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  1. #1
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    Do you change equipment based on length of ride?

    I'm interested in doing some brevets of 100km-300km in my first year of randonnuering. I've seen some nice bicycles with the Schmidt dynohubs and lights, heavy duty racks, handlebar bags, saddlebags, and panniers. However, for the "shorter" rides, wouldn't it be entirely possible, or even preferable, to use wheels with lighter weight hubs, a battery powered light (like a dinotte) when little or no riding is required at night, and maybe just a handlebar bag to carry supplies (assuming a summer brevet with lesser clothing requirements)?? Do randonnuers switch wheelsets for shorter brevets or do they just stick with pretty much the same bicycle components for a 100km-200km brevet as they would for a 600km-1200km?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Most Randonneurs don't ride with heavy duty racks, and panniers. If they do use panniers, they go with little ones ... of all the Randonneurs I've seen on brevets and randonnees, and I've seen lots, I'd say I've seen maybe half a dozen with panniers. It's rare. Even here on the prairies where there are no bag drops and few services.

    Most Randonneurs seem to run with a small trunk bag (sometimes a VERY small trunk bag or a largish under-the-saddle bag), for rides of 300 kms and under, and for rides that are 400 kms and over, they might dig out a larger trunk bag ... depending on if they've got a bag drop or not. Some riders like handlebar bags (I'm one), and some don't, so that varies.

    On a 200K, I'll carry a little bag with tools, a headband, and full fingered gloves in it bungied on my rack, and my handlebar bag. On a 600K, I'll carry either one of my trunk bags or my Carradice Nelson Longflap, and my handlebar bag.

    I've also been known to use my "racing" bicycle for 200K rides ... just for something different ... and when I've done that, I travel pretty light (for me).

    So yes, we do vary what we carry.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    It depends on how many bikes you have at your disposal.

    For example, right now I have 2 main wheels: an old steel roadie, and a steel cross/touring bike. The roadie is a little faster, a little less comfy, and a little "jumpy;" the cross is pretty cushy, very stable handling, has fenders and a rack.

    So, I use the roadie for fast rides up to 60-70 miles (e.g. a typical weekend club ride), and the cross for longer rides or wet days. I have used the road bike for centuries, worked out fine.

    I normally use just a saddle bag for up to 70 miles, but need more space for 100+ miles -- mostly for food and extra repair gear, e.g. spare tire.

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    People tend to think that a bag and a generator hub equal "slow", but that hasn't been my experience, even coming from a racing background. From my experience so far, I'd say that I'd probably save 15 minutes in a century by riding my race bike vs. my rando bike; fenders, Schmidt hub, and big fat tires included.

    If centuries and brevets had a prize list, I'd be on a race bike. Otherwise, I'll take comfort and convenience and spend the 15 minutes enjoying the view.

  5. #5
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    I have just one bike. It's a reynolds 853 steel frame touring bicycle. I have racks, ortlieb panniers, ortlieb handlebar bag, carradice pendle saddlebag, and a banjo brothers rack trunk. So I think I have most options covered for the amount of "stuff" that I need to carry.

    My question really centers around wheels, and possibly lights for the existing bike... Or possibly getting a road/race bike for the shorter rides of 300km and under. I have a set of Mavic Open Pros/Ultegra hubs/ 28 spoke that I have commuted with and have on the bike most of the time. I also have a stronger wheelset Mavic A-319/Deore hubs/36 spoke that could be used for touring. I'm about 220 lbs. Should I be using the heavier wheelset on brevets (I understand that usually the rides may include riding on gravel/dirt roads or some other unfavorable surface) or am I fine with the Open Pros if I'm traveling "light?" If I really start to get into the longer distances, I'm thinking of getting a wheelset built with the Schmidt dynamo hub. If you just had the one bike, would you be switching wheelsets around based on the distance or route... or would you just go with the strongest wheels that you have for the sake of durability?

