The Ultimate Long Ride Checklist


by Matt Phippen, Scheels Expert

Going on a bicycling trip can be exciting and stressful all at the same time… Stressful due to the fact you are going to be on a bike for a set number of days and you want to make sure you have everything you would need.

Two Common Trip Types

1. Riding the entire route self-contained. This means everything you would need for the ride will be carried on the bike. This can be very stressful because you want to make sure you have everything, but the more you take the heavier your bike gets and climbing up those big hills you want to be as light as possible.

2. Riding the entire route supported. This mean you have a sag vehicle that will carry all your gear, follow you along the way and take care of any bike issues if you break down. These sag vehicles are great, because they take your gear from Point A to Point B making the ride stress free. It’s just you on the bike, no extra weight, enjoying the sites.

When you arrive at your location, your gear is there waiting for you.

Don’t Forget These…

Everyone is different when it comes to riding self-contained or supported. I’m riding the RAGBRAI Pre-Ride route across Iowa completely supported. I plan on packing one large waterproof duffle bag that will carry all my gear from town to town. Below, in no particular order are the items that I feel are a must to get me through 7 Days of a Supported RAGBRAI pre-ride.

1. Bicycle Helmet: The most important piece. You should never get on a bike without one.

2. Bike shoes: A good pair or biking shoes can make your riding experience more comfortable and efficient.

3. Biking socks: A pair of biking specific socks for every day you will be riding. An extra pair just in case they get wet. If you have the option to wash and dry clothes then you will not need as many.

4. Electronic Device Portable Charger: There is nothing worse than your battery dying. Keep all your electronic devices powered. You never know when and where you will need a charge. A lot of cycling apps (i.e. Strava, mapmyride drain cell phone batteries very quickly).

5. Sunscreen: Don’t leave home without it. A bad sun burn can ruin your experience. A spray sunscreen is easy to apply multiple times during the day without getting your hands all messy.

6. Soap to wash clothes: Make sure to put in a small secure container. There is nothing worse then laundry soap leaking all over your gear.

7. Bike Clothing: 7 Days = Up to 7 shorts/bibs and jerseys, unless you are going to wash and dry them every day.

8. Plastic Waterproof case: Anything small you want to keep dry, electronics, etc.

9. Zip Lock Case for Money, ID, credit cards, etc: Small, fits perfectly in your jersey pocket

10. Money: $10, $5 and (5) $1

11. Medicine/Emergency Kit: Aspirin, Tylenol, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Electrolytes for dehydration (There is nothing worse than aches and pains)

12. Daily toiletries: Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, etc.

13. Clothes for 7 days: Shorts, Tee Shirts, socks, underwear, shoes or sandals. Less if you have access to a washer and dryer.)

14. Chamois Butter: Any anti-chaffing lotion is recommended. Your backside will thank you.

15. Spare Tubes, tire levers, portable pump and tool: I recommend at least two tubes. More if your bike requires a funny size tube. It’s better to have extras and be safe not sorry.

16. Arm Warmers/Sun Sleeves: Perfect for cold mornings or days with a lot of sun.

17. Cycling Gloves: Perfect for wiping off sweat and preventing blisters.

18. Road ID: Bracelet with all your current information, in case of an accident.

19. Rain Jacket: Hopefully you’ll never need it but just in case.

20. Sunglasses: A must for every day. Multiple lens options for different weather (Overcast, Sunny, Cloudy, Rainy)

21. Bike Wipes: Perfect after a wet, muddy ride to keep your bike looking like new.


RAGRBRAI Major Stops Announced


It’s official. Scheels is a proud sponsor of RAGBRAI XLII for 2014. The exciting news was made public during the Route Announcement Party on January 26. Registration is already open for this year’s ride (July 20-26) so start your planning now! To get you ready up for this famous event in Iowa, check out the information below and visit RAGBRAI’s website. To get geared up with the latest technology, visit for your biking and camping needs.

What is RAGBRAI?

RAGBRAI XLII Sponsored by Scheels

RAGBRAI, The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is the oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world and has long become an Iowa tradition. This year the ride is held on July 20-26 for its 42nd year.

It started in 1973 as a six-day ride across the state of Iowa by two Des Moines Register columnists who invited a few friends along. Since then it has grown to a rolling celebration attracting participants from all 50 states and many foreign countries. It has covered thousands of miles through the years and hundreds of thousands of riders have hopped in the saddle to pedal part of those miles.

RAGBRAI is a bicycle ride, not a race, and is planned and coordinated by The Des Moines Register. Riders who participate in RAGBRAI understand that they do so at their own risk.

The RAGBRAI route averages 468 miles equaling about 67 miles per day and is not necessarily flat. It begins somewhere along Iowa’s western border on the Missouri River and ends along the eastern border on the Mississippi River. The route changes from each year and is made public during the Route Announcement Party. Eight Iowa communities along the RAGBRAI route serve as “host” communities for overnight stays. The people of Iowa truly make RAGBRAI the special event that it is by opening up their towns and communities to participants.

Route Announced

RAGBRAI Route Announcement

The RAGBRAI route is announced each year during the Route Announcement Party in January. This year’s route celebrates smaller communities in northern Iowa. Along the way, riders will stop overnight in Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly and Independence.

RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said the northern route goes back to RAGBRAI’s small-town roots after 2013 stops in Council Bluffs and Des Moines and a 2012 visit to Cedar Rapids.

“There are no massive towns,” Juskiewicz said. “We’re getting back to smaller communities, which are the perfect size for RAGBRAI.”

Just one overnight town has a population over 10,000 — Mason City, which has only seen RAGBRAI come through once, 29 years ago. For those who remember the last time the ride rolled through town, in 1985, Mason City may look a bit different. “They’ve done a ton of downtown development, and they’re anxious to show it off,” Juskiewicz said.

