Any experienced long-distance cyclists able to offer opinions on 75 mile ride?

Dang, TITLE SHOULD REFER TO “CYCLISTS”, someone please edit!

Background info:

I have done 30 miles. I have an early 80s custom Mike Melton touring frame with all Campagnolo and Cinelli accessories (gears, etc).

Bike frame and accessories make for an extremely light package. She is a 12-speed, with leather wrapped handle bars. Newer bikes are not lighter.

I have used the bike on the same rims since the early 80’s and assume I need to rims since they have some waggle to them.

I am 42, in excellent shape and run and bike regularly, although I have never been a cyclist per se. I am entering a 75-mile “Ride to the Shore” race in NJ that will end at…well, the shore (the beach).

Where am I going with this posting:

I want to take the bike into a shop and have them give it a tune up and would think new rims are in order. I am a casual biker, but a fitness nut and my girlfriend is a runner – she runs marathons, spins, weight trains, and can run circles around me, but never cycled for sport. When I walk into a bike shop, what should I expect? I want to avoid cycle web sites/boards because those guys are way out of tune with reality as far as I can tell from some initial posts – not all cyclists necessarily, but the ones who are gonna jump on my postings.

Now I know a good number of casual riders do make 50 - 75 mile journeys, but I don’t know any I can walk up to and ask.

What will I need on the day of the ride, from my physical readiness, to clothes, nutrition, equipment (bike) and things needed to make or avoid repairs??

What can I do going into the cycle shop that would arm me with enough info to get in/out w/out them trying to jack me up for 6500 bucks?

Tune up should be $20-$50 for the labor depending on how much work they have to do.

They may check your chain for stretch and suggest replacing the chain ($15?) and the rear cassette ($25?). If they suggest it, it’s probably a good idea. Ask them to show you the wear around the teeth of the cassette and explain why it’s bad.

New brake pads ($30-40 for both wheels).

Truing wheels could be about $20 apiece, and they may replace the strip of tape inside the rim.

A fresh pair of riding shorts is a good idea if you’re riding in years-old bike shorts. The cheap good ones are around $40.

If this is a sponsored ride (MS150?), they apparently have mechanics riding along, so the number of tools you’ll need is pretty small. Take an extra tube or two, a patch kit, a pump, and a multitool. Tubes are about $3.50 apiece, a Park Patch kit (6 press-on patches and an emery bit to scuff up the tube) is about $2.50. Pumps are about $20, and a multitool can be had for $20-$40.

If you have 2 bottle cages on your bike, take 2 bottles. Clif Bars are a little less messy in the summer; Power Bars get soft and sticky.

That’s all I got.

;)1. Don’t forget the bag balm

  1. Chapstick (you WILL need it)

  2. I ate PBJ’s on my ride (one whole sammich cut into 4 little ones and in a baggy)

  3. I took Co2 cartridges with me, didn’t need 'em. You’ll need the tool they fit in. Saves a lot of time pumping.

  4. One of my sponsors was nuun, a great hydration system,( and I’d be happy to send you a box if you like (a box is plenty for your ride). Just e-mail me an address.

  5. Don’t overbuy at the bike store. SUPPORT them, yes, but don’t let 'em try to sell you up.

  6. Don’t skimp on socks. Get good ones.

  7. At LEAST a rain JACKET

  8. Sunscreen. VERY high PDF. Even if you’re nice and brown.:slight_smile:

  9. I took a spare chain. I needed it.

  10. Check your cleats if you go clipless and I suggest you do.

  11. Another one of my sponsors was Halo sweatbands. They channel the sweat out of your eyes and down the side of your face.

  12. TRUST me on the bag balm, and be generous with it. Put it on the chamois as well as on you!

  13. Computer? Meh… if you have one yeah use it, but if you don’t bike regularly and you’re part of a group, you won’t need it.

And what 11811 said.:wink:

I’ll be back later…

Good luck!


Got it.

75 miles is OK for a ride if you’re fit already. Just take it easy and the miles will pass surprisingly easy. A multi tool, pump and a couple of spare inner tubes will cover any potential repairs.

If you take a 25 year old bike into a shop and ask for a tune up you’re obviously exposing yourself to the full monty parts / service, and corresponding cost. Its impossible to say what the score is here without knowing the condition of the bike. If you’ve kept it in good order and used it continuously it might just need a wheel rebuild. OTOH the thing could be a ruin and it would be cheaper to get a new bike.

11811 covers a lot of it…to be fair the longest ride I’ve done was about 60 miles however that was on my mountain bike with fat high-drag tires so probably same amount of effort as 75 miles on a road bike.

Assuming nothing is broken on your bike I think the shop can do a general tuning and tightening - replace chain and brake pads if needed. Adjust brakes, shifters, derailleurs, check for worn cables, give everything a general cleaning and lubing. Check the seat height - actually that might be something to replace if it’s old and worn, or just not a good fit for your anatomy. This is all pretty inexpensive stuff.