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
    I have just one bike. It's a reynolds 853 steel frame touring bicycle. I have racks, ortlieb panniers, ortlieb handlebar bag, carradice pendle saddlebag, and a banjo brothers rack trunk. So I think I have most options covered for the amount of "stuff" that I need to carry.

    My question really centers around wheels, and possibly lights for the existing bike... Or possibly getting a road/race bike for the shorter rides of 300km and under. I have a set of Mavic Open Pros/Ultegra hubs/ 28 spoke that I have commuted with and have on the bike most of the time. I also have a stronger wheelset Mavic A-319/Deore hubs/36 spoke that could be used for touring. I'm about 220 lbs. Should I be using the heavier wheelset on brevets (I understand that usually the rides may include riding on gravel/dirt roads or some other unfavorable surface) or am I fine with the Open Pros if I'm traveling "light?" If I really start to get into the longer distances, I'm thinking of getting a wheelset built with the Schmidt dynamo hub. If you just had the one bike, would you be switching wheelsets around based on the distance or route... or would you just go with the strongest wheels that you have for the sake of durability?

    Trust me on this ... unless you're heading out into complete and utter wilderness where there are no services whatsoever, and where you know you'll encounter a wide range of weather conditions especially including those under the "miserable" category ... an area worse than the Canadian Prairies ... you will NOT need the ortlieb panniers. Put them away. Don't even think about them. The rest of the stuff you might want, but NOT the panniers.

    And as for the comment, "I understand that usually the rides may include riding on gravel/dirt roads or some other unfavorable surface" ... where are you planning to do these rides? Even here on the Canadian Prairies we don't send riders over gravel roads. It's all about paved roads. If you go to the PBP you'll encounter cobblestone, but not even all that much of that.

    I rode my first 200K brevet on a 40 lb Mongoose Mtn bike, and I was fine. Just use whatever you've got (as long as it fits and feels comfortable) for your first few brevets ... then decide what you'll need.

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    In answer to the original post, yes to all questions except there is probably a 50-50 split on changing front wheels around between events.

    In answer to the second post by InTheRain, go with the 36H wheelset. You want total reliability in that area. I have seen quite a few people with wheels-gone-bad on big rides. A broken spoke on a 36H wheel is no big deal; on a 28H wheel it can become problematic; and on a 24H disastrous.

    I have ridden some bad roads on randonnees, but the worst were in New England and surround states on Boston-Montreal-Boston a couple of years ago. The ice heave cracks were canyons and ran across, diagonally and along the road surfaces. It's when it's raining, its pitch black and your lighting gets sucked up by the darkness that you are thankful for durable wheels and wider than racing tyres.

    I'd suggest you just go ride a few of the brevets/randonnees to see if you like the concept. Some don't. But if you do, you can then start building up ideas for the bike that will suit you. Generally, racing bikes are OK for shorter events, but the longer ones require something more comfortable, unless you want to get it all over and done with in less than 50 hours and are a masochist.

    Gearing will become probably your second interest after wheels as you have to work out what is most comfortable in the terrain you intend to ride, the speed at which you intend to pace yourself, and whether your stamina is such that you will need a bail-out or granny gear late in a long ride.

    I wouldn't bother with the panniers and extraneous stuff on anything below a 600, and for 600s and above, only when there is no support offered and there are very long distances between services. I've only ever done three or four randonnees with touring kit, several of them were hilly qualifiers for PBP 2003, and believe me, if you are riding with someone else, or you want to get finished with a margin greater than a sparrow's fart on randonnees, full touring kit is not what you want.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Long distance rides definitely require at least a few considerations to your bike.

    For instance, the bike in my signature is about 1-2 cm larger than what I choose for a race bike. That means at their lowest point, my bars are less than 2" below my saddle, so for 100+ mile rides I can raise it close to being level to the saddle with the turn of an allen wrench. If the dimensions were shorter I would have another 2 cm of seatpost, a 100 mm stem instead of an 80, a shorter head tube and a bigger drop from saddle to bars. This would make getting the bars high enough more difficult because aside from the incredibly long Nitto technomic, most stems don't offer more than 2" of vertical adjustment. It also means I do my training rides with my stem ~1.5" lower to condition my back and shoulders, which will be relieved with the higher bars.

