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Old 02-27-14, 06:50 AM   #1
globecanvas
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Renting a bike for a race

I scheduled a trip to visit my dad in Tulsa, and after the fact realized that it's the same weekend as Tulsa Tough. I can't be there and not join in, so I figured I'd do the Sunday (crybaby hill) race.

For several reasons, there's no way I can target this race in my training schedule, so I'm treating it more as a just-for-fun thing.

I could travel with my bike, or pack and ship it both ways, but I'd prefer to rent a bike there to race on, just to keep it simple and avoid the hassle of moving my own bike.

Has anyone had experience renting a bike for a race? Anything to watch out for, or is it just a bad idea?
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Old 02-27-14, 07:33 AM   #2
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I had a buddy who wanted to do the same thing last year (not for Tulsa though). He visited two shops that basically told him the bike was insured but not if raced or something along those lines. Might want to call ahead and find out. If you do get the green light, be sure to take saddle, shoes, pedals, measurements, etc.
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Old 02-27-14, 08:34 AM   #3
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I'd just be more worried about fit than anything. Potential for injury worth it? Some people are better with differences in fit than others though, 1mm off for me and it's all kinds of trouble. I also always feel iffy on a new bike or bike thats not mine for a few weeks, as I adjust to it. Not sure I'd be comfortable racing a crit on one.

Would be a cool experience though for sure. But I'd bring a bike on the plane with me.
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Old 02-27-14, 08:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
I scheduled a trip to visit my dad in Tulsa, and after the fact realized that it's the same weekend as Tulsa Tough. I can't be there and not join in, so I figured I'd do the Sunday (crybaby hill) race.

For several reasons, there's no way I can target this race in my training schedule, so I'm treating it more as a just-for-fun thing.

I could travel with my bike, or pack and ship it both ways, but I'd prefer to rent a bike there to race on, just to keep it simple and avoid the hassle of moving my own bike.

Has anyone had experience renting a bike for a race? Anything to watch out for, or is it just a bad idea?
I've done it a few times. Sometimes it's just too much hassle to take your own bike, especially if it's a short trip, and if it's for a "C" race. I travel with pedals; I've never bothered with a saddle. I set the seat height on the rental to precisely match my home bike and set fore/aft by feel. It works out fine.

Comments:
- I am sensitive to injury caused by changes in position, so I only do this for quick trips, never for trips with lots of long miles days.
- One shop knew I was racing and just didn't care
- I've never crashed a rental so I have no idea about my liability to them, but given the rentals are probably a $1500MSRP that's a cap on my liability which I'm OK with.
- A far bigger concern to me is personal injury caused by an equipment failure or difference, so I check the bike over carefully before the event, and then don't worry about it during the event, although I might ride a tad more conservatively (not only do I not know the equipment intimately, but also I won't be familiar with the course or the competitors.)
- My results have always been sub-par when traveling, but who knows why that is, and I don't really care anyway since it's a "C" race, and I still have lots of fun and get new race experiences.

In sum, it's no big deal.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:10 AM   #5
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What airline are you flying? It could be cheaper to fly with or ship your own bike...
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Old 02-27-14, 09:12 AM   #6
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I've been interested to find out about this as well. I plan to visit California this year before I leave my job, and I want to do a race somewhere there. I don't personally find fit to be a huge issue, unless it's a 50+ mile race or something. For short criteriums, I think it should be enough to just have the saddle in the right position, and a stem in he right ballpark (probably a good idea to bring your own saddle, pedals, and maybe even the right length stem). But it's definitely a good idea to coordinate with a bike store ahead of time to see if they'll let you do this, and resolve any uncertainties about liability, and all that stuff.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:19 AM   #7
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I've never raced on a rented bike but I've raced on borrowed bikes. Same rules as noted above, main things for me to consider are:
- what happens if you break it
- get the position at least roughly right, meaning, have enough time in advance for a ride to tweak it
- safety / mechanical / is it reliable. One time a used a buddy's SRAM bike, at the time I was a Campy guy... took me forever to get the hang of the shifting, not a smart thing to do when the criterium has 10 corners per lap, I was losing a bike length every time I tried to shift.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:24 AM   #8
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Regarding fit, I figured once I find out what's available to rent I'll be able to figure out what stem I'd need on there to transfer my fit, then either see if the renting shop has one or bring it with me. The rest of the fit I should be able to set up myself. I'd bring pedals for sure, and not too worried about the saddle for an hour long crit.

