Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ten Small Things I’ll Carry on PBP (that Weigh Next to Nothing…)

1. Valve adapter. A presta-to-schraeder adapter is a carry-over from the days when I rode tubular tires. The plastic pump that came on my Raleigh International had a hard time hitting 90 pounds, so I often relied on the service station air pumps, where an adapter was needed. Air was free back then, and nearly every station had a hose. Old habits die hard, and I still carry an adapter, usually installed on the presta valve, although I can’t remember the last time I used one.

2. E-caps. My riding buddy Dean has convinced me that I often exhibit signs of mild dehydration on the longer brevets. His recommendation: take electrolyte tablets. I’ve been heeding his advice this season and it seems to be helping. I’ll continue the habit in France.

3. Skull cap. My bald melon gets chilled at night. Along with arm and leg warmers, I’ll also carry a thin skull cap tucked away in my jersey pocket.

4. Shoe cleat and bolt. Occasionally, I’ve had a cleat loosen up on my SPD pedals. I can’t imagine losing a bolt or a cleat, but you never know. I’ve seen it happen to other riders, and it’s a show-stopper.

5. Spoke wrench. I consider this an essential tool, especially on the frame I’m using, which has minimal clearance between the rear wheel and the chain stays. I’m also carrying a spare spoke or two, but if necessary I can true around a broken spoke on the drive side until I reach the next control.

6. 2-gig memory card for my camera. That gives me enough memory in my camera for lots of still pictures and a short movie or two.

7. Plastic bags. I was saved on a rainy mountain century by a trash bag I found along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It kept me warm on a five-mile descent. Lesson learned, I may pack it for France. I also carry several long, thin newspaper bags -- you know, the ones the carrier puts the paper in on rainy days. I’ve used those bags to keep my feet warm when the brevets turn wet.

8. RUSA lapel pins. I have about 20 RUSA pins that I’ll give out to the children who work the food and drink stands along the route.

9. Chain links, extra pin. I just installed a fresh drive train: big chainring, cassette and new chain. I had four or five extra links left over as well as a spare rivet. They'll be in my rear bag.

10. Lantiseptic packets. Have you seen those new 5-gram packets of Lantiseptic? Perfect for carrying on the bike. My buddy Capn Ende got a box and passed along a few.

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