    As for the wheels, go with the most reliable 36 spoke build. Making your bike more comfortable and more reliable is worth the weight penalty, especially considering you only need to average 9-10 mph over any given brevet. For short rides feel free to use the lighter wheel-set but make sure you're prepared for a broken spoke. 220 lbs + bike weight is no joke for a wheel-set.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    TAnd as for the comment, "I understand that usually the rides may include riding on gravel/dirt roads or some other unfavorable surface" ... where are you planning to do these rides? Even here on the Canadian Prairies we don't send riders over gravel roads. It's all about paved roads.
    I can't speak for Seattle brevets (assuming that InTheRAin does indeed live in Puget Sound and therefore rides up around Washington State) but New England brevets have a friendly relationship with dirt. Our 2006 600k included three segments with gravel, including a 10% grade climb on an unpaved gravel surface to our sleep control. That was interesting. There's also the 180K Deerfield populaire which is a century with 70 miles of unpaved fun.

    But, with that said, from what I've seen written about other clubs, we are certainly the exception in that regard and dirt roads are certainly not a usual feature of North American brevets. All the same, a lot of riders still ride with 32 spoke wheels on 25/28mm tires around here, so it's not impossible to do with one's racing bike. In most circumstances, if you do see dirt, it isn't technical, gnarly stuff that requires full suspension and phat tires. Just be sensible about it, don't panic and you'll be fine. If you want to ride with 28 spoke wheels, go ahead. Just know how to fix the spokes if or when they break. Otherwise, you will set yourself up for unrelenting teasing and hazing from your fellow riders.

    As to the original question. I don't personally do this because I don't have that deep an inventory of parts. I always leave my generator wheel on my brevet bike because I don't have a spare wheel that's any faster (they're all 36 spoke touring/commuter wheels) but sometimes I'll unmount the lights for 200k's and shorter. The Carradice is switched out occasionally if I'm not going far, but aside from that, the bike is pretty much unchanged from ride to ride. As sixjours said, the time penalty isn't that big a deal on brevets.

    and, yeah, definitely leave the panniers at home -- a Pendle and a handlebar bag will hold everything that you'll need for a 600k ... unless you're planning on lugging your own sleep gear along, in which case keep the rack on your bike and bungee your sleeping bag to the rack.

  10. #10
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    I look at the shorter brevets as being a testing ground for the longer ones. All of my equipment remains the same.

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    Thanks for the replies and advice. It sounds like comfort and reliability are the keys to this type of activity. As far as the surfaces on which these events take place... I don't know - I haven't participated yet. I just happened to be talking to one of the wrenches at the LBS that rides a lot in brevets sponsored by Seattle International Randonnuers and he indicated that occasionally you run into rough road conditions that could include gravel/dirt (maybe some of these events use sections of forest roads??) If a route included that, I wouldn't want to have the 28 spoke wheels.

    Maybe it's time I just switch out the Open Pros and start getting used to the 36 spoke Mavic A-319's. As far as the other equipment, I never intended to use the panniers... especially on the distances that I'll be starting at (and it sounds like I shouldn't really consider them for any distances.) I'll go with the handlebar bag and the saddlebag (if needed.) As far as gearing goes, my bike has a triple on the front 52-42-30, and an 11-34 cassette on the back. I've found this range to meet all my need so far - I don't know if anyone has any opinions on changes needed in that category.