I'll have to see what's even available before going much further down this train of thought. Like, even if a decent bike can be rented, it could be a bummer to race on crappy wheels, or the rentals might have 12-28 cassettes, etc.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:27 AM   #9
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I'd ride my own bike or just spectate.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:55 AM   #10
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I'd bring my own bike (and I have). I've brought race wheels, training wheels, and usually wish I brought the race wheels if I don't bring them.

The whole "don't race what you can't afford to replace" becomes majorly true when you're racing an SEB (someone else's bike).

On Southwest it's $75 each way. Personally I want to fly with the bike. I have a soft case, I can usually see the bag being handled onto the plane, etc. I also want to know as soon as possible if something is wrong, and I usually check the bike real quick when I pick it up at baggage claim (rims sort of round, frame sort of straight, major pieces in the bag).

I took this picture of my bike - it's the big bag on the yellow cart thing. This is atypical because there's another bag with the bike. Usually my bike is alone, they usually set it aside and load it last, etc. I know that's not anything intentional but when I've seen my bike handled it's always been handled well. This goes back a good 10 years, since I started traveling a couple/few times a year with the bike.
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Old 02-27-14, 11:16 AM   #11
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That would not be the day I'd want to hit up TT "just for fun".
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Old 02-27-14, 02:32 PM   #12
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I'd bring my own bike (and I have). I've brought race wheels, training wheels, and usually wish I brought the race wheels if I don't bring them.

The whole "don't race what you can't afford to replace" becomes majorly true when you're racing an SEB (someone else's bike).

On Southwest it's $75 each way. Personally I want to fly with the bike. I have a soft case, I can usually see the bag being handled onto the plane, etc. I also want to know as soon as possible if something is wrong, and I usually check the bike real quick when I pick it up at baggage claim (rims sort of round, frame sort of straight, major pieces in the bag).

I took this picture of my bike - it's the big bag on the yellow cart thing. This is atypical because there's another bag with the bike. Usually my bike is alone, they usually set it aside and load it last, etc. I know that's not anything intentional but when I've seen my bike handled it's always been handled well. This goes back a good 10 years, since I started traveling a couple/few times a year with the bike.
Have you always flown Southwest with your bike? Im flying out to Tulsa also (bringing my bike) and plan on using Southwest. It sounds like you have had a good experience with them.
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Old 02-27-14, 07:12 PM   #13
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Have you always flown Southwest with your bike? Im flying out to Tulsa also (bringing my bike) and plan on using Southwest. It sounds like you have had a good experience with them.
Most of the time, enough that my second credit card is a Southwest (I just got it a few months ago, waiting for a "spend x dollars and get 50,000 points/miles" offer). I flew a couple other airlines and had much worse experiences so decided to stick with Southwest (my trips to SoCal were 2004-2011, the spring Vegas ones probably 2008-2011, did a few Interbike/Vegas in the fall (2011 I think was the last one?), and flew to Tampa twice as well). Of course it helps that SW flies where I want to go and the Hartford airport Bradley is 20 minutes away from the house. Most of the planes that fly over us are SW.

I had one guy skip the bike fee, without me doing any shenanigans, otherwise I've paid the bike fee happily. $50 each way until my last trip, which was in Dec 2013 and it was $75 at that point. In Nov 2012 it was still $50 so the price change was recent.

I like the 2 checked bag thing because the bike, since it's a "bike" and gets charged, doesn't count as a free checked. So I check my bike bag, gear bag (with tools), and regular bag (which is small enough to be carry on "just in case"). I carry on the camera and laptop stuff as my personal bags. Very straightforward, I'm not super encumbered, and the laptop bag is a wheeled one so it's really easy for me to move around.
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