Try again. I posted here a few weeks ago about the failed attempt on my first loaded tour. In summary, once I got my bike loaded, it handled terribly and I didn't feel safe riding it. So, I went back to the drawing board, and got:
- A Tubus Tara front rack and Ortlieb Classic Front Roller panniers to better distribute the weight.
- A new, lighter 2-man REI Quarter Dome tent that weighs half as much as my other tents.
- A Thermarest Neo air mattress that is a fraction of the size and weight of other groundpads.
The difference was incredible. Although the weight savings from the new tent and air mattress were somewhat offset by the front rack and panniers, the better weight distribution made a huge difference in handling. I took my first -- successful -- loaded tour this weekend, and everything went well. I was able to fit all of my gear in the panniers, with nothing on top of the rear rack to throw off the balance. Total weight of my gear was about 30 lbs because it was just an overnight trip and I was traveling light. My Bob Jackson World Tour handled great and actually rode nicer with the load, and I was surprised that the added weight did not make climbing that much harder. I averaged nearly 16 mph on Saturday with a nice tailwind, but a headwind on Sunday slowed my pace down to about 14 mph.
I also picked a destination that was somewhat shorter, a state park campground on a large reservoir (Kerr Lake) about 50 miles north of my home in Raleigh, NC. Rode to the lake on Saturday, set up camp and then rode my unloaded bike to a nearby town (Henderson) for a nice BBQ dinner, for a total mileage of 70 miles for the day.