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  1. #1
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I'm back from my first tour: 10 days of ups and downs in the Adirondacks

    I'm not sure where to start

    See my complete CGOAB journal for all the details and pictures, if you're so inclined

    I think I picked a challenging and ambitious route for my first tour. But in the end I'm glad I did. It tested my abilities and I know I can handle a heavy bike for extended hilly rides and can deal with the occasional difficulties.

    The tour didn't go entirely as envisioned but it wasn't a failure either. I think that considering my lack of experience with multi-day touring, multi-day camping and the area I did quite well actually.

    I had fun most of the time and I enjoyed riding and camping. The scenery was great. The hills were long

    OK, so what went wrong?
    ---------------------------------


    1) On the 2nd day my kickstand broke off!

    I knew this was coming. But I could not find a kickstand that would support a bike this heavy and due to the cable routing under the bottom bracket I was unable to mount a double V kickstand. It was annoying not to have a kickstand.

    2) On the 7th day left rack mount eyelet broke off!

    I didn't know exactly when this happened, I discovered it while looking for source of clicking/knocking sound (it was something else: a piece of stone stuck in a chain link). I thought at first that this was the end of the trip. But the eyelet still held up despite being broken off because it was pressed down by the weight of the rack. I stopped by a car shop in Tupper Lake looking for someone who would be able to weld it. But it was late Sat, the only guy in town who might be able to weld a steel bike was gone fishing for the weekend (small engine repair shop). The guys at the shop looked at it and strapped it down with two very thick zip ties to prevent it from sliding sideways or jumping up. I gotta say, people are nice outside of NY I would never expect so much concern and compassion for a cyclist from a car shop crew! The mounting point was pretty much immobilized and should prevent further trouble.

    This confirmed the rumor that Kona Sutra frame has crappy rear rack mount eyelets. But I continued pedaling without any more trouble.

    I will post in the frame builders forum if there is someone near NYC who would be willing to help me out. I don't want to just fix it, but improve it. Remove the other eyelet and weld strong tabs instead and maybe solve the problem of mounting a kickstand under the bottom bracket by welding a tab under there. If this can't be fixed I'll seriously consider a Big Dummy. Although I may have hard time getting that thing on a train.

    3) On the 8th day the weather went suddenly very cold. Until that day it was sunny in the upper 60s to upper 70s with a couple of really hot days in upper 80s (the kind of "hot" that makes you pour cold water over your head), low 60s at night, an occasional passing rain. Not too bad at all. But that day temps dropped suddenly to low 40s at night, possibly upper 30s, rained two nights in a raw which resulted in unbearably miserable mornings. The elevation was only under 2000 feet. During the day the air felt frigid, mid 40s. Sweating in such temps was unpleasant, I stopped every hour to dry my clothes and warm up in the sun. I tried to tough it out for two days, but the weather forecast didn't look promising. So, with a broken heart, I resigned and called my wife on Tuesday morning to pick me up. I rode back to Lake George while sh was coming from NYC so technically I completed a loop around the Adirondack park although not as long as long as planned. I was planning to ride back to Poughkeepsie this coming Sunday and take a train back to NYC. 5 hour later my wife picked me up near Lake George.

    4) I didn't do a good job building the wheels. Both went out of true and the rear is no longer dished. So I'll have them rebuilt by my LBS.

    What went well then?
    ----------------------------


    Considering that this was lots of "firsts" for me and "the things that went wrong" weren't that bad really I think the tour was a successful experience:

    - first real tour
    - longest bike ride ever
    - heaviest load ever
    - most hilly ride ever
    - longest time living in a tent
    - longest time without the usual services and amenities
    - first time heading into completely unknown area
    - first touring bike build
    - first set of wheels I built from scratch

    I felt well physically and mentally. Except for the first couple of nights I slept well. I didn't crash. I didn't bonk out. I dealt with the hills. I saw some great scenery. I saw wild animals. I camped next to beautiful lakes. I had fun.

    And, most importantly, I want to do this again! I will do this route again next year. But in July this time. It'll be more crowded but warmer.

    Meantime, I'll try to get my frame fixed up and dome some shorter 2-4 day rides closer to NYC as time allows.

    Thanks to all of you who contributed feedback and advice!

  2. #2
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    congrats, good job.

    you shouldnt have any problem fixing the eyelets, when you do, replace them with M6 threaded (next size up) eyelets.

    weld a plate with a hole under the chainstays for a bolt on kickstand...

  3. #3
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    But I can't weld so I need to find someone to do this for me. I'm about to posts on the frame builders and mechanics forum.

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    But I can't weld so I need to find someone to do this for me. I'm about to posts on the frame builders and mechanics forum.

