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PACIFIC COAST BICYCLE TOUR UPDATE
Excuse my lack of updates this past week. I’ve been running around with my head chopped off making sure I’ve got all of the loose ends tied up for my upcoming Pacific Coast Bike Tour, as well as giving away a free two-night stay at Courtyard by Marriott, replying to an endless inbox of emails, and planning for my trip to Miami and Key West in July.
I also made one last trip to REI, and I’ve been nursing my big toe due to an extremely painful ingrown toenail. OUCH! Talk about horrible timing on that last one!
OUR TOURING BICYCLES
Firstly, I’d like to introduce you to our cheap touring bicycles that are just about as old as us.
We’re fully aware that these bicycles of ours are not the best touring bikes on the planet, but we’re hoping they’ll be able to conquer the 1,700 + mile trip we’ve got ahead of us.
1985 TREK 520
Meet Ochocinco, my 1985 Trek 520 touring bicycle. I picked up this gem off of free agency back in January and he’s been on the sidelines ever since. Ochocinco is a veteran in the touring game and one of the most highly recommended touring bikes around. He’s got a strong, solid frame and he’s built to last. At least, I hope so!
Ocho might not be the fastest bike on the road but he should have no problem getting me to my final destination with his reliability, his street smarts, and his overall looks.
In all seriousness, I found this touring bike after doing a quick search on Craigslist. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first spotted this classified. The guy was the second owner and when he had purchased it from the first owner, it had been garaged and hardly ever ridden.
I was more than happy to take this bicycle off the sellers hands. He had never toured on it and only took it on quick trips to the liquor store to pick up beers. Score!
1986 Fuji Palisade
My bike tour partner, Will, decided he wanted to go the same route as me and get a vintage touring bicycle for the trip. He was on the hunt for an old bike for the same reasons I was. Firstly, to add some character to the trip and secondly for the affordability factor.
Will also had success finding a touring bike on Craigslist. He ended up picking up this 1986 Fuji Palisade for a cool $200. Not too bad if you ask me.
Will went on to add blue leopard handlebar tape, two matching water bottle holders and a rear rack. Other than that, this bike was built to rock n’ roll!
THE NOT SO BRIGHT IDEA
Get ready for some laughs, folks. Our original plans were to go uber-budget and rig up a 14 gallon rugged tote storage bin to the rear racks of our bikes.
As you can see below, we actually put in some serious effort to create a setup that would allow us to add and remove the tote from the back rack of the bike fairly easily.
Once the tote was mounted to the bike, I took it for a quick spin and it was then that I realized how horrible of an idea this was. It wasn’t that I had any issues with the way the bike rode, it was more of the fact that if you put too much weight in the tote, the front end of the bike would lift as soon as you stopped. Oh, and if the tote ever happened to crack I’d be royally screwed!
I wanted to enjoy my tour to the fullest and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can cut corners on things but you cannot cut corners on every little detail.
While the idea would probably work for local commuting around the city, it just wasn’t the greatest idea to attempt to take this invention of ours all the way out to the pacific coast and hope that it’s still in one piece by the time we reach the border of Mexico.
ORTLIEB BACK ROLLER CLASSIC PANNIERS
Instead, we decided to go with the most reasonable and highly recommended option on the market when it comes to long distance bicycle touring, the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers. Basically, if you don’t know by now, Ortlieb Panniers and bicycle touring go hand in hand.
Note: Take a look at the next bicycle tourer you see rolling through your city. It’s more than likely that he’s using Ortlieb Panniers. As a matter of fact, he’s probably using the same exact model as we are.
Besides the Ortlieb panniers hanging from our racks, we’re also bringing waterproof bags that will sit on top of our racks. Will has a waterproof duffel bag which he will use for any extra gear that doesn’t fit in his panniers.
I’m using a 30L Sea to Summit Dry Sack that will hold the following items:
- REI Quarterdome 2 Tent
- North Face Dolomite 40 Sleeping Bag
- Pilates Comfort Foam Mat (Sleeping Mat)
- Bungee Cords (Great to have for emergencies)
- Park Tool Pedal Wrench
MY FULLY LOADED TOURING BICYCLE
After all was said and done, I’m so glad that I decided to go the pannier route. I’m loving the Sea to Summit Dry Sack idea as well. Seems like it’s going to work like a charm.
Here’s a final look at what my Trek 520 looks like when it’s fully loaded.
BICYCLE TOURING PACKING LIST
Yeah, you could say I like the color black. I know many cyclists prefer to wear bright colors for the obvious reasons but I’m going for the colors that last longest without having to wash them.
(2) Long sleeve shirts
(1) Under Armour Hooded Sweatshirt
(1) Columbia Waterproof Jacket
(1) Pair of Frogg Toggs Waterproof Pants
(2) Pairs of Shorts
(2) Pairs of Boxer Briefs
(2) Pairs of Novara Padded Boxer Briefs
(3) Pairs of Socks
(1) New Balance Reflective Running Vest
(1) Adventure Medical Kit UltraLight & Watertight First Aid Kit (recommended)
(1) Tube of Chamois Butt’r (recommended)
(3) Novara Tubes
(1) Novara Tube Patch Kit
(6) Tire Removers
(1) Bicycle Cable Lock
(1) G-Shock Watch
(1) 15″x15″ Bicycle Bungee Cargo Net (highly recommended)
(1) Rite in the Rain Waterproof Notepad
(1) Bowl w/ utensils
(1) Hand pump
Well, that just about sums up our bikes and our gear. Tuesday May 1st is coming up fast. I still can’t believe we’re leaving in just two more days!
Stay tuned for more.