    Another question I have (it doesn't have to do with equipment) is concerning nutrition. Do the control stops have food available for purchase? So I don't have to carry much other than some GU, maybe banana, and a bagel? I have diabetes and I'm susceptible to "bonking" on long rides... so it's a concern. From some of the routes that I have studied, it looks like control stops are 20-40 miles apart. I just don't really know what a "control stop" includes... mechanical support?, just get card signed?, food/water/hydration drinks?... or am I expected to carry all my nutrional needs on the bike?

    thanks again for your help...
    Last edited by InTheRain; 02-01-08 at 09:31 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    For sure. At least all the basics, depending upon the length of the ride. Ever rode across the desert. It can be a long walk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
    As far as gearing goes, my bike has a triple on the front 52-42-30, and an 11-34 cassette on the back. I've found this range to meet all my need so far - I don't know if anyone has any opinions on changes needed in that category.

    Another question I have (it doesn't have to do with equipment) is concerning nutrition. Do the control stops have food available for purchase? So I don't have to carry much other than some GU, maybe banana, and a bagel? I have diabetes and I'm susceptible to "bonking" on long rides... so it's a concern. From some of the routes that I have studied, it looks like control stops are 20-40 miles apart. I just don't really know what a "control stop" includes... mechanical support?, just get card signed?, food/water/hydration drinks?... or am I expected to carry all my nutrional needs on the bike?
    both of the bikes that I've ridden on brevets have your gearing, and I found the triple with granny gear and a large cassette on the back particularly useful for climbing in the Berkshires and Vermont. They are particularly welcome after more than a couple of hundred miles, when there's one last mountain between you and home.

    as far as what control stops have ... it really varies and is dependent on the organizer and volunteers. In New England, we have a brevet series based out of Boston and another based out of Springfield. The Boston series have a couple of volunteers and higher attendance, almost all of their controls have some kind of basic food selection and maybe some very basic mechanical support (ie. floor pump and bike stand but not tools, spare tubes or patch kits. that's your responsibility) The Springfield series is run by one guy out of his bike shop. His controls are all at grocery stores and restaurants, so you buy everything that you need and just get your card signed. The only mechanical support that you might be able to take advantage of is if his shop is one of the controls.

    Remember, a big part of randonneuring is self-sufficiency. So, be prepared for most things. You may not need to bring all of the food that you will eat on the ride, but make reasonable judgements about the availability of food along your route and plan accordingly. If you see that a long segment is through rural interior Washington and there aren't a lot of towns or services, stock up. If it looks like there's 30 miles between one major town and the next, have enough to get there.

    Oh, and also, if you ride through a town that has an interesting restaurant or grocery and you feel tempted to stop but think, "nah, I'll just get to the control, there's probably going to be food there anyway" take my advice and stop. It's always good to mix with the locals and might make it easier for the RBA to setup control points if local businessmen see randonneurs as a small but generous and well-behaved audience of cyclotourists.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
    Another question I have (it doesn't have to do with equipment) is concerning nutrition. Do the control stops have food available for purchase? So I don't have to carry much other than some GU, maybe banana, and a bagel? I have diabetes and I'm susceptible to "bonking" on long rides... so it's a concern. From some of the routes that I have studied, it looks like control stops are 20-40 miles apart. I just don't really know what a "control stop" includes... mechanical support?, just get card signed?, food/water/hydration drinks?... or am I expected to carry all my nutrional needs on the bike?

    thanks again for your help...
    The whole idea of randonneuring is self-sufficiency.

    According to the rules, it is recommended that controls be 50 to 75 kms apart if at all possible. You don't want to be stopping too much, but you need enough to make sure people don't go off the road.

    I don't know about your area, but in mine a control will vary.

    Some are "Information Controls", where you stop in the middle of absolutely nowhere and answer a question on the brevet sheet. One of mine last year was "What color is the barn on the intersection of Rural Route ### and Township Road ###. That's all that was there. Just the barn out in the prairie.

    Some will be in a town that will offer you a choice of convenience stores, grocery stores, and restaurants. One of the towns 3 of my brevets goes through has a bicycle shop somewhere in it, and a hardware store, so you might be able to get some mechanical help there.

