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Old 05-10-08, 12:09 AM   #1
Sammyboy
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Help me prepare my Downtube for 270 miles in 2 days

Ok, so I'm gonna ride my IXFS from Southampton to Cambridge on a Friday, enter a Dragon Boat race with my company on the Saturday, and ride back on the Sunday. It's 136 miles each way. I'm going to do this in aid of Cancer Research (or Marie Curie, or something), in memory of a friend who passed away a couple of weeks ago from liver cancer, and to promote the awesomeness of Downtubes. This will be around September. I'm starting to think about what I might do with the bike. I want to have it as stock as possible, but at minimum, it will get

A) A Brooks B17 special (I'll be buying this asap). The question is, on a black bike, should it be black, to match, or honey, for contrast.

B) New tyres. But what? The 240 lb man in me says Marathons, but the guy who doesn't want extra rolling resistance over all that distance says Comets, or Stelvios. Would those tyres cope?

I have a seatpost rack, and will be carrying my things for the weekend in my panniers. I also have a bar bag for food. What else should I consider?
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Old 05-10-08, 12:14 AM   #2
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Good for you. Sounds like a fun challenge and a worthwhile endeavor. But I don't think a brand new Brooks for a 270 mile ride is such a good idea. Your anatomy will curse you for it.

Brooks need to be broken first.
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Old 05-10-08, 12:18 AM   #3
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Good for you. Sounds like a fun challenge and a worthwhile endeavor. But I don't think a brand new Brooks for a 270 mile ride is such a good idea. Your anatomy will curse you for it.

Brooks need to be broken first.
Hence why I will buy this immediately. I have til Sept tp break it in!
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Old 05-10-08, 12:27 AM   #4
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In my mind's eye the honey looks brilliant in the black.

I would go with the wider 1.5" Comets, but have no experience on Marathons which may be fine. Maybe some Slime liners to keep those punctures at bay (edges appropriately sanded smooth!).

Other things:

Spare tubes (2), spare tyre for insurance.
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Old 05-10-08, 12:41 AM   #5
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Oops! I misread your original post. I thought it said "on Friday" instead of "on a Friday."

Much interested in your experience with the Mini. I'm deciding between the it and a Brompton. Seems like the Mini uses more standard bicycle parts, which I like.

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Hence why I will buy this immediately. I have til Sept tp break it in!
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Old 05-10-08, 01:17 AM   #6
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I don't yet have my Mini, but will tell all when I do. Jur, however, has done everything that can be done on a Mini, I reckon. Are you UK based, or US?
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Old 05-10-08, 01:37 AM   #7
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I'd want tyres with built in puncture protection. I had stelvios on my TSR and threw them away within twenty miles after several punctures. Granted there were thorns on the road, but they didn't cope well at all. Ask yourself how many times you want to stop and take the wheels and tyres off and the answer will probably be that you want marathons on the bike. They still ride quite fast - especially at 100 psi.
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Old 05-10-08, 06:43 AM   #8
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Sammyboy, can I ask how you are getting a mini in the UK ? And did anything ever come of you setting up a UK DT distribution?
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Old 05-10-08, 07:20 AM   #9
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After extensive research about the Brooks saddles and reading a lot of posts from actual users, I believe buying the Brooks now in hope to have it ready for september might be a delicate move. Apparently, depending on your weight and frequency riding, this might not be even close to the time frame needed to make the Brooks confortable.

I would consider something else.

Just my US$0.02

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Old 05-10-08, 07:57 AM   #10
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I am also a little concerned with you saddle choice. I don't know what you are riding on now, but if you aren't all that happy with it for longer distanced, I would go to a store that carries Specialized bikes and accessories. Specialized has a great system to measure the width of your sit bones and get you a seat that is the proper width for your bum. I did it and finally found a saddle that I can ride 100 miles on comfortably.

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Old 05-10-08, 02:46 PM   #11
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Sammyboy, can I ask how you are getting a mini in the UK ? And did anything ever come of you setting up a UK DT distribution?
Yep. You can find the site in my signature - Velo Chocolate. Currently carrying IXFS, but soon to be carrying Mini and 8HN (no suspension) bikes. These will ship direct from the States, but at a much more competitive shipping rate than before.

