I’m just about to hit the roads on the start of my 2009 tour so this is my traditional “setting off” post. This tour takes place right at the 10 year anniversary of my current job, hard to believe I’ve held the same one for so long. I’d always thought if I made it that long I’d take a leave of absence and do a cross country tour but that just wasn’t in the cards for this summer. So I chose to do the next best thing which is to put the bulk of my vacation time into as long a tour as I can. So I’m doing this 25 day tour, which is ten days longer then my longest tour to date and my first non looping tour. I’m heading down the west coast to San Francisco following the coast route. This is also my first real summer tour, I tend toward late spring or very late summer/early fall for my tours which avoids a lot of the big summer vacation crowds. But I wanted to do a real summer tour for once and also leave no later then my hire date which was July 6th.
I am once again riding my 2005 Rivendell Atlantis, with Arkel GT-18‘s on the front and Riv’s Nigel Smythe Paladin on the rear. Pretty much the same setup from my 2007 tour, which really worked out well. I’ve changed tires for this tour as I had a lot of sidewall failure and flats with the Panaracers and am now using larger and very heavy duty Schwalbe Marathons. Additionally I’ve added a Busch & Miller Ixon IQ+ light on the handlebars and a Ride & Charge unit to allow charging of AA batteries in the Ixon from my Schmidt generator hub. This is my power solution for the tour which I hope will work better then the solar solution I tried on the last one. I gave my handlebars a fresh wrap of tape and shellac as you can see from the above picture along with the IQ+ and a brand new CatEye Enduro 8. I replaced the computer as the mount for my old one was no longer holding the computer in so well. I was hoping to find a new, tougher computer but there really doesn’t seem to be one. Ah well, I got almost 13,000 miles out of the last one, and in all honesty its still running if a bit beat down. This new one has a better mount that fits it better on my non-mountain bike sized handlebars so all in all a good update.
It’d been a while since my last shop tune up, I’ve been trying to do as much work as possible myself. But before a long tour I like to have it fully checked out by professionals so it was off to Sammamish Valley Cycles for a much needed visit. Ended up replacing quit a bit of the drive train: the rear cassette, the middle chain ring, the chain and the lower jockey wheel on the derailleur. Ended up changing my gearing with the change as I’ve been running this custom made cassette from Harris Cycles in a 14-34. This was for the best though as I’d found that 14 a bit large for my needs, but I loved the focus on the middle range of gears in that cassette. The new one is 11-34 and I have to say it’s felt great in the last couple of weeks of use. I think a 12-34 would be my absolute preferred range, stepping in the middle range a bit more. The bicycle has been riding so nice since the tune up, almost like new.
Anyway I’m about to set off on now, its a perfectly clear and looking to be pretty hot Fourth of July. Marvin is strapped in a ready to go. Keep watching this space for my (ideally) daily updates and thanks for reading!
Pictures from the tour will be added to my Tour 2009 set on flickr.