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  1. #1
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    What should I carry with me?

    I'm off on my French adventure in 9 days. A ride from London to Paris over 3 days to raise money for Medicins du Monde - a Disaster relief charity. I'm told that there are 12 of us in the group - I'm easily the oldest and the only 50+. Although I've been getting into shape for a whole year, I'm not feeling confident.

    My longest rides to date have lasted a day or less, so I've got no experience of a 'tour'. Basically, the feeding/watering, sleeping, rescue/medical arrangements and general organisation are all taken care of. There's a mechanic coming along and I guess France has bike shops. However, we are expected to be mechanically self sufficient. On the organiser's instructions, I'll be carrying a spare (foldup) tyre and 2 inner tubes.

    What else would a savvy cyclist take without becoming overburdened? I'll be using a light backpack and a small wedge saddlebag. The nightbag gets otherwise transported and will not not available during the day.
    I'm riding a race bike with armoured type tyres - I've never had flat so far and I'm hoping not to.

    So far I've got on my list a folding hex tool/screwdriver and a set of brake blocks. I've not got a pump, I normally top up before go out using a 'shop' pump. Should I buy a compact pump or take one of those CO2 inflator things?

    Advice and encouragement will be gratefully received.

    Regards

    Al

  2. #2
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    Oh, and I've just read DG's 'negative thinking' thread. Boy, am I in need of PT.

  3. #3
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    Al,

    You are not he first cyclist to fall under the spell of DG's negative thinking, or "NT" as he calls it in his "Ride Slow, Ride Short" seminars.

    Long rides that are outside of a cyclist's experience can be troubling if one thinks about it too much. What we're capable of is so much more than our previous experience, but our lack of faith in ourselves serves to stop us before we even begin.

    Go on the trip, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. It sounds like you have plenty of support. Additionally, I've heard that they now have pastries in France. (Who'da thunk it!!! ) With the obsession with pies in this forum, you'll instantly become everyone's hero, even if you only get in a few miles a day!

    Since this is for charity, how can the cycling gods not be smiling on you???

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Take something with you to inflate a tire and you'll be good-to-go. Actually, I think that the folding tire and the spare brake pads are overkill.

  5. #5
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    If you haven't already, get a metal tag with your name, phone #, medical insurance company and acct. #, your blood type, and any medical conditions or allergys. This tag can be a life-saver if you're unconscious.

  6. #6
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Not necessities, but you might also want to consider a small camera and extra business cards (or other way to exchange email addresses). Both are great for building friendships.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abarkley
    I'm off on my French adventure in 9 days. A ride from London to Paris over 3 days to raise money for Medicins du Monde - a Disaster relief charity. What else would a savvy cyclist take without becoming overburdened?
    Advice and encouragement will be gratefully received.
    A boat might be a good idea!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    If you haven't already, get a metal tag with your name, phone #, medical insurance company and acct. #, your blood type, and any medical conditions or allergys. This tag can be a life-saver if you're unconscious.

    +1 to this. Plus I never go anywhere without a cell phone and credit card! I concur that it sounds as if the trip is well supported. So, I'd be thinking in terms of personal items like sun screen and lip balm, chamois lube, etc.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  9. #9
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    Not sure what kind of weather you'll have, but cover both hot/cold extremes. Leg warmers, full finger gloves, light woolie, neck scarf, dry socks, etc. Get some Mole-Skin to cure blisters with, a steptic pencil, and iodine. Extra sunglasses (easily lost it seems), and next of kin...

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    If a mechanic is onboard then he will carry a few unusual spares and probably the more common ones aswell. Treat each day just as a long ride. So on that Long ride you want a spare tube-2 tyre wrenches- a tube repair kit and knowing some of the French back roads the folder would not be a bad idea and your multi-tool. Don't Buy a compact pump- Get a good one- possibly a "Frame pump that will get the tyres to 100psi at least. The small compact pumps will wear you out with the effort and length of time to pump up. I never liked CO2 canisters so would not recommend them. I cannot get a Frame pump to fit my Road frame so have a Blackburn Mammoth pump-Which is a compact pump but a good one that pumps volume with each stroke and will get the tyres to 100PSI but not much more.

    At the end of the day- check the bike over and clean the chain if possible and lubricate it. Any thing found not working in the day can be checked and adjusted--Like a gear change not going right or Saddle not quite adjusted. Have a box of spares -not to carry on the bike but in your baggage- to include a spare Inner cable for gear and brakes- A spare chain and 2 more tubes and an extra tube repair kit. Tools can be borrowed from other riders if necessary. Lubricating oil for the chain but just as important as that- plenty of rags to clean the bike and you after your quick service and check each night.

    The list of what you should carry will go on as much as you want it to, but providing it is well serviced before you start- You should not have a problem.

