Unexpected items that have proved valuable on tour. (page 3) - CycleBlaze

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Unexpected items that have proved valuable on tour. (page 3)

John SaxbyTo Rachael Anderson

+2 for the band: that & yoga greatly help my arthritic hips.

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4 months ago
John PickettTo Kelly Iniguez

Ear plugs. Good for camping. Hotels. Warm showers. 

Fiber Fix spokes. No need for real spokes taped to your seat tube or for cassette tools. They weight nothing and work well. 

Swiss army knife because you never know when the Swiss army will attack. 

Nail clippers. Get new ones. 

A battery pack for all your electronic gizmos. How did they bike tour without electronics? 

A floppy hat. Used it on a tour in Florida. The floppy part protected my eyes from sand blowing off the beach. Wear it off the bike for sun protection.

Sandals. Gotta get your feet out of those bike shoes after a long day of riding.

A sleeping bag liner. Bliss.

Cannibis edibles (where legal). On my 2019 tour in Colorado, I had awful knee and hip pain that were not responding to OTC meds. One low dose edible before going to sleep. Knocked me out. Slept through the night. Didn't get me high. Pain free the next day. 

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4 months ago
Keith AdamsTo John Pickett
Sandals. Gotta get your feet out of those bike shoes after a long day of riding.

That raises a question that's been lurking at the back of my pea-brain. For those who ride wearing bike sandals, do you still carry a separate set of footwear for off the bike?

I have a set of good bike sandals but have formed an impression that they are ever-so-slightly less efficient and, after several long days of riding, somewhat less comfortable than my bike shoes.  (I lean toward mountain bike or cross-purpose shoes where the clear is recessed into the sole, rather than the pure road shoe that exposes the entire cleat.  Not that it matters.)

In considering my gear list for the upcoming summer tour I have identified an opportunity to shed the weight of the off-the-bike sandals, by electing to use (and live in) my bike sandals exclusively.

What say you, experienced tour folk?  Is it a viable option to go with just one pair of sandals, or is it worth the small extra weight to keep the Tevas on the list for off-the-bike use?

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4 months ago
Keith AdamsTo John Pickett
A battery pack for all your electronic gizmos. 

As it happens I have this one covered from another angle.  I'm a CPAP user, have been for a decade or more.  The need for juice has been an impediment, tying me to places that have power available for my overnight accommodations.  No stealth camping, obviously.  (For one thing it'd probably result in numerous reports of a bear run amok in the woods, by anyone passing within a two-mile audio range if I were to camp without the CPAP machine.)

Travel CPAPs have come a long way, and I'm pleased as punch to have just pulled the trigger and got one.  It's delightfully small and appears to be quite rugged.  It still requires external power to operate, but for the low low price of seven extra pounds of luggage weight, or nearly 15 percent as much as all else combined, and some space in the panniers I was able to get two external batteries with which it is compatible.

Each battery is supposed to be good for one to three nights of use depending on conditions, and they can be interconnected so that when one drains the other automatically picks up the load.  That should guarantee that I have at least a two consecutive night off-the-grid capability, which is more than I expect to need.  And if I can scrounge access to AC power during a day's ride, I can top them up along the way.

Each battery also includes a USB output port, meaning I can keep my phone and GPS charged without (presumably) eating too deeply into the power needed to run the CPAP.

I'm now debating whether I want / need to carry the extension cord I was / am planning to bring.  It'd add a certain degree of flexibility in tent location, as I would not have to be limited to a ten-foot diameter from the power supply at a campsite.

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4 months ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Keith Adams

Disclaimer: I cycle with flats so what works for me might not be applicable to you.

In cool/cold climates I cycle in Adidas Gortex low-cut hiking shoes.

In warmer environments I cycle in hiking sandals (a hard-wearing brand called Rockies).

But I always carry a pair of what are known as slip-slops in South Africa.  In the rest of the world they may be called jandles, thongs or flip flops.  There are likely other names as well.  They are the lightest and most comfortable footwear for me when off the bike and they weigh almost nothing and take up very little space.

If I need to do any strenuous walking I'll wear the Rockies or hiking shoes.

So the maximum number of pairs of footwear I take on tour is two.

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4 months ago
Graham SmithTo Kelly Iniguez

What items do you bring along that might not be a first thought?

On my last long tour I bought a pair of heavy duty leather weightlifting gloves at a sports shop mid-tour because my cycling gloves weren’t padded enough.

About three weeks later, I had a truck-induced fall which badly injured my left thumb. It was about three days before tour end, after 3800km and 6 weeks of riding.

The gloves saved the day because of how robust they were and the Velcro strapping acted like a splint. With the left glove fully tightened, I was able to change gears and do other basic things with my left hand, even though the thumb was so badly dislocated it couldn’t even press the smartphone screen without popping out.

Next tour, I’ll be using the same or similar gloves. Not cycling gloves.

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3 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Graham Smith

Graham - your description makes me wince in sympathy! Could you get your thumb set back in?


I know just the gloves you are speaking of. They didn’t get too sweaty? I find regular Cycling gloves too sweaty and use fishing gloves now. They are perfect on my recumbent, as the fabric is quick drying. They wouldn’t be good on a regular bicycle, no padding. 

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3 months ago
Graham SmithTo Kelly Iniguez

Kelly the gloves weren’t too sweat inducing but the weather was fairly cool on that tour. I don’t think they’d work in a high summer tour. 

The thumb injury turned into a minor medical drama over a couple of months post-tour. To fully repair it would need surgery, but that’s not worth the time-out, cost and risk, so I’ll let nature take its course.
I just need to be a little careful with what I try to do with my left hand. No brick laying for example, but the hand is ok for most important activities like cycling, swimming, gardening and cooking. 

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3 months ago