equiptment for long distance ride

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by TrekCyclerChic, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. TrekCyclerChic

    TrekCyclerChic New Member

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    Hey everyone.

    So, I am biking from Alaska to Florida this summer. I'm starting to get gear together, but this is my first long bike trip (more than one day) and I need some advice on equiptment.

    1. What bike shorts are good (or do you reccomned) for longer rides? Ones that hold up well and don't rub?

    2. I need help finding a better saddle too. Is there a big difference in women's specific saddles?

    3. Does the Aztec VibeWrap actaully do anything for hand numbness? (it's in the last months Bicycling magazine and caught my eye) Do gloves kind replace the need for extra tape/padding on the handle bars?

    I think that's it for equiptment questions for right now. Thanks, your advide is greatly appreciated!
    Diana

    Follow my progress at http://dianaelizabeth.tripod.com and feel free to send me emails or sign my guestbook! I'd love to talk to people about the trip or cycling in general, or anything else under the sun! :)
     
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  2. neil0502

    neil0502 New Member

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    I'll give you the benefit of all the anecdotal info I've gathered over the years. Oh, by the way, I'm insanely jealous of you . . . so there!

    The ones that fit you the best . . . but many people absolutely swear by Pearl Izumi and by Assos. They're high-end on $$, but allegedly worth it. I just ordered my first pair of Assos bib shorts today. I'll keep you posted.

    Yes. Take a look at this web page. Saddles are also an intensely personal fit thing, but many people swear by Brooks saddles for the kind of ride you're doing. Just make sure you use the Proofide, break it in well and properly, and bag it if it's going to rain.
     
  3. BIGBIKER

    BIGBIKER New Member

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    Is this a joke? I mean you have never done more than a one day trip and you want to ride across the US by way of AK? I mean, have you ever been to AK? Have you seen those mountains? I guess you are going by way of Canada at some point, that will be one heck of a trip thats for sure.
     
  4. TrekCyclerChic

    TrekCyclerChic New Member

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    Actually it's not a joke. I've only been cycling for about a year, but I have been an athlete all my life, and in great shape and am prepared for the terrain. Also, I have not done any long trips, but last summer/fall I rode nearly everyday for several hours at a time, did some racing, ran a 15 k in November, and have been on the trainer pretty much every day for 6 weeks already. So thanks for the doubts, but I'll tell you all about it when I get back! What significant trips have you done? Would you like to share some of your own stories? You talk about Alaska and Canada like you've biked there before? If you have why don't you give me a little insight, rather than doubt.

    Diana
     
  5. StillRiding5500

    StillRiding5500 New Member

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    I don't have any equipment advice, since I don't take long trips, but I have a feeling you going to do just fine.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  6. BIGBIKER

    BIGBIKER New Member

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    Wha? A feeling?

    Anyway, yes I have been there and the elevations are insane. No I have not attempted to bike them and never would its not a popular way to get around(think small airplane). You need to take a serious look at your route and decide if it is within your abilities. I mean, AK is on a scale that you just cannot imagine until you see it. It is some beautiful, rugged, remote county as is many parts of western Canada. With more space than you thought there was. In most places cell phones don't work and there is no traffic to stop and help. I have spent my share of time in remote areas of which you are thinking of traveling with 4 experienced men and been surprised and in danger multiple times. You ask for insight? Try a coast to coast Atlantic to Pacific trip.
     
  7. Dr.Hairybiker

    Dr.Hairybiker New Member

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    Don't listen to em, Trekcyclerchick. Most people would kill to have the opportunity to go. And in fact, while you're doing it, you're probably liable to meet people every day that are doing the same thing. And most of them will say the same thing, "everyone thought I was crazy to try this!".

    I wouldn't be so much concerned with having shorts that will hold up as I would with having enough pairs of shorts so that you can change regularly. There's tons of quality shorts out there. Just find some that are comfy for you.

    I would recommend trying one of the womens Specialized Body Geometry saddles. They have a whole line of them, and most that try them are impressed. Terry makes some good touring saddles also. Depends on you. If you go for a Brooks, be aware that there is generally a break in period.

