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  1. #1
    Senior Member BasicJim's Avatar
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    Dumb questions before my first Brevet

    Hi!! I am getting ready to do my first Brevet. I have some questions to which I am having a difficult time finding answers. I was hoping for a little friendly help.

    I looked up the rules for the Brevet (200K) I am going to do and it says...

    3.You must meet Ohio traffic laws, including those regarding bicycle illumination for nighttime riding. Lights must be firmly affixed to the vehicle and be of sufficient wattage to be visible from 500 feet away and you must display a rear reflector. At least one steady taillight must be lit whenever lights are required. Flashing lights shall not be used when riding in groups. Your lights must be lit while you are riding between sunset and sunrise. Riding in a group does not change the lighting requirement. All riders must use their lights. You will be disqualified any time you are found riding at night without your lights. During night riding every rider must wear a reflective safety vest, jacket, triangle or sash in addition to a reflective ankle band around each ankle. You must show spare bulbs and batteries when asked. Lights and reflective clothing must be on board at the start of the 300, 400 and 600k events. Reflective sashes, ankle bands and triangles are available to purchase directly from RUSA. Download the order form at http://www.rusa.org/Download/rusaitems-200702.pdf
    Okay. The Brevet starts at 0730 (Sunrise is 0708) and I have 13:30 hrs to complete, finishing before 2100 (sunset is 1951). Here are my questions....

    At least one steady taillight must be lit whenever lights are required.
    So if I am using my Planet Bike Blinky Superflash Tail Light, it has to be set to "steady" mode and if I want a flashing light, I need a second tail light, correct?

    During night riding every rider must wear a reflective safety vest, jacket, triangle or sash in addition to a reflective ankle band around each ankle.
    Since I may possible be riding after sunset, it's considered night, correct? So I need reflective vest and ankle bands? I was looking at a Nathan Streak Reflective Vest, but I don't know if that is what would be best. What do experienced Ultra cyclists wear?

    You must show spare bulbs and batteries when asked.
    So, I use a LED light with a bunch of bulbs in it. I don't think I can change bulbs if I wanted to! How does this work for me? Do I need a different light?

    My light charges via USB and I have a universal portable battery pack (like this but different). Does that count as spare a spare battery?

    I realize these are probably dumb questions, but I would rather ask the dumb questions here rather than get out there and be out of luck!

    Any tips that you can think of would be great too! Kind of, "What do you wish you knew when you went out on YOUR first brevet?" kinda thing.

    I am hoping to be off the course in MUCH less than 13:30, but ya never know, right?

    Thanks for all your help and advice!

    Jim
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4
    2006 Trek 1000 SL
    1999 Trek 1100
    2004 Sledgehammer (for sweet jumps)

    “You have to have the fighting spirit. You have to force moves and take chances”
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Some RBA's are more anal about the rules than others but safety should really be your first concern. Having said that, I usually don't bring lights (headlights anyway) on 200k's unless they start in the dark or finish late at night. I almost always have a red taillight on the bike. It doesn't matter if its on blinking or not. There is some debate about which mode is "safer" but I doubt anyone is going to DNF you if your light is in blinking mode instead of continuous. I usually have two of them on my bike anyway. One on each seatstay. As far as the headlight goes, I bring a second LED headlight, that is my "spare" bulb. The second one is just a small really light battery powered LED that works well for climbing speeds, as a flashlight and as a main light in emergencies. That should cover you.

    One thing you'll find is that the majority of brevets under 1000kms are pretty casual and not very many RBA's actually inspect the riders equipment.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Oldairhead's Avatar
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    Rusa rules must be followed, but local custom is often the case. There has been lots of debate on blinking vs. solid rear lights. I come down firmly in the blinky category. But, I always have 2 lights on mybike. I will use the solid mode early in the ride and then switch one to blinky mode when riders spread out more. Blinky is simply more visible from a distance and the batteries will last much longer. I will usually run a blinky light all day long. In some regions most people use blinkies and in others almost none. Just go with the flow.

    The other thing is that most states define nightime as "before civil twilight in the morning, and after civil twilight in the evening." This usually gives you an extra 15 to 30 minutes on each end of legal daytime riding time depending on the time of year. Having said that, I want to be seen, so I will be highly visible regardless and will have extra lights.