Patch kit and multitool (including set of tire levers!) and learn how to use them if you haven’t fixed a flat on the side of the road before. A friend of mine who is a big guy prefers carrying a spare tube and a CO2 inflator rather than a hand pump - in his opinion it’s much faster than fixing a flat and the CO2 pump will get the tire up to high pressure much more easily than a portable hand pump.

For a long ride I prefer a Camelbak to water bottles, it carries more and you can put the nozzle right by your mouth so you don’t have to take your hands off the bars to drink. I’d bring some actual food along (not just energy bars and gatorade) - 75 miles is what, 3 or 4 hours of riding? Pita sandwiches make good handmeals and they’re already flat so they don’t tend to get as utterly smashed. Whole wheat pita, sliced turkey, some mustard and veggies (cucumber slices are nicely resilient). Some salty snacks are good too, I tend to get cravings for goldfish crackers or potato chips during long rides and runs.

Hydrate and eat well the day before.

What are the pit stop arrangements? If you got to go potty is it “find a bush” or “here’s where the rest stops are”? Either way I’d bring a little thing of baby wipes (you can buy one of those travel-size packets of a dozen for a buck at the drugstore) - not to get nasty but if you’re going to spend hours sitting on a bike saddle it’ll be much more pleasant if your butt is squeaky clean at all times.

I’ve done a number of longish day rides, up to about the 140 mile mark. I don’t know what climate this is in. I’ve always just worn clipless shoes, short padded socks, knicks, jersey. I take a very very light shell jacket, with arms that come off. I almost never wear the arms. I’ve always read the weather reports and gambled on them being right and have not taken rain gear.

For food, the ultimate is banana and honey sandwiches on multigrain. A good mix of instantly available and complex carbs, with other trace stuff. This was a recommendation from a book on long distance cycling that I read once. There’s any number of commercial things out there, but they’re more expensive and I haven’t found them better. Most are too sugary for me. A hot tip I was given was, instead of buying sport drinks, buy those little packets you add to water and drink after you’ve been ill (the brand here in Australia is “Gastrolyte”). They contain all the trace stuff you need when you’ve been perspiring heavily for a long time. I water it down a lot more than you would if you were sick (one sachet to a whole bidon). For only 75 miles you probably don’t need this.

As for physical preparation, don’t overlook the fact that it’s not entirely about fitness. It’s also about building up particular muscles so that sitting in the saddle for four or five hours or whatever is less tiring and unpleasant. I’d be working my way up in distance beforehand till I’m comfortably doing 60% of the distance of the ride you’re aiming at. Long distances hurt your arms and your neck and your ass as much as your legs, just from long hours in the saddle.

Mind you, 75 miles is not really that long, if you’re into it. When I was riding a lot, it was just a bit longer than a normal Saturday morning ride.

As to the day itself, find a bunch whose pace you’re happy with, and get on a wheel! Take your turn in front, of course, but cycling isn’t about doing all the work on your own.

If the rim’s braking surface is worn, or if the rim is badly scratched, it should be replaced. If the whole wheel wobbles (i.e. the rim moves side to side as you spin the wheel), the wheel needs to be trued. They are separate issues, you may need one or both.

As for other maintenance, it’s hard to say without seeing the bike. Definitely replace any bearing that feels rough (headset, bottom bracket, hubs, pedals). Adjust or replace any bearing that has any play. If it were my bike I’d replace all cables and cable housings, just for good measure.

As for training - I’ve done metric centuries and full centuries many times, and I never really trained for them. Just riding to work (5~10 miles per day) every day was enough preparation to at least complete a metric century (62 miles). After doing 20+ mile hilly rides on weekends for a while, I could finish a century ride (100 miles) before the rest stops closed.

For an organized ride, I never bother to bring any food. They have snacks at rest stops, and I’m not a picky eater. Hydration is very important, but two water bottles should suffice - you can refill them at rest stops. A Camelback may be more convenient though.

As for tools, you should be prepared to fix a flat tire. That means portable pump, tire levers, and a spare tube. (And preferably a patch kit too - it can save you if you get a second flat, either because of extreme bad luck or because you didn’t install the tube properly after the first flat.) I also carry a basic multitool. If you don’t have these already, I highly recommend Topeak products - especially their Road Morph pump and the Alien multitool.

The rims are in good shape other than the wobble. Hmmm…didn’t know they could be candidates for truing. Glad I asked.

The frame and gears are in excellent condition. The bike/frame was built by an Olympic bike builder (Mike Melton) and has received pretty high praise from some knowledgeable cyclists.

But what I find valuable in this thread is confirmation that I am not crazy, and that I can take the bike to a shop and not face tremendous costs.

