Tour Bike Tips

A Bike Mechanic's Recommendations

The Love, Sweat + Gears Staff includes a bike mechanic who will be with us for the entire tour. Here are a few thoughts and recommendations gleaned from decades of experience...

It is best to bring a bike that has been manufactured in the last 10 years. Replacement parts will still be available, and older bikes may have fatigued parts, especially spokes. Have the frame checked to make sure you can fit tires that are 35mm wide. At the very minimum, tires should be 32mm, since the tour will at times be on gravel roads, trails, and paths. Sure, you can ride on skinnier tires, but you’ll work harder, have a rougher ride, and experience more flats.

If you bring your old "classic", it is a good idea to get new wheels (not inexpensive machine-built wheels, but hand built, good quality wheels with quality spokes and quality hubs are preferred). Remember, we are riding 7,000 km! The mechanic recommends using quality, touring wheels that have conventional spokes (these are commonly referred to as J bend spokes). These wheels will usually have 36 spokes, or perhaps 32 spokes. These will be easy to repair in the middle of nowhere. Exotic wheels may be impossible to repair, and it might take two or more days to ship in replacement wheels.

Have your bike, new or used, completely overhauled at your local bike shop no later than April 30, and then we recommend you ride it at least 500 km before Love, Sweat + Gears. This will give you time to make any adjustments.

During the Overhaul

Bike Parts to Bring

Here are some basic bike parts you should bring. There will be bike shops along the route, but these basics may come in handy in the middle of nowhere:

Carry With You On Your Bike

Parts + Supplies You May Need

Parts We Hope You Won't Need (that can save your trip)!

Please label all your spare parts (tires, tubes, cleats, spokes etc.) with your name to prevent confusion. Any parts that you want us to carry should be in a fabric bag with a zipper closure (metal bike parts and plastic bags don’t get along; a cosmetic bag works well). You should carry your spare parts in your space on the gear truck (small stuff, cleats, tubes, tires, chains) so they will be easily accessible.

For each riding day, the mechanic will carry a variety of tubes and small parts for repairs. He will have "loaner" tires in case your tire is damaged, and we can put your spare tire on when we reach camp and open the gear truck.

About Flat Tires

You must learn how to change both the front and rear tires of your bicycle. All riders must have the knowledge, proper tools, and willingness to change their own flat tire.

Measure Your Bike for Travel

If you bring your bike by vehicle, plane or direct ship it will not arrive in the same condition as your last ride at home. To make sure the bike can be put back close to the way it was, please make the following measurements prior to disassembly and boxing or placing on the bike rack for the drive to the start.

Bring all of the fit measurements so the saddle and handlebar can be positioned as close as possible to your normal riding position.

When boxing your bike, do not remove brake or shift levers from the handlebars. Remove the faceplate from the stem and remove the entire handlebar leaving all cables attached when you box the bike. Make sure to replace the faceplate and snug down the bolts so they are still there when you open the box. Also leave your saddle attached to the seat post and remove the entire saddle and seat post. Wrap the seatpost with newspaper or plastic to protect your bike from the post.

Got questions about Love, Sweat and Gears? | 1.877.743.3413