Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Second guessing myself and buying a bike.

     When I first started romanticizing the idea of touring by bicycle. My main concerns were what to bring how to bring it and everything in-between. Since I'm a bit of a gear nerd this presented some thought for how I would go about getting my ducks in a row. Since I already had a bicycle and was told I could tour on anything I decided it was time to get some proper panniers the ortliebs I've read so much about. I ordered those and a front rack for my bike I went with old man mountain since my bike had a front shock I was so excited! I learned the company I ordered from was here in town and I could pick them up the day I ordered instead of waiting for them to be shipped! Upon mounting them up I felt my calling! I loaded them up with some 2 liter bottles of coke to simulate the gear I might be brining along on my travels.

I spent many nights riding the deserts behind my house
this night was the worst/best night rain had washed out
the roads a few miles I had to push it.
     My mountain bike had done me well but with some heel rub and the rack and panniers back as far as they could go coupled with the front end not carrying the weight well I started to realize why a lot of folks ride dedicated touring bikes. Now I went from drooling over peoples journeys to drooling over their touring rigs. The two liter coke bottles gave me an idea of what it was like to over pack! An invaluable lesson!

     With a new bike on the mind and keeping it super lightweight I wanted to start from scratch on what I was bringing everything I had before was too heavy and not likely to hold up against daily use and abuse.

     Before I knew it I had decided on a bike I had never ridden based on its high praises. The surly long haul trucker. I read oodles of blogs reviews, this bike was growing on me fast! Somehow I got it stuck in my head that I had to buy this bike before I bought any more gear. I was worried I would be over packing for a bike I wasn't sure if I could fit stuff... if that makes any sense? 

     I went to my local bike store and the owner of the shop offered me with some info about disc brakes and told me he rode the disc trucker, the disc brake version of the long haul trucker. Decisions, decisions, I went for a nice long ride on my mountain bike. I kinda scared myself on the way back I was kinda loaded and went down a steep slope my rim brakes almost didn't stop me. Now I'm thinking oh boy fully loaded tourer and stopping? I feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew. The next week I back to my local shop and ordered the disc trucker. I am still not sure I needed it but I sure did want it and after riding it for a while now I can honestly say I love it!
No racks or fenders yet. 
     At this point I want to mention that I am keeping this blog as a journal and not as an instruction manual, there are many alternatives, this is just the route I went. :)

    Ordering a bike was a painful process for me, think opposite of instant gratification. I purchased the bike two months before the winter holidays. When I ordered the bike I ordered racks and fenders. The bike took about a month to get in and built, and the fenders arrived about a month later. So two months and some change and I had my dream bike! It was painful but worth it.
Mounted my GPS to my stem.

My boy is gonna miss me and I am gonna miss him!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hello and welcome!

     Hi my name is Rob, I am a newbie bicycle tourer. In the past year I started riding my bicycle to rehabilitate my ankle from a motorcycle versus deer accident (spoiler alert: the deer won ... for now). As I rode more I wanted to keep riding my bicycle and go further, I would wear a camelbak for hydration and one day I was sick of carrying it and as a photographer I wanted to carry my camera and other things. A search on google for bicycle racks lead me to the word pannier, hit google again, from that one word I found the world of touring. I knew it existed but had no idea how huge it was. I got a inexpensive rack and panniers and began to ride further taking only day trips. On every ride I would day dream about not coming home... camping and doing it all over again. Reading about other peoples journeys quickly became a pastime. I am obsessed! Soon I found forums videos and subreddits. I still cant read/think/eat/sleep enough about it!

My starter bike (the accessories probably cost more than the bike)