Audax newbie - Any advice?

V8rider
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Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby V8rider » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:00 am

Gday. Just wondering if anyone had any advice for an audax newbie. I've been thinking of joining for a while, and am about to pull the trigger. I've done a few 150k+ rides and a couple of 200+ including Fitz's Epic last year, and am looking to log a few more with my goal for this year of banging out 300+. I've read the stuff on the audax site, and it all makes sense, but wouldn't mind some advice. Especially when it comes to lights and reflectives, advice on what's a good set up would be appreciated rather than embark on a costly trial and error type process.

robHflyte
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby robHflyte » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:19 am

so many topics to cover.

For lights I'm inclined to recommend a hub dynamo and a B&M light. The Luxos U delivers plenty of light on the ground and has the advantage of a USB point so you can keep your Garmin full of juice. I tend to ride with charger lead in during the day and then when night falls unplug the Garmin so all power is available for lights.
Secondary light, a normal bike spot-light will do, Ayups are good for that.
An Audax reflective vest, I think they are $6, just get one of those.
Don't forget your bike reflector.

ausrandoman
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby ausrandoman » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:10 pm

For lights, I have used a dyno hub, B&M headlights, Cygolite Expilions, AyUp lights in various combinations. I have done two 1200 km rides with a pair of Expilions on the bike and an Ayup on my helmet. On the lowest power setting, I get enough light and the batteries are good for about 9 hours. I expect to keep using this combination for a long time.

You will see a huge range of lighting equipment on Audax rides. All of them involve some compromise of price/performance/reliability. Most of them work well enough.

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cameronp
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby cameronp » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:28 pm

Sounds like you've got the fitness you need for an Audax ride at least, which is the first step.

Entering a ride: You don't need to be a member to ride an Audax, although there's a $10 surcharge if you're not. Some of the larger rides have online entry, but it's more common to enter by emailing the organiser with a filled-out entry form (available from the Audax web site) and bringing your cash on the day.

Navigation: I've been uploading the routes onto my Garmin and using that with great success. As a back up, I also have a secondary bike computer (cheapest wired wheel-magnet one I could find) and carry a printed copy of the route sheet.

Brevet cards: These are pretty straightforward. Just ask someone at a cafe at the relevant checkpoints to fill out the time and initial it. Then return it to the organiser at the end of the ride.

Lighting: I'm using a dynamo and B&M IQ Cyo Premium - there's a thread about my set-up here. The shaped beam is amazing, with a fancy reflector making the road closer to you dimmer and the road further away brighter than a typical bike light. i.e. pretty much a constant-brightness cone of light extending about 30 metres ahead of you. There's a battery-powered version with the same beam called the IXON IQ Premium. I haven't used it, but I think that would be my recommendation for Audax lighting on a budget. Despite the dynamo-heavy replies so far in this thread, most people I've seen out on Audaxes are just using standard battery lights.

I've also used a Cygolite Expilion, which I find not quite good enough on its low setting for me to ride confidently alone at night, although it does last for ages. Another option that gets good reviews online is the Fenix BC30 - when you add in the cost of an extra set of batteries, it ends up costing about the same as a dynamo set-up, though.

For reflectives, I just use a cheap Bunnings hi viz vest. My rear dynamo light has a built-in reflector. If your light doesn't, you'll need to get a red reflector from a bike shop (they'll probably give you one for free). The Audax membership pack also includes a large, high-quality rear reflector.

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bigfriendlyvegan
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:35 pm

On a lighting note, I use battery ones at the moment. My main front light uses an 18650 battery and I carry a spare for that, which will give me lots of hours of light, but my backup light uses AAA batteries because I can grab them from a servo if I need them. Rear lights are one usb rechargeable light and one AAA powered light.

robHflyte
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby robHflyte » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:37 pm

big thumbs up for the battery Ixon IQ speed premium lights. They throw the light where you need it and on low they good for most speeds, up high for descending at speed. If you don't want to go dynamo these are my next choice.

