Wednesday, 11 February 2015

What do I Need to go Randonneuring?

Easy answer - a bike :-)

But beyond that, I've been thinking about what I need to do a bit of randonneuring this year (2015).

I've never done any "official" randonneuring/audax before, but I did the London to Brighton Bike Ride last year on a 25kg Pashley Mailstar, as well as an Imperial Century (100 miles, 161 km) on Mermaid, so I am LOT fitter than I was this time last year!
So, what bike?
Well, for me the choice is obvious - it is going to be Mermaid - if I can do 161km on Mermaid, I don't see why I can't do more!
Also, I am a "one bike" enthusiast - the same bike for shopping and commuting and touring and randonneuring. I will possibly get a folder again, because although they tend to be "one trick ponies", it is quite a trick!

And what food/water/tools?
I take a pannier or two with me for shopping, and I took a couple of panniers on the London to Brighton last year, as well as on my "century" so seems to cover that. I carried a decent selection of tools with me, as well as plenty of water and some food (bananas are a favourite of mine while cycling!)

For tyres, my choice would be Schwalbe Marathon Plus, because I have better things to do that fix punctures :-) But, for a "belt and braces" approach, I also carry a couple of cans of "tyre foam" repair spray just to be sure.

What about lights?
Since I intend to do the bulk of my riding in daylight, but if I get a "problem" I could be late back, I'm going to be investing in the goold old favourite of an old-fashioned tyrewall dynamo.
I have used a hub-dyno before, and they are great (and they also avoid the problem of the dynamo slipping on the tyre wall when used in snow - and yes, I know because I did experience this!), but for me the dynamo seems the obvious "randonneuring" choice - after all, there are NO friction losses when it is disconnected, and it will last (effectively) forever, so no issues with battery life. I'll probably carry a pair of those little "emergency" bike lights you can get just to give me a bit more visiblity if I get caught out at dusk, and the dynamo set-up gets damaged in a crash, or whatever, Those little light sets are so cheap and so small and light that it seems a pity NOT to pack a pair when randonneuring.

I suppose the most important choice isn't any of that stuff - it is getting a saddle comfortable enough to sit on for that long (!) I have a cheap saddle, but it has an inflatable bladder beneath the covering material, Not that well made, but hey, I did my century on that saddle, and I could still walk afterwards:-)
Seriously, though, get a saddle you like, and pay a lot of attention to the exact tilt up/down of the "nose". It makes a BIG difference on a long ride. And, being a rather slow rider, I sat on MY saddle for about 9 1/2 hours during that "century", so comfort is way in front of style or build quality for me!

To be continued :-)

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