    I haven't personally tried the Vibe wrap, but it probably wouldn't hurt, just as padded gloves usually help, but...if you are having problems with numb hands or aching upper body joints, you might want to refit the bike first. Sure, a certain amount of discomfort is gonna happen on a long trip, but a lot of it can be aleviated by fitting the bike. Might want to raise the handlebar, raise the nose of the seat, change a few things. Small changes make big differences. Once the bike is set up as perfectly as you can get it, then try the other things.
     
  8. tjocesq

    tjocesq New Member

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    enjoy the trip!

    Re: saddle--another good saddle for women is Terry Saddles; I don't have their website link handy but they also have a chart re: what saddle is made for different purposes (i.e.: touring, racing, commuting).

    A friend of mine did a three week trip in Italy and second one in N.Z. and used a Terry Saddle. Of course, saddles are a personal thing. If you can, try it out before the long trip.

    Wish I had some cycling trip experiences to share :( . I only have the experience of my friend/colleague.
     
  9. neil0502

    neil0502 New Member

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    Another website to look at.

    Should be a treasure trove of worthwhile info in there!
     
  10. TrekCyclerChic

    TrekCyclerChic New Member

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    Well if you've never biked it, save your commentary for someone willing to listen. Only I know my capabilities and they are immense! Plus we have the luxury of bringing an RV with us as a support vehicle... so if any help is needed we are in better condition than some might be. Why should I aim lower than I am? If by some case I am near my death bed, and there is no way for me to continue, I'll ride some of it in the RV. But I know better than to take one person's doubt in me and let if affect me in anyway, except maybe to push me harder just to prove you wrong. I've spent my life proving everyone wrong, myself included, and don't mind doing it once more. So have a nice summer... check my site for updates as I BIKE THROUGH ALASKA!
     
  11. TrekCyclerChic

    TrekCyclerChic New Member

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    Thanks! I know I am crazy, I base my life on it! :) But I wouldn't have it any other way! And I plan ont he time of my life while others take the easy way out! Thanks for the vote of confidence though! It's appreciated!



     
  12. TrekCyclerChic

    TrekCyclerChic New Member

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    Thanks for the link! I had come across that site before, and have been trying to find it again for about 3 weeks now! :)
     
  13. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    I tend to agree with Bigbiker, not to be a party pooper, but heck, until you've ridden day-in/day-out, you don't have any idea how soooo maanny body parts start reacting strangely. No joke, struggling to hold you head up, for example, is not a safe way to ride, especially in unknown roads. The various tendonitis/inflamation flamation-related 'injuries' can take you out of the saddle for months. Doing that lenght of ride successfully can take years of cycling-specific training. That said...

    ...why not go for it? You can always bail if personal injury or fatigue are too overcoming, and heck, if you make it how great is that?
     
  14. TrekCyclerChic

    TrekCyclerChic New Member

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    Ok, well I understand about the injuries etc... but that's precisely why I am biking 6 out of 7 days a week for the 5 months before I leave. Once the weather warms up a little and dries up a little I'll be outside biking for 4-5 hours a day. (I live in Rochester, NY - can you say Lake Effect?) And I've heard so many people talk about the actual real training occurring the first few weeks of the trip. I'm prepared for the trip... and I just hope that you and everyone else out there can offer advice or ancouragement and leave the negative comments to themselves.

    To quote Doug Bradbury, "the best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew--and live through it."


    *impossible is is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. impossible is not a fact, it's an opinion. impossible is not a declaration it's a dare. impossible is potential. impossible is temporary. impossible is nothing.*

    *People do not decide to become extraordinary, they decide to accomplish extraordinary things.*
     
  15. BIGBIKER

    BIGBIKER New Member

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    You ask for advice, then want to tell us what to say. How can only hearing, go for it, it will be easy, and thats great you are cool, be helpful. I am sure you already think that.
     
  16. Pedala

    Pedala New Member

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    Hey Diana, as a person who has bike toured extensively around the world including many areas of Alaska I would first like you to know that you should pretty much ignore the user bigbiker. What he doesn't know is that Alaska is GREAT for bike touring. Most roads have nice big paved shoulders and even though the state has its fair share of mountains, the passes really aren't that bad. I'm from boulder, Colorado and the passes here seem to be much higher. If you start out with lower miles and steadily increase your distances you will be fine. That's the beauty of touring after all. You're only helping yourself by starting out slowly and building up your strength out on the road. Are you planning on going up to Deadhorse on the Haul road? This is a difficult two week ride heading north of Fairbanks that takes you almost to the North sea, well above the arctic circle. By the time you're halfway out of Canada your butt should be used to your saddle and your legs will be much stronger than ever before.

