Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This will be my first long distance cycle over 100km's / 62 miles. Last weekend I did a 60km / 37 mile cycle without too much difficulty, so I'm pretty sure I can get through at least day 1, day 2 will be a struggle but then again I have the whole day on Sunday and can move as slow as I want.

This is the gear I am going with :

Bike: Trek 7.2 FX (2011) (Stock standard, no mods) - recently serviced!

Pants: decent mountain bike cycle pants with pads (not sure on the brand, but a good pair)

Shirt: regular cotton t-shirt (nothing fancy)

Jersey / Jacket : None

Backpack : CamelBack HAWG 20 - holds 3l of liquid.

Nav : Garmin Dakota 20 with heart monitor - and map planned - route broken down into 5 stages routing along cycle paths mainly, no major roads, except for the odd crossing here and there.

Shoes: Beach style summer sandals with velcro straps - no socks!

Contents of backpack:

  • 1x Spare inner tube
  • 2x AA battery spares for the Dakota
  • 1x MP3 player with charging cable
  • 1x Phone with charging cable
  • Initially 3l of pure cold water in the reservoir
  • Wallet (cash + credit card + id + medical insurance card)
  • Puncture repair kit
  • 1 x pump (nice and compact and proven to work)
  • 1 x Camera and charger
  • 1 x Clean underwear change.

Food and additional drinking material I intend to buy on route until I get out far into the country after about 50km's then I'll buy some stock for the road.

What have I missed, and any additional tips for this ride are welcome.

Last thing I would like to add, I've read on some sites that listening to music while cycling isn't advisable, what would you say?

Should I take some form of self protection for the road? Mace or maybe a hunting knife - I mean you never know?

Thanks guys - look forward to the responses.

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Perhaps a little late (sorry, I was on a week-long bike trip), but:

You're missing sun lotion. You definitely need it and should apply it first thing in the morning, since you will likely be reluctant to stop to apply it later.

Despite what the others have said, I've never had a problem wearing the same cycling shorts 2-3 days in a row. I do use chamois cream, though.

I typically ride with cotton T-shirts and find them comfortable. Change shirts daily, and have a spare to put on if you get soaked/chilled in a rainstorm. I have a synthetic (forget the material) soft knit jersey for cooler days, and sometimes wear sweat pants (with double leg straps) in the morning if it's too cool (since my muscles no longer tolerate cold well).

I never travel (any distance) without rain gear -- jacket and rain pants.

You need to carry some ready snacks -- heat-tolerant (assuming it will be hot) candy of some sort, or "energy bars", or "trail mix" or such. (Whatever it is should contain a decent amount of salt, and potassium is a bonus.) If you begin to get fatigued, stop (in the shade, if possible), rest for 10-15 minutes, and have a snack plus extra water. (And, of course, chocolate milk is good for temporal fractures.)

I don't recommend riding with ear buds, but I can understand how others might. For me the voices in my head keep me plenty entertained. At the very least, though, keep the volume low and don't use them in traffic or where other cyclists are likely to be overtaking you.

The only "protection" I've ever needed is against dogs, and that is fairly rare. I used to have a bike with a pump peg, so I could quickly grab the pump and wave it at a threatening dog. Yeah, the pump weighs all of 8 oz and couldn't hurt the dog, but to him it looks like a big black stick. With my current bike I must use a pump strap, but have not needed to fend off a dog in several years.

A pocket knife is useful for the odd job on the road, though (if nothing else, cleaning your fingernails). Beyond that a few basic tools, some small zip ties, and a bit of duct tape or hockey tape.

A flashing taillight is very lightweight, cheap, and can greatly improve your visibility in poor conditions. A headlight is nice to have but not as necessary.

I personally don't like having stuff on my back. A handlebar bag is OK, and easily accessible, but distributes the weight poorly and bounces around. A saddlebag (strapped to your seat rails) is a slightly better choice, though usually of limited capacity. I've never used them, but there are also bags that strap inside the frame, between the top bar and the down bar, and they should be stable and capable of carrying most of what you need. (They tend to block the use of water bottle cages, though.) But if you plan to do much of this a rack and panniers is the way to go.

If the terrain is reasonably flat and the weather cooperates then 142 miles in two days should be easily obtained (ie, I could manage it, and I'm a 63-year-old polio survivor). Hills, rain, or a headwind could make it unpleasant, but it should still be doable for a healthy younger person.

share|improve this answer
    
Sunblock! I've had enough sunburns that you'd think I would put that #1 on my list. –  James Schek Jun 18 '12 at 1:53
    
Thanks for taking the time to provide the answer. +1 For the Sun block recommendation. I took some with but it is essential (as you say) to apply it before you start your trip, before you get sweaty. –  JL01 Jun 18 '12 at 10:15
    
I was thinking of taking a small cloth with me next time, keeping it moist in a bag, just to wipe my face off from time to time. Sweat dries and your face can get salty on a long trip. –  JL01 Jun 18 '12 at 10:16

I am not sure where you plan on riding, but unless you need self protection on your 60 km ride, then I would recommend against it (for the weight alone). As far as your list is concerned, I would look into Chamois Cream, I prefer Assos, but other brands work just as well. You will need it because 100 km of riding will generate a lot of friction in your crotch. I would also recommend a nice sunscreen. I prefer Hawaiian Tropic 50 SPF, but whichever your preference.

For a post recovery snack, I highly recommend drinking some chocolate milk. It has the right combination of protein and sugar to help with recovery (and it tastes great). It really helps when you have back-to-back long rides. Don't forget the advil either.

