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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-30-13, 05:38 AM   #1
indyfabz
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A Howling Good Tour

Some photos from last week's 3-day from Port Jervis, NY to Philly with a stop at the Lakota Wolf preserve in Columbia, NJ:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez20...7633368316419/

About 170 miles. About 8,500' of climbing. Nights in the 30s and 40s. Pleasant afternoons. Light to non-existent traffic in most places until the Philly 'burbs. The beautiful and virtually empty Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Campfires every night. Wolves howling on the morning of Day 2. Lots of birds, including hawks, jays, cardinals and even a magpie. See if you can spot the porcupine in one of the photos. Not too proud to admit I had to walk a stretch. The intense grade strained the limits of my 26x34 low gear. Pushing a heavily-loaded bike up hill is just as hard as riding it. Spring comes later up there, so the pollen was not as bad. The closer I got to home, the more my eyes watered. I love ending a tour at my front door, like I did when I crossed the country.

Off to Italy in late May for a week+ at the Italian Cycling Center. But I am already thinking about what to do in the fall. Maybe Pittsburgh to Philly via the GAP.
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Old 04-30-13, 08:23 AM   #2
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Beautiful pix. Sounds like a great ride. Can't wait until the day comes that I can manage to do multi-day rides in cool places!
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Old 04-30-13, 11:06 AM   #3
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Thanks. i wanted to take more, but a couple of things affected timing. The tour of the wolf preserve was between 10:30 a.m. and noon, which meant I got a late start on Day 2 of riding. I had to cover about 55 miles with some hills. Stopping for photos really eats into time. You also spend extra energy getting the loaded bike started each time you stop for a photo. Day 3 was old hat for me, so I dont find the scenery that remarkable. I also needed to fit myself in between lunch and rush hour traffc through the suburban sprawl outside the city. I did o.k. with that. Timing would have worked out better if I had not stopped for that second breakfast, which ended up killing close to one hour. I also got delayed by a chatty (i.e., bored) state park ranger when I stopped in to get some water and to check on the status of the campground there that had been closed due to tree instability.

The hardest part for me is getting used to going slow on the flats and over what would be easy terrain riding an unloaded road bike. I have to remind myself that 14 mph into a head or crosswind (Because of the bags, the latter is more of a headiwind than it is when riding an unloaded bike) is making good time.
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Old 04-30-13, 12:15 PM   #4
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Nice pictures Dave.
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Old 05-01-13, 07:58 AM   #5
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Looks like a great tour, Indyfabz. Who makes your panniers, and what size/weight is your tent?
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Old 05-02-13, 07:05 AM   #6
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They are Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus panniers. I didn't want the rollers. Didn't want to be bothered with having to unroll and re-roll the open and close them. The tent is an older MSR Hubba Hubba. Think the packed weight is 4.5 lbs. For solo trips, I want something lighter but still 2P. When I hit the Powerball on Saturday I think I will spring for a Copper Spur UL2.
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Old 05-02-13, 09:52 PM   #7
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They are Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus panniers. I didn't want the rollers. Didn't want to be bothered with having to unroll and re-roll the open and close them. The tent is an older MSR Hubba Hubba. Think the packed weight is 4.5 lbs. For solo trips, I want something lighter but still 2P. When I hit the Powerball on Saturday I think I will spring for a Copper Spur UL2.
I'm looking at racks for the LHT. What are you using?

I agree with you about the bother of roller panniers. I tried Neilfein's Ortliebs a few years ago and found them annoying.
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Old 05-03-13, 12:47 AM   #8
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Fantastic pictures and a great tour, thank you for posting them!
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Old 05-03-13, 07:41 AM   #9
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I'm looking at racks for the LHT. What are you using?

I agree with you about the bother of roller panniers. I tried Neilfein's Ortliebs a few years ago and found them annoying.
The racks are the Nitto "Big" front and rear, made for Rivendell. Insanely expensive. I think they are currently retailing for about $189 each. But they are steel, strong as hell and gorgeous thanks to their nickel plating. I went with them because of their large platforms. My only other set of racks were custom made by Robert Beckman back in '99. They both had large platforms that allowed me to orient my tent and bag parallel to the bike. That affords better stability. Also, you don't have the stuff on the rear rack interfering with access to panniers. The front panniers sit higher than low riders, but not by a whole lot. Handling is not affected, and you get more ground clearence for curbs and on unpaved surfaces. Unfortunately, my Beckman racks were stolen a few years ago along with the LHT they were attached to. The Nitto racks were a close approximation to what I had.

I generally try not to have to get into the main compartment of my panniers while riding, but it does happen. On this trip it was in the low 40s at the start of the first day. I started out wearing a lot of clothes to stay warm. A few hours into the ride it had warmed up to the point where I had to change everything but my shorts so I had to get into the main comparent of one of my bags. Also, you need access to get to food and to load up groceries. The Sport Packers are easy to open, and the small outside pocket is handy for things like a wallet, phone and snacks like energy bars.
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