    A number of reflective vests will meet the current requirement but more is better. It is a trial and error process to find which one works for you in your area. Just make sure the vest will fit over your outerwear. The Nathan is a little snug.

    The point on spare bulbs is a little dated given to dominance of LED lights, but the spirit of it is that you have a backup plan. Lights WILL fail so what are you going to do then? Have a backup.

    Most new brevet riders that DNF will do so because of poor equipment choices, Things like using skinny racing tires or a poorly functioning bike usually come to mind. Outside of that not having enough spares on your bike can also cause a DNF. Several times I have had 4 or more flats on a ride even with good tires. Can you fix 4 flats and continue without outside support? My advise is take more than you think you need and then fine tune your "list" as your experience grows.

    For your first brevet just have fun and pace yourself. You want your first experience to be a positive one. Good Luck.

    Lonnie Wolff
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    http://utahrandonneur.wordpress.com

  4. #4
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    If you're not already doing much night riding, now's the time to invest in some good lights. You never know whether something will happen on the 200k to make you come in late, so you might as well bring the vest and ankle-straps, too. They don't weigh much.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  5. #5
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
    ..Most new brevet riders that DNF will do so because of poor equipment choices, Things like using skinny racing tires or a poorly functioning bike usually come to mind. Outside of that not having enough spares on your bike can also cause a DNF. ...
    Seriously Lonnie?? I don't know how long you've been doing this but poor equipment choices is hardly on the top of the list for DNF'ing. You're going to tell me that 23mm or 25mm tires are more likely to flat than bigger tires??? I've been doing this since the 90's on those tires and I haven't seen where tire diameter has anything to do with flat propensity or DNFing. I've seen plenty of shredded tires of all sizes. Or are you talking about what type of bike they are on? From my experience, DNf's by neewbies are most often a result of improper nutrition or pacing. Not the type of equipment they are on.

    PS, If you're talking about a well maintained bike, then we are more in agreement. I have seen people go out on poorly maintained bikes but that is a rarity.
    Last edited by Homeyba; 08-24-12 at 10:09 AM.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    "So if I am using my Planet Bike Blinky Superflash Tail Light, it has to be set to "steady" mode and if I want a flashing light, I need a second tail light, correct?"

    Get a second taillight, and yes, keep one set to "steady". If you're actually doing a lot of night riding, you'll probably want additional lights. Don't be a Ninja rider.

    "So I need reflective vest and ankle bands? I was looking at a Nathan Streak Reflective Vest, but I don't know if that is what would be best. What do experienced Ultra cyclists wear?"

    Anything and everything. You can get a RUSA sash and anklebands via mailorder from RUSA, not much help if you're riding soon. My primary vest is a cheap construction-worker vest from Harbor Freight Tools, but they don't sell one exactly like it anymore. If you're riding at night a lot, look for visibility. If you're mainly riding in the day and need something "just in case", look for small pack size, and that's where the RUSA sash comes in handy. I was thinking the rules required reflective stuff all-around, so that the triangle by itself wasn't adequate, but I'm not positive there. If you use a Camelbak, either use a vest that fits over it, or put one of those triangles on the back of it. (And RUSA has cheap triangles, too.)

    "You must show spare bulbs and batteries when asked."

    That's from the dark ages. But if you're actually riding at night, a spare headlight is prudent- one of the ones that uses 2- AA's is good for that (and not so good for actually riding with!). And if you're using batteries, you obviously want spare batteries anyway.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    OP -- have your tried contacting the RBA?


    Blinking tail-lights: it is my understanding that in most, if not all, states, only emergency vehicles are legally allowed to have a blinking red light on the rear. It is my experience that poorly aimed blinking tail-lights are more-than-a-nuisance; on a 300 or 400 brevet in May-2011, I asked 3 or 4 friends to please change their lights from blinking to steady-state as their blinkies were driving me nuts.

    Regardless of what type of tail-light you use, regardless of where mounted, make sure it directs its "beam" parallel to the ground. I hate being in a group / line at night when the tail-lights of the rider in front of me are pointed at my eyes instead of parallel to the ground & pointed at the potential traffic behind. And if that poorly aimed light is blinking, I "lose the ground" every few seconds, regaining sight just in time for the next blink.