    About the shorts: spend some money on them. Good shorts are worth every penny because they won't rub you wrong. Assos, Pearl Izumi and others amke very well-made long-milage shorts.

    Saddle choice is really personal but finding one that corresponds to your sits bones width will be a good place to start. Don't spend extra money on Ti rails...you want steel for touring. Check out the Terry Saddles.

    The bar wrap from aztec is pretty good as is the gel tape from Fizik. I prefer just plain old cork tape and a really nice pair of gloves. You can double wrap cork tape if you want extra protection. Remember to not have your bars too far below your saddle because that will put more pressure on your hands!

    So, anyway, go for it! Don't keep your food near your tent at night because Alaska and northern Canada are full of Bears and you will se plenty. There's nothing up there you can't handle, just watch out for the RV drivers...they often times don't seem to know where the edge of their vehicle is.

    Good Luck,

    pedala

     
  17. Scotty1981

    Scotty1981 New Member

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    Sounds like a bit of a adventure. Don't have any advice to give you on equipment however as i'm only very new to cycleing, however best of luck for the trip, you are right only you know you and what you are capable of, likewse you will know when you've had enough, if that should arise and you are prepared for it ( RV ). So enjoy your trip I bet there will be some amazing scenery and it's for a great cause!!! Be sure to keep your web site updated. It's good to here of people who actualy follow through with there dreams and ambitions!!
     
  18. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    Not only can you do this but it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun! Much envy :D

    Are you taking a straight road bike (which is what google tells me a trek 1500 is)? What tyre width? Does it have pannier rack lugs?

    In answer to your questions:

    1. Provided that you don't go for rock-bottom quality, any brand of shorts should do. (You'll be able to advise us when you're finished). Use a chamois lubricant (search this forum).

    2. My girlfriend used a woman's saddle on a 1000 mile ride a few years ago and found it comfortable (I and she think that the brand no longer exists). She's on the Specialized equivalent now. The main thing is that the saddle is short with a wide rear for your ischial tuberosities (sit bones) to rest on comfortably. The one that came with your bike, unless you swapped it, is probably no good.

    3. I dunno.

    It will take you 1-2 weeks to build up a superhuman level of fitness, so take it easy early on. Plan on stopping before you're exhausted in the early days. I don't want to sound like your mother, but groin hygiene can really make the difference early on before the skin toughens up. Wash your shorts and yourself with soap every day; dry your shorts properly as soon as you can after washing. You may need more than three pairs if you expect much wet weather. Carry an antibacterial powder ("Curash" in Australia is very good). Use the lubricant cream. Groin boils are not fun; you don't want to spend the whole day out of the saddle. Groin trouble created a low point in morale for both of us on our last long trip (days 4&5 if I remember correctly). Sorry, but someone oughter say it!
     
  19. TrekCyclerChic

    TrekCyclerChic New Member

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    You aren't very bright or very sensitive are you?

    I am not looking for anyone to sugar coat the realities of the trip. I am looking for advice on the trip, yes. I don't need an ego boost. But telling me that I can't do it will not get me anywhere. Rather than tell me that the terrain in Alaska and Canada will be too much for me to handle try telling me how I can better be prepared for it! I mean come on! That's the point of this site and of my posts. I am going, and your negativity won't pusuade me otherwise. So either shut your mouth, or offer some advice to help me reach my goal. But just telling me that I can't do it is pointless and makes you look like a jerk. I hope if you are around other people you are more positive in response to their ambitions.

    To everyone else, I am sooo appreciative of your support and advice!

    Diana
     
  20. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    You're probably going to break some things during the trip, but as long as you're on some kind of road, you're going to be near phones and post offices. Find a good local shop that can handle frantic calls to ship parts overnight to the middle of nowhere. You can also have parts that you know you're going to wear out shipped to post offices along the way ahead of time.
     
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