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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 02-11-08, 02:56 PM   #1
nine
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Absolutely necessary mechanical skills for randonneuring

I can: Fix flats, adjust brakes, adjust front and rear derailleurs (using barrel adjusters only, not H and L limits), change a link in my chain (sort of, still need more practice), and can replace a spoke so long as it is not a rear one behind the cassette (plan on using kevlar spokes if that should happen). What else do I need to feel comfortable out there during my first rando season?

and, the tools i will carry: spoke wrench, allen keys, chain tool, pump, tubes, xtra tire, zip ties...what am I missing?
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Old 02-11-08, 03:17 PM   #2
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I can: Fix flats, adjust brakes, adjust front and rear derailleurs (using barrel adjusters only, not H and L limits), change a link in my chain (sort of, still need more practice), and can replace a spoke so long as it is not a rear one behind the cassette (plan on using kevlar spokes if that should happen). What else do I need to feel comfortable out there during my first rando season?

and, the tools i will carry: spoke wrench, allen keys, chain tool, pump, tubes, xtra tire, zip ties...what am I missing?
bottom bracket tool, welder's torch (assuming you're riding steel), duct tape. if you can't build a wheel out of sticks and driftwood found by the road side then you might as well stay home.



no, seriously, you'll be fine. My usual kit is similar to yours, though I usually leave the spare tire at home and just plan on using a dollar bill as an impromptu patch/boot for tire punctures (and add in extra batteries for lights if you're doing a 300K+ brevet, a 200k in daylight won't need this)

if you ride with a largish club (I believe NY/NJ is fairly sizable) you'll hear all sorts of war stories about guys who had a stem snap on them and had to cobble together a replacement handlebar out of twigs and coroplast. But you can't worry about these. I think a broken chain or spoke is the next most likely mechanical problem aside from flats, and so long as you can handle these possibilities then you'll do ok. All of the extra credit stuff (ie. twisted derailleur hanger, loose bottom bracket, exploding hub) just makes for special and rare tales to tell.
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Old 02-11-08, 03:32 PM   #3
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You should learn the H and L adjustments. If you fall down on the right side, you may end up
having to adjust the rear derailleur.
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Old 02-11-08, 06:21 PM   #4
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It is useful to learn to true a wheel in case you hit a big pothole or break a spoke. Not within 0.5 mm, but enough to keep the brake from rubbing.
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Old 02-11-08, 08:19 PM   #5
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I can: Fix flats, adjust brakes, adjust front and rear derailleurs (using barrel adjusters only, not H and L limits), change a link in my chain (sort of, still need more practice), and can replace a spoke so long as it is not a rear one behind the cassette (plan on using kevlar spokes if that should happen). What else do I need to feel comfortable out there during my first rando season?

and, the tools i will carry: spoke wrench, allen keys, chain tool, pump, tubes, xtra tire, zip ties...what am I missing?
If you can do all that, you should be able to adjust H/L limit screws. There's really nothing to them.
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Old 02-11-08, 09:19 PM   #6
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You have most of the bases covered, I would look into learning how to true wheels if you're inexperienced. Knowing how to replace cables and how to overhaul/adjust your headset can be good too.

I remember being impressed when a friend tightened a freehub lockring with a pair of pliers. He pushed the pliers apart into two of the notches in the lock ring and was able to get it tight enough for the rest of the ride.

Anyone know any other neat tricks?
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Old 02-11-08, 11:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nine View Post
I can: Fix flats, adjust brakes, adjust front and rear derailleurs (using barrel adjusters only, not H and L limits), change a link in my chain (sort of, still need more practice), and can replace a spoke so long as it is not a rear one behind the cassette (plan on using kevlar spokes if that should happen). What else do I need to feel comfortable out there during my first rando season?

and, the tools i will carry: spoke wrench, allen keys, chain tool, pump, tubes, xtra tire, zip ties...what am I missing?


(plus frame pump or co2 cartridges, tube or 2, and maybe patches).
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Old 02-12-08, 12:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by nine View Post
I can: Fix flats, adjust brakes, adjust front and rear derailleurs (using barrel adjusters only, not H and L limits), change a link in my chain (sort of, still need more practice), and can replace a spoke so long as it is not a rear one behind the cassette (plan on using kevlar spokes if that should happen). What else do I need to feel comfortable out there during my first rando season?

and, the tools i will carry: spoke wrench, allen keys, chain tool, pump, tubes, xtra tire, zip ties...what am I missing?
Patch kit, duct tape and/or electrical tape, spare chain pins (if you use a Shimano chain) or spare PowerLink if SRAM, and a small pocket knife.

I'd leave the spare spokes at home except for the kevlar spoke. The spoke that breaks will almost always be the drive side rear.

Other things to consider, depending on the length of ride and the conditions: Small medical kit to handle road rash, insect bites, aches and pains, etc., mylar emergency "space" blanket if you plan to ride in cold weather, plastic supermarket bags for emergency rain booties, shower cap to go over your helmet in case of rain.

If you use generator lights, be sure to have a battery light of some kind so you can change a flat at night. An inexpensive LED headlamp zip tied to your helmet on low power makes a great light for reading cue sheets at night and fixing flats. Take zip top sandwich baggies to hold your cue sheet and brevet card so they don't get wet. Bring extra zip top bags so your cell phone/camera/wallet/etc. doesn't get wet. A small "bulldog" binder clip zip tied to your handlebars makes a good cue sheet holder as does a "Cue Clip".
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Old 02-12-08, 09:14 AM   #9
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Rando preparedness

Skills: can you replace a cable (brake or gear)? Boot a tire?

