Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cool stuff!

One of the biggest problems that we had last time we toured was dealing with the panniers on the bike.  It seems that no matter how you position the bike, what you want is on the other side!  For instance, we stop for a bite to eat, and the bike is leaning against the side of the cafe, just outside the window (so we can always keep an eye on her!)
You can see how it would be difficult to get at anything stored on the right side of the bike.
Well, Roger wants to look at the map, and of course, it's in the side zip pocket of the back pannier, but ON THE SIDE LEANING AGAINST THE BUILDING!  Of course.  And if we make a point to put the bike against the building the other way next time, then we are looking for our cell phone chargers. AND THOSE ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE!  If we need to pull out a jersey or a layer, you can bet it's on the bottom of the pack, necessitating a bit of rearranging and repacking.  When we toured the last time, I actually came up with the Murphy's Law of Bicycle Touring, which goes like this:

The thing you want is on the other side of the bike.

And its corollary:

The thing you want is at the bottom of the pack.

There was also this little problem of the bike twisting around and falling over.  This happened because the front panniers put more weight on that front wheel, so if you are not holding the bike and front wheel securely, it will spin around and next thing you know, the bike is falling over.
Watch out for that front wheel flop!
Some folks refer to this as "wheel flop" and it was a real problem for me.  Since of course, I would try to hold the bike away from the wall, lean over it and reach for the item I sought, at which point the front wheel would spin, and the bike would start to fall over.  At maybe 80 pounds with the gear and all, I had a hard time keeping it upright.

So the combination of these two things have had me scratching my head in the years since our trip to Tahoe.  I thought for a while that we would make use of the strap we had for loading the tandem onto the car-top bike carrier, as it holds the front wheel true while you load the bike, but we sold the carrier and since the strap is integral to making it work, we really had to pass it along to the new owner.

Enter the "Clickstand"!  This nifty little gadget acts like a kickstand, but mounts high on the bike, above its center of gravity.  This keeps the torque from damaging the bike, and according to the web site, should hold up a fully-loaded tandem.  We will see about that!  For the time being, though, I am delighted to say it seems we have finally found a solution for problem number one.  With the Clickstand, we can position the bike a bit away from the wall, and still have access to both sides of the bike.  Best thing about it, it's made like your tent poles - so it has a tension string inside, and the pieces pop into place when you open it, and the whole thing folds up to about 8 1/2 inches long.  Easy-peasy!

The second problem, that of wheel flop, we are addressing with a nifty little bungie-like cord that has a ball on one end of it.  I didn't get it into the photo, but imagine one of those small elastics that girls use to make pony-tails.  We'll position it around the front wheel and the tube, and that will keep the wheel from flipping around.

So, with these two cool little gadgets, we hope to take care of one of the most annoying and irritating aspects of the tour, because:

f.  it doesn't do you any good to carry something along if you can't find it when you need it.


I'd love to hear from you, but want to know who you are. If you are not registered to comment, please include your email in your comment so I can respond directly to you.