Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 1 - The Best-Laid Plans of Bikes and Men...

...blah blah blah, so here I am rearranging the racks on my bike and watching thunderstorms roll through the area. The first day of my ride is also the longest, so when I saw the radar map I was a bit discouraged. Still... I have a rain jacket, I have fenders, and I have all day, so I loaded the bike and started down the road. It didn't take long (less than 1000 feet) for me to realize I had a much bigger problem - the loaded bike is too top heavy and very unstable, especially at speeds below 15 MPH. Combined with gusting winds, weight-gain from rain-soaked canvas bags, and rushing into a late start, I decided to scrub today's departure. Luckily I have two free days in my schedule, so I'll use one of those to modify the bike and try to get the loaded weight down.

I've removed the Luxor rack and headlights and installed a heavy-duty Nitto "Campee" front rack which will allow me to mount some low-rider front panniers. I can store heavy stuff like my camera, tools, bluejeans etc. down low. Hopefully that will help even-out the handling a bit.

Since the Nitto rack has no attachment points for the front fender, I had to made a new support strut from aluminum rod. I've also improvised another mount for the headlights, but I might just leave them at home and avoid riding after sunset or before sunrise.

So now I have some free time to wash dishes, take a nap, change reservations at B&B's, and play with the bike some more.

Next report from the road tomorrow, I hope.

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