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What to do about carrying water? (And other newb questions)

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What to do about carrying water? (And other newb questions)

I'm completely new to touring and only been into bikes heavily for about a year (excluding my times on a Huffy as a youngster), so of course the next reasonable thing was plan a 5k tour from Pennsylvania to Florida to Seattle, WA with my less experienced than me girlfriend. I'm finding most of my complications while preparing (depart is May 15th 2015) is with gear, mostly what's the best out there for a reasonable price? Seeing how I've never before done anything like this I foreseeing a lot out trial and error in our future.

So can anyone answer a few or -if there is a God and she loves me- all of the questions below with awesome detail/exactly the info I was looking for?

First, water. Nature's base of life, most abundant resource probably in the world, has often been the decider in the story of Mankind of where kingdoms will rise and others will fall.
And now I'm reduced to try to figure out how in the world I am suppose to carry enough of it, how I'm suppose to carry it and in what? So can anyone tell me what they'd do in my place, what's a good hydration system for two people? Let it be known we'll be using this water for drinking as well as cooking as we intend to camp as needed or whenever possible.

Next, broken spoke on the road solutions. Is it worth bringing a cassette remover and spare spokes? I've heard of temporary fixes that will at least enable us to get to a place to fix it but I'm not very trusting of these as testing them is ridiculous and therefore the only test is live trial. Any advice here?

I have more questions but I'll wait to see where it goes from here, and thank you very much in advance for reading my post and giving the questions a shot.

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some ideas

Hello Ionathan,

Nice first tour you have planned there. Although it is a longer tour, it is not a very difficult one. I don't think you will encounter crazy cold or hot weather, no extreme altitude, no long distances without services. So you don't have to worry too much, average quality gear will do the trick for you.

As for the question about water. I always carry two larger bottles in my frame. Depending on the size of your frame, you might be able to fit on of those: http://www.beslist.nl/products/r/Topeak_Modula_Cage_XL_PET_fles_houder/#zoomview. Together with a 750ml bottle you will already carry over 2 liters per person in your frame. I always carry a MSR dromedary 10 liter bag as well. Every evening before setting up camp I find a tap or I ask someone to fill it up for me (not full). This water is for cooking and washing and to start the next day with full bottles again. You can also take a 6 liter bag each. If you encounter longer stretches without services and hot weather is expected you can use the MSR bags during the day as well.

If you travel light (less than 20kg of luggage per person) and you have well build wheels, you will probably never break a spoke. I usually carry a few spare spokes for the rear wheel (2 different lengths!) and a NBT2 tool: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/4693. You don't need more than that to remove the cassette. I had one bad wheel on a tour and needed it a lot, after that I never broke a spoke in 100,000km. In my opinion the traditional tools are too heavy and will only add up to a wait that will make your spokes snap.

Peter

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Water and spokes

Hi there!
I've been on only a few tours but already I've noticed water really something that one thinks about; it can be a pain to find drinking water and how much should you carry?

My opinion will differ from others, I have no doubt, so be open to several points of view.

I recommend carrying something that'll treat or filter water. You may not be able to find potable drinking taps everywhere and will have to think about taking from streams etc.

I went on a month long trip with these chemical drops that you'd mix to 'activate it', then you'd add to bottles, then drink minimum 30mins later, in order that all viruses and bacteria are killed. It probably depends what you buy and how much you spend, however I was lucky enough to have found something that didn't add an unpleasant taste to the water. They had an added advantage of not taking up much space in bags too! Can't remember the product name, sorry.

It was just today however, that I ordered a water filter for my next, glorious trip, (can't wait) which is when I saw your question! I am yet to test it, but it has received very good online reviews, so cross fingers I won't be wasting anyone's time recommending it! Here's the link:

http://www.lifesaversystems.com/bottle-page-v3?utm_expid=50136460-7.Q9PhMhHaSO-S6oiIXsE9gg.3&utm_re...

What had me further convinced was the TED talk (re. lifesaver water bottle) found on youtube.