    That's the range of controls on the brevets in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. We don't have "manned" controls, our controls are usually just a town (or intersection). We leave it up to the rider to find some place that will sign his/her card (or if it is an information control, we take the answer to the question as the signature). And we leave it up to the rider to find food and anything else he/she needs.

    In between the controls, you are free to stop in any towns or at any shops for food or whatever .... if there are towns or shops there and open.

    So, my advice would be .... bring your nutritional needs. Even if the ride is advertized as fully supported, bring your own nutritional needs. And always fill your bottles whenever you get the opportunity.

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    Nutrition is another one of those cans of worms that has no definitive answer... because your tastes are somewhat different to mine, and Machka's and spokenword's and so on. You will have to experiment on the shorter rides.

    Some people like solid foods, such as what you would normally eat. Some survive on totally liquid diets through their events, short or long. Others mix it up with liquid, energy bars (or the very expensive sports ones), and solid fuel. You may find you also need to mix in some protein along the way.

    You should heed what your body yearns for at some stages during and event -- if chicken sounds reallly good, get some canned stuff and gobble it up. Be warned that the commercial energy powders and drinks can become very tedious after about 300km... your mouth will feel gunky, and if the temps are up a bit, a warm drink of energy fluid won't be very pleasant.

    But be aware, also, that eating and riding long distances can cause various digestive issues that range from indigestive discomfort such as gastric reflux (heartburn) through to stomach pains (almost crippling), through to excessive gas release (farting which can also lead to interesting butt-burn issues) to the trots (dia...diahr... the sh!ts... which in one case led to a participant in a 1000 ride to withdraw because he spent more time in the bushes than on his bike!!!).

    In some cases these issues relate to exercising and trying to encourage the body to digest at the same time; sometimes to the crouched position on the bike, in which case you need to sit up or stop and stand; sometimes excessive starch/sugar intake; sometimes fluid intake that upsets the digestive balance in the stomach resulting in a bloated feeling; and sometimes because of food that has gone off for one reason or another, or nasties that have been allowed to breed in your water bottles (I always rinse mine out between rides with ammonia bleach).

    So... be flexible in your dietary needs, of course with an eye on your diabetes. Obviously, always have a stash of whatever will get you over a bonk.

    As to gearing, I already mentioned that lower is better. The 34T on the rear probably is the key gear if you have a 30T small ring up front. I've been riding for a long time with a granny of 22/32, but I have ridden for some time on a fixed with a 39/16. I have real confidence in the durability of my knees, so my touring/rando bike is the proud new owner of a 26-36-48 Deore MTB chainring set (the FG will be for "flat" rides and the touring/rando bike for the hillier ones).

    Again, it depends on your riding experience, leg and knee durability, and your confidence in them. And if you are cautious, you can always get off and walk -- there is no shame in doing that at all.

    I also like very much what spokenword says above and how he puts it.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Do you change equipment based on length of ride?
    I'm not sure what you mean by change? I think everyone pretty much selects the best mix of equipment for every ride.

    Most of the "serious" riders have "go fast" bikes that they usually ride without accessories. Then, they also have a touring, or commuter bike that already has lights and a rack. Some times the weather, or the route will confuse which bike is best for a ride. Think, about maintaining comfort through out the ride, not just the distance when planning how to gear up.

  17. #17
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    SIR brevets will not have long stretches of anything you couldn't ride on your race bike with aero wheels and 23C tires, no matter what the length. Most common mount is a Lightspeed with 23C tires and either a large saddle bag or small trunk or seatpost rack bag. Some Carradices. Wheels will vary from fancy aero race wheels with 16 spokes to conventional 36 spoke jobs. They all work. As Machka said, sometimes controls are just a guy with a car in the middle of nowhere (no water, food, etc.) and sometimes it's a grocery store. Good to know this stuff beforehand.

    Raceblade fenders work fine on your race bike. Be sure to have a long mudflap on the rear one.

