So I just finished my first tour. Pretty short - with a rather lame finish. I rode up from Southeastern NH (Rye Beach to be exact) up along the coast of Maine through Kittery, York and then Wells. Took a dip in my fancy schmancy baggies somewhere along the way. Then set up my home-made hammock in the woods near some power-station where it looked like nobody would see me. Turns out I should've been more concerned with keeping safe from the mosquitoes. I didn't get a wink of sleep. Even tried laying on the ground on my sleeping pad and putting the hammock on top of me. Going to have to tweak the bug net...or just bring my big-ole tent next time.
Next day I started heading west to visit a friend. Lots of hills, and on no sleep I was getting a little grumpy....Oh! And it turned out that I rode about 57 miles on my first day. Not bad for having no experience with a loaded bike and about 5 miles total of training under my belt. Oh how I'm so good at lunging into things...I crashed on my friend's couch that night, no messing around with the mosquitoes or my hammock. Continued to scout out the area over the next few days. Rode over to Ossippee Mountain, and around the the grocery store ect. Him and I have had the idea to squat somewhere in the area. Maybe build some sort of semi-permanent shelter (underground house, wigwam, ect.)
I'd also intended to do a bunch of dumpster diving for food on the trip, but that really didn't pan out. I'm not sure if it's just me, or if the monotony/loneliness of riding along roads all day long is something I could get used to. But that had the effect of me being pretty self conscious about being seen looking around in someone's dumpster. Thought I'd gotten over that...
Anyways...here's some pictures. My trip back home today ended when I sold out and called my mom to come pick me up. On ME 4 my rear rack came off from both of its upper mounts and skidded the whole bike to a stop. I wasn't that discouraged by the consequences (fender stays, brakes, missing bolts, ect.) but I just didn't want to sit there in the sun (duh...shade under a tree Marcus) and fix it. I was racing home to meet my girlfriend before she goes on a 3-week or maybe permanent trip in a few days, and I was expecting the 37 mile trip back to whiz by. That's what expecations gets ya I guess.
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"Day -1" of my tour, named so because I left late and the lower bolts on my rear rack pulled right out as I hadn't noticed they were so short when I put them through both the rack and fender stays so they were barely threaded. They popped out about 2 miles from home, and my spare bolts were in the garage, so I came home, fixed it, and called it a day. Left early next day.
My special "dropdown" rack configuration. The rack was pressing so hard against the tire I couldn't get it back up. I deflated the tire for fear it'd pop. In retrospect I wish I hadn't called for backup and fixed it.
Some of the nitty gritty of the damage my rack did when it went flying out. It took the right brake pad with it, pulled the fender partly out where it was zip-tied to the frame (the lower zip tie by the bottom bracket was yanked off too). And of course, the two bolts holding it in vanished. I know one thing I'll do different next time is not to put my cobbworks buckets so far back on the rack (they were as far back as I could get them - probably causing too much weight on the rear of the rack)...but what about these screws? Aren't the threads going to be even less grippy now that they've had bolts pulled out of them by force? And since I can't secure the bolts with a nut (the holes dont go clear through the frame) is there any way I can secure the rack to these points more securely?
Eck...my fender stays got all bent up. Both sides. Doh!
So..if anyone has any advice on how to reinforce the rack...lemme know!