Sunday, February 22, 2015

Backyard Equipment Testing 2-22-15

I'm gearing up for a "possible" long distance bike tour and I'm trying to save money where I can. I've got a tent that I bought about five years ago, its a North Face Rock 22, two person backpacking tent. I chose it because it's mostly mesh and, you know, it gets a bit warm here in Texas. I've been happy with it although I've never used it in cold or inclement weather. It weighs about five and a half pounds which may be excessive for a long distance tour. I also have a North Face Cat's Meow 15 degree synthetic mummy bag that I bought in 1998 or 1999 after reading good reviews in an outdoor magazine. I've never had a chance to really test the bag, again, because I've always camped in mild weather. I also have a new Klymit Static V sleeping pad that has never been used. Yesterday morning I set up my tent and like a forty eight year old kid, I camped in my backyard last night. The temperature was forecast to reach the low forties overnight with a hundred per cent chance of rain the following morning. I thought this would be a great opportunity to test out my gear and see what will work on my "possible" bike tour and what will need to be replaced. The results: I'm very happy with the Klymit V sleeping pad. I was very comfortable in all sleeping positions, what more can I really say. The Cat's Meow sleeping bag will be replaced. I was warm most of the night, or at least I was when I could completely close the bag. The zipper was a big problem. It would constantly snag on the interior and exterior lining. I thought I was going to have to cut myself out of the bag at one point. The tent is a keeper. I left the tent pitched overnight to see how it handled the rain. After a few hours of constant rain and moderate winds the interior has remained bone dry.

This is the bag I'm considering as a replacement:

It's a Sierra Designs Back Country Bed 600. It's an interesting design, no zippers.

By the way, retirement does not equal "craploads" of free time.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Miscellaneous Stuff 02-15-15

I've been pretty darn busy for a retired guy. I've been taking care of things that none of you would be interested in, so, I won't mention them. The Panasonic seatpost fiasco is still ongoing. I cut the top off of the post and was going to insert a hacksaw blade and just take my time sawing on it. I had forgotten how thick those stupid Laprade seatposts are-the saw blade wouldn't fit (see photo below). I turned the frame over to my brother-in-law who works at an industrial shop with all kinds of metal working equipment. He was going to sneak the frame in after hours and work on it. Well, he's developed a severe respiratory infection and has been forced to stay home.

I'm still spending alot of time thinking about a long distance bike tour. I don't know if I'll be able to do it this year but I'm enjoying the planning process. I loaned my Trek 930 to a friend a couple of months ago. He returned it to me the other day. I've decided to build up the 930 as my touring bike. The frame is just a little small for me but I'm very comfortable riding it.

I've been spending lots of time browsing the forum and journals at I was reading a question on the forum about carrying water while on tour. I don't remember the exact question but it had to do with increasing your carrying capacity, bottle cages etc. Somebody mentioned carrying 2 liter water bottles and suggested that you could adjust the positioning of your water bottle cages using an adapter from Mount Skidmore (a small Austrailian company). I'll be ordering two of these.

New to me blog discovery-Cycling Dutch Girl

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

First Ride of the Year

The weather was perfect yesterday morning when I rolled out of my house for the first ride of 2015. I'm out of shape. This was really apparent when I hit my first moderate climb and my heart rate and breathing rate soared. I'm planning to slowly build up my fitness by riding about five times per week and increasing my distance each week. I've got to get my butt used to sitting in the saddle for long periods of time. Sorry for over-saturating my photos. I'll try to tone it down in the future.

Quick stop at the Woodshed for a glass of iced tea.

Fort Worth PD Bike Patrol. I believe these are personal bikes that these officers are using for their off-duty jobs.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Klymit Static V2

The mailman dropped off my Klymit Static V2 sleeping pad while I was out fishing this morning. I was looking for a replacement for my old closed cell foam pad and came across a review of the Static V2 on After quite a bit of research I ended up ordering the Static V2 from Amazon for around $53, less than half the price of another sleeping pad I was considering, the Therm-a-rest NeoAir. This thing rolls up to a size of a small waterbottle and weighs a little over 16oz (470gms). I inflated it to about 80% capacity and set it on my back porch for initial testing. I weigh 220 pounds, no part of my body came into contact with the cement while I was laying on my back or side. So far I'm pretty impressed. I'll post another review after I've had a chance to test on an overnight camping trip.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bunyan Velo

Wow, am I the only person who had never heard of Bunyan Velo?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tour Worthy 2

About a year ago I picked up a 1985 Panasonic Pro-ATB for my son. It's a great bike unfortunately the seatpost is stuck. It won't budge no matter what I try. So the bike has sat in the garage untouched. I was looking at the frame this morning and realized that this would make an excellent touring bike, much better than the Diamondback Ascent I'm currently working on. I decided to make one last all-out effort to remove the seatpost. I'm thinking about trying the caustic soda method (CS for short). Basically you pour CS down the seattube (for me it will be from the bottom bracket while the frame is suspended upside down). The CS dissolves the aluminum seatpost, sparing the steel frame. The problem with this method is that the chemical reaction between the aluminum and CS produces a lot of heat and poison gas (ask any meth cook). This method works but you've got to be really careful. I stripped the frame but discovered that the bottom bracket shell is stuck. It's sitting at the shop right now. I hope to have it back tomorrow. I'll be heading to the hardware store to pick up CS, plastic tubing, and safety gear.

How NOT to do the CS method. The first three minutes are pretty entertaining.