Suggestions for a VERY long distance ride?

I’ve ridden over large broken glass chunks on my TA and have over 6000 miles on it in the last year that I’ve owned it and there’s still hardly any visible wear. I have ONE spare tube but it’s always stored at home because it just weighs so freaking much. I’ve NEVER had a puncture but I still cary a patch kit(lightweight)

I used to do a lot of lightweight backpacking and even 10 pounds of stuff is heavy a lot of the time. I wouldn’t be out long(maybe a few days) but I found that a sleeping bag cover like the one you linked to, a good rain gear set-up, and a lightweight winter sleeping bag(as light as they get while still being able to be used in the winter and be warm) plus meals you don’t need to cook at all is about all you need. If you’re going to be out by yourself no one’s going to care what you smell like, you can bring a change of clothes but that’s extra weight, as you said earlier swim trunks are about all the spare clothing you’d need. I’ve outgrown my old rain gear, I’m in the process of finding another good set now.

On top of everything else I’m buying, I don’t want to spend 60 dollars on a tire I don’t need. It does sound like a nice tire, but I already have the nightrider and that is also a very nice tire.

I don’t plan on having more than 10 pounds on me, but I might have a few extra pounds on the frame. I plan on tying the bivy sack (almost 2 lbs), the spare tube, the tire patch kit, any allen wrenches, the tire pump, a therm-a-rest if I bring one, and I can strap about 6 extra spokes to the vertical part of my frame.

If I have the money after I buy all the essentials, I will probably get a handheld gps. There are websites where people make maps for a gps and you can just download them and have even the tiniest roads on your device.

I am planning on carrying a spare and a patch kit.

I have no intention of carrying a stove. I’ll keep food that doesn’t need to be cooked.

I’ll keep that handy bit of information in mind. Thank you for the advice.

Water is the most important thing. I’ve also been very dehydrated on a ride, and it’s not fun at all.

I’m still thinking about geting a waterproof bivy sack.

I have been considering this, actually. My sister lives in Monterey, and that’s right where it starts getting cold.

Thanks for the advice. I don’t plan on carrying more than 10 lbs on me. Any heavy essentials will go on the frame.

If I ever go to Sydney from Anaheim and they allow me to bring a uni as carry-on and they allow me to ride in the airplane and the allow me to do it the whole time and I am feeling energetic enough, that is not a bad idea. :stuck_out_tongue:

The problem with carrying things on the frame that I’ve found is actually finding a secure place to put it that wont get in the way or throw something out of balance… Putting it on your back can be uncomfortable but so can riding awkwardly due to having stuff in the way or throwing the uni out of whack

Hey do you plan on riding in or near Ventura County? If so just pm me or look me up on aim (crashboy1993) and i will definently ride a state or two with you =)

I do have a bit of practice tying stuff all over the uni. It can originally throw me off a bit, but after 20 miles it feels normal. Then an unloaded frame feels wierd!

There was a boy from Japan who rode across the US in 1996 I think. I can’t remember his age, but I think it was in the 14 range. He was accompanies by his father (so not self-supported) and rode a big wheel that was larger than his inseam, with a chain running down each side and a complex drivetrain. But you’re not really in competition for that type of ride because you aren’t riding across the country.

There have been quite a few people who have ridden across the US (and/or Canada) over the years, and some of those rides were way more public than others. Like the teacher from San Francisco who rode across on a 24" Schwinn within the last 10 years or so, who I would not have heard about were it not for him contacting the unicycling community. The ones who get more publicity are usually the ones who are riding for a cause, like Lars Classen and Keith Cash. The earliest one I know of was Walter nilsson, who crossed the country in 1933 and won a $10,000 Ripley’s Believe it or Not prize. He did his ride for publicity. Steve McPeak also did a cross-country ride around 1970 or so, presumably also for publicity (not so sure in that case). He was famous for wire walking and riding the worlds tallest unicycle from 1980 until Sem Abrahams broke that record a few years ago.

Riding for a cause can also work as a motivator. It might help you keep going when you don’t want to get up in the morning. It’s a great way to have more people pulling for you along the way, both at home and in all the newspapers that cover your ride. And of course to raise a bunch of money for a good cause. You pick the cause, of course, something you believe in.

For your ride, there’s been lots of good advice in this thread. Listen carefully to the people who have done similar rides. Give less weight (or a lot less) to the people who haven’t. Here’s a few things I can think of:

  • Your clothing and your equipment (unicycle) will be the most important components of your trip. Don’t skimp on them. You will ride and sleep in the rain, so make sure your gear is up to the task. You will never know this until you test it, so make sure you test all your stuff on practice rides. Get the best shorts you can find. Some people recommend wearing two pairs, but I’ve only tried that once (it worked). For the longest ride I’ve ever done, which was 72 miles with lots of hills, I wore my best shorts and used a lubricant product (mine was called Body Glide).

