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Old 03-03-09, 09:45 AM
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The trailer will certainly be more of a hassle when you are trying to put the bike on a bus or train.

Sounds like your approach might lend itself to a lightweight set up anyway, so it's quite possible to tour with your road bike. Last year, I did exactly such a tour with a Lemond racing frame. I used a rack similar to the Old Man Mountain that I attached to the rear with the QR skewer and P-clamps on the seat stays. I also clamped two water bottle cages to the fork. My load was approximately 25 lbs with four full water bottles.

Most panniers are made for proper touring bikes and are a little long for a road bike. You can always mount them in such a way as to avoid heal strike, but bike handling is compromised the further back the load is relative to the rear axle; you get the tail-wagging-the-dog effect. (At least that's my unscientific theory). I did have a bit of a front end shimmy when riding no-handed, but otherwise the bike handled pretty well.

I would suggest using drybag stuff sacks in lieu of panniers. They are more compact length-wise, so the load's center of gravity will be further forward. I used the Sea to Summit 13 liter bags. I attached the bags to the rack with webbing stuff sack compressors and an extra strap cinched around the middle. It worked well enough, although the bags are not quite as accessible as regular panniers. Next time, I would also have a frame bag that mounts inside the main triangle in the top-tube-seat-tube corner for stuff such as wallet, sunscreen, food, etc. that I want to be able to access during the day. A medium to large seat bag should be able to accomodate your tool/repair kit. You won't be able to carry much food, so you'll need to buy meals one at a time almost. This means eating out of convenience stores and small groceries a lot of the time.

To sum up, yes, by all means, you can use your road bike. Use the largest tires you can while still having enough clearance with the frame to allow for a wheel to go a little out of true, try to keep your load between the two axles as much as possible, and use ultra-light camping gear to keep the weight and bulk down.
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