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Tips for rural unsupported solo ride

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Tips for rural unsupported solo ride

Old 01-23-21, 04:00 PM
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bblevens
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Tips for rural unsupported solo ride

Hi all.
New here. Found the forum looking for some advice.
My situation.
I want to do some long casual solo rural rides. Southern Indiana or parts of KY.

I am going to plan a route hopefully around a century with places to stop here and there.
Iím OK planning unsupported. But I donít really have someone I can call to come and get me if needed. Still working on finding someone.

My question - does anyone have experience and advice on how to handle a problem when solo like this? No taxi, probably no Uber. A couple of hours from home.
Would you call the local police? Hope for a kind person to happen by?

All thoughts appreciated.
Bud
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Old 01-23-21, 04:06 PM
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Bring patch kit and pump. Flats are the main mechanical cause for call of shame. And bring a mini tool.

Also eat/drink often. Plan to stop at convenience stores or gas stations. Running out of energy or dehydration is the most common biological cause for call of shame.

Cell phone to call friend or relative if you run into trouble.
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Old 01-23-21, 04:22 PM
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Therein lies the rub.

Thanks for the advice. Im
hoping to find a route with some gas stations or stores along the way. But canít count on them
being open. I did a 100K charity ride supported so there were no concerns in that one.
My problem here is kind of a lack of friends or family I feel comfortable asking to drive 2+ hours to come get me. I may just have to get over that.
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Old 01-23-21, 04:30 PM
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What would you do with THIS?
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Old 01-23-21, 04:37 PM
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I'm not able to offer advice on the self supported rides Louisville and Southern Indiana have a pretty large cycling scene. Maybe you already know, there are at least three different clubs that ride in town and out or town. I am not sure if they are hosting official group rides right now or not due to the COVID.
Louisville Bike Club
Southern Indiana Wheelmen
Ridenfaden -- has a very active facebook group.
Kentucky Mountain Bike Association.
I think that it is the LBC group that has the Mad dog century club.
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Old 01-23-21, 04:40 PM
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2,000 Mile Month. No Cell Phone. Carry What you might Need.
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Old 01-23-21, 04:41 PM
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Bring whatever you need to maintain your drivetrain - that means, a chain breaker tool really, maybe a spare quick-link.

And just be very competent with your tyres and whatever you'll need to get you to the next place to be able to sort stuff out (like a broken spoke).

You'll be fine, and have fun!
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Old 01-23-21, 05:26 PM
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Tire tube repair kit, plus spare tube and a decent pump. Wrench to fit any fasteners on your bike, and a paper map of the area and a compass isn't a bad idea, just in case. Water carrying capacity enough to get you to the next certain supply.
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Old 01-23-21, 05:44 PM
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This is the kind of ride that some do weekly or even more frequently. Just bring stuff to account for flats/slashes and other common mechanicals. In terms of food/water, you may be overthinking it - in my area, it would be rare to go 10 miles without seeing a gas station.
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Old 01-23-21, 05:48 PM
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When I’m remote, I carry 2-3 tubes, multiple CO2’s, plus a mini pump and assorted tools to fix things. I want to keep riding after a flat, so have the extra tubes to facilitate that.
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Old 01-23-21, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
This is the kind of ride that some do weekly or even more frequently. Just bring stuff to account for flats/slashes and other common mechanicals. In terms of food/water, you may be overthinking it - in my area, it would be rare to go 10 miles without seeing a gas station.
To be fair overthink is my middle name.
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Old 01-23-21, 06:30 PM
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Look on apps like ridewithgps for loop rides in your area. That way, if needed, you keep your distance from home or your starting point closer.

Be meticulous on your bike maintenance or take it to a LBS if needed. It truly sucks begging for rides. Also wear or bring shoes you can walk in.

All of the above. Extra snacks, fluids etc.
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Old 01-23-21, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bblevens View Post
To be fair overthink is my middle name.
Ha - I hear ya. But it really is one of those things where you might not notice how many places there are until you're actively noting them. After that, you'll likely realize that it's a not much of a concern at all; I can't imagine an area depressed enough that I couldn't find a Snickers and a beverage within 10 miles.
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Old 01-23-21, 06:44 PM
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Carry money. You can find someone to drive you almost anywhere if you pay them enough. If you have some level of competence it's rare to be unable to continue due to a mechanical. For amusement, there was a thread awhile back debating the ethics of fixing a flat vs calling for help! Years ago I did a supported tour in southern IN called the TRIRI. You may be able to find some of their old routes if you search.
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Old 01-23-21, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I can't imagine an area depressed enough that I couldn't find a Snickers and a beverage within 10 miles.
Just because you can't imagine it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just one example: https://www.strava.com/activities/950927284 There's nothing until mile 52.
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Old 01-23-21, 07:00 PM
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Are you concerned about the bike or running out of energy? Like others have said, keep your bike in good shape and learn how to make minor repairs.
I don't carry a phone and I've gone on some remote rides where there are no stores. If I'm going to be in such an area I will carry extra food and water. If it's going to be hot I will carry a Camelbak along with 2 bottles.
I think it's rare that a well maintained bike will break down and be unrideable.
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Old 01-23-21, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Just because you can't imagine it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just one example: https://www.strava.com/activities/950927284 There's nothing until mile 52.
When I toured cross country we had a day with 65 miles between services and it was hot and windy. I strapped a 1 gallon bottle of water on my rear rack along with 3 bottles. I always had food with me.
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Old 01-23-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Just because you can't imagine it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just one example: https://www.strava.com/activities/950927284 There's nothing until mile 52.
Well, that's a ride from 4 years ago that appears to go mostly through a national park, not typical rural area. But a quick look shows the Gold Rush Cafe in Pinos Altos, 7 miles in. Lake Roberts General Store at mile 28. Spirit Canyon Lodge and Cafe at mile 30. There's a ranger station (I'm sure they'd let you refill a bottle, no?) and a Elk Xing Cafe at mile ~40. Post Office and Fire Station at mile 47. I think I'd survive.

