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bmcphx 08-18-13 04:01 PM

Just Agreed To a Four Day 500mi Ride
Hey guys, thanks for hearing me out, first off.

So, I race crits, hill climbs, and road races. I ride 200+ miles a week, I do all the local hammerfests, and I'm up at 0400 almost every day of the week to ride my bike... I'm not a complete bad ass, but I'm just painting the picture that I'm a very strong cyclist who has a very high tolerance for pain and good mental toughness.

that said... I'm scared at the thought of doing 519 miles in 4 days, it's a new discipline of cycling for me. I did a double century last year with this same friend I'll be doing this trip with, and swore I'd never do it again. Now, he's challenged me again.

What I'm looking for here, from those of you whom I assume do these types of things with at least some regularity, is what kinds of things should I bring with me, what kinds of things should I plan for? Things that I wouldn't think of on my usual weekly training routine? I've no doubt that I can do this trip, but I do have doubts that I'll prepare properly.

Here's what I thought of:

backpack containing tubes, tires, a clean kit to alternate day to day, and a change of clothes that I can wash daily when I wash my kit.

Outside of that, what else do you long distance and touring guys recommend I bring with? I'll be riding my Madone and any provisions must be kept to a backpack. We are planning to stay in a motel each night and are sure to pick ones with laundry facilities on site. I just don't want to get stranded on the road, so any tips are appreciated. All of the days will be pretty flat and easy, with the exception of one day climbing the mountains around big bear California (135mi 14,000ft) so I'm not worried about legs, just worried about mechanical stuff.

and of course any other suggestions for a first time long distance trip are appreciated. This will be end of October, so jacket will be coming too.

znomit 08-18-13 04:16 PM

It sounds like you'll handle this well.
You do not want a backpack.
Get a large seat bag, this is what I use for similar missions:

bmcphx 08-18-13 04:21 PM

znomit, thanks for the tip! I'd rather not have a backpack, but we won't have any SAG so I need something big enough for a change of clothes, extra kit, etc. how much can you fit in that seat bag? it doesn't look like it's large enough for my needs, though admittedly I'm pretty green at this and internet pics can be deceiving.

Bandera 08-18-13 05:39 PM


Originally Posted by bmcphx (Post 15974341)
I need something big enough for a change of clothes, extra kit, etc. how much can you fit in that seat bag?

Been "a while" since I've done this on the bicycle but a backpack is out, get a good seatpack as znomit suggests and take a tip from the LD/IBA motorcycle community. When we have a fixed route ( which encompasses a good bit of North America ) UPS fresh off the bike clothing ahead to your reserved motel/checkpoint, discard and proceed. Why burden yourself? You must have whiteys, pants, sox & tees that have seen better days but are presentable enough but disposable. While everyone else is scrambling to wash/dry a whole load you can be relaxing with a nice beverage after washing only 1 of 2 jerseys/shorts in the sink to dry overnight. But pack your flip-flops, rain gear etc.

Back in earlier ages this sort of cycling was served by traditional makers like Carradice, they knew/know what a proper gent's needs were/are:

Complete maintenance & reasonably fresh tires are assumed, pack for 1,000mi. of flat repair (2X planned) and take a full sized frame pump. Cell phones need chargers, check the group & take 1 per device type. Less is more.


Homeyba 08-18-13 06:06 PM

I wouldn't over think this much other than starting the ride with your bike in pristine condition and not carrying too much. I wouldn't carry much more than I would on a century as far as "gear" goes. The shipping cloths to the hotel is a good idea or a larger seatbag for extra cloths. If the hotel has laundry you only need one pair of shorts and a jersey and some shorts/shirt for the hotel. You're only riding a 100-135 miles a day or so you're not going to be on the bike very long, if you're in the shape you say you are in. Maybe 5-6hrs? Sounds like you're going to have a lot of down time...I think you should think about doing it in two days instead of five, that's what I'd do. ;)

brianogilvie 08-19-13 11:48 AM

Nthing the recommendation of a saddlebag. A backpack will be a real drag after a few hours; I can't imagine wearing one for four days on the bike. When I tour I use panniers. But for long day rides I often use a Carradice-style saddlebag. You can pack an amazing amount into one of those. If it's big, you might need a support to keep it from rubbing against the top of your rear wheel.