  • The Radial TA is known as the longest-lasting 36" tire. The Nightrider is newer, so there’s less information about wear on them available, but be prepared to get a TA if you want a great road tire. I’ve had mine on there for all my RTL training, and everything since, and the 72-mile ride, and all the training for that, and it doesn’t really show signs of wear.

  • Look for ways to carry your gear on the unicycle, rather than on your crotch. Backpacks are relatively lousy for unicycling, as they tend to sway back and forth. The suggestion above of a butt-bag is a better idea I think. Also look into a rack bag, or possibly stowing some of your gear inside your wheel, around the hub. This works well if you have a wide hub, probably not very useful otherwise. My road Coker has a skinny hub, but I’ve loaded a backpack full of clothes on the back end of my custom Wyganowski handle. Figure out a way to load your stuff on there instead of indirectly onto your crotch. You don’t need maneuverability on a road ride anyway, and it’s easy to get used to the weight being on there.

  • Do some multi-day, back-to-back camping/riding days to test your equipment and yourself. Don’t start your ride with anything you haven’t tested and gotten comfortable with.

  • Research your route more carefully. You made some kind of blanket statement above about biking along the Pacific Coast Highway being fine. It isn’t. In some places it’s a nice, 2-lane road with light to medium traffic and wide shoulders. In other places it’s an expressway, on which cycling might be legal, but would be a bad idea. Very bad. What you want are roads with light traffic, and good shoulders. Parts of US 1 have heavy traffic, and in certain parts there are little or no shoulders so be prepared. Unlike the Amgen Tour of California, which is today riding down the 1 from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, you will not have the road to yourself. Some of that section can be very hazardous to cyclists.

  • To research routes, go by the experience of the thousands of cyclists who have ridden them. There’s lots of tour route information on bike web sites that you can use.

  • Get a mirror and get comfortable using it. Ever since my days as a motorcycle instructor, I’ve never been comfortable cycling along a roadway without a mirror. I use
    , which is made of metal and clips to glasses or sunglasses. I see lots of hardcore roadies using the same mirror and I like it.

  • Bring a camera. If you’re like me, you’ll consider the weight to be worth it. You can buy cheap memory cards along the way (or bring a bunch); SD cards are nearly weightless. Of course it’s electronics, so like a GPS, you’ll need a way to charge up.

If you take John’s advice you won’t give much weight to his post. 72 miles isn’t a very long ride! I’ve done 100 miles of hills with an ungeared 28"- doesn’t give my post any more weight though- it’s still lacking in advice. Music is something that is good for long rides for me. I got an Mp3 player with speakers that I use. Don’t forget your kitchen sink! :smiley:

That is correct so I hope you were listening! I was trying to give useful advice on the other stuff, which doesn’t require the previous touring experience. I would not attempt to offer advice on camping or the other aspects of a multi-day ride. I think the longest multi-day riding I’ve done was either RTL, or my RTL qualifying rides, which probably added up to less mileage than the Tahoe ride, and involved no camping. The equipment and other advice was also based on the many reports I’ve read here, as well as earlier stuff from riders like Wally Watts and Pietro Biondo (12,000 mile tour on a giraffe).

lots of good advice here, i would recommend hanging around some ultralight hiking forums and to get good advice from hardcore ultralight hikers as well. goretex does not breathe well enough for me, so i usually would suggest something like a silnylon poncho. it’s superlight and takes up no space at all. you only really need two sets of clothes, some would go with less, and maybe extra underwear and socks.
some other things you may want to try are:
-lightweight alchohol stove i use one, as do many of the long distance hikers i know. this can be avoided to cut weight, and even dried foods that would normally be served hot can be eaten cold (lipton rice, mountain house ect.)
-an ultralight hiking hammock. just look for them there are many really good variants (hammockforums is a great resource) an example
hammocks are superlight, keep out bugs, provide shelter from the wind and rain, are more breathable than a tent (awesome feature in heat), and allow comfortable sleeping almost anywhere. you can pitch them on manmade structures as well as natural things, and most can be setup like a tent on flat ground if no trees are available. (one of my favorites) in warm weather (above 40 degrees) i don’t bother bringing a sleeping pad, because the only thing i use it for is extra insulation.
-take a ultralight sleeping bag rated around 40 degrees. that should cover you even through the colder parts of your journey.
-you have a great amount of time before your trip, so educate yourself!