For on the road snacks consider energy supplements such as GU or Energy Beans. They give you electrolytes and carbs (more than a candy bar). And they are easy to open, even when on the bike.

As far as listening to music while riding...I use earbuds but only put it in the ear on the side farthest from traffic. In the States we drive/ride on the right side of the road, so the ear bud goes in the right ear. This allows me to enjoy music, while still being able to hear traffic. Music is much needed on those long rides.

share|improve this answer
    
Chocolate milk rules, and so do those canned smashed-fruit juices (peach is a favorite). An option is to take powder milk and powder chocolate so you can prepare the chocolate milk from the water you take along the way. –  heltonbiker Jun 16 '12 at 17:31
    
As for the music, using just one ear bud has some risk to affect one's hearing, since a comfortable listening volume tends to need to be higher when using only one earbud. It is increasingly common to to see "dashboard" style battery powered audio systems for bikes, with speakers and mp3/USB/SDcard connection, to be mounted on the handlebar. I want! –  heltonbiker Jun 16 '12 at 17:34

You should probably bring some tools along in case you need to do some minor repairs. A multi-tool (or separate tools) with allen keys, a chain tool, and a spoke wrench would probable be quite useful, and wouldn't weight you down too much.

I'd probably pack at least 2 tubes, because a single incident could result in 2 un-patchable tubes. Plus it's easier to just swap out tubes, and then patch them later at a planned rest stop.

Depending on the condition of your bike (yours is newer, so it might be unnecessary) you might want to consider packing some brake and shifter cables, and a couple extra spokes because they are light anyway.

Personally I use a rear rack and pannier when I'm carrying stuff. Having all that stuff on your back can use quite a bit of extra energy, Especially if you are getting out of the saddle a lot. I would recommend this if you plan to do a lot more trips. If you don't, it's probably not worth the expense.

If you do plan to bring protection, make sure it's packed in a way such that you won't injure yourself if you fall from your bike. Something with a folding blade would probably be ideal. Speaking of which, you should probably bring a first aid kit as well.

Also, I wouldn't ride with music on. But bring the MP3 player along anyway. It will give you something to listen to when resting.

share|improve this answer

I wouldn't wear the same cycling shorts 2 days in a row if you're not going to be able to wash/dry them. I'd take an extra pair of padded cycling shorts. You don't want your bits feeling funky. Throw in some chamoise cream (even if you just get a couple single use packets of it, it will help avoid chaffing).

Same with the shirt, probably want a fresh one for day 2. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a soaking wet cotton shirt, I'd switch to a wicking material if I had the option.

I'd bring a second tube just in case you get 2 bad flats. Definitely bring a multi-tool and tire levers along with your patch kit to do any basic adjustments.

I also agree that it sucks having stuff in a bag on your back, it traps a lot of heat and sweat on you. You can definitely get by with this, but I recommend mounting that stuff on your bike rather than your body. Get a rack, seatbag, handlebar bag, or whatever works for you. It's not really a need, more of a want.

share|improve this answer
    
From experience, I haven't had much problems riding a still wet just-washed padded short, as long as it is properly rinsed. Now if I ride a short wet FROM SWEAT, it is terrible to the skin. Modern padded shorts tend to have antimicrobial treatment, so they behave very well even under non-ideal sweaty and non-washing conditions. –  heltonbiker Jun 16 '12 at 16:51
    
Yeah, if you can't have a spare pair of shorts, a good scrub and rinse job is better than nothing. Wring it out and thow some cream on there and it's better than a day old pair of stinky bike shorts. You don't want that monkey butt. –  Benzo Jun 17 '12 at 4:45

+1 on the recommendations to bring tools and at least two tubes.

Also +1 on the recommendation to bring a second set of cycling shorts. At a minimum, bring a second set of padded liners (assuming your shorts have detachable liners). Mounting the saddle on day 2 with a cold, wet, soggy liner is unpleasant at best.

Consider bringing fizzy water tablets (such as Nuun). In addition to providing much-needed electrolytes, they help mask the taste of any hose water you get along the way.

You'll probably need a pair of padded gloves. You'll be spending a lot of time holding the handlebars, and your hands will definitely get tired (and possibly raw) if unprotected.

Ibuprofen is your friend after a long day in the saddle.

share|improve this answer

I would recommend a second shirt/jersey and shorts unless you have a reliable way of drying them (or you are comfortable wearing them even if they may still be a bit damp).

In addition to the spare tubes and multitool(s) that others have mentioned, you may want to bring an extra chain link (I recommend an extra KMC Missing Link), a tire boot, and perhaps a tiny first aid kit (a few gauze pads and sterile wipes).

Depending on what hours you plan to be on the road, you may want to bring a small front light or rear blinker with you--something to increase your visibility if you end up riding a little later than planed. I did a ride with a friend that was planned to be 5-7 hours and it ended up being over 10 hours due to some mechanical trouble and an injury. We ended up riding well into dusk hours before we managed to get back to our car.

As far as riding with ear buds, I think it is a judgement call, but often alright. Some environments it's probably safe, other environments it might not be. I frequently ride with one ear-bud in rural and suburban environments, but would not do it in downtown or dense urban areas.

If your MP3 player has a volume limiter, set it to a "safe" limit when you're off the bike. If it's too loud to hear when riding the bike, then there's no point in wearing the earbuds unless you want to risk hearing damage.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.