Sunday, September 21, 2014

Love the One You're With

In my previous post, I alluded to an upcoming Big Adventure, and testing out packing strategies.  My Carradice Barley and Acorn Rando Bag did indeed hold everything I needed for the trip to Eugene.  And I do plan to carry, at most, a set of off-bike clothes, maybe another pair of bike shorts, and any additional outer clothing, as needed.

The ride to Eugene was accomplished in hot, sunny weather.  I started out with knee warmers, arm warmers, and the wind/reflective vest, but they came off and stuffed in one or the other of the bags within the first hour or so.  The Bike Adventure will take part over two weeks in mid to late October, riding from Washington DC to Freehold, NJ, including a couple of permanent populaires, followed a few days later by a 200k perm to Philadelphia and back.  The weather might not be quite so wonderful, and I should have space for the extra bits.  I can stuff a lot of things in the Barley, but perhaps not quite that much.

I did buy the Banjo Brothers Racktop Pannier Bag.  I have, on order, a Racktime Fold-It silver rack.  It has been on order since early August...  Maybe in October, they tell me.

There are two unused racks in the garage - the venerable Jim Blackburn brake bridge mount rack, and a Racktime Light-It I bought to try maybe a couple years ago.

Venerable, early 80's Jim Blackburn rack

The Light-It didn't work well for the purpose I intended - the deck is narrow, so it doesn't manage a racktop bag well.  So I set out to install the Jim Blackburn rack.  That didn't work out - I suppose a longer brake bolt would have helped, but I didn't want to go forage for one.

The rack I have (Racktime Light-It)

Turning my attention back to the Light-It (it does have the advantage of a rear light mounting setup), I wondered if I could fake a wider rack deck with coroplast.  Made a pattern out of newspaper, cut up one of the sheets of coroplast I have in the garage (I didn't vote for that candidate, but I do appreciate his donating to my coroplast stash), and mounted it on the rack.  It seemed to work.

The rack deck isn't wide enough for a rack top bag

Then I proceeded to mount the rack on the bike, and remembered the other parts that didn't work out so well.  The rack mount and the fender mount crowd each other, but with some determined wiggling, everything bolted on.  This won't be a problem on the Adventure; the plastic fenders mount differently.

Rack installed, not without a bit of work

Rack mounted, I installed the bag.  Of course, me being short, the accessible rack deck area was less. :-(

But the bag did install, the panniers were deployed, and I took a test run up and down the driveway.  In flip flops :-)

Bag installed, panniers deployed

Bag with panniers folded away.

It seems to work; tomorrow's 200k will test it out.

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