Dear Niners! I plan on taking a 500-600km long ride soon (250km~ one way). Can anyone give me tips? Pre ride, On ride and Post ride? Do I stop every 2-3 hours? Maximum weight to put on the bike (plan on bringing a tent with me). 2-4 Aux lights for the night ride?
Pre ride is simple: check the condition of the important things such as tires, brakes, chain, well pretty much anything that will strand you in the middle of nowhere and take action to make sure they will go the distance. It helps if you can acquaint yourself with the bike enough to get out of trouble without using you cell phone (never depend on a signal in the boondocks). As to supplies: A good reliable LED flashlight with fresh batteries and at least one fresh change, Swiss army knife, WD40, tire plug kit and a bicycle tire pump. It may take some time to inflate a 180 tire that way, and any electric pump could do the job considerably faster, but it does no good if your battery is too discharged to start the engine when ready to continue your ride. Another trick is to bring along a six foot long air hose with a valve chuck on each end to "borrow" air from whatever car / truck is around (preferably with their permission).
On the personal front bring a well stocked first aid kit with as many individually sealed alcohol wipes as will fit in there, sewing kit with heavy thread, good rain suit, both cold and hot weather gloves, foam ear plugs in ziplock bags, a half gone roll of toilet paper in a ziplock, and super glue and rubber gloves. That last item takes some explaining. One use of super glue was in Vietnam, where field medics would put on a glove, apply a generous amount of super glue to it, press it on the wound and hold until it set. it sealed the wound and told the MASH doctors where the wound was. I have used it for that as well, and brother does it work!
On the ride: It strictly depends on the amenities available along your route. Long distances between fuel? Bring along enough to at least find some semblance of civilization. Under any circumstances bring along at least two liters of water and a smaller bottle to mix powdered Gatorade in. Also plenty of energy / granola bars to keep your body charged with enough energy to deal with the stresses of the trip. Past that the frequency of stops depends on your comfort envelope. It could be every thirty minutes, or iron man the whole distance with one fuel stop. Only you can determine that. Of course a trip of 250 KM is just a warmup for most dedicated touring riders.
Post ride: Prepare for the conditions at your intended destination. Since you are bringing a tent, it would be advisable to shop at a backpacking store (REI springs to mind) and get a proper sleeping bag, a thermarest pad, butane single burner stove, a pot, and freeze dried meals. Since they are intended for backpacking they all pack small and are very light.
Touring anecdote: My(then) wife took off on a tour that took her from Los Angeles to Maine, then began an AMA four corners tour, and while doing that she attended all of the AMA regional conventions for that year. Just under two months and 15,243 miles. Solo on a Yamaha 400 Seca with tank bag, soft bags, tent, sleeping bag, stuff sacks, lots of lash straps, and a stuffed tyrannosaurus named Tyrrano de Bergerac.
Me? The longest tour I've ever done was from L.A. to an AMA regional convention in Kalispell Montana, where it rained all the way there, then on to Olympia, Washington, then home. 3,194 miles in a week with my mascot: a small stuffed dinosaur named Quadzilla the Triceratopslet. On an '88 Honda Hawk with no windscreen. Had a great trip because I was ready for anything, and used it all. Good times.
Have a good trip unsullied by excessive drama.