    Proper aim is especially important if the tail-light is extremely bright. Last year, during a 300, I asked a good friend to please shut off one particular tail-light (he had about three) because it was blinding me; I added that if he used that light during the 400 in another two weeks, I was going to cut the cord from the light to the battery hidden in his rear-bag. I wouldn't have, but Bob didn't use that light during the 400 -- thank goodness.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BasicJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
    OP -- have your tried contacting the RBA?


    Blinking tail-lights: it is my understanding that in most, if not all, states, only emergency vehicles are legally allowed to have a blinking red light on the rear.
    Since the rules stated not to use blinking mode while riding with a group, I assmed that blinky lights are legal, but as you stated, a nusance to other riders. I ordered a secon light to keep on steady. Thanks for the tip about aiming them.


    After reading the replies so far, I am starting to think I might not completely understand what I am getting myself in for. I have ridden several centuries this year )band did quite a few of them last year. I have never flatted (knock on wood) or had a mechanical (still knocking). I hadn't planned on taking 4 spare tubes, 4 CO2's, etc, but it sounds like I should be!

    I can't fit all of that in the packs I currently have. The wife is already unhappy with my expendatures, so could someone recommend an inexpensive rear rack and bag? I really liked the looks and description of the Arkel Tailrider, but it is out of my price range for now. If I decide to do 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K, I'll go for better bags, but right now, cheap is king.

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH;
    "You must show spare bulbs and batteries when asked."

    That's from the dark ages. But if you're actually riding at night, a spare headlight is prudent- one of the ones that uses 2- AA's is good for that (and not so good for actually riding with!). And if you're using batteries, you obviously want spare batteries anyway.
    I have a headlamp (Petzl Tikka Plus 2). Do you think that would be suitable for a backup or should I invest in a second mounted headlight?

    Thanks EVERYONE for the input!

    Jim
    2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4
    2006 Trek 1000 SL
    1999 Trek 1100
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    “You have to have the fighting spirit. You have to force moves and take chances”
    -Bobby Fischer

  9. #9
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BasicJim View Post
    I have a headlamp (Petzl Tikka Plus 2). Do you think that would be suitable for a backup
    Yes.

    But more important - I would suggest that you always have a headlight when riding at night - to read your cue-sheet, read your bike comouter, read your GPS, read road-names, and so on.
    Regards,
    Duncan

  10. #10
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BasicJim View Post
    ...After reading the replies so far, I am starting to think I might not completely understand what I am getting myself in for. I have ridden several centuries this year )band did quite a few of them last year. I have never flatted (knock on wood) or had a mechanical (still knocking). I hadn't planned on taking 4 spare tubes, 4 CO2's, etc, but it sounds like I should be!

    I can't fit all of that in the packs I currently have. The wife is already unhappy with my expendatures, so could someone recommend an inexpensive rear rack and bag? I really liked the looks and description of the Arkel Tailrider, but it is out of my price range for now. If I decide to do 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K, I'll go for better bags, but right now, cheap is king....
    Your incidence of flats is going to be the same on a brevet as on any other ride you do. I only carry two tubes, 4 Co2 cartridges and a patch kit (even on a 1200k). I go lighter than many though. On 1200ks I throw tubes and CO2 cartridges and a tire in my drop bags to supplement in case I have to use them. Many 600k's offer drop bags as well. You are going to have to decide what your comfort level is in bringing extra stuff. Remember, you're going to have to carry all that stuff. I bet by on 1000-1200ks with a seatpost mounted rack and bag. There are as many ways to carry things as there are people doing brevets.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BasicJim View Post
    So if I am using my Planet Bike Blinky Superflash Tail Light, it has to be set to "steady" mode and if I want a flashing light, I need a second tail light, correct?
    Bike inspections are common enough that one should expect them. In practical terms, it appears that the rear light has to be steady only during the inspection. Technically, the light has to be attached to the bicycle (not to a seat bag, for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by BasicJim View Post
    Since I may possible be riding after sunset, it's considered night, correct? So I need reflective vest and ankle bands?
    Correct. Keep in mind that the 200k are intended to be preparation/practice for longer rides. And, the idea is that even for such "short" rides, you might end-up riding after dark (or in the rain). It appears that as long as you have something, it doesn't have to be "the best" to pass inspection.