    Adam
    Sorry, yes, I meant that when you have the frame welded by someone, specify M6 threaded bosses and a kickstand plate. You should definitely be able to find a good TIG welder in NYC... aside from mechanics for cars, you could look into food service fabricators, bike frame builders, etc. Google TIG welding and NYC and youllfind something. should be relatively cheap too...

  5. #5
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    Glad you made it back and had a good time on your tour.

    I don't think there's no kickstand that will safely support a really heavy bike. You should look for a tree, wall, fence to lean it against.
    Zip ties are great! I lost a screw that was supporting my rack on tour once, and zip ties saved me.

    Still, the things that broke may indicate that your bike is just too heavy. I know that's not what you want to hear...

  6. #6
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    Right on, and ride on. I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself. It is really fun when something is going wrong and complete strangers step up to help. I've been on both sides of that and I'm not sure which feels better, but it is definitely not a zero-sum game. I think it is a good call to return to the same route again next year. Many people don't like to go back to a place they have already toured, but I enjoy seeing what has changed, both in the places and in me.

  7. #7
    40 yrs bike touring
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    You did well on a first effort. Your photos are a lovely introduction to the area. Thanks.

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    adam I'm just going over to read all about your tour on crazyguy,but listen why would you think your tour was a failure or a kinda failure .i think you done extremely well for your first time ,now my first time tour to france was a disaster but that's for another time/
    oh yeah why were you carting such a heavy load,did you use everything you were carrying .
    anyway cheers for now and well done.
    just been over to CGOAB to have a quick look ,the pic's are only fantastic what a fantastic country america to ride a bike brilliant.
    i can't get over all the gear you were carrying ,don't think you had a spare inch on that bike that wasn't covered by a bag or bell of some kind .please dont get me wrong I'm not having a go at you but did you really need all of it.
    Last edited by antokelly; 06-10-10 at 05:21 PM.

  9. #9
    Member Bubu's Avatar
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    Nice to see you enjoyed the ups and downs afterall! I like your story on CGOAB, gives me good insight on what I'll encounter on my first multi day tour. It made me remember my first loner car camping trip, first days you feel awkward but you get up and do what you have to do and finally enjoy the bad days almost as much as the good ones. The trip in a whole is the important part, you go and see what you wanted, be it in nice or less nice weather! You get home, you're still proud of what you did. Thumbs up Adam!

  10. #10
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Oh no, I said: "The tour didn't go entirely as envisioned but it wasn't a failure either". I don't think it was a failure. I had fun and considering this was the first time I'm quite pleased with it. And yeah, definitely I will do this route again: a bit later in summer so it's warmer and I will be much better prepared this time. Heck, if I have enough time off left I may take another shot in August this year!!! Yes, it is a very, very beautiful land.

    Two main problems with this tour:

    - I went too early, should have done it next month so it'd be warmer
    - The rackmount eyelet problem

    Everything else was allright. If it wasn't for the cold weather I would still be riding until this Sunday or maybe longer, even with the broken rack mount. Yeah zip ties are awesome. I carried some with me but not this thick and long and I will definitely pack some next time.

    Yes, I pretty much used everything I was carrying down to tweezers, nail clippers and the scalpel blade to remove a thorn from my leg The only things I didn't use were: bear spray, patch kit, tube/tire tools, chain tool, spare bike parts (although they amounted to less that 1/2lbs) and swimming shorts pretty much. I've sent some things back home twice, but whatever was left was useful. I adjusted the saddle and the handlebar several times until I got them just right, and trued the rear wheel once.

    And I really didn't have too much problems with the weight. At the end of the day I even added some extra weight by buying food for the camp and for breakfast. The first few days were hard, then I think I got stronger and learned to work my lowest gears to my advantage.

    So, no, definitely not a failure. I'm very excited. This is the best way to spend vacations I can think of. I'll try to get my bike fixed in the next few days and do some few shorter rides since I still have two weeks left (I took 4 weeks of). Maybe Pennsylvania or Massachusetts? If I could only get my wife into this So for now we go car-camping together but my bike tours will remain solo I think.

    Adam

    PS. Yeah, the bear bell wasn't necessary, the handlebar bag was like 50% used, it's too big and the small bag on the top tube was handy for change. Yeah, there were long discussions on how much crap I carry I know that and I'm sure I will learn to minimize as I do this more often. I already know few things that I don't need.

    The AirZound was used twice on dogs, stopped them dead in their tracks. Although they didn't look very aggressive, they'd probably just chase me for a bit and not try to bite me, and at least once on a car coming out of driveway. But the AirZound is light.

    But yeah, I absolutely agree that I need to work on cutting the weight down.
    Last edited by AdamDZ; 06-10-10 at 06:13 PM.