I will let you know how I make out at the shop and might have followup questions. My girl has to get a bike now. I started running with her and now she wants to cycle with me.

I wonder about the pump. I’ve got one of those really short ones that fits into a bag under the saddle together with spare tube and tyre levers. If I do a journey of a distance I wouldn’t want to walk back from then I take the repair bag.

But the pump…you almost never use it and yet it’s essential to have with you. And long pumps are better than the short ones - you can get better purchase with your hands and a nicer action. CO2’s nice but what do you do if the gas cylinder fails or you mess it up somehow? I’d probably want a pump as well.

There should be a way to just stow a long pump down the vertical pole that the saddle goes into. It can just sit there until needed. Obviously it would need to be affixed somehow to the sides so it doesn’t rattle about and there would have to be a way to easily pull it out and lock it into place when putting it back.

If you want to pump up the tyres before you leave you can always have a second pump at home and leave the riding pump inside the bike tube. Would free up a lot of space for other stuff and you have to take a pump anyway so no extra weight. Wish someone would invent this.

But then you’d have to remove the seat/seatpost when you use the pump. And when you put it back, you need to adjust the seat again. OK, you can have markings and stuff to help you, but still it seems like too much trouble.

It used to be common to have a long pump (a “frame pump”) mounted underneath the top tube. I’m not sure they still make those, or if they fit modern bikes.

Many modern mini-pumps come with holders for mounting it along one of the frame tubes. They don’t take much space at all. The Topeak Road Morph pump I mentioned above comes with such a mount. And the nice thing about this particular pump is that it’s a mini floor pump - there’s a short flexible hose between the pump body and the valve. It can easily pump up a tire to 120 psi.

I’m a big fan of this pump. If I’m riding in a group and someone flats, that person seems to always be happy to accept my offer of the loan of the pump, regardless of what they have hanging on their bike.

I’m not sure I have anything new to add, but here’s my two cents.

You’ve got a nice bike. Classic lugged steel frame. Your gearing should be fine for a “Ride to the Shore”, since I think that area is pretty flat. You’ll do OK without a triple crank although I’m surprised that something you describe as a “touring frame” doesn’t have a triple up front.

Your rims may need to be trued, but they probably don’t need to be replaced.

You’ll be fine.

Sure, get a tuneup at a bike shop. But you could do most of it yourself, maybe excepting truing the rims. It’s mostly a matter of making sure everything is clean and lubricated. Derailleurs have limit adjustments – these are important.

Your physical readiness is probably fine, although your butt may not be used to that much saddle time. You’ll feel it by the end of the day, depending on what kind of saddle you’ve got. I swear by Brooks leather saddles, but they do require some break-in, and you wouldn’t want to go on your first 75-mile ride on a new one.

Eat and drink regularly during the ride. Water (or better yet, a sports drink) is essential. Carry as many water bottles as your bike permits. Carry more. Don’t get dehydrated. Drink before you feel thirsty. If you don’t have to pee fairly regularly, you’re not drinking enough. Eat during the ride. Peanut butter or almond butter sandwiches are good. I like granola bars, too. I myself don’t like the tast of the sports-specific bars, but some do. Some of the gels are OK.

You can wear special cycling clothing. Depending on your saddle, cycling shorts may help. I don’t bother (see reference to Brooks saddles above). You can wear them under regular shorts if you don’t like the way you look in them. But you don’t need to wear cycling clothing. Shorts, t-shirt, and some sort of water/wind resistant shell in case it’s chilly and/or wet the day of the ride, and you should be fine.

You’ll need a spare tube AND a patch kit. You think you can’t get more than one flat? It happens all the time. Besides, once you patch a tube, it’s as good as new, so that tube will become your spare. You’ll need tire levers. You’ll need a multitool. CO2 cartridges are nice, but even if you carry them, you’ll still need a pump. Remember, multiple flats can and do happen. Topeak’s Road Morph is a very nice pump in a small package, and I believe it comes with brackets that will fit your water bottle bosses (and still allow you to mount a bottle cage to the same bosses). That’s probably it. If your bike has been gone over by a good bike shop (and not all bike shops are good, and plenty of them are run by ignorant thieves), nothing major should break on the ride, so I wouldn’t bother with large tools like freewheel removers and chain whips and headset wrenches. Your bike dates to the early eighties, so you don’t have those fragile and occasionally problematic combination brake lever/shifter units. I’ve seen them fail more than once, and they’re not repairable by the side of the road. A decent multitool (preferably with a chain tool included) should be all you need.

Sounds good. The only problem that occurs to me (aside from having to remove the seat post every time you want to use the pump) is that such a pump would have to have a very small diameter (depending on what kind of frame it’s going to fit inside), so it might not be that efficient.