Wednesday, March 17, 2010

what a real overloaded bike looks like

A friend sent this photo of a touring cyclist. As the old saying goes "a picture speaks a thousand words".

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Two Weeks and Counting

Just two more Saturdays of work. Does it seem like I am counting??
Fat wet snow flakes this week gave the morning ride a little post holiday flavor.
How can a little snow or a cold hard rain dampen your day when you know a tour is just weeks away.
This is a great time to road test all of your wet weather gear that you are hauling along on your trip. Does your rain jacket have enough vents to keep you from soaking from the inside out? Is it long enough in the back, going below the seat when you are sitting so the rain doesn’t pool on you seat.

We all love riding with sparkling new gear but beware the thought of not getting it dirty until the trip can back fire. Just yesterday found out that my new water resistant LED tail light didn’t like the rain. When it was first bought some weeks ago it was tossed in the pile of going on tour gear but being held back with “ don’t use until trip mind set." A change of mind (happens often in my world) got it placed on the bike for a few rides. A cold hard rain, a fast downhill run then there was no light. Water had snuck in and caused it to fail. More then glad that it was given a actual hard test run.
It was fully warranted so replacing it wasn’t a problem. So now testing its brother to see if it is an design issue or just a flaw with the original one.

The rain cover on the new handlebar basket is having an issue with the brake cables. Could send them both to counseling if that would help but really think that it is just something that needs to be adapted before the next heavy rain.

348 hours, not that I am counting…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pile of Stuff

Hard to believe that in less then 17 days I will be riding in another country under the Mediterranean sun. Today is about what I am taking, (with photographs).

I have transferred my Aero bars to my touring rig. As I have written about these in the past I shall just say that after ten years of use I would never tour without them. My new HD video camera now mounts right there on the front of the aero bars giving the camera a great height to record from. Did a test ride yesterday recording the commute to work. There shall be some spectacular Greek videos coming your way before no no wait for it seventeen days.

Clothing as you can see from the photographs is packed in several one gallon zip lock bags. Many a good reason for this.
First off it packs smaller. You can sit on the bags then seal them creating a package with most of the air gone.
Second is being able to see and choose items without having to touch them with dirty hands. Great for heading to the shower after one of those days where the chain needs repair and the dirt from the road just caked on everything.
Last is being able to have your sweat filled jersey properly sealed away from making all of your clean gear smell like a 8th grade locker room.

There is the Kelly Kettle next to my french press coffee maker.
A small tool kit, a few extra nuts and bolts,a spare clip in, tire patch kit, all in one tool, three zip ties

Sleeping bag with tent & footprint all in one compression sack.
Hint: load the sack with your sleeping back first then the tent. This way you set up the tent before having to pull the bag out exposing it to possible bad weather,dirt or what not.

Sleeping pad & tripod in one sack

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Once again the weight of reality

Once again the weight of reality outweighs the dreams of planning.
As I head into the final weeks before departure I have accumulated a nice pile of gear that was purchased just for this trip. Each Item having just one purpose “to make my upcoming tour more enjoyable”. Simple light words used to justify purchases of a new bike, tent, clothing, two different bike bags along with a host of assorted small gear.
Here I was with my four Panniers and my dream pile of gear that even with careful packing was more then I could fit in my panniers. Signally they were attached to the bike. What’s the joke about failing off a cliff? It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the bottom. So it’s not the weight on one panniers it’s the sudden realization that combined your bike weighs more than a Humvie. Ouch!!!
I knew I was going pare some weight but the items that I ended up with in the no go pile were staring me with big fat puppy dog eyes pleading for a chance to go to Greece.
New padded camera bag – NO GO – replaced with Camera Armor
New spacious tent – NO GO – replaced with old friend and past touring warrior 1 person tent
New titanium pot & pan set – NO GO – Not replaced more bulk issue then weight.
Clothing - NO GO – Yes in the team spirit of CYCLE NU I will be traveling (had you going there) What was once two panniers worth of clothing now fits into one.
So I reduced the size of my load from four full panniers by half and knocked out over 10# of weight.