The Steel Steeds

Search This Blog

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Trepidation and Just Like Dancing

On Friday June 25 we gathered our gear and packed it into our panniers to do a dry run. Rosie said she had 39 lbs. without reading material. I had 43 lbs. I can’t divulge her total weight, but mine was approximately 312 lbs. including gear, bike and body.

For several weeks I’ve suggested we do a dry run for all the obvious reasons. Rosie insisted she needed no such thing and threaten me with her shoe if I didn’t back off. I continued to coax, she calls it nagging, hoping she’d have a change of heart to avoid surprises on the ride. Her mood was more trepidatious than rebellious.

We left the house intending to ride twenty miles as a dry run, but eventually did thirty-five, which will be about half the distance of our first day. Our first stop was only a block from the house when I had to readjust my newly installed cyclometer. Five miles into the ride Rosie commented the bike seemed more comfortable/stable loaded compared to unloaded. I mirrored those sentiments. I noticed abrasions on equipment secured with bungees. This is a constant that has to be monitored to avoid other problems.

Surprisingly, our pace was comfortable. At times cruising at 18 mph or better and obviously slowing on the long hills. The bikes tracked well and seemed nimble. As we entered the final quarter of the ride Rosie said it was “just like dancing”. I lead and she follows as she holds her line and drafts inches from my rear wheel. It is not only in body, but in mind as I thought about stopping at Clark’s Ale House for a beer and a roast beef sandwich Rosie said, “Let’s stop at Clark’s”. I responded “It’s just like dancing.”

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's The Little Things

When you're the motor things you carry on a bike ride, no matter how little, are part of the load and obviously affect  performance and rate. Rosie and I have done several 10-day loaded tours and I hauled the load and she the meds. In other words, I had all the equipment except for Rosie's personal items that she carried in a trunk and liquid medications that had special spirit-ual affects. Usually they looked like Jim Beam Black and Vodka. On our ride along the Oregon coast I happen to use a DOT truck scale to weigh myself and the loaded steel steed. The DOT scale operator said "better you than me" when the digital readout recorded 300 lbs.  Granted "the bulk" of that was moi, but I probably could have shaved a few pounds off somewhere besides my butt. To put things into perspective, can you imagine carrying/pulling four times that amount? Some of you might recall an article in Bicycling Magazine in the 90's featuring a guy touring with a 1000 lb. plus load. He managed this by pulling a wagon he built. Guess I'm not as nuts.

So in preparation for this ride, I suggested to my Little Woman that we weigh our equipment options. I further suggested we use a scale at Green Hills Farms Market, a local grocery. She'd have none of it. Mocked me to boot. The price I have to pay to preclude potential stress and monetary expenditures. It ain't cheap to toss or ship an item home when on the road. Checking some of the items Rosie was gathering together I found a quart size bottle of Woolite, enough toiletries I thought I was in a store and an eight foot extension cord. I guess I shouldn't complain.  Having clean clothes daily and a sweet smelling woman is a good thing, but I'm not sure what she has in mind for the extension cord. No she is not taking the kitchen sink, but I'm going to be checking my panniers to ensure she doesn't slip it in there during the 11th hour.

So here is my current Weight Log:

Blue is optional.


1. Bike shirt .42 1.26 (3)

2. Bike jersey .79 2.37 (3)

3. Bike jacket .69

4. Bike tee shirt .24

5. Bike short .42 1.26 (3)

6. Bike tights .62

7. Bike sock .07 .28 (4)

8. Bike full face hat .11

9. Fleece hat .13

10. Long sleeve shirt .51

11. Long sleeve shirt w/fleece .70

12. Tee-shirt .54

13. Cotton shorts .62

14. Wind pants .73

15. Helmet .70

16. Bike glove .08 .32 (4)

17. Arm warmer .09 .18 (2)

18. Leg warmer .14 .28 (2)

19. Peds .05 .10 (4)

20. Hat .19

11.73 lbs


1. Bike shoe 1.24 2.38 (2)

2. Sneaker .9 1.8 (2)

3. Flip Flop .56 1.12 (2)

5.3 lbs


1. Mat 1.38

2. Sleeping bag 2.44

3. Tent 6.12

4. Hammock 1.39

5. Chair .95

6. Stuff sack .52

7. Knife .27

13.07 lbs


1. Computer 4.33

2. Camera 1.19

3. Battery charger .88

4. Battery .07 .28 (4)

5. Cell phone .21

6. Head phones .22

7. Head light .22

8. Flasher .24

9. Camera Cleaner .10

10. Mag Light .14

7.67 lbs.


