Thursday, 27 June 2013

Current bike packing set up

Well after my first bike packing trip I was able to figure out if the items I have chosen are suitable for long distance touring. My plan is to test the above set up on several overnight bike packing trips locally increasing the distance each time before I take off on a 5-6 day trip in early Oct. Basically everything worked well, The Porcelain  Rocket handlebar set up was a fantastic investment - not cheap but very well made and works perfectly for keeping a sleeping bag and spare clothes dry which are concealed inside an OR dry bag, the front pocket is great for smaller items which you need easy access to such as money, camera etc. The Revelate  Designs frame bag was designed for a Salsa but fits my Kona unit perfectly and stays on the bike everyday - great for carry my repair kit and mini pump and a Abus chain lock. The Freeload TR-1 is super stable and has plenty of attachment points for securing a load such as a tent in a dry bag. I am thinking of improving my sleeping equipment with a better air mattress which can fold down smaller and a blow up pillow for a better nights sleep. 

Listed below is what I took on my trip the other week and with everything loaded up my average speed was 20km per hour, although because I am running  33T chainring - 13T rear cog I was forced to walk on a steeper section. I was considering adding some gears to the unit either a Sturmey Archer or Shimano alfine IGH but for now I think I will keep it as a single speed , I may regret that after my Oct tour !. 

Bikepacking gear list
Front bag - porcelain Rocket handle bar set up
Main bag compartment
Southfeild sleeping bag
Front pocket , stove windscreen , 10 x lightweight alloy tent pegs , large pack towel, camera plus ultrapod, wallet, phone
 Revelate frame bag size S
Cooking set - 1 x Alloy rectangle set containing the following items Trangia burner & base
lighter & matches , pot scrub, KFS set, first aid kit
Ground effect helter skelter waterproof pants
Montbell bag containg the tool kit
Shimano bicycle pump
 Freeload TR - 1 rear rack system
Ortleib dry bag containg the following
Fairydown 2 man alpine tent
Tent poles
Captain stag sleeping pad
Camelbak Blowfish
2 ltrs of water
Ground Effect jacket
Food items, Petzel head torch, cooking fuel
spare socks, underwear , ground effect sub merino

book or magazine

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bike packing to Oku Murasugi - part 3

I ended up going to bed early but the one item I should have purchased but didn't, kept me from getting a good nights sleep - a blow up pillow would have been really nice instead of my dry bag stuffed with clothing. Before I head away next time I will be buying one for sure. I soon filled up my old NZ made Fairydown 2 person tent with my bike bags and food and could not imagine that whilst touring NZ for 3 months in 1995 this tent was my home which I shared with my mate Tony King.  Some light rain woke me up at 11.30pm and again at 4am and because of that once the sun was up I could not get back to sleep. So I cleaned out the tent and while eating breakfast & drinking coffee I waited for the tent to dry out before packing it up. A fast 50km downhill really woke me up and soon I was in the small hot spring village of Murasugi where I could take a fantastic outdoor hot spring for 300 yen and refill my camel back with some nice fresh spring water for the ride back home. From Murasugi village it only took 1.5 hours to get back home, where I re erected my tent again to fully dry it out & packed it away for the next adventure. This ride was really a great test of the items I will take on a long tour in early Out of this year , but hopefully before then I will get several more overnight rides to other local camp spots. So even if you only have a couple of days off , load your bike up and go on a overnight adventure.

Happy Cycling

Bike packing to Oku Murasugi - part 2

After setting up camp I took a nap , read a magazine and basically relaxed before cooking lunch. It is so nice to escape all the noise of the city and be surrounded by mountains, greenery , birdsong and the sound of the nearby river.  The Trangia stove worked really well, I boiled up a cup of water for a instant Cafe Latte and had a fantastic dinner of  pork cutlet , curry and rice . If you are thinking about buying a super lightweight and reliable stove - look no further as this little stove coupled with a windshield and a base will easily cook up anything you need. The best part is there is no empty gas canister to throw away !. In the afternoon I rode further up the mountain road and spied a monkey sitting in a roadside tree and managed to get two good photos before he escaped.

Bike packing to Oku Murasugi camp ground

I had marked June 20th on my calendar for an overnight bike trip to test out some gear that I will use on a 6 day trip in early Oct of this year. But as it is now rain season getting two days off with fine weather is rare, but luckily I awoke yesterday to sunshine so I loaded up the Kona Unit and headed for the hills. Murasugi  is only about 30km away from Niigata City where I live but you need to escape the city and cross the mighty Agano river before heading inland to the mountains. I stopped by Hokyo lake and then found a supermarket to buy a few extra food items before getting into the foothills of Murasugi . I then stopped at a popular fresh water  spring to get my camel back refilled then slowly wound my way up a gentle incline towards the campsite. Soon the gentle incline had become steeper and as I ride a single speed I was forced to dismount and walk a short distance to the campsite turn off. Nobody was there being early Thursday morning so I picked out a nice place to put up the tent , close to the toilet block and set up camp.

