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Well I am planning to ride to California from Indiana. I was wondering if there are any cost effective bicycle upgrages that may help increase the endurance of the bicycle and or the overall speed.

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    You've tagged this safety and mentioned endurance, but also mentioned speed. One way to go faster is to save weight, but that can reduce durability (and at a fixed price point always will). It's also going to depend a lot on the bike you're starting with, -- you should give us some details – Chris H Jun 2 '17 at 14:49
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    That's somewhere around 2,200 miles (3540km)... i feel like by having to ask this question, you may not be ready for a ride of that magnitude but i could be wrong. Also i assume you will be unsupported so you will need A LOT of cargo and tools to fix what may occur. Additional information with what you have to begin with is needed for us to offer help. – Nate W Jun 2 '17 at 16:47
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    Practice trips - do a 100-200 km ride in a day on your bike as fitted then see how you feel at the end of it. Your planned ride is a month of such trips combined. – Criggie Jun 2 '17 at 22:55
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For speed: clip-on aero bars. You can attach them to pretty much any handlebar.

Why? They offer you an extra position on the bike - that's important if you ride for a long while and your hands / arms / shoulders start to get tired. So you'll ride longer without having to stop. They also allow you to get into a more aerodynamic position, which can help in a headwind. Also, they can be had quite cheaply.

Endurance and speed: An extra bottle holder. If you have to stop to refill your bottles less often, your overall speed will increase. You can get special ones that can hold a 1.5l bottle, not just the regular cycling bottles.

Endurance: Anything that will prevent repairs. Extra-puncture-proof tyres, new chain just before setting out, fresh brake pads, etc. Make sure your bike is in perfect working order before you set out. Any major repairs should be done a few weeks before starting so you'll know they were effective.


If you specify what kind of bike you're riding, I or other people might have more specific suggestions. Since you're asking about cost-effective measures, it might help to know how much you're able or willing to spend.

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Ford Econovan

ford econovan

If this is your first long distance ride, then you should probably do a supported ride. Your friend /spouse in the van would carry spare tires, spare parts, a spare bike, medical supplies, and tools. And lunch or dinner as well as water. They can carry your tent and sleeping bags if you want to camp under the stars.

They'd help ferry you to the next motel if you bonk in the middle of the Arizona desert and give you shelter in a sudden thunderstorm or tornado. They can hit the antique shops or casinos between segments while you're pedaling away.

I can't think of a better (faster, safer) upgrade for a newbie long distance rider.

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  • Agreed - 3500 km roughly a century a day for 6 days then one rest day. That's a lot of riding back to back. I'd start with an overnight trip of 100 km each way with a full loadout on the bike as planned. Then see how you feel at the end of it. – Criggie Jun 2 '17 at 23:27
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    Wouldn't that be 35 days of solid riding at 100km/day for 3500km? – RoboKaren Jun 2 '17 at 23:36
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    No rest days at all? That would be a body-smashing grind. Personally every second day should be light, and every fourth or fifth day should be a complete rest day to let the body recover. This is tempered by where your accommodation is for the night. Just cos you can do 200 km in a day doesn't mean you can do it every day. – Criggie Jun 2 '17 at 23:42
  • Sorry, I initially misread your first comment as meaning he'd do 3500km in 6 days - or 600 km a day with one rest day. That would be quite an achievement! :-) – RoboKaren Jun 3 '17 at 4:44

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