Cycling with baggage…

Posted: November 14, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

While in New York, I also got cycle racks for our front and back wheels – Tubos Cargo Evo 700c for the back wheels, and Tubos Tara for the front – an additional total of just over a kilogram of weight to the bikes. Not much, but can feel a difference at least on the light Kona Dew bike I use – Natalia’s Merida Crossway already feels like it weighs a ton, so you don’t notice it too much. No problem fixing the racks to my bike, but it was tricky with Natalia’s, and the front racks don’t combine with it – slightly annoying, though it will be easy enough to exchange them. We probably will only really use the racks at the back for our winter tour, though we thought better getting them all fitted just in case.

Though these racks can take a weight of 40kg, what I would have liked to have got was at least one baggage trailer – these can really take a load and with the BOB, but I didn’t order one in time and there was nothing in the shop when I was in New York. Unfortunately, with the hurricane and all that, a lot of the other shops that I might have been able to go to were closed. On thinking about it, getting a trailer back might have been hard and probably would have cost a bit with airline fees, though I see I see that Burly makes a nice trailer that can carry loads of up to 45kg, and has a 105 litres of space. When folded it measures 82.3cm x 54.6cm x 16.5cm so it might just be able to fit into our bags… A couple of shops in London sell it as well, so we might consider picking it up when over there.

To go with the back racks, I picked up Ortlieb Backroller Classics panniers. Waterproof, with a capacity of 40 litres, these again should suffice for the UK journey. Getting waterproof panniers was essential – goodness knows what the weather will be like and how bad it will get, so always prepare the worst! We will have to fit the sleeping bags and thermals mats on top of them all, but there will be space for everything. The only problem will be how to divide our three-man tent between us all – it weighs a solid 5kg. Just balancing it on top of the bike rack and seeing how the bike reacted, and the bike squeaked heavily as I pushed the brakes.

So now with this all, we need to train riding with heavier loads – see how hard the 100km journeys become, and do this on consecutive days to get used to riding the distances with these loads. I imagine that we will need to brake much earlier and put up with less responsive bikes in general so the more we work with this, the better. Last thing we want is to lose control on a steep downhill slope. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to train in very windy conditions – the wind here only really gets strong temporarily before it starts raining heavily, and never gets anywhere near what it can get in the UK…

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