Gearing up for our bike packing adventure

In our last Bicycle Adventure blog post, we discussed 10 things which needed work, after we took our first bike packing overnight trip, from our home in Palm Harbor to Fort DeSoto and in this post, we’ll share with you some of our fixes for these complaints.

10 Complaints & their Fixes

(1) COMPLAINT: New saddle needed on Sandra’s bike. The current saddle WTB Speed She Comp Black Saddle has been great, but at over 15 years old and ripped in a few places, it’s time for something new. RESOLUTION: A new saddle has been purchased Terry Women’s Butterfly Cromoly Gel Bike Saddle – Black. We’ve also purchased a butt pad from the folks at Alaska Leather.

(2) COMPLAINT: Also, in relation to Sandra’s ride, some new bars might be worth experimenting with in order to vary hand positions and perhaps the addition of bike gloves too.   RESOLUTION: Exciting news below.

(3) COMPLAINT: The warm Florida weather can take it’s toll on your skin and more breathable bike shorts should help in that regard. Enough said. RESOLUTION: Advice from other bike tourers has led us to believe that just wearing good quality shorts and underwear might be the way to go for this trip, rather than trying to wash & dry shorts with chamois, while on the road.

(4) COMPLAINT: Bike repairs – the front brake and the front & rear derailleurs on Sandra’s Cannondale are pretty well shot. RESOLUTION: Exciting news below.

(5) COMPLAINT: Wheel size – Dominic really needs a bigger stronger wheel for the back of his recumbent. The 700 that is on there currently will be taking some heavy weight with large bags on the rear rack. RESOLUTION: A new wheel has been built. Shimano Deore T610 36h Rear Hub Black with SunRingle Sun Rhyno Lite 700c 36 Holes Black Rim w/ Silver sides, Presta valve with 36 DT Swiss spokes.


(6) COMPLAINT: More food. We should have seen this one coming of course. You can never have enough food when working so physically hard all day. We plan to experiment with a stove for our next trip. Not sure a diet of trail mix and cold soaked noodles is going to be for us day-in and day-out RESOLUTION: We’ve made a home-made cat-food-can stove and have purchased a couple of pot/mugs DZO Stainless Hiking Camping Backpacking Cup/Pot with Vented Lid, Folding Handles and Measurement Marks – 20 oz/600 ml size for the (71 of 84)

(7) COMPLAINT: There are no words for how important a good nights sleep is when you are on a trip of this nature and some kind of pillow would have made a world of difference (more than just tomorrows socks & shorts rolled up together). We knew this from backpacking of course. We just forgot how much it sucks, to not have a pillow. RESOLUTION: Great new pillows have been purchased Trekology DREAMER COMFORT Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Air Pillows (orange) 

(8) COMPLAINT: Pack size – Dominic has a GoLite Summer quilt, which doesn’t take up much room but, Sandra’s Big Agnes sleeping bag proved too bulky for our panniers and a quilt will need to be sourced instead. RESOLUTION: Sandra has purchased a 40 degree synthetic bag – just like this one, but for under-5 Ft. shorties: Revelation 850DT 40° Forest/Black Regular / Wide and a Sea to Summit Stuff Sack – Pacific Blue 9L

(9) COMPLAINT: Oh, and guess we should buy some bike helmets too! Not all our days will involve so much rails to trails/being out of traffic. RESOLUTION: Still considering our options for helmets & visors.

(10) COMPLAINT: Finally, bug spray…we didn’t bring any on the shakedown trip and it was missed. We are in Florida after all. RESOLUTION: We’ll be going with the not-so-natural Deet Adventure Medical Kits Ben’s 100 Max Bug & Tick Repellant- 1.25 oz Pump to avoid getting bit on this trip.

So, we decided to have Sandra’s 15-year-old bicycle checked out by a bike mechanic and there were even more issues than we had thought, with other stuff about to fail also and so, given that we’re hoping to cycle into the sunrise here in the near future, it was time for a new bike: This is Sandra’s new Surly Disc Trucker for the trip. It’s a 42cm frame, which fits her sub-5ft height pretty good. We purchased it from the guys at David’s World Cycle in Seminole and so far, she’s rode ~ 50 miles on it.

ck (8 of 84)

We also purchased some new pedals: Imrider Lightweight Polyamide Bike Pedals For BMX Road MTB Bicycle for Dominic and MKS Sylvan Touring Pedal Double Sided for Sandra (this latter pair were originally for Dominic but, he found them too small for his size 13’s).

And we bought a really great light Revtronic 1600 Lumens Bike Light – Cree LED Bike Lights – Mountain Bike Headlight Bundle with 5200mAh Rechargeable Battery Pack, AC Charger for those times when we don’t reach camp before sunset.

Finally, mapping while riding is a bit of pain, so we purchased this Bike Mount for Phone Anti Shake Fall Prevention Bicycle Handlebar Mobile Phone Holder Cradle Clamp with 360 Rotate for 3.5 to 6.5 inch iPhone Android Smartphones GPS Other Devices (Universal).

Join us next, when we take a trip up to Tarpon Springs and see the sponge boats unload their harvest.

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