Category Archives: Bikes

Shorter Tent Poles

The tent poles for my Kelty Gunnison fold into 24-30 inch bundles.  This is no problem for biking and fitting them into the rear pocket of the panniers, but I can see them being too bulky for backpacking.

Does anyone make shorter poles that would collapse into a 15-18 inch bundle?  I’ve seen one site, but they also use super lite materials so the price ends up being more than the tent.  I’m more interested in “packability” than weight.

Ride Report: 05.01.11

Busy, rainy weekend.  Cabin fever set in Sunday evening, and there was a short break in the clouds.  It started as a lap around the neighborhood just to stretch my legs, and ended up being a short ride around the area.

I discovered that the guarantee for a slow, leisurely ride is to wear street clothes.  Bike gear is great and comfortable, but it makes positively no sense to ride fast wearing cordoroy pants and a heavy wool shirt.  Cruising along on the LHT, checking out the effects of the latest rain storm, in a mild drizzle, is good enough.

Distance: 7.1 miles  2011: 272.2

I’m Ready!

The Swift panniers showed up.  Most beautious and lots and lots of room.  The bedroom (bag and pad) take up the right, and the kitchen takes up about half the left, leaving plenty of room for food and clothes.  Awesome.  That’s the tent on the front rack, and all of the other doo-dads tucked in the various pockets.

Took a very short test ride (was too tired from the ride this morning), and it felt great.  They latch on to the rack perfectly, and the low position leaves plenty of room for the saddlebag.

Can you say S24O?

X Wrenchin’

I spent about two hours last night working on the X bike.  Both sons have outgrown it, I’ve run out of things to currently tinker with on the LHT, and it bothers me to see the bike sitting.

My thoughts are to start with the parts bin and put as much of a lighter weight fast tourer together as I can.  I use the term fast tourer because it currently looks like a brevet bike, but I doubt it will ever see one.  No racks, but drop bars, fenders, and a Carradice Barley.

I’m going to try the Bontrager drop bars off of the Trucker, thinking that the shorter top tube on this bike might make the setup more comfortable than when it was on the LHT.  If it doesn’t work out, then I might ultimately look for some upright bars like a pair of On One Marys.  But that would also mean new levers and shifters, so I’m not in a great hurry.

Everything is pretty much together, but I need to tape up the bars; and I want to swap over the Grip King pedals for testing.  After using them for so long, the smaller Dimension platforms seem odd.

It will be interesting to see how it works out, given my obsession with an upright position now.  I’m also curious about running narrower tires (32’s) given how it seems if anything, the local roads are getting worse.  In the words of that great sage…We’ll see.

Pics to follow.

Ride Report: 04.03.11

For some unknown reason I wasn’t feeling that great on Saturday – just kind of achey and stiff, even though I hadn’t worked out in any way since Monday.  Whatever it was it got out of my system by Sunday evening, so a ride out to Grantham was in order.

It was a nice evening, but you could tell that rain was moving in – the air had that feel to it and the cloud cover was getting thicker.  Still, it held off until I was five miles from home, and then it wasn’t too heavy.

As I was going through an older village, I spotted a sign on an old house with the peoples’ last name and “1637.”  It’s common for some of the older homes to have a date on them around here.  It was only a half mile later that I had a “wait a minute” moment; and then realized that 1637 was the address.  Had it been 1837 I probably wouldn’t have noticed.

This weekend was the opening day for trout season, so there were plenty of fly fishermen out and about; and I rode past a herd of nine deer that were pretty skittish, but still let me go by pretty darn close while they watched every pedal stroke.

‘Got home just after dark with a mild rain.  Still…great night for a ride.

Distance: 23.6 miles  2011: 154.7

Ride Report: 03.28.11

I remember when I was competing with rowing how I would often wait on a breezy day to right before dusk.  As soon as the sun goes down and the air starts to cool, the wind also fades.  That would smooth out the water and make training conditions ideal.  It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that most races were held under crappy conditions, and it made sense to start training under crappy conditions.

Still, yesterday was chilly and breezy, and my choices were to do an intense interval workout on the rowing machine in the basement; or to see if the wind would subside and get out on the bike.  Sure enough, watching the stand of evergreen trees across the street, the wind let up at 7:30.

I did a loop out to Bowmansdale, and pushed it a bit.  There was more traffic than usual, but only one car felt the need to pass me on the crest of a hill.  Shame on him, because he had to get quite a fright from the on-coming truck.

The air was brisk, but a medium weight wool shirt under my jacket, and my merino balaclava did the trick.  I also used a new pair of Wolverine watershed leather slip on camp shoes over a pair of thick wool socks; which seemed to work fine as the temps approached freezing.  I had specifically bought the shoes on clearance for biking, but also found them handy around the house when taking out trash or bringing in a load of firewood.  They have an aggressive tread and I sized them big for the thick socks.  This is the first I had tested them in colder weather and it looks good.

Other than that, it was a good night for a ride!

Distance: 18.3 miles  2011: 131.1

Ride Report: 03.19.11

Saturday was pretty breezy, and I had a ton of stuff to get done around the house, but I finally managed to get out for a short ride. 

I stopped halfway to shoot some pictures and make a saddle adjustment.  It’s hard to tell whether I had not noticed it before, or whether its because of my recent weight loss that I sensed I was riding on the forward edge of the saddle, rather than the flat part.  It felt better once I lowered the nose slightly, but I need a longer ride or two, and some softening up (the saddle, not my butt), before I can reach any conclusions.

Distance: 8 miles  2011: 96