    Quote Originally Posted by BasicJim View Post
    I was looking at a Nathan Streak Reflective Vest, but I don't know if that is what would be best. What do experienced Ultra cyclists wear?
    I like these ankle straps (I use the white ones). I got positive comments about them on a rando ride.

    http://www.jogalite.com/index.cfm?fu...tsgroup&cat=14

    I use an ancient Jog-a-light vest. I'm looking for something that packs smaller (like a "Sam Browne" belt).

    Quote Originally Posted by BasicJim View Post
    I have a headlamp (Petzl Tikka Plus 2). Do you think that would be suitable for a backup or should I invest in a second mounted headlight?
    The headlamp fails the "mounted (to the bike") requirement. The Tikka is light enough that it should not contribute to "Shermer's neck. It probably isn't bright enough to navigate by. I used one to be able to read cue sheets in the dark (I turned it on when I needed to do that).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-24-12 at 02:18 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BasicJim View Post
    ...I have a headlamp (Petzl Tikka Plus 2). Do you think that would be suitable for a backup or should I invest in a second mounted headlight?...
    Just to give you another perspective on headlamps, I never wear a headlamp on (1000k+)long events. Mainly do to the risk of Shermers neck. I don't put any extra weight on my head. Headlamps are getting much lighter than they used to be and a lot of people use them because they are convenient but for me the risk of a dnf because I can't hole my head up isn't worth it.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  13. #13
    Randomhead
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    how do you read your cue sheet without a helmet light? I guess if you average 20mph and don't ride at night there is no need. I use the CSPS (cue sheet positioning system) and need to be able to see the cues.

    To the OP, the longest learning curve I had was with lighting. Now I have a dyno front light. In the back, I have a dyno taillight and a battery powered light that I use on flash. I went through a scary 400k where it rained and I had one light fail due to water and the other light fail due to an electronics problem that I would have discovered if I had used it longer. I figure it was worth the ~$400-500 I have spent on my current system just to avoid any more rides like that one. So it pays to use lights even if you don't think you need them.

    The reflective gear sold by RUSA is pretty good. I like their ankle bands the best because they stretch. They do get worn out after a couple of seasons though.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 08-24-12 at 01:37 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    how do you read your cue sheet without a helmet light? I guess if you average 20mph and don't ride at night there is no need. I use the CSPS (cue sheet positioning system) and need to be able to see the cues.
    I'm not so fast I can do all my brevets in the daylight by any means. I ride at night quite a bit, actually I love riding at night. I think it's my favorite time to ride. Like I said above I have a second led light that I mount on my handlebar. I just pull it off it's mount if I need to read my route slip or look at a street sign at night. Not a big deal. cue sheet positioning system? I thought you were a gps guy
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  15. #15
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    You can use the blinking taillight when you're riding alone in North America, but you should have it on steady if you're in a group. It's very distracting to the rider behind to have a very bright flashing red light in their face when it's pitch-black. If you ever ride in France or Germany, you will find that flashing lights on bikes are illegal. You can use the blinking red taillight in the steady setting at Paris-Brest-Paris; I did and passed the equipment inspection.

    For the headlight, I would switch out the USB-recharged LED light for a battery-powered LED light and just carry extra AA batteries, and/or even a second LED light that fits into the same holder. For a 200, you can skip the extra light; you won't be riding in the dark that long, unless you're riding in November. Even if you're using a real lighting system with Dynohub, still have the small LED light. It's hard to read a map or route sheet at night off a generator-driven front light! The spare bulb is for headlights that use spare bulbs, so if you're using a dynohub with halogen light, carry one or two spare bulbs in a plastic film canister packed with cotton balls (uh, what's a film canister? Sorry, try the little plastic box that holds the tube repair kit!).

    Luis

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
    Blinking tail-lights: it is my understanding that in most, if not all, states, only emergency vehicles are legally allowed to have a blinking red light on the rear.
    As far as I can tell, not many US states have a legal prohibition against flashing red rear bicycle lights. As far as I can tell, no US state has a practical prohibition against flashing red rear bicycle lights.

    The official randonees in the US adhere to the French organization rules. Flashing red lights are prohibited in Europe (certainly, they are prohibited in Germany). Thus, the French organization rules comply with what is legal in France/Europe.

    Keep in mind that the RUSA events are preparatory/practice rides for PBP (one needs to keep that in mind to understand why the rules are what they are).

