Rode 43 miles, Montour Trail, fully loaded.
|04/03/12 43m 60F|
My first overnight "bike packing" or "bike camping" trip of the year is in about three weeks, so it's time to begin putting everything together on the bike and giving it a bit of a shakedown.
For today's ride I took off two dilapidated old panniers and put on two brand new Ortliebs. The old Avenir's were very much built to be put on and left on, they're a bit of a pain to mount and unmount; the Ortlieb's are simple and easy by contrast.
I filled the panniers with my camping gear - hammock, two wool blankets, cook stove and accessories, some foul weather gear - and added my sleeping pad athwartships. Some pannier systems place the sleeping pad vertically, aft of the rear panniers, I'll have to see what works.
With the bike rigged as it is I've got an aft center-of-gravity, that may be an issue on steep climbs with the bike tending to rotate away from the front wheel. The Surly frame does handle better and more comfortably with a full load of weight on it.
I started in Boggs. The first ten miles felt quite difficult (with the weight), I felt some pain in my quads in places I didn't know it could occur. About a half-hour in I did get rained on for about fifteen minutes, and in the rain the value of the Ortliebs was brought home again; no need to put on raincovers, they're just good to go.
Navigating the two detours with the loaded bike was a bit of a lesson. I'm glad it wasn't slushy or muddy; my tires are 32's, I could see how you might want wider tires for a sloppy surface. The main differences with the heavy bike seem to be that starting and stopping are a bit more complex, and I think I need to be a bit more ahead of the bike than I'm used to thinking.
Having said all that, when I got to McMurray I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and then Subway for a sandwich. When I got back on the trail, the pain and agony was gone and it was just a bit of extra work and some consideration of inertia; I think the pain and resistance was mostly a mental issue.
A very nice ride.