The last stop, Guttenberg, is also the smallest, at 2.12 square miles and 1,919 residents. This is Guttenberg’s fifth time wrapping up RAGBRAI on the banks of the Mississippi.

Watch the highlights from the announcement party HERE.

Jerseys in Scheels Stores

Scheels stores in Iowa are getting in their shipment of exclusive RAGBRAI jerseys. They will soon be available for purchase online as well to ship anywhere across the United States (check back for updates soon).

RAGBRAI Jerseys in Scheels Iowa stores. Also available online at

Stay Connected!

Check back often for the latest updates of store events and exciting announcements related to RAGBRAI as we near closer to the ride of a lifetime.

Source: RAGBRAI’s website


Ask Scheels Experts: Biking



Scheels Facebook followers were recently asked to share their bike questions with us. Those questions were forwarded to Scheels bike experts Aaron Romaine (Moorhead, MN) and Jenn Bast (Eau Claire, WI), whose responses can be found below. We hope these will assist you as you prepare for a summer on the roads and trails.


Is there a rule for seat height?

Bast: Yes. Typically, you want a big enough frame size where the seat post is up 2-4 inches from the frame of the bike allowing a slight bend in your knee. This may also vary depending on the style of biking you are doing (mountain biking vs. casual riding).

Romaine: There are several formulas on the internet that can help you calculate what your seat height should be and several “rules of thumb” that can be applied to attain the correct seat height. What it really boils down to is simply make the bike as comfortable as possible and gain the most out of your bike with little effort.  When riding your bike you should really have a knee bend of approximately 10 degrees when the bottom of your pedal is perpendicular to the ground (meaning your leg is almost straight). This can seem a little tall for most people because you can no longer touch the ground with the flats of your foot, but only with your tiptoes while on your bike seat. You can get to this height by simply raising the seat until it’s up to your hip bone.  This should get you to the general height needed to get to the 10-degree rule. To determine if your seat is too high, simply pay attention to what your hips are doing while riding your bike. If you feel your hips are going up and down, or if it feels as though you’re “rocking “ from side to side, then your seat’s probably too high.

Proper seat height ensures a couple of things; one is an efficient pedal stroke. I look at it like this, pedaling with a poor pedal stroke is like walking down the block with a 50lb bag of dog food. You can walk the same distance without the dog food, so why would you choose to do so. The other — and more important — reason is the damage you could cause to your knee. If your seat is too low you can experience pain in the front part of your knee, if the seat is too high, then the back part can cause discomfort.

The best advice I can give is to get your seat height as close to the 10-degree rule as possible. Put your wrench in your pocket and go for a ride and let your body tell you what feels right. After a couple of “tweaks” with the wrench you’ll be on the road in comfort!

Watch a helpful how-to video on adjusting your bike seat.


What all should be done to a road bike taken in for a spring tune up?

Bast: In order of what I usually do: Clean the frame and get all the junk off your bike that may be left from fall, check the break system and make sure all pads are clean and working properly, clean and run through your drivetrain to ensure your bike is shifting properly, and use a de-greaser on your chain followed by the right lubricant (depending on weather). The last thing I check is tire pressure. I usually put new tubes on both tires just to be safe going into riding season.

Romaine: I generally recommend a performance tune-up to customers. This allows the service technician to clean and inspect the drivetrain and thoroughly go through the bike. Since a road bike generally takes on a lot of miles, a chain can easily become worn and stretched out. Depending on the intensity of riding the cyclist is doing, and how they shift their bike, a standard road chain can wear anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 miles. If a worn chain is left unattended, it could start wearing out the rear cogset and chain rings, costing the customer a lot of money. I also thoroughly inspect the tires, then the cables, and so on. I would recommend a major overhaul once every two years, depending on the conditions the rider experiences during the riding season and the amount of miles the customer is putting on their bike. Since a majority of mid- to high-end road bikes come standard with sealed bearing systems, they generally don’t need to be completely taken down to the frame on a yearly basis.


What are some of the most common repairs you have come through the store?

Romaine: The most common repair I have on a day-to-day basis is your standard flat tire. My shop has changing flats down to such a tee that we can change a flat tire in less than three minutes! I would say a distant second would be a standard shifting adjustment.


Did you find this article helpful? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below.


What Makes a Good Biker

Bryan Brinkman, Bike ExpertTo be a top road and mountain biker requires physical toughness and mental endurance—and, if you’re like Scheels Biking Expert Bryan Brinkman, he’ll tell you a little physiological aptitude doesn’t hurt either.

“I’m fairly tall, which gives me a lot of leverage, and I can produce a lot of power on the bike, which helps,” he said. “It also hinders me, because I carry more weight . . . but I hold my own pretty well.”

True, Brinkman’s been blessed physically, but sometimes it’s the psychological side that gets to long-distance riders. Just like marathon runners, the biker’s 100-mile version brings out the best and the worst in athletes.

“I think I’m able to endure a lot of just pain and suffering—maybe not severe pain, but that non-stop, agonizing, riding pain,” said Brinkman. “I know I’m dehydrated, I know my (body) is hurting, I know my feet are killing me, I know the wind is blowing and the sun is hot. But I keep on going, and when I get it done, I just I relish in the fact that I did it.”

Have you ever had that feeling? The self-satisfaction of a job-well-done that no one can ever take away from you? Share with us below your sport of choice, and how Scheels helped outfit you to push it to the limit.


Behind the Counter: Service Shop

Did you know Scheels Service Shop offers more than 30 services ranging from bike tune ups to baseball glove lacing? Join Scheels Service Tech Curt Maki from Fargo Scheels for a behind the scenes look at the Scheels Service Shop.

Have a question for our service shop? Let us know in a comment below!