OK, I think I have tables working right. You’ll find a pretty good list of things to bring here. Read more to see my opinions!
I thought I’d put together some thoughts on multi-day rides, starting with gear.
CAMPING GEAR: Some things you should take. This is probably a good list for any SAG’ed multi-day ride. This doesn’t include any provisions for food.
|TENT||I used my Hennessy Hammock the whole trip. We luckily had trees at all the campgrounds. Many rides I hear they park you in a field. Check the ride description carefully if you plan to use a hammock.
PS – don’t forget a small tarp. I used mine on the ground under the hammock. If it had rained, I could have used it for an additional rain fly, or I could have covered my stuff with it.
|SLEEPING MAT||Since these tours are SAG’ed, take a nice thick heavy comfortable one. A friend of mine took a cot. You’ll appreciate it after riding a large part of the day.|
|SLEEPING BAG||Check the weather for the right weight. BRAT 2005 was high 50’s, low 60’s at night. My bag was almost too warm.|
|PILLOW||Again, it’s SAG’ed.|
|HEADLAMP||You can use it on the bike, and around camp.|
Bring whatever you would to a hotel, plus the following stuff:
Sunblock, Bag Balm, ibuprofen, bug repellent, antibiotic ointment, anti-itch stuff, cheap plastic flip flops for the nasty shower floor, pack towel
|CAMP TOWEL||They’re absorbent, dry fast, and pretty compact. You could probably save some money by using a "synthetic chamois" from Auto Zone. Seems like the same material.|
|RIDING CLOTHES||One set for wearing, one set for drying. Wash the set you have on in the shower, as you take them off. Don’t forget arm and leg warmers, socks, gloves.|
|STREET CLOTHES||Bring shorts, or convertible pants. Don’t forget underwear! Sandals are good too. You really want to minimize the quantity.|
|SNACKS||Take some Clif bars, nuts, trail mix. Stuff that doesn’t melt is best.|
|WATERPROOF ROLLING BAG||Put all your stuff in a waterproof rolling bag. It will be heavy, and there’s a high probability that it will sit out in the rain before you get there.|
|CAMERA||Hey, you need proof, don’t you? I brought my digital Olympus D510. It’s water resistant, and easy to deal with.|
|RAIN GEAR||I took a Goretex rain coat, but a poncho and a rain hat is usually very good for steady rain. A cycling rain jacket is good, even when it’s warm. You can easily get cold even when it’s warm out, particularly if you’re not eating right.|
FOR THE BIKE
|GOOD FRAME PUMP||It turned out that my pump sucked. I almost threw it in the woods. My tire came off the rim one day at Fall Creek Falls, and it took forever to pump it back up. That really sucked. The day I got back, I bought a Topeak Road Morph. It works really nice.|
|WATER BOTTLES||Dumb to mention, but don’t forget them.|
|LOW GEARS||BRAT 2005 had lots of climbing. I have a 26-26 combination, and several climbs I wished I had lower gears. If it were a one-day ride, I wouldn’t have needed them. After multiple days of mountain climbing, you need low gears. I’m serious about this!|
|>= 28c WIDE TIRES||Nice thick tires give a soft ride on rough roads. BRAT 2005 planners did a great job selecting smooth roads MOST of the time. We spent about 15 miles on a tar and chip road, and my Panaracer Pasela TG 28c’s did a fine job at softening the ride. (most complainers were running 23c’s)|
|HANDLEBAR BAG||I carried a REI handlebar bag. It’s relatively small, and has a map pocket that’s great for cue sheets. I could also easily grab my camera from it while I was riding.|
|TRUNK BAG||A rack and trunk bag are nice for glasses, shed clothing, rain coat, spare tubes, pump, tools, etc. A smaller one with a hard shell is probably best.|
|EXTRA TUBES||Take one on the bike, pack several in your luggage. If you start with new ones, this is probably overkill. Might be good to take an extra tire, if your tires are getting old. Don’t forget your levers and patch kit.|
|TAIL LIGHT||I found myself riding at night, or right at daybreak several times. Sounds dumb, but trust me on this one.|
|TOURING SHOES||You’ll find yourself walking fairly often, for various reasons – lunch, getting your bag, etc. Most road shoes stink for walking. If your touring shoes are good enough for walking, don’t take sandals.|
|PEDALS||I used my SPD pedals. On the long days, I did actually get hot spots. But the convenience of walking shoes was defiinitely worth it.|
|FENDERS||It didn’t rain this year, so I did carry around some unnecessary weight and wind resistance. The gamble was worth it to me – if it had rained one day, I would have been a happy clean rider!|
BIKE MODIFICATIONS: These are things I’ll do to my bike, before another multi-day ride with lots of climbs.
- Touring crank – 48/38/28 or some such.
- Mountain bike cassette – 11-32. Quality touring wheelset.
- High quality frame pump.
- Kool Stop brake pads (mine currently make lots of black dust).
- Smaller trunk rack, possibly hard bodied.