I was interested in getting feedback on the whether or not I should take an extra wheelset for my upcoming California-South Carolina tour?
Let me explain...I am going on a cross-country tour this summer with my three boys. We'll be supported by my wife driving a support vehicle. The schedule is quite inflexible (24 riding, 4 rest days), as I'll be speaking in various cities along the way. Therefore, I am trying to plan ahead to make sure we take spare equipment that we'll need in emergencies and keep us on schedule, but I obviously want to keep the investment as small as possible.
We'll have spare tires, tubes, spokes, etc. But I was wondering on whether it would be a wise thing to also have an extra wheelset on hand? Said differently, is an extra wheelset a "nice-to-have" or a "must-have"?
Seems like a risk management thing to me. If you're talking about the cost of one spare wheel vs possible inconvenience and missed speaking dates if someone drives over a wheel while it's parked or you bend a rim, or even just break a few spokes, maybe it's worth it. You could further mitigate the cost by upgrading one of your wheels now, and taking the old one as a spare.
Speaking for myself, I don't recall ever damaging a wheel so badly it couldn't be ridden on, other than when I left the bike locked up and some people apparently took turns jumping on it.
2008 Novara Randonee - love it. Would have more bikes if I had time to ride them all. Previous bikes: 1968 Motobecane Mirage, 1972 Moto Grand Jubilee (my fav), Jackson Rake 16, 1983 C'dale ST500.
Given the parameters you present I would say take the wheelset if it can indeed be used for any one of the 4 bikes. If you don't need it on the trip you will always have a spare if you need to take a wheel in for service.