Tour Information

Dates: June 8th to August 30th, 1997.
This tour took 53 days, with 48 days of riding, covering over 4300 miles on the bike and another 500 or so miles on ferries and a bus. I averaged a bit over 90 miles per day on the bike. The longest day's ride was 125 miles and the shortest full day of riding was 60 miles. I climbed (as measured by my Vertec) about 28 miles, so the average days ride climbed about half a mile. The biggest climbing days (on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cabot Trail) were about 6000 feet. The flattest day, in southern Quebec, had only 650 feet of climbing.

My bike on the first day of this tour
This was a solo tour, self supported. I carried:

Camping equipment (tent, pad, pack towel, and sleeping bag), but I only used the sleeping bag once.
Cold weather gear (GoreTex parka, fleece coat, balaclava, tights, and GoreTex overmitts) - used only the fleece coat and the parka, both off the bike.
Rain gear (Campmor rain cape and chaps) - used for about ten hours during this tour.
Two short sleeved jerseys and one long sleeved jersey.
Two pairs of cycling shorts.
GoreTex lined hiking shoes for riding and hiking and sandals for casual wear.
Two pairs each of wool socks and nylon liner socks. I used only the wool socks.
Supplex nylon shirt and pants. The shirt I used frequently as a (light)rain shirt and a wind shirt. I used both the shirt and pants (and sandals) in the evenings.
A good collection of tools and spare parts; about 5 lbs and half a front pannier. Duct tape, electrical tape, bailing' wire, and Shoe Goo for on the road repairs.
A fairly large first aid kit, a CB transceiver, and pepper spray - all unused.
A pretty standard set of toiletries including Vaseline - used every day.
A head light, two flashing tail lights, and a Campmor strobe. Used when needed.
A weatherproof compact zoom camera.
A laptop computer, PCMIA modem, power supply and cables. Used daily.
One to three books for reading and reference.
Front low rider and rear mountain' racks, a spider bungee cord, front Nashbar bags with rain covers, and rear Blackburn bags with (homemade) rain covers. I used dry bags for clothing and cold weather gear inside the rear bags which also held my tent and its rainfly. I used trash compactor bags with a layer of bubble paper to protect the computer and books in one front pannier. The other front pannier held my toiletries, pack towel, head net, balacava, maps, tools, and bike parts / supplies.
Two Sigg aluminum water bottles.
A helmet and cycling cap. Gloves. A head net for blackflies.

My total load was about 40 lbs and my loaded bike weighed about 75 lbs. the weight distribution in my bags was about 65% front 35% rear.

My bike at the end of the tour

I had the following mechanical problems:

Three flat tires, all on the rear, one due to a lage safety pin, one to a brass turning, and one to a piece of truck tire wire. All of these took multiple rotations of the tire to drive them through my 700x32 Conti Top Touring tires. My front tire has 10,000 miles of loaded touring without a flat (!) and that tire looks good for another 10,000 miles!

One broken spoke on the drive side of my rear wheel, not bad for the 5000 miles of loaded touring on bumpy roads these $60 wheels have done. My Hypercracker and spare spokes worked fine, but my wheel truing skills weren't good enough.

Two broken derailleur cables. My fault for leavinga sharp edge on a cable housing.

On broken seat (!). One of the rails of my Max Flite seat broke in Nova Scotia. Since the seat had a lot of miles on it, I can't complain too much. However I won't be touring on another Flite seat. Not surdy enough for loaded touring.

Some shifting problems. I could not always shift into my smallest cog when in the middle or big front cogs. This is a result of exceeding the capacity of my rear derailleur. I have a 22 tooth difference, 24-37-46, in the front and a 19 tooth difference, 13-32, in the rear. My XC-Pro rear derailleur can't quite handle it. The specific problem is that, if the derailleur is adjusted to clear the biggest cog in the smallest front ring, it is too far away from the littlest cogs when in the middle or big rings. I may be able to minimize this by shortening the chain.

Everything else worked well, including the Cannondale touring frame, Softride stem, XT cantilever brakes, Suntour Superbe non aero brake levers and command control shifters, XC-Pro crank, pedals (with Power Grips), rear derailleur, and bottom bracket, early '90s Shimano DX front derailleur, cheap wheels with 7 speed AceraX hubs and Shimano HG-90 cassette, Conti Top Touring 700x32 tires, improvised fenders (Shoe Goo mounting for parts of both fenders as well as the mud flap), Blackburn lowrider racks and rear bags, Nashbar front bags, Vetta rear rack, Cateye Astrale Computer and HL1500b front light, etc.

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