    Now someone has mentioned the French Pastries. Watch out for them- some look very entising but don't taste good. What the French do though are Croissants. The breakfast one you know- but the Almond ones are fantastic and if you see them- Get a Roqueforte croissant. Unbelievable savoury one made with roquefort cheese. Other good ones are Pain Chocolate. Nothing like our English Copy of them and I could live on them alone for weeks. Now we get started on the Meals and I can assure you- If it is put in front of you- Just eat it. It will be delicious. Except for Tripe- I still hate the stuff.

    3 days to Paris will give you about 60 miles a day. Not difficult and I would not mind betting that you will not be the slowest. Saddle soreness may be a problem so Vaseline right from the start and Ride out of the saddle where possible (downhills) to stop the problem========= Good luck and we want pictures of the Different cuisine aswll as the scenery.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abarkley
    I've not got a pump, I normally top up before go out using a 'shop' pump. Should I buy a compact pump or take one of those CO2 inflator things?
    You need the ability to fix a flat tire on any ride, not just a multi-day tour. Either get a full-size frame pump or a CO2 inflator with a few spare cartriges. Compact pumps are almost as easy as inflating a tire by mouth.

    Enjoy your ride. It sounds like the organizers are taking care of everything to worry about.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  12. #12
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    I have a wedge bag under the seat of each of my bikes, in addition to the usual - spare tube, patch kit, multi-tool, tire iron thingies, I carry a $20 bill. On loger rides I also slide a creditcard and ID in there - that $20 has been used more often than any other tool in the kit. If in Europe, I would probably stick a 100 euro note in there.

  13. #13
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    If riding in France you should always carry a corkscrew.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abarkley

    What else would a savvy cyclist take without becoming overburdened?
    Regards

    Al
    Me.
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
    2012 Masi Evoluzione
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  15. #15
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    First, rest assured you'll be alright mechanically. Think of the number of rides you have done and how many miles they add to. The only difference is you are going to do them all at once.

    My preference is to carry a rear rack, even if a light seat rack, rather than a back pack. This just makes it much easier to gett on and off the bike. A rack pack, and small handlebar bag, generally gives ample room for all you need for a long day trip.

    Good luck, and lay off those negative waves.

  16. #16
    Perpetually lost
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    My preference is to carry a rear rack, even if a light seat rack, rather than a back pack.
    As I was scrolling down and reading the replies, I was wondering if someone would mention this. I second nixing the backpack. They may be ok for an hour or two but can be a real pain (literally) if the day goes longer. Too, when you get off the bike, you're still stuck with it. Personally I'd look for any alternative method rather than carrying a backpack.

    I've never been to France, but I hear they know how to make coffee. Good coffee and good croissants, sounds like heaven to me.

    Have fun! It sounds like a blast!
    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
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  17. #17
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    I also am getting ready for a mid August week long trip, it will broaden my horizons. When you are saying to nix the backpack, does that also include nixing the camelbak, full of water? I just get such a feeling of security with all that water on my back, but it does get my back hot.
    Last edited by LynnH; 07-05-06 at 01:26 PM.

  18. #18
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    I love my 100oz. Camelbak, wouldn't go on a longer than 2 hr. ride without it, unless it was well supported. I have not been on any supported rides yet.
    Have I mentioned that I love riding my bikes?
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  19. #19
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    I hate the feeling of anything on my back. I have done unsupported centuries with two water bottles - my trick - most every fire station has a spigot outside - just fill up every time you see a fire station. In my part of the world, they are rarely more than 10 miles apart.

  20. #20
    Perpetually lost
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    Quote Originally Posted by LynnH
    I also am getting ready for a mid August week long trip, it will broaden my horizons. When you are saying to nix the backpack, does that also include nixing the camelbak, full of water? I just get such a feeling of security with all that water on my back, but it does get my back hot.
    I think it depends on the ride, conditions and locale. If you're doing eastern Oregon or desert and stops (stores, stations, etc) are far between, by all means take the C'back. But if you're doing the coast and there's water every 30 minutes or so, I'd leave it. Either way, take it, see how much you use it for the first day or so and then make a decision. If you feel more comfortable with it, you have it. If you feel that you can live without it, either give it to your sag or mail it home.

    That said, I don't like the encumbrance of straps or the weight of anything on my back. Shoot, I don't even like snug shirts. Besides my bias, I don't think that having the weight up high is a good thing; one, the weight is on your shoulders and ultimately on your hands or lower back, I feel it adds to the fatigue factor. Two, it places the center of gravity higher on the bike. I'd rather let the bike carry the load and place that load as low as possible. Then you mention the heat factor. But then I've never carried that much water either. But then again I don't ride much off-road or in the desert, so I've not needed it.
    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
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