How much should 2 people carry?
Depends on climate obviously. My trips were all during summer in temperate climates and I got on fine with 2 750ml bottles attatched to frame. Just have to refill a couple of times a day... unless you'd prefer carrying kilos and kilos of water! (Not my cup of tea.) I don't know what to recommend for deserts etc.

A bonus tip since we're talking about water: If you're looking for spots to stay the night in your tent, rivers are great... there's usually a few semi-wild areas to pitch a tent. Don't get swept away though!

Re. spare spoke question... well, maybe I've been lucky but it's only happened once. Reduce the weight on your bike to cut the chances of broken spokes... (but you should still have a spare, with appropiate tool I reckon.)

I have to repeat, to emphasize: Remove unnecessary weight off bike! General wear and tear will thus be reduced. Here's a book on the subject I recently read and am converted (5 euros downloaded to kindle is well worth it to save me plenty of tears!):

http://www.cyclefar.com/ultralight/

If you want videos on bike repair, there are tons of tutorials on youtube.

I've given your questions a crack, but definately see what other people may recommend, as I may not have found the ideal system.
Enjoy your springtime trip!

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water and spokes

There is a product called "Fiber-fix Spoke Replacement" on the Adventure Cycling Association website I have but have not used. it is light, and will get you to a bike shop however you probably won't need it. I think Peter said "if you have good wheels you will not break a spoke". I agree. My wife and I have not broken a spoke in our 8,000 miles of touring in the past 10 years. Keep your wheels in good shape, have a professional mechanic evaluate them after completion of a tour.

We live in Utah. I carried a water filter on a Southern Utah trip (desert), but did not use it. I carry one or 2 Nalgene "canteens" that fold very small, each holding about 1.5 liters. I use them on occasion if it is very hot and there is quite a distance to obtain water, but that is rare. We don't "wild" camp unless it is absolutely necessary. The canteens come in handy to have water in such situations. Overall the 3 water bottles on each of our bikes are more than adequate during the day. The advice Peter gave you is good and it sounds like he does more wild camping than I. You will most likely find the answer to your question once you start out on your tour. Like most people, you will mail a few things home because you overpacked.

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There is a product called

There is a product called "Fiber-fix Spoke Replacement" on the Adventure Cycling Association website I have but have not used. it is light, and will get you to a bike shop however you probably won't need it. I think Peter said "if you have good wheels you will not break a spoke". I agree. My wife and I have not broken a spoke in our 8,000 miles of touring in the past 10 years. Keep your wheels in good shape, have a professional mechanic evaluate them after completion of a tour.

We live in Utah. I carried a water filter on a Southern Utah trip (desert), but did not use it. I carry one or 2 Nalgene "canteens" that fold very small, each holding about 1.5 liters. I use them on occasion if it is very hot and there is quite a distance to obtain water, but that is rare. We don't "wild" camp unless it is absolutely necessary. The canteens come in handy to have water in such situations. Overall the 3 water bottles on each of our bikes are more than adequate during the day. The advice Peter gave you is good and it sounds like he does more wild camping than I. You will most likely find the answer to your question once you start out on your tour. Like most people, you will mail a few things home because you overpacked.

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Water and spokes

As another poster said, you're not traveling through truly wilderness areas so you should have no trouble finding potable water wherever you are on this trip. Having said that, you will be experiencing many hot days. When I tour, I carry one 20 oz. bottle of water, and one 20 oz. bottle of water with electrolytes, like propel powder. These are held in my cages on the frame. I also carry two 16 oz. water bottles on the packs for reserve. In a pinch, I will stop at a house and ask for water if I'm running low. Never had an issue.

I have never broken a spoke on tour with 36 spoke wheels. I do carry a fiber fix just in case. In an emergency, you can always flag down a car to carry you to the next city.

You might also post your question on crazyguyonabike.com.

Good luck - sounds like a great ride.

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I'll answer the 2nd question

I'll answer the 2nd question 1st, which is a solution to the 1st question.

I recently replaced the wheels on my 2 primary touring bikes - 40 spokes in back, 36 in front - with new 48 spoke rims, and new Wheelsmith 2.0 spokes.

