The bike you ride

Cino Heroica riders MUST be on a heroic bike.  We are no longer grandfathering in the use of non-heroic bikes (as we did in 2013).   If you have any questions about whether you bike can qualify email Ron at Glacier Cyclery rb(AT) or call Glacier Cyclery at (406) 862-6446.

If you need to know, we’ve never turned away a non-Heroic bike rider.  But those riders may be subject to some recognition of their shame.  Just a warning.

What is a Heroic bike? Your bike must have at least three of the following characteristics to be considered Heroic:

  • Steel frame
  • A frame made in 1987 or earlier
  • Non-indexed shifting
  • Old style clip pedals and straps
  • Single speed
  • Downtube shift levers
  • Tubular tires
  • Fixed gear
  • No braze-ons for cables, etc. All clamps

Things that could disqualify you from being heroic, even if you have three of the above

  • suspension forks
  • carbon frame
  • clipless pedals (maybe)
  • mountain bike…

So, a modern steel bike with clip pedals and non-indexed shifting would work.

Older steel framed racing bikes with European pedigrees encouraged. Cloth handlebar tape, Campy Record, non-anodized polished aluminum parts, leather saddles, tubular tires, frame pumps, handlebar mounted waterbottles are all coveted.

The last few years there have been a fair number of riders taking their suffering to a new level with single speeds, including fixed-gear machines. Think track bikes and “path racers”. And for the truly tortured, there are those individuals showing up with Schwinn Varsity’s or Suburbans, reliving the days of pretending they were Eddy Merckx as they raced to their next college class.

For garb, we like to see wool clothing, leather shoes, hairnet helmets and white socks of course.

In past years, mountain bikes or modern cyclo-cross bikes were allowed.  As you can see, we are progressively changing that.

If you are uncertain whether your bike qualifies as “Cino”, please contact us.

Support for your ride

The sag vehicles will be carrying tools, and even the odd spare wheels and tires. But they won’t be around when you need them. Carry spares, a pump and offer to get a glass of wine at lunch for your friends so they will lend you their tubes when yours are all shot.

Thoughts on tires and gearing

Our brains equate dirt with mountain bikes, so the idea of riding a road bike over 50 miles of dirt road is a novelty for many. Riding unpaved roads on a road bike does require some caution and extra bike handling, especially on loose gravel. And you can’t slam into large rocks like you can on a suspended mountain bike. But the fact is, dirt used to be the norm, and mountain bikes are a recent invention.

For tires, we recommend a minimum of 25mm width. 28mm or 32mm are even better if your frame can handle the size. Panaracer Paselas are a popular choice and a great combo of price, light weight, grippy tread pattern, and durability.

If you ride tubulars (go heros!), look for fatter Roubaix styles 25mm or better. If you can afford it, get good tubulars, like Veloflex, Vittoria Pave’s, Tufo, or FMB’s. This site is probably the best source for tubulars online: $25 tubulars will work, but you will need to ride slower and bring lots of spares. We’ve had riders go through 3 or more of the cheap ones, and have zero flats over several years on the better ones.

There is a decent amount of up and down on the first day, and one good sustained climb on the second. The strongest riders can do the whole thing on single speeds running 42×16 gearing, fixed. These are the same guys that eat old, greasy freewheel cogs as snacks. Other options:

  • Nut cases that go fixed: Sub 70 inches, like a 42×17
  • strong riders, your 42×26 or 42×23 gearing that was standard with your old Campy equipped bike works
  • Single speeds for the mere mortals – don’t go fixed, and run a 42×17 or 42×18 so you can coast downhill. This is still a tall gear for the second day’s climb. Perhaps a flip-flop and change to a lower gear just for the climb? Or ride in street shoes, walk the steeper sections and enjoy the forest.
  • Not so strong: Triple chainrings, 32 tooth freewheels will be welcome at one time or another.
  • Internal gear: 3-speed Sturmey Archer hubs were used almost 100 years ago in the Tour, and they were a standard on English Pathracers from the 30’s to the 50’s, so they are definitely Cino if put on the appropriate style bike.