A guide for the uninitiated
First things first:
get your shit there in one piece. Baggage handlers are the devil. When they are not busy framing Saints like Chappelle Corby, they are breaking your trusty steed.
Get a bike bag: Any decent bag company will sell you one. Constantly borrowing bike bags is like borrowing condoms; it’s not going to make you any friends when it rips. Boxes are bulky and impossible to ride with, bags like the BO gear bike back are not only light and compact but will double as a pillow or sleeping bag when you get to that host’s house where you will be sleeping the next few nights.
get to the airport early and pack that shit right: Fork and dropout inserts. They are cheap and probably came in the box your bike came in. Your local bike shop will help you out. Dropouts get squashed and will no longer fit your wheel, those pretty carbon forks are going to smash and you are going to cry. Make sure you have no tools floating around your on board luggage; anything can be used as a weapon, don’t you know? Other common things broken in transit are brake callipers and pedals that have been left in cranks, secure it with tape or bubble wrap it.
An example of a quality bike bag, BO GEAR’s BIKE BAG
Step 3, Get there early.
If you are arriving a day or two before the tournament, get down to the courts. Help the locals set up barriers, if you have ever had to organise a tournament you know that every set of hands is valuable. Even if it is just doing a coffee or beer run, every little bit will help the weekend run smoother. Meeting people in a new city can be difficult, but people will always be more receptive to someone who has helped them out.
Not all courts possess the amazing topography and unparalleled surfacing of Musgrave park. Make sure you get a few practice games in to get used to the court size and surface. Pre-tournament pickup are some of the best games you will play. Just remember not to tire yourself out too much or give away any of your secret moves.
Get to know your local ‘man of vice’.
No matter where you go, there will always be someone who will go out of the way to show visitors a good time. Whether it be a good local beer, a vegan friendly restaurant or something more sinister, it is always good to know a local. Just be careful and don’t forget that in the morning when the tournament starts, they will be your nemesis once again. Don’t do or try anything the locals don’t, you might wake up with a case of food poisoning or an embarrassing itch from the city’s seedier establishments.
By Jamie Barber