This seems like an easy thing that shouldn’t need much explanation but there are a few things that will make your ride much more comfortable and less stressful.
You’ll want to make sure you have the following with you when you ride a long tour:
- Multi Tool
- 1/2" + 9/16" wrench for pedals
- Crank puller/wrench for crank bolt/nut
- One size larger cranks than you’re used to riding
- Extra Tube
- Tire Levers
- Pain Pills
- More Water
- Emergency Contact Means
The multi tool will be nice for adjusting your seat. This is especially important since you will be riding far and repeating the same motion for several hours. If your ankles ache or hurt after some time, you will want to lower the seat and watch how you are pedaling to be sure your stride isn’t awkward or crooked. If the knees hurt you may want to raise the seat so your knees do less moving. The extra crank set is very helpful if you are riding new terrain and run into some rough hills. A 36" unicycle will not fly up hills as easily as smaller wheels with small cranks and you will thank yourself if you need to switch them out. Its probably a good idea that you know how to do this before you leave so you don’t have to guess when the time comes.
The extra tube and tire levers should be a given to all of us. No matter how thick your tire is, there is a chance that you’ll end up needing to change it. I got lucky on RAGBRAI and didn’t have to change the tube all week. I did run over a tack but realized it as soon as I hit it and was able to remove it before it reached the tube. Thanks to the Wheel TA tire for being realllly thick.
Water is a must. That is all I’m going to say about it. You will hurt yourself without enough of it.
A phone is a good idea in case you need help. Riding alone isn’t the best idea but if you choose to do so the phone will be a nice fall back option if something happens.
Bike Shorts Bike Shorts Bike Shorts Bike Shorts
Your assets will thank you later regardless of your sex. Also, many bike shops will sell lubricant that you can place on pads inside the bike shorts to prevent discomfort. This will be a good idea. Cycling shirts/jerseys are a good idea and are very handy with the pockets for items you need to carry. A helmet is always a good idea as well…just don’t ride without one. I figured it would be pretty hard to land on your head while unicycling…until I did. Turns out that its easier done than said.
- The Ride
Obviously, you have trained for the ride you’ll be taking. I personally suggest the following pattern as I fall into it on most long days. Keep in mind that this outline is on a 36" wheel for a 70 mile day:
ride 5-7 miles
ride another 5-7 miles
ride 7-10 miles
This will put you 17-24 miles into your day depending on how you feel that day. This would be a good place to let breakfast settle and get yourself off the seat for a bit. After this I usually end up taking breaks every 5 miles and after 20-25 more miles of that it gets down to every 3 miles but with shorter breaks except for food.
Handlebars will help you out a lot on long tours. They provide something to lean into for leverage on headwinds, uphills and flatlands while running a high cadence as they will improve your stability. They also have the benefit of allowing yourself to lift off of the seat to reposition yourself or give your saddle a break. The two handles I have used include the GB4 handle and the T7 handle. The T7 has bottle cage mounts but requires a rail style seatpost. The GB4 is smaller and mounts directly to your seat bottom. Both are available from unicycle.com
I’m skipping over most of the “make sure you and your unicycle are in good shape to ride” type items just to avoid sounding like the booklet from [insert bike tour name here]. The only other thing I can suggest is to find another unicyclist or three to go with you as it makes things a lot more fun :).