SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


Rack-tacular Obsessions

REI Roadster Tent
I'm trying to gear up for a bike-camping trip this weekend (my first ever), and as such I'm trying to figure out how to carry my gear. I need to haul, approximately:

+ a tent (REI Roadster)
+ a sleeping bag (Lafouma)
+ a sleeping pad (Therm-a-rest Z-Lite)
+ a bag for clothing/personal effects
+ plus the regular crap-plus-the-kitchen-sink I normally haul around on my rides

Not much stuff, for sure. We're only going overnight and we're not bringing or cooking food (rumor has it there's a good deli and coffee shop where we're headed), so I shouldn't need much.

I have a bunch o'bikes. Sometimes this frustrates me. Now is one of those times.

I also have a pile of bike racks: 2 front racks and 2 rear racks of various types.

I'm utterly stuck on how to generate a combination of bike+rack that'll suit my needs! I don't know what route we're taking to our destination (Bodega Dunes) and it might involve a little mixed-terrain riding, so that points towards my fat-tired steed, my cyclocross bike. Of course, that darn velocipede isn't equipped with any rack mounts or eyelets! I have a crappity front mini-rack from Nashbar that'll work, but the only clamp-on rear rack (Nitto R-10) I've got doesn't quite fit the bike w/o some additional hacking, and I'm short on time for that.

My brevet bike might be the next logical choice -- its frame does feature fender eyelets, though they are somewhat thin and wimpy-looking and to bolt racks to them is possibly flirting with bending and thread-grauching and other unmentionable happenstances -- they seem really only meant for fender struts. Additionally, that bike is currently shod with 23mm tires -- though it does have clearance for wider tires (possibly 28s, maybe even 32s though they'd need to be deflated to clear the caliper brakes) -- and I don't really have the time to play the "swap 'dem tires around" game...especially since I don't own anything in 700x28. The final nail in the coffin is that this bike's frame flaunts tight racing geometry and I suspect that 20 lbs on a rear rack will have me "Doin' the Shimmy" the whole 140 miles.

My commuter bike seems perfect: it's got 700x32s, fenders, and already has a rear rack installed...sport-touring geometry so it'll be OK with a slight load. But dammit, it's a fixed gear, and I'm just not in any kinda shape to crunch a mono-cog to Bodega Dunes and back, let alone with any kinda load! I've got a spare wheelset with a 13x30 freewheel on the rear, a triple crank, and a couple of derailleurs w/shifters in the parts bin -- I'm temped to throw those on and create a passable touring bike, but again that's more fiddlin' about that will certainly take longer than I think it will (no, I really don't want to be up at 2am tonight reinstalling a bottom bracket, thanks).

@#$@#$@ #$!!

Carlos says "Ride more Worry less Ride more!" I need to remember that now, and just pick one option and forge ahead.


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