Tools: Wrench and/or screwdriver to fit every fastener on your bike, tire levers, patch kit (in addition to tubes)

Parts: spare brake and gear cables (1 ea), Park Emergency Tire Boot

Other than that, looks like you've got it pretty well covered. Have fun!

Scott P
Bend, OR

RUSA #3481, and earned my first Super Rando last year!
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Old 02-12-08, 10:54 AM   #10
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(plus frame pump or co2 cartridges, tube or 2, and maybe patches).
I second this choice. Even use it when I am working on the bike in the garage. I can actually get a tire off the rim using the chain/spoke tool as well so technically it is a tire iron too! I also am crazy about the second wind pump by Genuine Innovations which features a mini pump with a place to screw a c02 cartridge on the end for quick inflation and also lets you screw the cartridge into the handle for better pumping.

Another useful skill I have seen people need is how to jury rig a cable to hold your deraileur in gear after a cable snap (many tie it off to a bottle cage), although some use the stick in the deraileur method for this. Anyway, a basic understanding of your bikes mechanics will help you in your ingenuity out on the road when you need to get creative.
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Old 02-12-08, 12:00 PM   #11
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If you bring along spare brake/derailleur cables and they're the double-ended kind, don't forget to clip off the end that you don't need. Or bring clippers. Otherwise you'll wonder as you stand in the rain holding your double-ended cable just why you've been carrying it all these thousands of miles.
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Old 02-12-08, 01:13 PM   #12
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If you bring along spare brake/derailleur cables and they're the double-ended kind, don't forget to clip off the end that you don't need. Or bring clippers. Otherwise you'll wonder as you stand in the rain holding your double-ended cable just why you've been carrying it all these thousands of miles.
that's a good point, but here's a question: how often do well maintained and relatively new cables break?
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Old 02-12-08, 01:37 PM   #13
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that's a good point, but here's a question: how often do well maintained and relatively new cables break?
On the OR Rando Glacier 1000k last summer, one rider had a brand new gear cable break, changing her 7-speed to a very high geared 1 speed. And a cable weighs how many grams?

Scott P
Bend, OR
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Old 02-12-08, 01:47 PM   #14
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If you have a really nice set of tools at home, don't use them for regular maintenance on the bike. Use whatever you will be taking with you (I like the Alien2, seems to have everything).
A small bottle of lube may be a good idea too.
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Old 02-12-08, 03:53 PM   #15
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On the OR Rando Glacier 1000k last summer, one rider had a brand new gear cable break, changing her 7-speed to a very high geared 1 speed. And a cable weighs how many grams?

Scott P
Bend, OR
True, cables weigh next to nothing, but generally speaking, it's not a good idea to show up for a 200k, much less a 1000k, with gear that hasn't been broken in or "field tested".
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Old 02-12-08, 06:42 PM   #16
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The combo tool pictured is handy for the smaller hex wrenches and screw
drivers but from experience you can't generate enough torque to tighten
crank bolts to the point where they will hold. If your bike is one of those
that occasionally loosens the crank fixing bolts (assumed to be allen bolts)
then a dab of the light grade of Loktite on the end threads of the bolt and
a torque wrench tightening to spec are in order before any ultra ride. If you
have a typical rando bag set up, the long arm allen wrenches and a screw
driver is probably lighter than the combo tool, if you discard the wrenche
sizes not on your bike. For tire cuts, a few pieces of tyvek plastic in 1" sq
and 1x2" weigh nothing and with a dab of glue or just put in place are a lot
cheaper and stronger the a $1 bill for closing the cut and will hold 60-90#
pressure, depending on the size of the cut.

Steve, who one legged a mere 5 miles once and 8 miles another time.
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Old 02-12-08, 07:30 PM   #17
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that's a good point, but here's a question: how often do well maintained and relatively new cables break?
Rarely enough that I don't carry spares. But it is easy to lose track of how many miles you've ridden since the last time you replaced your cables. If a front brake cable breaks, you could use the rear cable to replace it and do without the rear brake. If a derailleur cable breaks, you can wrap it around your bottle cage to set the derailleur at the best gear for conditions and use the other derailleur to get at least two or three speeds. You might be slow at times and may need to readjust for a big hill or two, but you can certainly continue riding.
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Old 02-12-08, 08:25 PM   #18
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The combo tool pictured is handy for the smaller hex wrenches and screw
drivers but from experience you can't generate enough torque to tighten
crank bolts to the point where they will hold. If your bike is one of those
that occasionally loosens the crank fixing bolts (assumed to be allen bolts)
then a dab of the light grade of Loktite on the end threads of the bolt and
a torque wrench tightening to spec are in order before any ultra ride. If you
have a typical rando bag set up, the long arm allen wrenches and a screw
driver is probably lighter than the combo tool, if you discard the wrenche
sizes not on your bike. For tire cuts, a few pieces of tyvek plastic in 1" sq
and 1x2" weigh nothing and with a dab of glue or just put in place are a lot
cheaper and stronger the a $1 bill for closing the cut and will hold 60-90#
pressure, depending on the size of the cut.

Steve, who one legged a mere 5 miles once and 8 miles another time.
Seriously? I use this tool for just about everything, even at home. I once cracked a seatpost because I tightened the collar bolt too much with it. The handle is longer than most hex keys especially if you fol out the tools on the opposite end to get more torque.
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