4 July 2007

3: Equipment

Obviously, the first thing you need is a good mountain bike...one that's been well maintained. If you're planning on doing the one day ride then you'll probably already have a decent bike, if you haven't...get one. Our bikes took quite a bit of stick during the ride from the weather, the towpath surface and the mud. Suspension forks are an advantage but not a necessity, our bikes are a mixture of suspension and standard set ups and the standard, non suspension, ones did just fine. It's what you're comfortable with that matters on a long ride so make sure the bike is set up properly ie. saddle height, bar height, bar ends set right, the things that make you feel comfortable if you're going to be spending hours in the saddle.

Make sure your bike is serviced before you do this ride. You find yourself a long way from nowhere quite often on the route and there isn't a bike shop for miles, so make sure you've done all you can to ensure your bike doesn't let you down....and it pays to have some basic knowledge of bike maintenance, fixing brakes, adjusting gears and last but not least...fixing punctures. If you're riding in a group then make sure at least one of you knows what to do if something breaks or goes wrong, if you're riding on your own then I'm sure you'll know how to fix a bike....or at least you should.

Other equipment you'll need...spare inner tubes (at least 3 each) plus puncture repair kits, tyre levers, pump and adaptor. A spare length of cable (inner and outer) should one of yours snap, and a good toolkit which should include a spoke key, chain link splitter, allen keys and an adjustable spanner. You can buy all in one tools at bike shops now that are lightweight and fit everything. You should also fit two bottle cages to the bike, ones that will carry large bottles.

To carry your spares, tools etc. you'll need some sort of backpack, this will also be needed to carry your food and extra fluid. We took loads of bananas, chocolate, muesli bars, (all from Aldi) drinks, isotonic energy gel...you name it, but it all has to be carried. If you're in a group you can share the load around, if you're on your own we'd recommend you give this some serious thought because it's no fun lugging a big pack all the way.

Other essential equipment is clothing, be prepared for any weather conditions because it can change rapidly when travelling over the Pennines. On the day we did the ride it rained almost non stop and at times it was torrential, we were soaked for most of the day. A good, lightweight, waterproof jacket or coat is a must and it pays to take a spare cycling jersey and shorts. Take some spare socks, I didn't but most of the others did, at the end of the ride my feet were a real mess...live and learn. You can never trust the weather and if you get caught in a downpour with 50 miles to go it's no fun finishing the ride in soaking wet clothes.

We also took with us a Garmin Forerunner satellite watch which belongs to one of the lads so we knew exactly how far we had travelled and how long it had taken us. Then last, but by no means least, we took our mobile phones just in case...where would we be without them? But you never know what might happen on a long ride so it pays to be able to have contact with others should things go wrong.

2 comments:

Lyndel said...

This is great info to know.

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