  17. #17
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    The bike inspection thing is kind of interesting. In the almost 20 yrs I've been doing brevets the only time I've ever had my bike and my reflective gear inspected was at the half dozen 1200k's I've done. And even then it was quite cursory. Yep, that's a bike. At PBP look at what passes for lights. I'm sure this is probably very dependent on the individual RBA's. It is best to be prepared either way. We do want to be as safe as possible out there.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  18. #18
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Yeah, in my experience, most of the bikes I see on the 200's don't even have lights mounted. The top guys just rip out the distance in under eight hours, so if they start at 7 am when it's light, they're done before 3 pm.

    Seems to me the UMCA and ultra-cycling events are more stringent. I was looking into doing the Furnace Creek 508 next year (fixed gear divison, of course!), and was surprised to see what lengths they go to for the night portion: reflective tape all over the bike, PBP-level lighting, no proceeding at "night" (6 pm until 7 am) without the following car right behind you, and it's equipped with special flashing lights on the roof in addition to all its other lighting. I can't believe how anal these guys are! Oh well, them's the rules...

    Luis

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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    Yeah, in my experience, most of the bikes I see on the 200's don't even have lights mounted. The top guys just rip out the distance in under eight hours, so if they start at 7 am when it's light, they're done before 3 pm.
    A 200k is 125 miles (in real units). That's a bit more than a century. The lights and stuff start becoming actually necessary for the 300k+ rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    The bike inspection thing is kind of interesting. In the almost 20 yrs I've been doing brevets the only time I've ever had my bike and my reflective gear inspected was at the half dozen 1200k's I've done. And even then it was quite cursory. Yep, that's a bike. At PBP look at what passes for lights. I'm sure this is probably very dependent on the individual RBA's. It is best to be prepared either way. We do want to be as safe as possible out there.
    Interesting. While they didn't inspect stuff that closely, they verified that I had the stuff before I was signed-in (they can see I'm wearing reflective stuff at 4:00AM).

  21. #21
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    ... I was looking into doing the Furnace Creek 508 next year (fixed gear divison, of course!), and was surprised to see what lengths they go to for the night portion: reflective tape all over the bike, PBP-level lighting, no proceeding at "night" (6 pm until 7 am) without the following car right behind you, and it's equipped with special flashing lights on the roof in addition to all its other lighting. I can't believe how anal these guys are! Oh well, them's the rules...
    If you decide to do it let me know. I might be able to help you out with some logistics. I've done that race 9 times.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    cue sheet positioning system? I thought you were a gps guy
    I don't even have an odometer. I am thinking about a gps, and have followed people with gps, but I like to use a cue sheet

  23. #23
    Senior Member Oldairhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Seriously Lonnie?? I don't know how long you've been doing this but poor equipment choices is hardly on the top of the list for DNF'ing. You're going to tell me that 23mm or 25mm tires are more likely to flat than bigger tires???

    PS, If you're talking about a well maintained bike, then we are more in agreement. I have seen people go out on poorly maintained bikes but that is a rarity.
    Is this Kevin? Well, I have only been randonneuring since 2006 and I became an RBA in 2007. But, I have been organizing long distance events (double centuries) since 2003 and have been riding 200+ mile events since the late 80's. That said, in my region many DNF's seem to come with the use of "skinny RACING tires". Not specifically 23's or 25's but super lightweight tires that seem a little fragile, or a poorly maintained bike which can include: thin used up tires, worn cables, bad shifting which leads to drive failures. I have also seen "low spoke count racing wheels" where a single broken spoke is enough to disable the bike for the rider. The other item I mentioned is not enough spares. I have DNF'ed riders for no lights (when their primary light failed) and no reflective gear when they ended up finishing later than they thought because of excessive mechanicals (often many flats) or other reasons. I have never DNF'ed a rider because they paced themself poorly, only because they or their bike were unprepared.

    Riders like yourself may experience a different result because of your equipment, pacing and nutrition choices, which are based on your own methods and experience. I would not try and convince you of anything that you have already established that works for you. The OP does not have that experience yet and my advise is general and based on observations at not only my events, but other events that I have attended.