    But it's like - you ride your bike what, 5000 miles/year? How much stuff breaks? It's no stretch to assume you can make it 800 miles with nothing breaking at all. Flats of course. New tires for 1200k brevets. Bike thoroughly checked a week or two before. Chain and cogs in good shape. Bearings sounding good and not loose. Never do anything to your bike the day before. I've got about 30,000 miles on my Trek 5200 with Rolf wheels, and other than a shift cable (carry one), I've never broken anything. I have worn stuff out, but never had a ride stopper. I do maintain my bike weekly, though.

    Most common light might be a pair of Cateye 530s. Almost everyone runs a 52/42/30 in front and a 12/25 in back. Sometimes a 27.

    Some folks will have fancy dedicated custom rando bikes with hubs and fork mounted lights, giant tires, and everything chromed or painted to match. Don't be intimidated.

    The SIR website's "tip sheet" is a must read. See you there.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 02-02-08 at 06:24 PM.

  18. #18
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    my setup pretty much stays the same... year round and hopefully for a series of events this coming year. (i am eyeing a front rack and large bag though... but i think i need a fork to change the geometry of the bike. i like the big bag up front concept - everything at hand while moving.



    as to panniers - i did a 400k last year with them on my carbon fiber 'racey' bike (previous to the above pictured) - i mounted a single on the non drive side. worked well enough, combined with a bento box and my cue sheet mounted to the aerobars.

    but yes, you can switch up your ride and tune it to your event. if i do organized rides i'll sometimes ditch the lights and the dyno and large pack. i'll use another wheel set (my wheels are all 32 spoke - and they all weigh about the same aside from the dyno). i also might tweak my chain rings and cassette depending on terrain. fenders have come off a few times - but more for cleaning and i didn't feel like getting them on before an organized ride.

    as to gearing, i have a TA double, with a 94 bcd, so i can run combos of 50,34 50,36 48,34 46,32 and my new fav of 42,30. i'll run a cassette with a 29 in the rear (campy low) for hilly stuff. i had a standard triple, moved to a standard compact, and then tried to optimize my gearing for the bulk of the riding i do.

    i'm nearing ditching the look pedals. might go back to clips / straps and stiff street shoes. we'll see. i like my commuter set up with flat pedals, i like my FG set up with recessed cleats, and i like my rando bike set up with the looks - but there is something tugging at me from my youth when i rode in street / soccer shoes (flat soled, indoors) and toe clips and straps. walkability might be nice. or maybe i'm just getting slower and older.
    Last edited by bmike; 02-03-08 at 09:50 PM.

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    Mike, I've got a set of MKS touring pedals with clips and straps ready to go, and haven't put them on yet because I can't find any suitable shoes. The Performance Kingston looked like it might do the trick, but they discontinued them moments before I decided to buy them. Carnac used to make a couple of really classy shoes -- I like the Carlit -- but they've been discontinued for years and Ebay hasn't come up with anything yet.

    I think a comfortable, walkable shoe would be ideal for brevets, and don't think much performance would be lost. Let me know what you come up with.

  20. #20
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I think Sidi Dominators with SPDs are an ideal combination of comfort on the bike and street. I once flatted a mile or so from home and just ran the bike in with them.

    About the SIR food/mechanical/control issues. Controls will sometimes be 50 or more miles apart. I use two 1 liter bottles. If it's an SIR control out in the middle of nowhere, an SIR person drove there. They probably have some minimal mechanical help, but don't count on it. They will have water, sodas, and sometimes food, all free. You paid a fee, right? If it's at a grocery store, well, no mechanical, but food for purchase. Sometimes there will be a middle of nowhere control just after a minimart or shopping center, and you'll have been expected to get food there, not at the control. Ask the organizer or someone who's done the route before for specifics of that route. The mystery thing is a big part of randonneuring. If I were you, I'd carry a good bit of your favorite stuff and then try to mostly eat out of stores, saving your stuff for when you get hungry on the bike, which you certainly will. I try to carry about half of the calories I expect to eat, but many people carry much less.