I appreciate the advice on the Brooks, but I can also find an equal or greater number of people that say theirs was great out of the box, or after 200 miles. Given all the training involved (and I'll do all my training rides on the DT), I should have over 1000 miles on it by Sept. Also, there is no Performance in the UK.
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Old 05-10-08, 02:52 PM   #12
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The Mini specifies a 225lb (16 stone) max. I have read the specs are optimistic, but I assume you have thoroughly thought this through. As a bit of a Clydesdale myself, can you tell me more?

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Old 05-10-08, 03:15 PM   #13
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If you need something from the states I would be happy to ship it to you. Especially for such a worthy cause. I had my five year check up a couple of months ago.
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Old 05-11-08, 02:24 AM   #14
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The Mini specifies a 225lb (16 stone) max. I have read the specs are optimistic, but I assume you have thoroughly thought this through. As a bit of a Clydesdale myself, can you tell me more?

John
Well, various larger people have ridden it, plus I'll soon be down to that sort of weight again. The biggest reason for getting a Mini is for promotion - I think I'll sell loads here, so I can't really avoid having one for press purposes. However, everything I've seen and heard suggests to me that DT overbuilds and then underspecs everything for warranty purposes. I'm expecting to need to make a telescoping seatpost, but that aside, it should be fine.

Regarding getting stuff from the States, Dynocoaster, I really appreciate it, but the issue was not being able to use the Performance saddle-fitting machine, rather than not being able to get the width saddle that it recommended. Not that I won't find some other reason to take you up on your kind offer!
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Old 05-11-08, 04:43 AM   #15
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I'd want tyres with built in puncture protection. I had stelvios on my TSR and threw them away within twenty miles after several punctures. Granted there were thorns on the road, but they didn't cope well at all. Ask yourself how many times you want to stop and take the wheels and tyres off and the answer will probably be that you want marathons on the bike. They still ride quite fast - especially at 100 psi.
Opinions differ. I didn't have a flat on my PBP TSR with Stelvios in 2000 km. Marathons feel like trying to run in gumboots to me.

Regarding Brooks saddles, I rode a 1000 km brevet within a week of getting another B17 and it was very comfortable by the second day. I must have a Brooks-shaped bum. Again, YMMV.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:41 AM   #16
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SammyBoy:

Enough about prepping your bike for the ride - What are YOU doing to get ready ??

Good luck on the big ride!
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Old 05-11-08, 11:50 AM   #17
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SammyBoy:

Enough about prepping your bike for the ride - What are YOU doing to get ready ??

Good luck on the big ride!
Lots of riding! There's a discussion (currently short) of that in Long Distance Cycling, where the experts live, but basically, over the rest of May, June, and July, I'm going to try to do a couple of decent size training rides per week (25-40 miles). I'll try to step up the distances, time allowing, in August, and also get in at least one 75 mile ride.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:59 AM   #18
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Lots of riding! There's a discussion (currently short) of that in Long Distance Cycling, where the experts live, but basically, over the rest of May, June, and July, I'm going to try to do a couple of decent size training rides per week (25-40 miles). I'll try to step up the distances, time allowing, in August, and also get in at least one 75 mile ride.
What kind of elevation is involved in this route? That's the biggest factor, in my opinion. A flat-ish 136 miles is not crazy to complete if you're not in a rush. A hilly one is whooooole 'nother story....
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Old 05-11-08, 01:11 PM   #19
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You know, I neither know, nor know how to find out. In the car, on the highways, it doesn't pass through anything hilly. On the road? Well, it depends on my route I imagine.

What I've just realised I ought to do is fit a computer. I don't really need it for the training, but on the ride, it'll be really helpful to know how far I've gone, both for navigation, and for knowing how far I still have to go! I do have a spare one....

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Old 05-11-08, 01:57 PM   #20
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You know, I neither know, nor know how to find out. In the car, on the highways, it doesn't pass through anything hilly. On the road? Well, it depends on my route I imagine.

What I've just realised I ought to do is fit a computer. I don't really need it for the training, but on the ride, it'll be really helpful to know how far I've gone, both for navigation, and for knowing how far I still have to go! I do have a spare one....
Try doing the Coast to Coast ride as a hardening off exercise. It's only about 129 miles but boy those hills will take it out of you. I went at that one a few years ago without any training and only the occasional two mile ride in the park as a preparation and I reckon I had to walk half of it - pushing. Exaggerating a bit there but there was a fair bit of walking involved. As usual, I had about three times too much baggage with me. That didn't help.

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