Look at that bike there, all loaded up and heavy. Man, is it heavy. I’ve pared down as much as I think I can get away with, and it’s still heavy. Guess I’ll just have to suck it up and work it up those hills. My legs are going to be ripped at the end of this summer.
The weight is somewhat handy in some instances. The obvious would be going down hills, but actually, the weight is of limited usefulness there. Sure, you pick up more speed as your mass relative to air resistance is much higher, but it also makes it harder to stop the bike. The real usefulness is the added momentum when you catch a headwind. My air resistance is higher to be sure, with more flat surface area from a front profile, but those heavy panniers just want to keep on going.
On the flip side of that big red bag is a bit of bike craftiness. I picked up the big red bag as it was not too expensive, it’s got a waterproof main pouch (complete with roll-style close top for the true waterproofing), but mostly because it zips off it’s pannier mount and become a decent sized backpack. That’ll be handy when I’m out in some national park in Montana and want to trade a day of biking for a day of hiking in its stead.
Yet, it was only one side of the bike, and I wasn’t really going to bother getting two of the backpack panniers. I found the lovely Windsor Vineyards tote bag you see there while cleaning out one of my closets. With a few bolts and zip ties, I mounted it to the rear rack and lo and behold, it’s just the perfect size for my tent and sleeping bag. To balance out with all the clothing in the red bag, I also shoved my U-lock and cable in there to give a little extra weight on that side.
So, all loaded up, I’ve been doing training rides along the towpath today and yesterday. I’m nicely exhausted, now. Tomorrow is my break day from cycling. I’m driving up to Rochester and hanging out with my buddy JP for the evening. On Sunday, the brutality begins. Eight days of up and down some crazy hills in the Finger Lakes.
I’ll be sure to check in when I can, with pictures of course, and tasting notes from when the mood strikes me to drop in a winery along the way.
Allow me for a moment, if you will, to introduce to you my trusting touring companion. I purchased this wonderful ride about six or seven months ago, and having survived the abuse of a Cleveland winter (with those very salty roads), I think it’s ready for some real mileage. Ladies and gentleman, the real star of the grand summer tour, my Trek FX 7.3. Get lost in it’s amazing bright redness.
Certainly, I’ve added a few things from the stock equipment. The rear rack is a recent addition, and I still need to mount a front rack on it and figure out the pannier/handlebar bag situation a little better. I’ll be sure to keep you up to speed on how I end up equipping the bike.
What I really love on this bike is the saddle. Like most stock saddles, I wasn’t wild about the one that came standard with this bike. Instead I dropped a nice chunk of change on the Terry Liberator Y saddle you see there. For as much as I try to be frugal, I’ve never had any compunction about dropping a hefty wad of cash on a good saddle. Having the right saddle makes it all worth it. The wrong saddle can absolutely kill your ride, whereas the right saddle can literally save your ass.
I’ll be sure to get some more bike pictures going as I get her more and better equipped in preparation.