Monday, 17 June 2013

2013 Niigata City Ride report

Well the Niigata City Ride has been and gone , it was held yesterday on Sunday 16th. Quite a while back I suggested to my boss that I could ride the 120km event on one of our shop  fat bikes - a 2011 Surly Pugsly with tyres that are 26 inch x 3.8 !, yes that is quite a fat tyre and not really suited to such a long road ride but I was in need of a challenge and that would make it a sure fire challenge indeed. Many of my customers did not believe I could even finish the event on such a machine.

Well yesterday I proved everybody wrong by finishing the entire course on a fat bike, there were plenty of comments when I showed up at the start in a sea of 700 x 23c road bikes . I had a time limited of 8 hours to complete the 120km ride and paced myself well throughout the morning in the cool weather drinking lots of water and eating some energy bars I had brought along in my frame bag, good job I did have extra food as the provided lunch was tiny to say the least. Pictured below is the tiny lunch - almost 1.1 scale !, I am sure this will not happen next year

 My main problem throughout the entire day was seat post slippage. I should have replaced the clamp before the ride as every 15km of so I had to stop and re adjust the post height and gently clamp it tight again , either the rider was too heavy or the seat post clamp was shit, my Salsa lip lock clamp on my Kona never slips so I would say it is a badly designed component if you have a gentlemanly figure, skinny riders need not worry !. After lunch the sun came out in force and heated up from a nice 23 deg to 27 deg with high humidity - just what you need when you have another 60km to go. Just 15km from the finish I was told I was the 2nd last rider on the course , so after two stops to re fuel at 7/11 a few sandwiches , pizza bread and a fried pork cutlet sandwich & ice coffee - I had a 2nd wind and as I was riding the fat bike back towards the city I decided  I wanted to finish before 3.30pm after starting at 7.30am that morning. That was going to be a mission in 27 deg heat of a fat tyre bike , but kiwis do not give up easily and I have never pulled out of a race / event in my life and was not about to start today. Upon enter the cool underground cycle tunnel under the Shinano river in the city I could not believe my luck when I spied  several tired cyclists plodding along slowing towards  the other end of the tunnel. This is when I put the hammer down or balls to the wall as my mate Brian would say ( he had already finished a few hours earlier ) . Coming out of the tunnel I made one last seat post clamp adjustment that would hopefully take me to the finish line about 5 kms away . Then I clicked up several gears and spun those fat tyres as fast as I could , overtaking a few surprised roadies before I hit the rider side cycle path. Upon getting onto the path I saw a bunch of 10 road cyclists riding slow , waited for a wide gap and really put the hammer down and flew past . I was feeling great and then about 50 mtrs in front I spied 4 of my customers in their brand new Furumachi Bicycle cycle tops on their brand new Cinelli road bikes, this was to be the icing on the cake and I really worked hard to catch and over take them at speed , they let out a yell in shock and fumbled quickly through their gears but it was too late as I was a man on a mission. I really worked it hard to cross the finish line in front of them - they put up a great chase and I gained about 14 places in the last 5km and finished at 3.15 pm totally knacked but very happy. This was more an experiment and advertising feat than anything else , yes you can ride a fat bike 120km on the road but I certainly do not recommend it at all. Below are some photos taken at the finish with my customer over spec Ishii on his new Sulry Big Dummy ( he was fast totally loaded up) and Team Fujumoto
san who chased me across the finish line .

To check out all the photos see the following link 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Niigata city ride

Well the Niigata City Ride is almost upon us as this coming Sunday the event will be held. Recently the weather has become rather hot in Niigata with it often being about 28 deg early in the morning, hopefully this coming Sunday will not be as hot as cycling 120km in such hot humid weather will be quite a challenge on any type of bike. Most of the course is flat and takes in the surrounding areas of Niigata city, after the event I will post some photos and a event report . Pictured above is the event poster featuring a local well known band - I wonder if they will be taking part in the 120km event ?

Friday, 7 June 2013

Furumachi Bicycle - New shop

Well for the last two days I have been really busy moving my bicycle shop 50 mtrs down the street to a new lager location, when Furumachi Bicycle first opened almost 3 years ago it was the perfect size but over time I have become very busy and we outgrew our old location. So when a used clothing store closed just along my street my boss quickly decided this would be our new store. When it was empty it looked huge compared to my old shop but now its full and we only just managed to fit all the stock and bicycles inside, no more worrying about bikes outside getting wet and I now have a large storeroom as well. Today we re open in our new store and I have posted a few photos below to show what it looks like and a link to were you can see the rest of the photos. I love my new workbench as its nice and wide with plenty of space for all of the tools plus a dedicated wheel building area as well and a separate counter unlike before.

To check out a few more photos of my new store check the link below