Thursday, July 20, 2023

Test Run For The Bikepacking Set-Up

Tuesday I was recording the latest "Guitar Ted Podcast" with N.Y. Roll and afterward he mentioned the plans for a sub-24 overnighter saying, "We've gotta plan a date for this camping trip!". His sense of urgency spurred me into deeper thought about my set up. Also, I needed to test it out!

So Wednesday I got out to test the bikepacking set up. No big ride, just a cruise through a bit of the Green Belt, a few ascents and descents of the dike along the Black Hawk Creek, and a bit of rough fields and gravel thrown in for good measure. 

The day was another great one with plenty of Sun and hardly any wind in the morning. I had to do a few chores before heading out the door. I also had to properly load up everything on the bike to get a good read on where, if anywhere, my set-up was lacking. So clothes, five full bottles of water, and food were onboard along with my tent and sleep system. Check the air pressure,(set at 20psi front/rear with the 29" X 2.8" Coronados), and I threw on a couple of Bike Bag Dude Chaff Bags to hold a tube, pump, tire levers, and my camera. 

The tube, pump, and levers may have been a redundancy, but better to be safe than sorry! I will have to inventory everything again before I go on a trip to make sure I know what I have for sure. 

Green Belt single track during peak "jungle conditions".

A lone kayaker glides across the Green Belt Lake.

The bike loaded as it is now is front-heavy. I suppose that's okay since when I mount up and ride the bike that should evenly distribute the loads. I think it worked out that way by the feel of things. The bike isn't so heavy that I cannot lift it up the steep basement stairs going down to the Lab, it's just that with all that weight flopping the fork around, the bike gets a bit much to handle due to the awkwardness of that weight distribution when I am not on the bike. 

Stretches of sand like this were no match for the Coronado tires.
I was treated to the full bikepacking experience when I had to portage over these fallen tree limbs.

The Ride:

So, the bike handled pretty well, actually. I was a bit dismayed that maybe I did not get into rough enough territory with the set up, but even a grassy field felt smooth. I am thinking the combination of fat, poofy tires, steel frame, and the load I had on made everything work to smooth out the terrain I was riding over. 

The drive train performed excellently. I had to use the granny twice to scale the dike along Black Hawk Creek and was able to do so easily, which means about anything else I come up against shouldn't be a big deal. The dikes have a very steep pitch to them, so if I can scale that, any gravel road will be a piece of cake, as long as I have the legs. 

I was concerned about my sleeping pad twisting on the rack deck, but that could easily be rectified. However; I am now thinking about putting that into the handle bar bag and putting the sleeping bag in there on the rack deck. I'll play around with that a bit. I have time as N.Y. Roll is going on RAGBRAI next week.

Other than doing an inventory of the stuff to make sure I am carrying what I should, and after possibly changing the front rack load, I am all ready to go now. This bike will stay as is, for the most part, until the sub-24 overnighter happens.

1 comment:

NY Roll said...

If we do not feel like leaving the city limits I know of a spot we can set up at. Even have a fire.