Monday, July 2, 2007


I leave Wednesday for the big trip. Here we go! I've spent countless hours tracing out my hoped-for route (the end of the Northern Tier with a detour around the Green Mountain Loop) across the contour lines of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. I made myself a faboo saddlebag. I've found some friends and friends-of-friends to stay with en route. I've trained and tuned up my bike. I've been 90% packed for more than a week. I'm just about as ready for this as I'm gonna get.

Today I loaded everything up and took Mercy for a test spin down to the beach and the only dirt road I know in NYC outside of Staten Island. The good news: Nothing fell off or even jiggled very much! The other good news: It still felt really good with most of the weight up front now that it's fully loaded (~25 pounds of gear in the front, maybe 10 in the back with 4 full water bottles). The bad news: I think the raincoat material I used for the saddlebag is a bit flimsy and prone to tearing. Not that there's a real danger of it falling apart on the road, but it might wind up a rack-top trunk instead of a saddlebag a few days in.

A few more snaps all loaded up:
The bike is a 70's (I'm guessing) Mercier mixte, with all the parts switched out from when I got it except the headset, brakes, bars, and fenders.
Gear-heads, here's the fine print:

Stronglight 99 triple cranks
Eggbeater pedals
Original mafac racer brakes & levers
Original stronglight headset
SRAM long-cage plastic rear derailleur
Shimano ??? front derailleur
Shimano bar-end friction shifters
XT 9-speed cassette, of which 8 are usable due to wacky mixte geometry (the middle stays get in the way, so I set the r/d limit screws as if the smallest cog wasn't there)
Vittoria Rando 700 x 32 tires
Brooks Pro saddle (borrowed from my commuter)
The front rack is an Old Man Mountain that mounts using a special skewer. The up-side for me: it's super easy to install ( the front rack won't fit in my bike box so I'll need to re-assemble it in my hotel room) The down-side: you have to pull the skewer the whole way out to change a front flat.

Finally, here it is all boxed up! I got a fancy aircaddy box that lets me put the bike on the plane without disassembling it -- the back wheel is still on -- I just had to pull the seat and front wheel and turn the bars backwards.

Thanks, everyone for your well-wishes! My next bike-y post will have the mountains in the background instead of my porch! There will be stars, it'll be cold at night, and I'll eat lots of pie. Hooray!


Enthusia said...

wow--i have no idea what any of that is on a bike. sudden urge to consult my owners manual and actually know my bike--

have a great trip! the photos will be amazing, to be sure--

Anonymous said...

Looks like you're ready to roll. Have fun, enjoy the ride, and eat lots of pie. We'll be living vicariously thru you.

hareyakara said...

Have a great trip! Sounds like a lot of fun.

Emily said...

I am so jealous of your trip! Have fun-- I can't wait to hear about it.

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