    OK, one month before the first one. Time to get busy riding. I lead a Sunday ride for Cascade. Show up.

  21. #21
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Mike, I've got a set of MKS touring pedals with clips and straps ready to go, and haven't put them on yet because I can't find any suitable shoes. The Performance Kingston looked like it might do the trick, but they discontinued them moments before I decided to buy them. Carnac used to make a couple of really classy shoes -- I like the Carlit -- but they've been discontinued for years and Ebay hasn't come up with anything yet.

    I think a comfortable, walkable shoe would be ideal for brevets, and don't think much performance would be lost. Let me know what you come up with.

    Same pedals here - but I have them on the Bakfiets at the moment. I have to dig out my straps and clips though. Back in the day I rode wearing Adidas or Mitre indoor soccer shoes. Not super stiff, but comfy. Similar to some of the skate shoes I see the kids wearing. Wonder how comfy my Vans would be?

    I tried powergrips on my distance bike, but didn't like the (perceived) torque on my knees, nor the way they would seemingly tighten off my circulation.

    This is a bit hard for me to do - I have some SIDIs with custom orthotics that I had made for my feet... spent a small fortune on them and I certainly love them - comfy for the long haul - but lately I've been jealous of a friend who rides with cages and straps. He hops and and off, never click clacking through life.

    I've a pair of Specialized MTB shoes with Time ATAC pedals on the FG... certainly like the walkability - but I don't really like the pedal to foot interface. I still get hotspots in those.

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    I get hot spots with anything smaller than Look cleats. My old racing shoes with Super Record pedals, clips, and straps are perfect on the bike, but are among the worst shoes for walking around. I've looked into Adidas and a few others, but am concerned about feeling the pedal through the shoe. I don't think the soles of street shoes are stiff enough. I also looked into "freeride" shoes, some of which would probably do the trick, but they all look like they belong on the feet of a gang member or something. Arg.

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    They will have water, sodas, and sometimes food, all free. You paid a fee, right? ..... I try to carry about half of the calories I expect to eat, but many people carry much less.
    The fee for the rides I organize simply goes toward insurance ... unfortunate, but necessary these days.

    And I carry most of what I expect to eat ... I don't count on the grocery stores on any of my own routes, let alone anyone else's. It hasn't happened on my routes, yet, but back in Manitoba, we had this lovely route for a 300K, and had ridden it on two consecutive years, and on the third year the convenience store/restaurant at the 200K point (the only source of food out there) had shut. Same on our 400K ... rode it 2 or 3 years, and on the next year the stop we all counted on, was closed. You just never know. In the 400K case, their last day was the day before our ride.

    On the Last Chance, we discovered that some of the stores in the little towns out there closed at the oddest hours. There was one little restaurant - only place in town for food - that was open between about 11 am and 2 pm. We rolled in at 2:05 just when they were shutting up, but we must have looked pathetic enough because they made us each a sandwich, thank goodness!

    Now, on my brevet cards, I will indicate what sort of services the control has, or should have. The Alberta Randonneurs have a code: H = Hotel; R = Restaurant; F = Food (grocery store, convenience store, etc.); W = water ... so the control could just be a W, indicating that there is a water pump in the little picnic area on the side of the road. Or it might be a HRFW, indicating it has everything, and chances are, a variety of choices.

    I also indicate closing times, to the best of my knowledge, on my cue sheets. One convenience store in one of the towns on my 200K and 300K route closes at 8 pm. It's touch and go whether I'm going to get there by 8 pm on the 300K, so it's nice to know that I'll have to stock up in the previous town. And I check the closing time when I go through on the 200K to make sure it is still 8 pm ... in case I need to update the 300K cue sheet.

    All that said, there are no guarantees. If a place is open the last time I rode through that town, and has decent hours and everything, a week later it could be shut and boarded up. And we, organizers, can't be checking the control towns every few days to see if anything has changed. So ... I ride prepared for just about anything.

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