V8rider
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby V8rider » Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:41 am

Thanks for the advice guys. I hadn't really thought of going the dynamo route, and I guess I'm looking to start at the lower end of the audax spectrum. I might just jump in to some of the shorter rides to get the feel of it. The lighting I currently have would be sufficient for these rides.
The advice has got me thinking that I might want to have a specific bike built up for audax, and I have a bike in the stable which would be good for it. Are you guys running specific bikes? or is that overkill? The thought of dynamos and relectors on my aero bike makes my skin crawl!

Any other tips or advice (especially for stuff other than lights) would be appreciated.

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bigfriendlyvegan
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:58 am

V8rider wrote:Thanks for the advice guys. I hadn't really thought of going the dynamo route, and I guess I'm looking to start at the lower end of the audax spectrum. I might just jump in to some of the shorter rides to get the feel of it. The lighting I currently have would be sufficient for these rides.
The advice has got me thinking that I might want to have a specific bike built up for audax, and I have a bike in the stable which would be good for it. Are you guys running specific bikes? or is that overkill? The thought of dynamos and relectors on my aero bike makes my skin crawl!

Any other tips or advice (especially for stuff other than lights) would be appreciated.


Get the lights and reflective stuff. Put it on your bike. Ride your bike. A 200km ride will be about 8 hours in the saddle with more time eating, drinking coffee, fixing flats, fixing flats, fixing flats, fixing flats, and fixing flats. Budget 12 hours. For winter rides, you'll start and end in bad light. For summer rides, you'll start and finish in the sunshine.

Just ride.

When you've done a few rides, have a think about a more dedicated bike, but even then it's not absolutely necessary. You're only typically going to be doing 300km a day for most longer rides (though there are obviously exceptions).

Just ride. Stop thinking.

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cameronp
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby cameronp » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:31 am

V8rider wrote:The advice has got me thinking that I might want to have a specific bike built up for audax, and I have a bike in the stable which would be good for it. Are you guys running specific bikes? or is that overkill? The thought of dynamos and relectors on my aero bike makes my skin crawl!


Sounds overkill to me. I just have the one road bike. Most people on these rides are just on standard endurance roadies, Roubaix/Synapse/etc. Mine permanently looks a little Audax-y now with dynamo lights and a giant saddle bag, but realistically you're probably not going to be doing a long ride more than once a month, so it's not a big deal to only put lights/reflectors on the bike when you need them.

For the aesthetics, well, I came to road riding via commuting and then touring. To my eyes, a bike set up for unsupported, long-distance riding looks good!

V8rider
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby V8rider » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:55 am

Thanks BFV/Cameron, just doing a brain dump while procrastinating at work and can't be riding!
I guess I was feeling like I'd already done the just ride part. For instance I rode 220km a few weeks a go, it was about 9 hours in the saddle 10.5 hours all up. That was solo, and I was pretty happy with that.
If just doing your own thing and working it out as you go is the best way to learn, I'm ok with that. 300+ seemed like a bit of a step up though, I guess I'll give it a crack and report back!
Only reason I ask about a dedicated bike, is I have something that's probably more suited to this than my "usual" roadie (Merida Reacto), although I did ride the reacto on the ride above and was pretty comfortable.

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HappyHumber
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby HappyHumber » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:08 pm

Don't go too stupid about thinking about spending money. Most of my club Ks have been done on a 30 year old Miyata, originally marketed as a triathlon bike back in 1985.

As stated by others; your fitness is there. I would just think more about modest improvements in self-sufficiency in the event of less supported or more isolated rides by yourself.

Look at some of less aero luggage options for the style of your existing bike. Bigger saddle bags, post mounted beam pannier racks for modest weight capacity (both of which are definitely uncool amongst the cognoscenti latte set). Think places to stow a jacket/arm warmers/booties/space blanket. Energy food for the route. chamois cream sachets, a few emergency ibruprofen, suncream etc etc.

My experience admittedly is limited to rides in WA and only upto 400km, so I don't know how the Fitz's Epic compares in terms of volunteer support and route facilities.

Your kit for any one ride will take into consideration some research of the route, like likely open shops on the way, weather, distance between water etc. Some of the bigger rides will allow for a drop bag which will allow for a change of kit. It's the little things that can make a helluva psychlogical edge in the weary stages and low points.



cameronp wrote:For the aesthetics, well, I came to road riding via commuting and then touring. To my eyes, a bike set up for unsupported, long-distance riding looks good!


