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  1. #1
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    MTB Road Trip Survival Kit

    I am about to embark on a cross country trip to mtn bike anything i can find from Washington DC to LA, stopping in Moab of course. Then back through Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Yellowstone and Badlands. I've never done a trip like this and was wondering what people would suggest as the things I may need to keep my bike operational and to make repairs if needed. Any suggestions? I'll also take suggestions on places to hit on the way.

  2. #2
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    What to take depends on what you're driving. A 30' Runnamucka coach holds a lot more stuff than a Prius and you also need to take other stuff like clothes.

    Seriously, you need money and a smart phone for weather and googling bike shops, a pump, a shock pump, a tube or two, chain tools and repair links - you can buy almost anything else you need in an LBS in any larger city or big resort area.

    Depending on what you're traveling in, you can add a floor pump, a chain, pedals, brake bleeding kit, spare brake pads and fluid, and any thing else your heart desires. Also, get maps, books, and do your research ahead of time, preferably, on company time.

    Be flexible and don't be afraid to change plans in response to the weather. Nothing impacts the experience like heat and cold, snow and ice, or thunderstorms. Roads reduced to putty don't help either.

  3. #3
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    Wet wipes. For the love of all that is good and holy, Wet Wipes.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  4. #4
    Anytime. Anywhere.
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    I always travel with a small tool box that has enough to work on most of the bike. I don't bring really specialized tools like CK hub tools. A floor pump, patches, sealant, lube, derailleur hanger, brake pads, grease, lock, spare tire if I have any. I used to carry all this and more, along with my bike, inside my old Toyota Matrix, and have room to sleep comfortably. Things tend to break when you are on a trip.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  5. #5
    I didn't do it
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    I bring pretty much what you might think, you need the basics as outlined above. Also throw in the super obvious and general stuff like screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, etc.

    I always find that taking a little time to get organized really helps. Organizing your gear into Rubbermaid boxes can be a real help. I also like to get my traveling materials such as trail maps, road maps and other info organized into some sort of folder or something along those lines.

    In my experience as the trip goes on entropy begins to take over and it gets harder to find what I need when I need it so getting organized up front helps fight this tendency.
    Let's eat Ted
    Let's eat, Ted
    Remember, commas save lives

  6. #6
    beater
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    I keep all my MTB tools in a specific toolbox (a Bucket Boss soft-side), so when I go in a road trip I just grab that, my pump, a Feedback Sports folding work stand, and a 3-gallon bucket with rags, brushes, lube, and cleaning supplies.

    Your tools should include a full set of hex wenches, Phillips and standard screwdrivers, a crescent wrench, and zip ties at least. I also have a whip, a chain tool, a shock pump, spoke wrench, bottom bracket tool, levers, come wrench, pedal wrench, Stans tape, and a whole bunch of other stuff I can't think of at the moment.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  7. #7
    All fat, all the time.
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    This might be the opposite of what you are wanting to do, but travel less and ride more in one location.
    For example, you can easily burn a week or two in central Colorado (Salida, Crested Butte) and Fruita/Moab area without traveling too much.

    Personally I'd rather ride than drive
    The more you ride, the easier it gets........
    the easier it gets, the more you ride.
    vicious circle

  8. #8
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    I did a year long Western half (including Mexico and Canada) trip when I graduated from UC Davis. In a truck. You need tools for everything. Cold and warm capacity for everything. And fun wherever. We really enjoyed playing frisbee when we were road locked in isolated places. We made a lot of friends playing frisbee in some valley at 8k feet in some place a lot like everywhere in the Western US.....or even death Valley at some place called 'Stove Pipe' They snickered, then laughed, then joined in. My compadre (still) has an apple pie face. He softens everyone. It was a great tool. I have not one single bad story unless you include insult and verbal assault (all based on license plate). Then I have many. Welcome to America. Have a great ****in time. If in Redding, Ca. send a note. If you are not an ******* I'll take good care of you and yours.
    "It's not that bicycling is so important, it is that everything else is equally unimportant."-Bruce Ohlson.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the tips. I am a month from my trip and trying to plan ahead. I plan on packing a nice set of tools and hopefully the basic things for if my bike craps out on a ride. Tubes, tire tools, wrenches, lube. I will have plenty of room in my tiny car due to getting a nice cargo box. I'm packing my bike, my camping gear, my climbing gear and my maps. Who knows what will happen, where ill end up or who i'll meet! The trick will be deciding how long to spend in places. I will be starting in Moab after my first straight through drive.

  10. #10
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    Skip Moab

    Skip Moab. Next 10 days all above 100 degrees. I would not suggest LA in the summer either. Stick to mountains. I suggest you check weather forecasts before you head places. Tahoe is perfect all summer.

    MTB Road Trip Survival Kit-10560357_1004721672895439_7683133095509850446_o.jpg

  11. #11
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    I wont be headed out for a month. I will check the weather when i get closer to leaving. I am already aware most places will be hot due to it being the middle of summer. I have plenty of ways to carry water, both on me an in my vehicle.

  12. #12
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    Careful

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_vs_Wild View Post
    I wont be headed out for a month. I will check the weather when i get closer to leaving. I am already aware most places will be hot due to it being the middle of summer. I have plenty of ways to carry water, both on me an in my vehicle.
    Careful. I don't care how experienced you are with heat, 100 degrees for any length of time can be lethal. It's also just plain no fun. You have a choice of where you can ride so why not go more comfortable places anyway? Summers are for mountain riding. You just joined mtbr. How long have you been riding and how experienced are you?