I wasn’t really expecting to be setting a record. Eh. Oh well.

crazy Japanese kids.

Sem Abrahams was just on the Ellen Degeneres show, I think. He didn’t do any tricks. Just rode a 14 foot tall uncycle around for about a minute.

I’m planning on asking many organizations, including the AAAA. The Asthma and Allegry Association of America. I have asthma and allergies, so it might work out. I also have a rare liver condition, so I’m going to ask any groups that deal with that kind of stuff.

It does seem like there are a few people on here who have experience and good advice.

I’ve heard very good things about body glide. I’ll definitely try it.

I guess I’ll ask around for one. It sounds like I don’t need a brand new one, if they take forever to wear down.

Wrapping stuff around the hub actually sounds like a really good idea.

Planning on it.

Thank you for the information. I’ll be looking into that much more.

I’ve got a few friends who have done this route on a bike that I’ll be meeting with to find out more.

The hammock seems like it would be too much work to set up every night. I’m still planning on getting a nice bug- and water-proof bivy sack.

It said the set up time was something like 2-3minutes.

I think I might get one of those hammocks, I’m a few hundred off my touring bike, I wanted to do a few hundred mile rides, maybe on the unicycle aswell.

I’ve been planning a similar trip, mines out to california from where I live (PA.) So pretty much across the country. I’m starting the same week I graduate, I’ve got till the summer of 2011 to get ready.

Good luck with this; there’s some amazing riding you’ll be doing. I have two suggestions:

  1. Get maps from Adventure Cycling Association, especially their Pacific Coast Route map. They have elevation profiles, turn-by-turn directions, and indicators for food and camping spots (which can be far apart on the more northern sections of your ride). There are a number of spots where you’ll have to find bike/ped facilities which aren’t displayed on standard road maps.

  2. Go north to south instead of south to north. Winds are pretty strongly prevalent from the north along the West Coast. Also, the Southern California portion of the ride is the worst riding, especially from Santa Monica to the Mexican border. (Actually you could really lose everything south of Morro Bay and not miss a whole lot).

Good luck!

I still think a bivy is better. With Hammocks you have to find three solid objects at a reasonable distance apart with relatively small diameters that are legal to strap a hammock to and at a place that people won’t mind if you sleep there while still being far away from busy places. To me that’s too many requirements I must meet every night before I sleep.

Start planning your trip now! You can even use information in this thread to start your planning. The most important thing: get a job ASAP. These trips are far from cheap if you don’t plan on camping out every single day.

Hammocks are quite easy to set up, and soo comfortable. My hammock weighs 8oz. and my huge tarp weighs 12 or 14 (can’t remember). A silnylon tarp would be considerably lighter. Currently I’m using a eno singlenest-style hammock w/ a ultralight rectangular tarp for ease of setup, and all-weather comfort. All I have to do is secure the ends of the hammock, secure the ends of my tarp, and stake it out. My tarp is 8x10 and is really a bit bigger than I need, but it could keep me bone-dry in a tropical storm, and warm in the winter. if I have to set up camp in a storm, I’ll put up the tarp first and stake out the middle tabs on the sides, giving me instant shelter, and allowing me to stay dry while setting up my hammock. The learning curve is in determining exactly how much sag to leave in the hammock. The folks at hammockforums are awesome, and I’ve been able to learn a lot from them. Great place to ask questions and they have a great section on making your own gear as well.

I kind of have and I know, I have figured it will take me something like 3-5 grand for the food, and other junk. I plan on camping out every night pretty much, a few exceptions, but not many. I’ve already got 4 hundred, With my summer job I’ll save around 1500-2000, and if I get a job after school I should have enough. I barely spend any of the money I get anymore, just save save save.

I get what you mean with the Hammocks, would be nicer in my opinion, but as you said kind of annoying. When I do mine I’ll probably just take a bivy, easier and lighter.

What always got me was what kind of food to take? I’ll be doing some larger rides this summer, only 2 hundred or 4 hundred at the most, and have put thought into this. Other than obvious things like a few energy bars like cliff, I haven’t came up with much. Any tips from the kind of foods best for these kinds of trips would be nice to know, I don’t plan on taking a stove either.