You should take a good look at your bike before leaving, and repair or replace anything that's worn. In addition to your normal flat repair kit, I'd suggest bringing another spare tube, a patch kit (if you don't normally bring one), and a pump (if you normally use CO2 inflators). Your group should have at least one minitool with all the tools you'll need, a pair of needle-nose pliers for extracting wires from tires, a few tire boots (I like the Park Kevlar ones, because the adhesive makes them easier to get into position), an extra master link for each kind of chain, a spare brake cable, a spare derailleur cable, a FiberFix replacement spoke, some zip ties in assorted sizes, a small roll of duct tape, a small bottle of chain lube, and maybe a small tube of all-purpose synthetic grease. I also like bringing a few pairs of disposable nitrile gloves and a few individually-packed Wet One antiseptic cloths. A small hiker first-aid kit is also useful. Finally, consider a replacement rear derailleur hanger (Problem Solvers makes one; there are others on the market too); it's light and could come in handy. You're not likely to need this stuff, but it's handy to have if you need any of it, and it doesn't take up much weight or space.

Be minimalist with off-bike clothes. I like lightweight nylon convertible pants--the kind where the lower legs zip off to convert to shorts--and a lightweight synthetic collared hiking shirt, which gives a look that's casual but more elegant in a restaurant than a t-shirt. Ex Officio makes nice lightweight, quick-drying underwear. The idea of shipping stuff ahead is also intriguing, especially if you could also ship a prepaid priority mail box with it, so the hotel could send it back. But if you're not sweating in your off-bike stuff, and you shower after your ride, you shouldn't need to wash it daily, if at all.

rm -rf 08-19-13 12:17 PM

Some rear racks are designed to fit normal road bikes, with a front arm that attaches via the rear brake bolt, and adapters to fit onto the quick release axle. I would guess you wouldn't want "too" much weight on it, since the 3-point mount isn't as stable as a touring bike's 4-point mount.

For example: Journey Uni-Fit Mk2

I haven't tried any of those, but I do have a seat post mounted rear rack. It doesn't hold very much at all, not enough for a 4 day trip. I even extended it farther back 5 inches with a piece of 3 inch wide 1/4 inch thick oak from the hardware store.

It's this topeak rack, without the side frames. The back edge of my saddle reaches as far as the front tubular stop, so I can't go too high, and it's only 15 lbs weight limit.
I've loaded a jacket, extra gloves, lunch, and a pair of walking shoes on top, and that filled it up. And the seat post clamp sticks out just far enough to brush against my thighs, which was annoying at first.

rm -rf 08-19-13 12:41 PM

Will there be water sources along the way, especially on that big climbing day in the mountains? You might need to carry extra water.

A local group did the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, 616 miles and 70,000 feet in 7 days. They had a SUV and trailer to get to the ride, and took turns driving, about a half day at a time. The SUV carried luggage, water, and lunch.

bmcphx 08-20-13 02:10 PM

Hmm that rack is a good idea but my rear brake is behind the crank wounder if there's another way to secure it.

Keith99 08-20-13 05:21 PM

Tubes and patches.

I just remember my first double. Before the 25 mile mark I came up on another rider in the ride with a flat. Asked if he was OK. He was, sort of, he had started with 2 spare tubes. This was his 3rd flat. He got one of my spares. I flatted at about the 160 mile mark.

I've also done the Land Rush, back to back doubles, San Francisco to Los Angeles with no flats at all.

But I sure feel better with at least one good spare tub and a patch kit to start every day.

Homeyba 08-20-13 06:33 PM


Originally Posted by Keith99 (Post 15982208)
...I've also done the Land Rush...

Land Rush, now there's a blast from the past! ;)

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