Thursday, July 2, 2009

Preparing Your Bike for a Cycling Tour

The cycling tour season is getting into full gear about now. Here are some tips from Thomson Bike Tours,, for preparing your bike for a cycling tour.

Our recommendations:

Have your wheels checked and trued.

Replace your tires. You'll be doing a lot of descending and you want to be sure that you have a good quality tire with good tread.

Check all gear and brake cables. Replace any cables that look worn. You don't want a brake cable snapping while descending Alpe d'Huez!

Replace your brake blocks. Only use high quality brake blocks such as Shimano or Campagnolo. Cheaper brake blocks tend to brake less smoothly and are usually less efficient in rain.

Install a 2nd bottle cage if you don't already have one.

Mark with tape the position of your seat post and handlebar stem. It's likely you'll have to undo these to fit your bike in your travel case and you'll want to keep the same position when re-building your bike on arrival.

Change your bike computer to km. All our cue sheets and the road signs are in kilometres.

If you replace your chain be sure to replace your rear cassette cogs as well.

Replace your cleats if they are worn.

And a few things you SHOULD NOT do:

Do not change your riding position immediately before the trip.

Do not change your shoes or cleat position immediately before the trip.

Do not change your chain without changing your rear cassette cogs.

Spare parts to bring:

We will have a fully qualified mechanic available on the trip with a comprehensive bicycle toolkit and numerous spare parts. However we cannot ensure that we will carry specific spares that you may need for your bicycle. As such we recommend that you bring the following spare parts:

6 extra spokes to fit your wheels. We will have many different sizes of spare spokes but we may not have your specific type and size.

1 spare tire.
2 spare tubes.
4 spare brake blocks. With all the descending we'll be doing brake blocks can be worn out pretty quickly.
1 spare gear cable.
1 spare brake cable.

Stories, including cycling trip stories, for the Italian Cycling Journal welcome; contact

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