This has been a good read

I love reading John Foss’s history lessons.:slight_smile:

Gore Tex rain suits are not to hot, I live in the tropics, I should know. If it is so hot you would rather ride in the rain without it, take it off ! Free shower and laundry time. :sunglasses: I carry the parka part with me on all my winter trips down town, in a fanny pack. It is breathable, so it can be worn as a windbreaker to ward off chill. Otherwise, it stays in the fanny pack. Silnylon is great for tarps and bags. It is not breathable, so it is a poor choice for a rain suit. Condensation would be worse on a uni then a motorcycle, so do not skimp on this essential piece of gear.

I have never tried these new type camping hammocks. I really enjoyed having a large tent (cooler, less body heat ), to read and plot in after a long days ride on the motorcycle. It protected me from bugs and snakes. I slept on top of the sleeping bag in my swim suit in hot weather. Because I can’t carry a big tent on a uni, and tiny tents would be terribly hot, perhaps a hammock could be the best alternative.

I have slept on the ground with no tent many times. Usually with other people, and a fire, which tends to keep creepy stuff away. Do not think tents are just about keeping warm and dry. They can also be about keeping rattle snakes from biting your face in the dark !

Sleeping with just a bag, on the ground, will be impossible in many areas unless you are so drunk, the snakes and spiders crawling over your face do not awake you. The bug spray will wear off 3 hrs into a 6 hr sleep. Ticks will smell you from ten yards away and try to crawl down your neck.

In general, sleeping on the ground, no tent, is better up north, or high elevations, then in the south. Maybe consider a hammock in southern zones where nocturnal scorpions, snakes, spiders and fire ants, are a factor. The hammock would have you reposed above the fray , and in clear weather an open hammock sounds coolest. Being to hot at night is almost as bad as being to cold.

To clean up before bed, get a plastic kitchen scrub pad. I would pour a gallon of water over my head, while scrubbing myself from head to foot with the pad. Don’t use soap, it takes to much water to rinse off. A uni tourer could get by with a liter. Road grime and sweat will come off fine and life just feels so much more better when you don’t stick to everything.

I like John’s hub storage idea, I have a super wide. Weight stored there would be closest to the center, effect handling the least. A fanny pack, maybe kids size, that would do one loop around the hub, and velcro tight.

I am surprised that anyone writes about food. This isn’t back packing, it’s an American road trip right ? I would suggest buying your favorite foods from some of the 15 000 options you will pass on your way.

I bought this on sale a while ago when I was planning my trip from Pittsburgh to DC.

That combined with some lightweight guylines and 2 stakes was my plan, and it ended up all being around a pound in weight and not bulky at all. The bigger size looked ideal because I could have more protection from the rain and have more space to move around than a bivvy.

I didn’t really get to try it out since I really messed up my knee on the first day. I would highly advise not using a seat post mounted rack that stores gear. I believe this is what messed up my knee pretty bad and if doing self supported uni touring again, I would not use a rack.

In terms of bugs and stuff - the bivvy bag thing - will it be too hot in summer in the south?

I’ve used a hammock, and it is surprising how many places you can put it up. Pretty much anywhere there are trees to start with. I’ve never asked permission either - just make sure you’re a bit away from the road / off obvious trails. The bonus of a hammock (other than stopping bugs crawling over you), is that it is super comfy - in warm weather nothing is more comfy than a hammock. The downside is that in colder climates it can get way too cold with the wind blowing underneath you. It might perhaps be worth considering hammock for the south, bivvy for the north.

Okay, my goretex top is way way too hot on a unicycle in the UK. It is okay on a bike, because the wind speed cools you down a bit, I’m sure it’s great on a motorbike, because you’re going really fast and not doing any exercise. But on a unicycle, it is so boil in the bag hot that there is no point using it until about October / November. I’m sure it is a great motorbike thing, but that just doesn’t translate to unicycling long distances.

I’ve always found backpacks by far the best way to carry most of the load on a unicycle. Make sure you have something stable though, with good straps, so it doesn’t wobble when you move, and make sure you absolutely minimise the weight.

In terms of racks and putting stuff on the unicycle - where that is potentially useful is for very bulky but light things that would otherwise force you to have a great big rucksack. Like a sleeping bag. If you use a T7, you can just strap the sleeping bag underneath the back handle on the T7. If you don’t, you can strap the sleeping bag to the seat and the seatpost. Some people have stuck tents on the T7 too, again it’s something that’s bulky but not too heavy. I’d advise against using an extra rack - I always found that the ride sucked when I used one.

Also - there’s a guy in Australia who did a big ride like this last year I think who is probably worth contacting - he posted about it on here, but I can’t remember his name.


The California coast always has pretty moderate temperatures, even down south. As long as you’re camping near the ocean you should be fine. (It’s usually 20 degrees warmer a few miles inland).