  13. #13
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    I used to ride years ago (20) as a teenager, but recently just got back into it again. Bikes are different than they were when I was teenager, but I had no problem hopping on my new mtn bike and hitting some challenging trails here in the Shenandoah mtns of VA. I've also been a road cyclist as well training for triathlons, running over 30 OCR races, rock climbing and pretty much any other out door adventure activity you can name.. I agree you are right about finding the best places since I can go anywhere. I haven't really figured out exactly where I am headed but my general direction is from Wash DC to CO, then UT, Nevada, Cali, Idaho Wyoming and South Dakota. And yes I know that's a lot of places with not much more than a day or two in each. This is more about getting a taste of places so I can return. I will be mixing some climbing in the trip too.

  14. #14
    I didn't do it
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    I second skipping Moab. In about a month its going to be a furnace without shade. You might want to spend a little more time in the mountains of CO, WY (Jackson, Teton Valley) and ID (Sun Valley, Stanley). You might want to consider taking a swing through OR as well. Stay in the mountains, you won't regret it.
    Let's eat Ted
    Let's eat, Ted
    Remember, commas save lives

  15. #15
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    Thanks Mookie. Sounds like you all have some good tips.

  16. #16
    Sweat is just fat crying.
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    Not much (legal) riding in Yosemite, but you're probably going for the climbing anyhoo.

  17. #17
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    Gorilla Tape. Camp shoes. A good camp chair.

    As for deserts, I'm in Utah. You have a small window from 5:30-9am and 8-9pm when riding is good but if you are camping then you have nowhere to escape the heat in between. But we have lots of good high elevation in southern Utah like the Thunder Mountain area or Park City. It's all in a heat wave right now though.

  18. #18
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    Expect weather

    The southwest in going into a powerful monsoon season and lots of afternoon thunderstorms can be expected for the next few weeks, at least.

    One of the beauties for me of Utah is the potential for backcountry travel which becomes more complex in weather. For three years running, we've tried to drive from Henriville to Page via Kodachrome basin and the coxcomb. All three years the road has washed out repeatedly and we still haven't driven it.

    To understand what the weather might be all over, look at the climate prediction center at Climate Prediction Center. Right now you will see that the entire west is under excessive heat and the southwest is rainier than usual. That rainier = thunderstorms, flash floods and washed out roads.

    I'd like to second a recommendation for carrying one bag chair per person and I'd add a folding table. With these items, you can camp comfortably anywhere without a picnic table. I've used a roll-a-table from REI for many years and it's sturdy and rolls up small enough. Chairs and a table are space well occupied in your vehicle.
    Last edited by telemike; 1 Week Ago at 07:24 PM. Reason: add info

  19. #19
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    Beer koozie

  20. #20
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    Sounds like you've got the bike stuff covered. An easy rule of thumb would be to look at your tool board and take everything with you that you've used in the last 6 months or so. So you will probably leave behind that tapered spindle BB tool but should take the external BB tool. Etc. If you've used it recently, take it. And obviously err towards taking something vs. leaving it. If you're packing tools, there's little harm in one more wrench that you might never use.

    I'll recommend one thing not specific to bikes: An ENO hammock. At 50 years old with kids who LOVE to camp, I've never had a good night's sleep in a tent. This year they gave me an ENO doublenest and I slept in it a couple of weeks ago. Best night's sleep I've ever had in the woods. Since you'll be out West, you probably don't need the bug net but I have the matching bug net and tarp and it's a fantastic system.

    Even if you don't sleep in it, they are great to just hang out in. Ha! Get it? "Hang out" in? Thank you folks, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.
    Yeti ASR-5
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  21. #21
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    Spare pedals!
    (any kind will do - have them before you need them)

    On your person:
    Working Lights (and batteries!).
    Bug spray.

    If you are alone and get caught out, maybe a small ground cover that can be used as a shade canopy. You can mount it on just about anything with large clips, or a few ropes.
    I always bring an extra shirt/jacket, too.

    That, and your tools.
    I have basic tools, plus a bottom bracket cup wrench, freehub tool with a handle, a piece of chain to make a chain whip with a pair of slip-joint pliers, and proper lubricants. Those stay in the truck.

    Frisbee.
    Dice.
    Cards.
    Bottle opener.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  22. #22
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    Summer in the West is basically one big guaranteed fire ban these days. So prepare for camps without fires. Technology is catching up and there are great affordable LED lanterns along with traditional propane and large battery ones.

    And visit this site if you are not familiar https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    derailleur hanger
    +1.

  24. #24
    Log off and go ride!
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    Big ice chest, ice, and beer. Credit card for bikestuff.

    Anything more is just unnecessary fluff.
    So many trails... so little time...

  25. #25
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    Spare deraillurer hanger.

    Ear plugs for if you have to stay at a truck stop or loud place. I carry the thumbies and ear muffs. I hear nothing after putting both on.

    I like to carry two wheelsets for my 6" AM bike. One for AM/XC and one for DH with tires already mounted up. If you're just doing AM/XC you might want two sets of tires, one aggressive and one faster rolling.

    If you're car camping, know where you're sleeping ahead of time. It sucks to look around at night for a spot to crash. Walmart's are great for car camping but there are a few that don't allow it, so Google if the location does allow car camping or not before you crash there for the night.

    Do you play Disc Golf? It's the BEST road trip sport. Courses are all around and most are free. Good way to stretch the legs and have some fun. It's a good way to meet locals too. Lots of groups will let you join their group if you're solo

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