Amen. Most weekend warriors around here think my bike has several nasty tumours.
- Kym
Infrequently reading & contributing these days. Still reachable by PM (email alerts) - dec 2016

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biker jk
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby biker jk » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:24 pm

My advice will stick to issues not covered by others. While it's safer to ride with others make sure you don't try to stick with much stronger riders and blow up. Of course you need to be self sufficient then with regard to navigation/mechanicals. While I enjoy riding with others I have also done a 400 mostly on my own and found that great as well.

V8rider
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby V8rider » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:00 am

So I went and took BFV's advice and knocked over my goal of a 300km ride (not Audax, I just went and rode). A few things I learnt. Lights - The ones I had were adequate, just, a month ago with less light they would have been marginal. I'm going to think on this, as I'm keen to do the Newcastle Overnight ride and would want it sorted by then.
Route - I'll study this harder, especially the back part of the ride so I know what's coming when. It's a bit demoralizing when you hit a tough climb you didn't know existed. Roads - rough country roads are super rough after you've done a couple of hundred kms. 28's are probably a decent option, or a more compliant ride, so yeah, I'm still thinking of modifying a spare bike (over time) to use as my spend a day riding and eating cake bike!
Sunscreen - use more, more often, then use even more!
I'm sure there's some other stuff also, but it was a good day out, and it won't be my last.

robHflyte
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby robHflyte » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:11 am

you will learn something new nearly every ride, you'll learn that stuff faster riding and chatting with other riders. 300km just for trying stuff out, kudos

ausrandoman
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby ausrandoman » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:58 pm

Bravo, V8rider! You are further down the road (pun intended) than most.
Nobody younger than <del>27</del> 28 has experienced a month cooler than the 20th century average.

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bigfriendlyvegan
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:11 pm

V8rider wrote:So I went and took BFV's advice


More people should do this.

Well done on the 300! I'm trying to find a date when I can do this as well. If I can't drag some poor suckers along with me, I'll go it alone. You've inspired me.

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thecaptn
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby thecaptn » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:51 pm

Audax cool 101:

If you want to be Audax chic, firstly don't wash your bike for at least 6 months prior to any major event then stick some random coloured fluro tape to your helmet and dropouts followed by a smattering of red 2 1/2" reflectors anywhere within 23" radius of your saddle bag and not less than 2 but no more than 4 zip ties to your helmet regardless of season. Finally if you can stump up for a non matching wheelset and a bar/helmet mirror you achieve Audax cool-defcon level 1 8) 8) 8)

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simonn
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Re: Audax newbie - Any advice?

Postby simonn » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:07 am

For rear lights, I'd go (well, I do) a Radbot 1000 and a Fiberflare. Radbot 1000 because it has a built in reflector and the fibreflare because there are loads of mounting options. Maybe even go three rear lights on 300+ because you do not want to get caught in deepest darkest woop woop at night by yourself without lighting. Use AAAs rather than USB because it is easy to carry spares or buy during the ride.

Front lights, for 200 and less (i.e. barely any time in the dark) ayups and a blinky. For 300+ you want a decent main and, IMHO, a decent spare too. I have two sets of Ayups (well, one is my wife's from when she commuted before we had kids). Until you start thinking about multi day rides where there might not be anywhere to charge batteries then I wouldn't bother about dynamos (YMMV of course). Even then 3-4 epic ayup batteries should see you through a 1200 and would be cheaper (and offer more redundancy) than a dynamo setup (when I last calculated it). I was all set to go dynamo and then realized I had a kid and I barely get out to ride as it is, let alone for a days at time :cry:

FWIW, ayups are pricey, but they are tough as. I've had mine since 2008 for around, I guess, of 50,000km of commuting and riding through numerous stacks and storms. Replaced the batteries once. I need to do a bodge repair on one of the heads every now and then (make a spring more springy with a micro screwdriver), but it works.

Get yourself an external USB battery to charge your GPS and phone too.

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