Thursday, September 17, 2015

The new front rack has arrived.

Well, the new front rack has arrived, and I am somewhat disappointed with it.  The mounting clamps that are designed to hold it to the fork are too large, and as you can see from the photos I had to shim it a bit.  I shimmed each side with a slice of sponge.  I'll get the knife out and clean it up a bit, but ugh.  What a PITA.  Secondly, it seems a bit too large for my panniers. They slide back and forth on the top bar, and the bottom bar is too far down for the lower clip to attach.  I think I'm going to have to do some creative bungee cord work to secure them. (again, sorry for the glare.  One day I will learn to use a camera properly.)

I also got a handlebar bag from Ibera.  It's much larger than I expected, and that's not a bad thing.  Looks like it will hold much of my ready-access equipment and goodies (Cameras, snacks, sunblock, etc.)

Lastly, I'm considering a new (to me) bicycle.  My neighbor has a Jamis Aurora that he wants to trade for my Rock Island Armory .45 pistol.  I'm unsure about the trade.  The bike has seen better days. It has some serious road rash, like maybe it fell off someone's car rack as they were going down the highway.  The crank, front fender, handlebars, stem and saddle all have serious road rash. 

The pistol is currently worth more than the bicycle cost when it was new, but I haven't shot it in years, and I would ride the bicycle a couple times a week. He doesn't ride the bike, but would give the pistol the attention that it deserves.

Decisions, decisions. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hey, Shimano!

This isn't supposed to happen, is it?

I was doing a bit of cross-country riding, and suddenly BAM! The rear wheel stopped turning because half of the rear derailleur got bound up in the spokes.

Lucky for me I had a spare.

Bicycle camping is fun.

So, last Friday, I and a neighbor got on our bicycles and rode 20 miles to Erwin Park, in McKinney, TX.  The trip took about 2.5 hours because of a strong headwind the entire time - the hills didn't help much either. It was nearly dark when we arrived, so I hurriedly set up my tent and took this picture. Sorry for the glare, I'm not adept with a camera.
The flash certainly didn't help the picture turn out, but the camp turned out wonderful, with a few minor exceptions.  First was that neither of us brought any sort of fire-making equipment, and the other was when a couple of McKinney officers decided to pull over a number of vehicles right out front of the campsite at 1:30 in the morning. They had all their flashing lights going, and everyone was talking far too loud. 
We resolved the fire issue in about 5 minutes by cycling around the park and asking people we met. Thanks to the nice people in the pickup truck that gave us a lighter. It meant that we were able to have a warm dinner and a warm breakfast. We just had to wait patiently for the second issue to resolve itself. I snapped a pic for the time stamp.  My eyes were too bleary to see well.

I rolled out of bed around 8am and he crawled out of his tent soon after. We had a nice breakfast of warm oatmeal and Dr. Pepper, packed up our things and headed home shortly afterwards.

The trip home was much faster, helped partly by a nice tailwind. It took about an hour and a half.

I learned that I need to distribute my weight better on my bicycle so I have purchased 2 more panniers and a front rack. Having all the weight over the rear wheel made the bike handle quite a bit different than I was expecting. Also, I will be adding upright bar ends to my handlebars.  I want the extra hand positions to avoid fatigue. I"ll write about these items when they arrive.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Camp stove has arrived

My Esbit 5 piece camp stove arrived.  I washed it, filled it with fuel and boiled some water.  I was a bit surprised how fast it went through fuel, but it boiled water just fine, and cooled down quickly afterwards.
I filled it up and fired it up a second time to make some instant mashed potatoes and some tea, which it did a fine job of. We'll see how I use it on the upcoming trip. I was thinking I might pop some green beans and some cheese in a Ziploc bag, and mix that in with the potatoes. Sounds decent for dinner, yeah?  Oatmeal and tea for breakfast? I can see that I might have to learn a few new recipes.