Choosing the Right Bike

  • Whichever bike you choose you will need to have a rack mounted to it to carry all your gear!
  • Saddlebags: nothing fancy is needed. You can get a cheap one from Walmart. Waterproof is nice but if it isn't you can pack your stuff in garbage bags inside the saddle bags. Problem solved.
  • Tires: the wider the tires, the better. Google "touring tires". They don't need to be expensive, previous riders have bought tires for $13 each.
  • Saddle Seat: whatever is comfortable for you. The only way to find out is go on long distant test rides and see how your saddle feels at the end.

There are as many different styles of bikes as there are riders. Bike for Kam participants have rode road bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids.  Since you will be spending many, many hours in the saddle, it’s very important that you choose a bike that you will be comfortable on. Two of the most important things you need to do are having your bike checked by a qualified bike mechanic and getting it properly fit for you by a bike fit professional.

When you take your bike to a mechanic, they should inspect the frame and all the parts to ensure they are in good working order. Be sure to tell them you are biking 500+ miles.

If you’re shopping for a new bike, we recommend trying as many different brands and models as possible so that you get a really good feel for the differences in frame size and geometry, the different types of gearing systems, and the different frame materials.  Be sure to ask a lot of questions when you visit the bike shops. Buy your bike from a shop where you like the people who work there and where you feel comfortable asking questions. This will make a difference down the road when you return to the store for tune-ups to buy other accessories or if you simply have more questions about bikes! Remember, this is a ride, not a race, and comfort should be the main priority when considering what style bicycle is right for you. 

Road bikes tend to be favored by people who prefer the lighter weight, narrow tires, and aerodynamic body posture.  The "drop" style handlebars on road bikes offer a variety of hand positions so you can move your hands around and avoid staying being in one position for hours on end.  

Fixed Gear. One increasing popular style with bike commuters and cycling enthusiasts is the “Fixie,” or single speed bike.  This bike comes in a wide range of styles and only has ONE gear.  The “Fixie” does not have a “free wheel” and the rider cannot coast.  Speed is controlled by the pedaling speed of the rider.  Most fixed gear bikes to not have a brake installed and rely only on the rider’s control of pedal speed to stop. The single speed variety will also have only one gear, but will have a “free wheel,” meaning the rider has the capability to stop pedaling and coast. Single speed bikes will almost always have at least one brake installed.  When considering a “Fixie” or single speed bike, keep in mind that there is ONLY ONE gear and the rider will have to be able to climb hills in just that one gear.  This option is certainly not for those who struggle to climb hills.  NOTE: For safety reasons, regardless of style, ALL bikes ridden on Bike for Kam are REQUIRED to have at least one brake installed.  If you plan to ride your Fixie or single speed bike on the event, please have a brake installed before May 28th, 2016.