As you know, if you’ve been dutifully following this blog (click the follow button if you have not, to get an e-mail from us every time we post something new) we’re getting ready to head off on our bikes for some bike touring/bike packing adventures.
We’ve just recently returned to Florida, after 12 months on the road in our RV, where we did over 26,000 miles in 3 countries (US, Canada & Mexico) and even though we’re a little tired of driving, we’re certainly not tired of tripping.
This weekend, we got the last couple of deliveries for our trip (thanks to the wonderful Simon & Lara for acting as our post office during this month in FL – while we continue to live in our RV).
In our ‘Gearing up for our bike packing adventure‘ blog post (published May 9th) we detailed how Dominic had just built a new rear wheel for his recumbent using a 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. Just today he added a new rear tire SCHWALBE Marathon Plus Smart Guard RLX Wire Tire, 700 x 35cm to complete the work to strengthen that rear wheel, which will be bearing his weight and that of 2 large loaded panniers.
Also received & installed this weekend was Sandra’s Surly Front Rack, which we purchased from Niagara Cycle. We can’t really recommend the customer service from Niagara Cycle as we ordered the rack online on May 4th and it didn’t ship until May 8th; perhaps our own fault for not realizing that Niagara Cycle are closed on Monday’s (May 7th in this case). The other issue is that they don’t have a phone number which you can utilize in order to query your online order; you have to be satisfied with completing one of those online forms and hoping someone is reading your missive at the other end.
While we didn’t end up buying a rack from the guys at City Bike Tampa, we can say that they were extremely helpful & willing to get me a rack (Surly or Salsa) with a quick turnaround, so they seem like a great local resource for future needs.
The other bike shops which we need to mention are Hands On Bicycle, specifically Bullet, who helped Dominic build his wheel recently and is a great resource for folks who are interested in learning how to maintain their own bikes; and Mike & Gary at The Path Bicycles & Vinyl in downtown Clearwater (pictured below), a great local bike store, who assisted us with some wheel parts purchasing. Finally, we’ve mentioned them before, but Mark at David’s World Cycle in Seminole was of great assistance in getting Sandra’s Surly Disc Trucker shipped from the factory and taking care of ensuring that everything was a good fit (after hours).
Today, with fully loaded bags, we took a short ride into downtown Clearwater to grab lunch at Tony’s Pizzeria and try out the loaded bikes. The additional weight definitely seemed to make the ~18 miles round trip a little more noticeable but, overall, the bikes carried the weight well – check out the pics below.
We also stopped off in Dunedin, when we spotted a sign for a ‘Bike Swap Meet’. It was mostly older bikes and collector type stuff…nothing for the newbie bike tourist.
Click subscribe on this blog if you haven’t already and you’ll get an e-mail when we post stuff and keep following along, as we leave our home in Palm Harbor this week and start our trip. Here’s a rough map of our planned route to begin with.
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