    Personally I have had too many issues when riding on 23c tires, perhaps because my weight is 185 lbs. I now ride 25c tires on my double century bike (the Pegoretti) and 28c tires on my long distance bike (the Co-Motion). They are either a Bontrager Hardcase or a Gatorskin type tire, something with a more durable carcass. My bikes are tuned and ready to ride. I rarely experience mechanicals on my rides. I carry spares for many things and often find myself assisting other riders who are less prepared. I carry 2 spare tubes, a patch kit, an inflator with 3 cartridges and a pump.

    In May I rode a 400k in Oregon where I had 4 flats. My last cartridge failed and I had to use the mini pump. It also wasn't working properly and I could only get 40 psi in the tire. After the next flat 25 psi was all that I could acheive with the pump. 4 flat tires and 2 different inflator failures, with this set of unlikely circumstances I still finished the ride in mid-pack. This is totally uncommon but this type of thing has happened to me several times over the years. I just do not want to DNF after all the effort to try and finish.

    I suspect that we agree on more things than we disagree on. We are all, after all, individuals with different methods and equipment. My advice on based on my experience. Others who have had a different experience may offer that advice which is equally valid.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
    I have never DNF'ed a rider because they paced themself poorly, only because they or their bike were unprepared.
    ???

    People who DNF due to poor pacing DNF themselves (that is, they quit). Poor pacing could also cause them to finish but not within the allotted time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
    Personally I have had too many issues when riding on 23c tires, perhaps because my weight is 185 lbs. I now ride 25c tires on my double century bike (the Pegoretti) and 28c tires on my long distance bike (the Co-Motion). They are either a Bontrager Hardcase or a Gatorskin type tire, something with a more durable carcass. My bikes are tuned and ready to ride. I rarely experience mechanicals on my rides. I carry spares for many things and often find myself assisting other riders who are less prepared. I carry 2 spare tubes, a patch kit, an inflator with 3 cartridges and a pump.
    I think that one has to classify flats as something other than "mechanicals". Flats are the most common issue that people will have and it's fairly likely that they could have multiple flats. Many people use 23 mm tires for thousands of miles without getting flats. I would suspect that spoke failures are the most common mechanical failure (maybe, matched with broken cables) but the incidence of that failure is much, much less.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
    In May I rode a 400k in Oregon where I had 4 flats. My last cartridge failed and I had to use the mini pump. It also wasn't working properly and I could only get 40 psi in the tire. After the next flat 25 psi was all that I could acheive with the pump. 4 flat tires and 2 different inflator failures, with this set of unlikely circumstances I still finished the ride in mid-pack. This is totally uncommon but this type of thing has happened to me several times over the years. I just do not want to DNF after all the effort to try and finish.
    It's interesting/unusual that your pump didn't really work.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-24-12 at 08:14 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
    Is this Kevin? Well, I have only been randonneuring since 2006 and I became an RBA in 2007. But, I have been organizing long distance events (double centuries) since 2003 and have been riding 200+ mile events since the late 80's. That said, in my region many DNF's seem to come with the use of "skinny RACING tires". Not specifically 23's or 25's but super lightweight tires that seem a little fragile, or a poorly maintained bike which can include: thin used up tires, worn cables, bad shifting which leads to drive failures. I have also seen "low spoke count racing wheels" where a single broken spoke is enough to disable the bike for the rider. The other item I mentioned is not enough spares. I have DNF'ed riders for no lights (when their primary light failed) and no reflective gear when they ended up finishing later than they thought because of excessive mechanicals (often many flats) or other reasons. I have never DNF'ed a rider because they paced themself poorly, only because they or their bike were unprepared....
    No, not Kevin but you're close. I am bigger (taller) than Kevin. I apologize if I came across a little harsh in my earlier post. Over the years I've seen a lot of bike/equipment snobbery in the rando world and it annoys me. I understand that you didn't mean it that way. Since I bought my current rando bike in 2005 (I can't believe it's that old) I've been forced to run 23's because that's all that will fit. Since then I've done several 1200ks and 4 RAAMs on 23's with no more flats than I got on 25's. I run GP4000's mostly with Michigan ProRace tires mixed in. I replace them before they get anywhere near threadbare.

    You hit on the most important point and it doesn't matter what equipment you use. Your equipment needs to be in new to near new condition especially when you get to the longer distances. When I see mechanical failures it's almost always because people start the ride on worn out equipment, be it tires, cables, chains, whatever. In all my years, I've never had a mechanical DNF on any ride. That stems from the fact that my equipment is in good working order when I start the ride.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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