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I have a hybrid bike with 27" large frame, 700c wheels and 35mm tires. Can I do brevets (long distance ride) on this bike? If yes, what are the points I should start working on to achieve this? Currently I am a beginner and riding around 40 minutes per day and little more on weekends.

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    I've toured over 14000km on a similar bicycle, doing between 50km-160km each day. – Michael Hampton May 10 at 18:06
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    There were once riders who, it was claimed, did a century a day on penny-farthings. – Daniel R Hicks May 12 at 2:58
  • @DanielRHicks such as in 2003? (Technically only one imperial century and several days of back-to-back metric centuries) – Chris H May 14 at 9:04
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    @ChrisH - In the case I'm thinking of the guy supposedly did a cent a day for a year. – Daniel R Hicks May 14 at 11:32
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This question gets asked quite often. The short answer is that you can do long distance rides on basically any bicycle as long as it’s comfortable for you.

There are a few things you can do to your bicycle to make it more efficient and easier:

  • Make sure your seating position is good. Especially that your saddle is high enough. This will improve power output and reduce risk of knee pain/injuries.
  • Reduce air resistance by lowering the handlebar.
  • If you have front suspension, lock it (or get a rigid fork).
  • Wear tight fitting bicycle clothes.
  • Keep it well maintained.
  • Get road bike tires with low rolling resistance.
  • Get clipless pedals and shoes.

In the end the most important part will still be training. Training for long distance rides basically boils down to riding a lot. During long rides nutrition (and of course hydration) is also very important.

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You can certainly do Brevet Populaires (100 km). Plenty of people do them on all sorts of bikes. I've seen a few people on flat bars on Brevets de Randonneurs 200 in the UK, including an MTB with knobbly tyres (the one with the backpack in this picture). Hybrids on these rides tend to be set up as flat bar road bikes, i.e. smoothish tyres around 25-35 mm and to have gearing comparable to a tourer. I don't think I've seen flat bars on a 300 (but I'm doing one tomorrow so I'll try to remember to look out for them).

You might end up as a full-value rider (i.e. close to the time limit) especially if there's a headwind, but no-one will think any the worse of you for your choice of bike. One day I may do a 100 on my hybrid but not with its current saddle - hybrid saddles can be rather fat and chafe.

  • No hybrids or similar on the 300km I've just finished, but it was a fairly small ride with plenty of fast riders (not me) – Chris H May 12 at 1:43
  • Last month I've done ~100km (a bit more) ride on my 29r ht mtb - the other bike which is more suitable for that was waiting for a new fork. It was a road club event, so I had to go fast. I've made it, so even an xc bike can be used for 100km ride – k102 May 14 at 8:59
  • @k102 that seems reasonable. The furthest I've done on my hardtail was 80km (of which 12km in the middle was trails) – Chris H May 14 at 9:08
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In practice, most people find hybrids rather uncomfortable for long rides. What "long" means varies from person to person so, to a large extent, you'll just have to try going on longer and longer rides until you find out what your body is comfortable with.

I would note, though, that 40 minutes at the 11mph you said you average in your other question is a long way from brevet-style riding. Don't try to run before you can walk.

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Two summers ago I rode 1,300 miles around Lake Superior on a Trek Verve 2, averaging about 70 miles a day. I am over 60 years old, and I like a more comfortable ride at this stage. The more durable tire of a hybrid came in handy when I needed to navigate rougher terrain. These days I am riding a Specialized Cross Trail on long rides. I love it.

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    That’s great, welcome! Is there any wisdom you can share about getting started? – Swifty May 11 at 15:32
  • Wow! That's incredible. Thanks for motivating people us. – harsha.cs May 12 at 17:34
  • Very inspirational! I've finally finished fixing up my old 90's rigid mtb. It now has smooth tires (1.75" wide), and my plan was to slowly get into randonneuring with it. I never actually went off road with it. The reason to fix up the old bike rather than get a new one was twofold: 1) it was relatively cheap to do the fixup, and 2) I'm dealing with knee bursitis so I don't know what the future holds and this old bike lets me ease into it. If I can keep doing this, I can always get a bike more suited to randonneuring and the fixed-up mtb will still be a great in-town bike. – Gaston May 14 at 11:38
  • Specialized Cross Trail's front fork shocks have interesting tech. They lock automatically on smooth surfaces, while flexing on bumpy unpaved terrain – Lawrence Ely May 15 at 12:17
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Last year I rode the Houston MS-150 on a hybrid.

This year some guy rode it on a penny-farthing.

Your bike should be no problem, as long as it's a bike that fits you.

  • Accuweather just told me about baseball-sized hail and flooding in Houston over the past couple of days so, if that's where you live, I hope you're OK. – David Richerby May 11 at 17:01
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    Now I want to see a bike fit question about penny farthings – Chris H May 12 at 1:44
  • @DavidRicherby: Both days of the ride weekend (27-28 April) were sunny. The only weather-related issue was a stiff headwind during the afternoon of the first day. – EvilSnack May 12 at 2:09
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My experience is that pretty much any bike can do pretty much any type of ride (within reason; a track bike cannot do mud racing, for example). I’ve done a 160 km ride (60 km sportive, 20 km to get there and 80 km to get home) on a fixed gear bike with narrow raiser bars. That worked fine. Was it the ideal bike for such a long ride through mostly countryside? Certainly not. But it was still very enjoyable. An endurance bike would have been faster. A tourer would have been more comfortable. But it was fine. A hybrid would have worked, too. Heck, even a town bike can do that; it just takes a very long time.

This weekend just passed as of writing this answer, I did maybe 100-120 km around the southeast of Scania in the south of Sweden, on a gravel bike. It has the same 700x35C tyre size as on your bike. 35 mm tyres are fine even on long stretches of road; the rolling resistance is comparable to the 28 mm tyres on my fixie, but the ride is more comfy.

I find that on longer rides, the different hand positions of drop bars really help. If possible, I would recommend looking into a different handlebar. The typical wide, mostly flat bar that most hybrids have gets really uncomfortable after a while. Look for something that gives you a few different hand positions. That’s probably the single most important upgrade you can do to your bike for longer rides.

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    Welcome to the site. When people have asked about putting drop bars on hybrids it is usually considered unfeasible due to cost, complexity and geometry. You might not have meant drop bars at all but they spring to mind most readily for the uninitiated. Maybe butterfly bars as per this question, if you have any other ideas not listed, they could be a welcome addition to the wiki page – Swifty May 14 at 10:23
  • @Swifty thanks for the welcome! It does get a bit expensive to replace the levers and all that, but it’s not really necessary. You can put a drop handlebar on there and just put the levers etc on the top near the stem. You won’t be able to shift or brake from the drops, but it works fine for climbing or long stretches of road with good visibility. Loads of fixie/single speed bikes do that and use old-style track handlebars, and put the brake lever in the middle. You still get three decent hand positions, and the drops are great for climbing. – Simon Lundberg May 14 at 13:23
  • Most people find the drops pretty terrible for climbing and much prefer the tops or hoods. – David Richerby May 15 at 14:59
  • I really like getting out of the seat and using drops on short, steep climbs. Not so much on really long ones. Using the tops just seems like a terrible idea though. – Simon Lundberg May 15 at 15:20

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