In June 2011 I turned 50. Since I am getting older, I feel that I should slow down and enjoy my bike rides more. So I will being doing more solo riding and touring that will give me the time to just ride and enjoy.

The purpose of this blog is to share my ride 'events', insights and experiences with others.

Enjoy my blog and hopefully you will get something out of it that will benefit your own riding.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2014 Oregon Bike Trip _ Day 1

Spent the night at the Crest Motel.  Had packed up the trailer last night so that everything was ready to go.   Every year I say that I will back less and make the trailer lighter.  I had never weighed everything before and thought that I would this year.  My bike weighed in at 34.6 pounds, the empty trailer is 20.4 pounds and the gear I am hauling is 63.6 pounds.  Total weight I am hauling this year is close to 400 pounds.  It sure would be easier if it was closer to 300.

Headed off from the motel to meet up with my wife Nancy for breakfast at the Astoria Coffee House.  We have eaten here before and the food is very good.  Said goodbye to Nancy and I was officially off.  Rode down the Astoria Riverwalk, at 11th street it is a wooden dock with the trolley tracks running down the middle.  Because of the tracks riding is slow, but the views are worth it.  Headed south and then cut west to get to the Fort Clatsop road.  This is a side route and keeps you off of 101 for about 20 miles.  The down side to this alternate route is that you do gain one extra hill to climb.

I was about thirteen miles into the ride when I felt the rear tire going flat.  Pulled off to the side and found a slice in the tire.  The tube was not sliced but rather seemed to have the wear associated with protruding through the hole.  Replaced the tire and patched the tube and I was on my way again. 

Over the hill and down into Seaside.  Stopped at the Prom bike shop to get a spare tire, then I was off down the Seaside Promenade.  Last year the annual volleyball tournament was occurring and the Prom was 'packed'.  Through Seaside and back onto Hwy 101.  Passed the Hwy 26 junction and then the climb of hill two began.  My hear rate was running higher  than normal and climbing seemed a little more difficult.

Topped the hill then down into Cannon Beach.  Traffic here is bumper to bumper and it is best to just take the lane and stay with the flow (especially with a trailer).  Still full from the breakfast, did not stop to get lunch,  I had trail mix and beef jerky to sustain me if I needed it.   Leaving Cannon Beach you have just a few miles on Hwy 101 until you reach one of the two tunnels on the Oregon Coast.  Good spot to rest, there is a light for bicyclists to activate before entering the tunnel and you can see back down the road for some distance.  Wait for break in traffic, hit the button and go!  I really don't like tunnel riding that much.

Hill climb through the tunnel and and then some, this is the biggest climb of the day.  Down hill to Oswald West State Park (no camping allowed here any more).  Stopped here to refill my water bottles and take a rest as this is the valley between the two big hills of the day.  Off again and climbing, reached the top, stopped at the view point to enjoy a brief rest and met a cyclist (Mark) just doing a day ride out of Cannon Beach.  101 at these view points really do not have any shoulder and you are still climbing a bit.  Finally down hill to Manzanita.

I was doing about 30mph, constantly checking my mirror for traffic coming up behind.  Hit something and my rear tire blew, instant flat.  I was able to maintain control and get off the highway.  Did not see any damage to the tire, replaced the tube as it would not hold enough air to even check for a hole.  Once the tire was filled, I did see a small spot where something penatrated the tire, but the tire still looked good.

Into Manzanita, stopped at the Little Apple market and deli.  Picked up chocolate milk, soda and a huge sandwich.  I was off the the camp ground.  Checked in, picked my site and got everything setup.  No one else was here,  this was a first.  While eating my dinner anther couple came in to the Hiker/biker area.   Rielly and Amy from Seattle.  Talked to them for a bit.  They had driven down to Warrenton and had started their ride from there.  They shared some of the taffey they had picked up in Cannon Beach.  I am sure I will see them tomorrow, for now it is time to get some much deserved sleep.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Preparing for Loaded Touring - Part 1: Clothing

So I am getting ready for another shot at riding the entire Oregon Coast.   I thought that this would be a good time to list what I pack and why.   As previously mentioned I tour using a Burley Nomad trailer.  The Berley Nomad is a two wheeled trailer that attaches via a bracket on the rear wheel axle.

So I have my packing list and have it divide up into seven categories.

  • Clothing
  • Cycling
  • Camping
  • Food/cooking
  • Electronics
  • Personal items

So over the next few days I thought that I would cover each category, what I carry and why.

Today's category is Clothing.  This is actually sub divided into two categories Cycling and Town/Camp.

Cycling Clothing
  • Cycling Shorts.
    • I use cycling shorts because the cause less friction (saddle rash, etc) than standard clothing.  There is a reason that there is specific cycling clothing and it is not just for professional cyclists. For touring I like to use the mountain bike style shorts that have pockets and uses a separate under-liner that contain the chamois pad.  Using this style you can pack more liners and use the shell for multiple days, you don't need to pack both a shell and a liner for each day.
  • Cycling Jerseys
    • I use the cycling jersey for the same reason, they are made for cycling.  I wear the looser (club fit) style jersey vs the pro style.  Cycling jerseys tend to dry faster that cotton shirts.  This makes a big difference on descents after long climbs.   Cycling jerseys also give you extra pockets to store items that you want easy access to while riding.
  • Cycling socks
    • Never use cotton socks, they retain water too much.  Use cycling specific sock or ones made with nylon and Lycra that breath better.
  • Cycling shoes
    • If you are getting into cycling you should invest in a good pair of cycling shoes that are the 'clip-less' style, vs the clip-in style (toe cage).   I use a touring style shoe that is better for walking in than standard cycling shoes.  Remember you are touring and you will want to do some sightseeing without having to change your shoes every time you want to walk around.
  • Skull Cap
    • Some people use cycling hats, others use nothing.   I have a tendency to sweat a lot on the hill climbs and the Skull caps help keep the sweat out of my eyes.  I can also take my helmet off when I stop for lunch or sight seeing and not have to worry about 'helmet hair'
  • Toesies (shoe toe covers)
    • Just because some mornings are cool enough that you will want to keep your toes a little warmer.  They are also very small and light weight.
  • Rain gear
    • I pack a rain jacket, pants, helmet cover and shoe covers.  Showers Pass makes some of the best gear out there, IMO.  Most of my riding is in the Pacific Northwest and when you are doing a multi-day ride the clear and sunny weather that was predicted all week can change to heavy rain after only a couple of days.  I would rather have the gear than wish I had the gear.
Town/Camp Clothing
  • Undershorts
    • You really do want to get out of your cycling gear when you reach your destination for the day.
  • Socks
    • Comfy cotton socks feel great after spending all day in your cycling shoes.
  • Shirts
    • I pack both long and short sleeve shirts, it may be warm when you first finish, but the nights can start to feel cool once the sun goes down.
  • Pants/Shorts
    • I pack both for the same reason as the shirts.  You are finished riding for the day, make sure the clothing you have for camp/town make you comfortable, you need rest before the next day comes and comfort is key.
  • Shoes
    • Comfortable walking shoes:  You want shoes that are easy to walk in, and this gives your cycling shoes a chance to dry out.
    • Shower shoes (flip flops):  While I really don't usually wear these, they are great for when you are using showers at a campground.   The floors of those shower stalls can get awfully dirty, your feet will stay clean using these until you get changed and regular shoes put on.

Stay tuned for Part 2:  Cycling items