  11. #11
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    Sorry, yes, I meant that when you have the frame welded by someone, specify M6 threaded bosses and a kickstand plate. You should definitely be able to find a good TIG welder in NYC... aside from mechanics for cars, you could look into food service fabricators, bike frame builders, etc. Google TIG welding and NYC and youllfind something. should be relatively cheap too...
    I'll start with my fav LBS in Brooklyn since I'm going there anyway tomorrow to have them fix my wheels, they may know someone.

  12. #12
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    good stuff adam I'll look forward to your next tour just to see how much you cut down on weight but more for the great photo's you take well done.
    im off to me bed now it's late on this side of the pond.

  13. #13
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    good stuff adam I'll look forward to your next tour just to see how much you cut down on weight but more for the great photo's you take well done.
    im off to me bed now it's late on this side of the pond.
    Yup, I'm glad I took my DSLR in the end. Although, I tend to oversaturate colors for more dramatic effect and I like warm colors, not everybody likes this

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Yup, I'm glad I took my DSLR in the end. Although, I tend to oversaturate colors for more dramatic effect and I like warm colors, not everybody likes this


    I do the same thing usually, over-saturate just a little bit and turns what some people may consider an otherwise "dull" photo into something that really pops. Then again, sometimes a desat is great too! Just depends on the mood. Here's a couple pics I've taken if you're interested, page two has some interesting photos.

    I'm glad you got back safely, I was checking your CGOAB journal everyday, put the link right in my bookmark toolbar right beside this forums link.

    Sucks that the eyelet broke, but at least it was not an end to your trip. Could have been worse!

    I was wondering how the weather would turn out for you, I remember saying to myself "I bet he'll wish he waited till next month." Guess I was right!

    Again, glad you had a fun trip!

    Welcome home.

  15. #15
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Great pictures man. I see you've "studied" with The Strobist too I did some of his tutorials although it's not exactly my cup of tea. But thanks to him I built my own softboxes, a light tent and got three flashlights to experiment with.

    Look under Macro:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaktheevil/

    The water drops and leaves were shot using multiple flashes and softboxes indoors.

    But back on the topic. I knew it might be to early. I know even Catskills can be lots colder than NYC but I really needed to get away, I couldn't wait another month, some stress at work, ya know

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Great pictures man. I see you've "studied" with The Strobist too I did some of his tutorials although it's not exactly my cup of tea. But thanks to him I built my own softboxes, a light tent and got three flashlights to experiment with.

    Look under Macro:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaktheevil/

    The water drops and leaves were shot using multiple flashes and softboxes indoors.

    But back on the topic. I knew it might be to early. I know even Catskills can be lots colder than NYC but I really needed to get away, I couldn't wait another month, some stress at work, ya know
    A trip will almost always help with stress.

    Whats important is that you had fun and want to do it again.

  17. #17
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I was really hoping for two full weeks at least though

  18. #18
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    Hey, don't beat yourself up. It was cold and rainy, you did 8 days and managed to have fun and learn things. I say it was a success!
    One needs to know when to pack it in. It was a tour, not a survival camp.

  19. #19
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucille View Post
    Hey, don't beat yourself up. It was cold and rainy, you did 8 days and managed to have fun and learn things. I say it was a success!
    One needs to know when to pack it in. It was a tour, not a survival camp.
    Agreed

  20. #20
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    regarding weight and load.

    One thing I'm definitely going to do is to make some internal pockets inside the handlebar bag and ditch the small bag on the top tube, it's not waterproof anyway. The Camelbak makes it look big but it's extremely useful so it's staying The small pocket on the seat tube holds magic markers for quick access, but they can go into the handlebar bag once it has more compartments. So at least visually, the bike will lose some bulk.

  21. #21
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    magic markers?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    But I can't weld so I need to find someone to do this for me. I'm about to posts on the frame builders and mechanics forum.
    FYI, rack mounts are usually brazed on, not welded.

    I can tell you from experience that TIG welding them is difficult! The problem is that the rack mounts are thick steel while the frame is very, very thin steel. If you try to weld the rack mounts without preheating them, you'll burn a huge hole in the frame (DAMHIKT) before the mounts are even warm. If you pre-heat them, they become difficult/impossible to handle and position. Brazing usually works well enough, if it's done by someone who knows what they're doing. That probably means a frame builder, not a welder... I used silver brazing to attach rack mounts to the commuter bike I built.

  23. #23
    Neil_B
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    Very nice. Thanks for sharing the tour journal and the photographs. Now I want to visit there.

  24. #24
    BWF
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    Congratulations! Looks like a great place to ride and your photos were beautiful.

  25. #25
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Yes, nice photo images of the area.

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