How can I make sure I am ready for a 200km bike ride?
June 20, 2012 3:19 PM   Subscribe

What do I need to prepare for an approximately 200km bike ride?

I'll be biking from Montreal to Stowe, Vermont in late July. I'll be biking with another cyclist who has biked across Canada before. A friend will be driving down with all of our camping gear and driving us both back at the end of our camping trip.

What do I need to prepare in terms of equipment? I have some of the gear I need but a comprehensive list would be really helpful.

What should I do to make sure my bike is ready for the trip?

What can I do to make sure that I am physically capable of making the trip? It'll probably take about 2 full days in total, we estimate.
posted by chrillsicka to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What should I do to make sure my bike is ready for the trip?

Drop your bike off at a bike shop and tell them what you're going to be doing. Tell them you want your bike to be able to handle a 200km tour.

What can I do to make sure that I am physically capable of making the trip?

How far are you riding right now? How do you feel afterwards? It would be great if, on a weekend between now and then, you do a couple of back-to-back long rides and see how your body handles it.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:25 PM on June 20, 2012

Are you going to do it in one ride?

Can you currently ride, say, 100km and feel fine afterwards, or do you want to die?

In terms of equipment, do you mean camping? I'm a pretty minimalist camper and here is what I take:
sleeping bag + pad (pad optional but usually appreciated)
camping "stove" (I'm talking one of these tiny things that you use to boil water, basically)
camping cooking kit
water purification of some kind if you won't have access to clean water
bug spray, sunscreen, food (dehydrated packages usually)
you don't "need" anything else
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:32 PM on June 20, 2012

What SpikeLeeMajors… said. You've got all day, over two days, so you can pace yourself. If you can go out and ride 50 km in one stint right now, you'll be fine, IMO.

Equipment lists—there are scads of equipment lists out there, but basically, you'll need:
- Stuff for your bike (patches, tubes, pump, multi-tool), plus the knowledge to use them
- Food, or provisioning on the road
- Clothes suited to the weather you expect, maybe a change of shorts
- Water
- Shelter.

Since you're being sagged, if you're critically short on equipment you can always catch a ride to your destination.
posted by adamrice at 4:07 PM on June 20, 2012

Since you're being sagged...

FYI, adamrice is referring to a "sag wagon".
posted by wutangclan at 10:58 PM on June 20, 2012

I did 200km untrained, on a mountain bike, in a day. Most bikes won't have time to develop any serious failures in that time. Bring equipment to fix flats, though.

Go slowly and enjoy the scenery!
posted by flippant at 12:53 AM on June 21, 2012

It looks like the terrain goes from fairly flat to mountainous in the last third of the route, so you might want to train on some hills.

In terms of equipment, make sure you have a patch kit, spare inner tube, tire pump. Also a couple of big water bottles, because you'll need to drink a lot of fluids.
posted by jon1270 at 4:00 AM on June 21, 2012

Unless you're already an avid cyclist, your butt is going to hurt. A lot. The only way to prevent this is to ride enough that you get over it, which will not happen in the course of a single 200km trip. A good, fitted saddle is critical, but no saddle will spare you the butt-break-in period. This is actually an extremely common complaint among new cyclists, who spend a lot of time trying to find the saddle that will spare them. But, as I said, it all comes down to time in the saddle.

Of course, 200km isn't really that far and you can just endure it, but it'll be more fun if you train up.
posted by klanawa at 9:23 PM on June 21, 2012

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