Last edited by WhyFi; 01-23-21 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 01-23-21, 07:35 PM
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as mentioned, carry a little cash (as well as a credit/debit card). on these style of rides, i try to carry $20 in cash-3x$5, 5x$1. those $1's can come in handy for a tire boot if necessary and i've come across
stores in the boonies that only took cash or their "system is down" (and stores that didn't take cash).

i would also look to plan your first few such rides near a train/trolley/light rail system if there is one in the area(s) you're thinking of riding. if something bad happens (crash, mechanical, weather, etc), it's not
too far to a train/trolley station by bike, foot, hitchhiking, etc that hopefully takes you close to another station (and hopefully...you've parked near/live near another station). make sure you've downloaded the
applicable transport app/website on your phone, know the last scheduled train/trolley and have matched it up to your route if you're not already familiar. also be aware of their rules/regs re: bringing bikes onboard
and bring a mask/bandanna for store stops and/or a potential transit ride.

once you knock out one or two rides with this potential umbrella, you'll have a better idea of your capabilities, limitations, needs and comfort levels.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 01-23-21 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 01-23-21, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Well, that's a ride from 4 years ago that appears to go mostly through a national park, not typical rural area. But a quick look shows the Gold Rush Cafe in Pinos Altos, 7 miles in. Lake Roberts General Store at mile 28. Spirit Canyon Lodge and Cafe at mile 30. There's a ranger station (I'm sure they'd let you refill a bottle, no?) and a Elk Xing Cafe at mile ~40. Post Office and Fire Station at mile 47. I think I'd survive.
sometimes Google isnít your friend. All closed, at least in the spring and fall when Iíve been there. And Iím not sure when I happened to do the ride is relevant; Iíve been down often since then and nothingís changed.
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Old 01-23-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
sometimes Google isnít your friend. All closed, at least in the spring and fall when Iíve been there. And Iím not sure when I happened to do the ride is relevant; Iíve been down often since then and nothingís changed.
Got it. Well, lesson learned - if you're going to go out on a ride through national forests in the wide open west, plan ahead. If you're going to be going on a more typical ride through rural areas, as mentioned in the OP, I stand by "it shouldn't be too hard to find food and water - you'll be okay."
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Old 01-23-21, 08:22 PM
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If you have a Triple A (American Automobile Association) membership, they apparently will rescue you if your bike breaks down.

If you are really worried, plan your route in loops around your home base, so that you are never too far away. And, as others have recommended, carry some cash. Though, in the event of a serious breakdown, you might not need it - strangers are often remarkably helpful -- I've been offered rides home even when I have merely been fixing a puncture on the roadside.
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Old 01-23-21, 08:31 PM
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As others have said, plan 10, 20, and 30 mile loops from your starting point. You can fill your bottles at outdoor church faucets if need be. Most importantly. make sure your phone/electronics are fully charged.
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Old 01-23-21, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
This is the kind of ride that some do weekly or even more frequently. Just bring stuff to account for flats/slashes and other common mechanicals. In terms of food/water, you may be overthinking it - in my area, it would be rare to go 10 miles without seeing a gas station.
Originally Posted by big john View Post
Are you concerned about the bike or running out of energy? Like others have said, keep your bike in good shape and learn how to make minor repairs.
I am pleased and surprised at the great response.
I have a great well maintained Domane. Part of my hesitation is due to being alone for the first time in decades after losing my wife. (Sorry if that too much sharing)
I will take a closer look at some of the heat maps. Staying close to home is a nice idea but I prefer to get out away from Ďcivilizationí.
Thanks to you all. You have helped give me a more confidence. I over plan as well so Iíll start planning for a nice long spring ride.

Thanks a million from a new member to the forum.

Bud
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Old 01-23-21, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bblevens View Post
I am pleased and surprised at the great response.
I have a great well maintained Domane. Part of my hesitation is due to being alone for the first time in decades after losing my wife. (Sorry if that too much sharing)
I will take a closer look at some of the heat maps. Staying close to home is a nice idea but I prefer to get out away from Ďcivilizationí.
Thanks to you all. You have helped give me a more confidence. I over plan as well so Iíll start planning for a nice long spring ride.

Thanks a million from a new member to the forum.

Bud
Don't worry about over sharing, I do it too. And sorry about your loss. I also think doing shorter rides will help your confidence as you work your way up to a big loop/ride.
I used to do a lot of exploring on my mountain bike and sometimes I would go at a loop from different directions on different days before linking it all together into a big ride. That helped me figure out what to expect before taking the plunge.
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