The new wheels will support a lot more weight, which means I can carry extra water, without the worry of spokes breaking.

Bike is heavier, but with a full 4 pannier load, it is worth it.

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overkill

Bob,

I would say that 48 spoke wheels is serious overkill. The issue is not so much the extra weigh, but where that weight is located. In your moving wheels, that weight is going to make your bike feel very sluggish, especially on hills. 40 on the back is only slightly overkill, as most tourists use 36, and many use 32. I have carried in excess of 60 lbs of gear on my bike with 36 spoke wheels and never had a problem. These days, I'm trying to get my gear weight down to about 35 for the sake of my legs, and that will give me plenty of reserve for things like emergency water.

Jim

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Jim, You are absolutely

Jim,

You are absolutely correct about the overkill, but that is exactly what I want in a bike wheel.

Am 6'7" tall and weigh 240 lbs. When I tour I want to be entirely self sufficient, with a bike that can handle the back country of Montana, Idaho and Colorado, riding on gravel fire roads, with a heavy load.

Spoke problems are the last thing I want hauling cooking gear, extra food, and possibly extra water over nasty fire roads and trails, far from a bike shop. To eliminate spoke problems I have bomb-proofed my wheels. Cost was minimal as I built them myself.

One of the rear wheels (have set up 2 touring bikes in similar fashion) uses an old-school BMX 48 spoke, massively oversized aluminum hub, with high flanges, and 2 sealed cartridge bearings.

Apparently nobody wants these hubs anymore because they can be had for less than $10 each online. I bought 4. The rims are double-walled, for extra strength. The spokes are high quailty from Wheelsmith.

All good..

Bob...

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Hey Bob, I was sure you had

Hey Bob,

I was sure you had your reasons for the 48 spoke wheels. They're usually associated with tandems which obviously have to support more weight. At 79" and 240 lbs, you're carrying the same weight unloaded as most of us carry on a self contained world tour! For the rest of us however, I would not recommend anything above 36 spokes.

BTW, where do you stow the basketball? :>)

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Agreed that 36 spokes is

Jim,

Agreed that 36 spokes is sufficient for most folks. As there is no way I can reduce my weight on this too-tall frame, I decided to beef up the bike.

I recently bought a used 48 spoke front tandem wheel at a good price, because it had apparently met a curb head-on, as it had a flat spot, which I couldn't fix. The hub is an expensive Shimano type, which is now mated to a new rim.

That gave me the idea to look for affordable hubs, spokes and rims to cobble together strong wheels. It all came together quite nicely.

You have planted an idea in my mind that maybe I can dribble a baskelball while I ride...!!!

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Bravo everyone!

I don't think I could've come to better place for some advice. Here's the actions I'm taking is the best accordance to what was said here;

First, We've ordered two MSR Dromedary Hydration Bags (6 Liter each, these exactly http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FIU2TG/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER). We will also be taking two .5L with water filter caps and two additional Nagele 1.0L bottles, these will be frame mounted. We plan to use the water filter bottles as needed and won't be filtering water for cooking, cleaning, ect. We hope as we get situated on the road finding water sources should be easy and will fill up more often but overall carry less.

We have also purchased the recommended FiberFix temp.replacement spoke. I've only broken a spoke once and the act of replacing it (and learning how to replace and true wheels) was intense even in the comfort of a shop. So I'm pretty turned off by the idea of trying to do it on the side of the road.

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beer

Well, you're all set as far as water is concerned, but where are you going to put the craft beer?

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h2o

As a general rule of thumb every time I stop I refill even if I don't think I need to. I carry 2 750ml bottles on the frame and always a bottle I purchase in my panniers for an emergency. As for coiking? Its tricky.I love coffee! All day long. So it would be a good idea to vvisit a camping store and get a large reservoir that you can fill at the end of your day and empty before heading out the next day. Here's a tip I think you should take note of. I always carry a water enhancer of some kind. Even tang. There are some lightweight liquids as well. Trust me. At some point on your tour you will get water that tastes like ass! Little comforts can make tour trip so much more enjoyable.

Feel free to call me anytime if you have questions. Safe travels!