I didn't know where to put this post, so please pardon me if this is the wrong place.
I'm about 210 - 215 lbs, and have been converting a 1990s Specialized Hardrock for utility use - max load so far just about 40 lbs, in Wald folding baskets that probably add another 5-7 lbs to the bike. (I didn't weigh them, but the back of the bike is noticeably heavier now, with them on there.) Altogether, the bike could be carrying 270-275 lbs, including me, the baskets, the stuff in the baskets, ... I also plan to maybe add a front rack, but that will be to balance the load - I don't think the actual weight will get to be much more than it's carrying now.
The bike has 26" wheels, 36 spokes - good and strong. But it was built with cantilever brakes, which are recommended on the touring forum for fully loaded touring bikes, so they should be fine. But ... they've never given me a very confident feeling - braking, especially loaded, doesn't seem very decisive, even dry. The pads don't seem very worn, but they are probably over 15 years old.
Would new pads solve the problem? New levers? (The originals are still on there.) Or is this just something I have to live with when I'm riding such a heavy bike with a heavy me? Converting to disk or drum brakes isn't an option I'm considering right now.