was 50 miles, so I was hoping you can all offer me some advice when it comes to touring and gear. As a broke college student, I am looking for the most versatile and good quality stuff at an affordable price. I am willing to dish out the money for gear that is going to be worth it (comfortable and durable enough to handle 70-120 miles daily for 70 days), but seeing as how I will also have to pay for camping gear on top of that, I will not be made of money. So, options like PI PRO's might be out for me. I was hoping someone might have some insight on things like a versatile wind/rain jacket that will keep me dry and warm in the Yukon/ Canada but also cool and protected from desert sands in New Mexico. Am I far reaching? Also, being from Texas, I am a wimp when it comes to the cold, so I've been looking into leg and arm warmers and full finger gloves. Any suggestions? Preferably from PI or Endura or Craft? Even if I'll be biking during the summer, I'm still looking to endure cold days seeing as how I'll be heading pretty far north, right? Any words of advice that you have to offer will be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    DO NOT OVER PACK. When you are laying out your gear put half of it back before you even leave town Go read Crazy Guy on a Bike and look for similar rides, also Adventure Cycling. Consider having items mailed to you and then your mailing items "home" as you move north, depending on the time of year you could have rain. The advantage of going in a group is the sharing of the load as far as camping equipment goes. Sounds like a fun time. Oh and feel free to read our blog too ~
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    41
    So exciting! I am jealous. It seems like you could buy the cooler weather gear as you ride north. You may even be able to order it on line and have it shipped to the UPS or post office in towns that you know you will be traveling to.
    I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood--Susan B. Anthony

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie.Do View Post
    Hello! I am new to the forums and to touring (but not to cycling). This coming summer, I and a few of my classmate from the University of Texas will be biking from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska to spread hope, knowledge, and charity in the fight against cancer (check us out texas4000.org). We will be training intensely the few months leading up to our departure, but before then, the longest I have ever ridden at a time was 50 miles, so I was hoping you can all offer me some advice when it comes to touring and gear. As a broke college student, I am looking for the most versatile and good quality stuff at an affordable price. I am willing to dish out the money for gear that is going to be worth it (comfortable and durable enough to handle 70-120 miles daily for 70 days), but seeing as how I will also have to pay for camping gear on top of that, I will not be made of money. So, options like PI PRO's might be out for me. I was hoping someone might have some insight on things like a versatile wind/rain jacket that will keep me dry and warm in the Yukon/ Canada but also cool and protected from desert sands in New Mexico. Am I far reaching? Also, being from Texas, I am a wimp when it comes to the cold, so I've been looking into leg and arm warmers and full finger gloves. Any suggestions? Preferably from PI or Endura or Craft? Even if I'll be biking during the summer, I'm still looking to endure cold days seeing as how I'll be heading pretty far north, right? Any words of advice that you have to offer will be greatly appreciated! Thanks
    I'd tell you that the importance of the training is more a matter of learning basic bike care than your fitness. It's good to get a thousand miles on a bike and know your headset isn't rattling or your BB needs adjustment. Your body is going to adapt to the miles as you go without much problem. 70mi a day with fully loaded gear is enough for most folks. It better be summer when you hit AK because if it isn't you're in trouble. We've had full-on blizzard snow in Fairbanks the second week of Sept. I'd plan on being in Anch. by the second week in Aug. at the latest. Anything much later than that could leave you in trouble in the high country approaching Anchorage. You'll need the gloves for rain, not snow. I think both leg warmers and arm warmers are fantastic and practical. Thin rain/shoe covers are pretty nice when its raining. Wet feet get seriously cold. Department store baggies tied over the shoe also work to keep the wind off the feet and you can throw them away when they wear out. Understand that some critical stuff like DEET won't be needed when you start so be prepared to pick up a few minor things along the way. And forget Skin So Soft and other nonsense like that. Canada and AK will involve days when the only water you find will be in ponds and streams along the way so something like a SteriPen for water purification is almost a "must". Carbon filter models don't need batteries but they are heavier. GoreTex type jackets work great but need to be kept clean. Very clean. They are great for quick showers but long rains will leave you sweated and wet inside no matter what. Anything that really works well for rain will leave you sweating for wind so a very, very lightweight wind shell will be used more often than a rain jacket. It would be nice to have one for double duty but I've not found that to work while others have. Your training time should include rain rides and such to let you find what works for you. I'd advise as little cotton as possible. It gets wet and stays wet. Polypro and good wool rule. If you tour without a bike light be careful to always stop early enough that you don't ride at night. I like craft pants but don't bring bike pants on a tour like that. It's never cold enough for them, for me. Leggings are all that should be needed for most people but riding in the rain is an issue for that. I do bring rain pants. Others eschew them entirely. Equally important is pannier choice and taking great care to ensure all pannier bolts are attached with Blue Loctite so those bolts can't rattle free but can be removed if needed. I love Schwalbe Marathon tires for tour. hard to beat and more lively than Armadillo. Look at Lezyne Road pump. Best pump by far. My rule is I NEVER leave my bike unattended. Some kind folks will let you leave your bike in the manager's office or a back room....much better than locked up outside. I never leave my bike locked here or there and walk away. If I can't bring my bike into a grocery store then my partner goes in...and we take turns. Check your shoe cleat screws occasionally. If one loosens you can try to get out of your pedals and turn a foot with no effect and boom, down you go. Get a sense of how long your brake pads last and be prepared to replace them...and know how to toe them in properly. There are tons of web sites that will add to these tips. I'm an Alaskan (ended up here looking for saddle advice for a present for my wife) and hope you are successful and have a fantastic time.

 

 

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