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Mini-Tour

Old 05-19-14, 08:08 AM
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DogBoy
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Mini-Tour

My son had a camping event 45 miles from our house last weekend, so I figured why not bike there? He's only 7 so his mom drove him out on Saturday, but she brought his bike with him to ride back with me.

Carrying two people's clothing, sleeping bags, pillows sleeping pads was bad, but then I figured we'd need the camping chairs so I bungied them on too. Grand total was probably well north of 50 lbs of gear. Here it is a bit before taking off. The yellow bungie just keeps the wheel straight when stopped for a few minutes.


Sunday there was a LOT of wind. He made it 24 miles before the SAG (aka mom) was called in. I took the bags off and left them. I had not realized just how "light" my tank of a bike was until I took all the bags off. I knew it was heavy with the bags, but WOW, huge difference.

So here were my goals and what I learned.

Goal: Test-run with the bike and make sure we are good to go.
Learning: 26-32 may seem an impossibly low gear, but I wish I had a lower one when loaded going up a 1/2 mile 10% grade hill. Since I want to go through the driftless area of WI later this summer, I need lower gearing. I'll probably drop the front as low as I can on the same chainring and up the rear to a 34.

Learning: Gear is heavy. Only pack what I need. Only carrying my own stuff will cut out a sleeping bag, sleeping roll, pillow-pet (he's 7), and his clothes. Still, I don't think the seating option of camp chair is going to work. To heavy/bulky/long.

Goal: establish the feasibility of 6 60-80 mile days in a row, loaded.
Learning: Um...I'm not ready for this. I need a LOT more saddle time, and even then, I may not be ready by the end of August.

Goal: Keep it fun for my son.
Learning: He likes to stop a lot. M&Ms are GREAT nutrition options (his opinion), and orange soda at subway is really cool. He sort of wanted to keep going, but he had REALLY slowed down and was starting to complain about aches. I figured better to leave him wanting more than being overdone and sore and not thinking it fun.

I almost forgot about my other goal: See if "The Plug" is enough to keep my phone charged.
I stayed charged on the first day, but by morning I was down to about 18% on an iphone. It won't charge until I'm doing about 5 mph (with the light off). That means any long mountain passes will probably not work with it. I did get it charged up to about 39% while using the phone's GPS over 24 miles. After I took the bags off and rode the final 23 miles home, the phone was at 70%. So it does charge, but it takes a while. Probably better for maintaining the charge than recharging from zero.
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Last edited by DogBoy; 05-19-14 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 05-19-14, 08:21 AM
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indyfabz
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26x32 impossibly low? Naw. My LHT came stock with a 26x34. A long time ago my low gear on the bike I had back then was a 22x34. Change to what suits you best.
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Old 05-19-14, 10:17 AM
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DogBoy, Most importantly, your son has an adventure to remember for forever.

All of the other aspects; load, gearing and saddle time will fall into place after this over-nighter and what you've learned from it.

Brad
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Old 05-19-14, 11:23 AM
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Sounds like you learned a lot. There is nothing like test runs. My rule of thumb is if I fell comfortable with a 60 mile ride, then 30 fully loaded is equivalent. My loaded touring bike have very low gears... on long tours I tend to use two gears, the lowest and highest. Much can be said for leaving the kitchen sink at home.
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Old 06-02-14, 02:16 PM
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DogBoy
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Take 2. I have changed my gearing to 24/38/48 and 12/36. I threw a bunch of weight on the bike and headed for some local hills. None of them match the grades I'll be facing later this summer, but 24/36 combo let me happily spin up the short hill at 4.3 mph with a cadence of 80, vs a cadence of 70 before the gear change. I still have a suspicion that I'll struggle loaded on a steep hill, but I'm more confident in my ability to face the really steep ones now. Next step, drop 20 lbs of excess fuel storage from the engine prior to my trip in Aug.
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Old 06-02-14, 05:10 PM
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That your 7 year rode a bike that far with you is impressive, and all that really matters about this adventure. Congrats on the quality time.
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