1. Lock .11

2. Cable .49

3. Tire tool (blue) .06

4. Tire tool lever .03 .09 (3)

5. Patch kit .06

6. Tube .29

7. Allan/drivers .31

8. Allan w/o drivers .30

9. CO2 assembly .13

10. CO2 cartridge .13 .52 (4)

11. Lube/towel .37

2.73 lbs.


1. Bike w/racks 30

2. Pannier- front 1.1 2.2 (2)

3. Pannier – rear 1.77 3.54 (2)

4. Water bottle .19

35.93 lbs.


1. Glasses .05 .1 (2)

2. Glasses’ case .23

3. Lighter .06

4. Notebook .14

5. Chap stick .02

6. Toiletries .48

7. Towel .42

8. Leg rap .12

9. Cigar .03 .30 (10)

10. Micro towel .06 .30 (10)

11. Butt lotion .61

12. Sun Block .30

13. Whiskey/pint 1.18

14. Small whiskey .14

15. Drug .30 1.5 (5)

16. Wallet .32

17. Book .76

18. Cash ($1,056.00) .12

6.69 lbs.

Bill’s Gross Wt.

Left Rear 12.02

Right Rear 12.35

Left Front 6.83

Right Front 7.28

38.48 w/tent and chairs = 46.50

Rosie’s Gros Wt.

Rear* 9.54

Rear 9.09

Front* 7.11

Front 8.14

W/sleeping bags 39.28

Monday, June 7, 2010

2010 LOG


3/7      19             27937            54        Sunny          Shark             19

3/17    24             27961            60        Cloudy        Shark             43            Concord, NC

3/18    23             27984            60         Sunny         Shark             66             Concord, NC

3/20    35             28019            60         Sunny         Shark             101            Santee. SC

3/23   33              28052           65          Sunny         Shark             134            Santee. SC

3/24   45              28097           75          Sunny         Shark            179             Santee. SC

3/25   42              28139           75          Sunny         Shark            221             Santee. SC

3/27   26              28165          65          Sunny          Shark            247             Davenport, FL

3/28   35              28200          70          Sunny          Shark           282              Davenport, FL

3/30   38              28238          75          Sunny          Shark           320             West Orange Trail

4/10   36              28274          52          Sunny          Shark           356

5/1     32             28306           88          Sunny          Shark           388  

5/2     35             28341           76          Sunny          Shark           423

5/21   39             28380          80           Sunny          Trek            462

5/24   45             28425          75           Sunny          Shark          507

5/31  40             28465          93           Sunny          Trek            547       Around Skaneatteles Lake

6/4     29             28494          80            Sunny          Shark          576       Ogdensburg Area

6/5     19             28513          65            Cloudy        Shark           595       Ogdensburg Area

6/7     29             28542          75            Sunny          Shark           624

Getting Ready

We have 23 days before we begin our bike adventure from Syracuse, NY to somewhere on the west coast, probably in Oregon or Washington. We have been slowly preparing, buying  equipment for camping, comfort and of course Rosie's new Trek 520. Looked at many touring bikes and found the Trek to provide the biggest bang for the bucks without going custom.

With respect to logging miles on the road, we are behind schedule. Hoping to have at least 1000 miles before we set out may not be reached. We have over 600 now. My excuse is I umpire everyday, sometimes more than one game. I'll leave it at that. Rosie understands the ramifications. We're not couch potatoes, so it's safe to say we can hedge our bets.  "Keister Conditioning" might become a sore subject on the road.

I've been using Google Maps to chart our course across country. I'm going to post our tentative maps and hopefully update them as we travel. The ride begins on July 1. We plan to be in North Tonawanda on the 3rd, stay for the 4th and leave on the 5th. The ride to Western New York will be mostly along Lake Ontario starting at Sodus Point and ending at Wilson where we jog left to NT. I've changed the first day's route from 80 miles to 60 after Rosie learned her touring bike isn't as forgiving as her road bike
. She is accustom to a much faster pace.  Regarding the embedded map, when I tried to enhance it using the arrows in the upper left corner it doesn't work so well, but holding the right button on your mouse and dragging the map allows you to move the map. Also you can click on the name of the map or link and it should take you to the map site.  About thirteen days into the ride we should be in Milwaukee, WI, riding through Ontario, Canada from Fort Erie (across from Buffalo, NY) to Sombra, Ontario where we'll catch a ferry to Marine City, MI then across Michigan to Muskegon, MI where we will board another ferry to Milwaukee crossing Lake Michigan. This 95 mile boat ride should test Rosie's butterflies.Trans America Bike Ride Day 1A in a larger map. Regarding pictures, I will be posting some here and the majority on the Kodak Gallery site. So look forward to receiving invites to view pictures from Kodak.