Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Bike Boys and I are planning an overnight biking trip. For our maiden overnighter, we are thinking riding to the end of Eklutna, a long mountain lake with a trail which is equalivant to a dirt road. That will be a simple ride and will let us work out all the kinks before a longer ride. So I have been on the web searching for a light-weight tent and sleeping bags. I will also have to get racks and panniers. I sure would like to ride my Santa Cruz, its soo much more comfortable than my Cannondale but I'm not sure if panniers will work with full suspension. It will be great!!! Especially if the weather cooperates. We will go regardless of the weather, this is Alaska, gotta do it anyway.

Interesting comments on the $ put into this biking obsession: George is up to 5 figures in 10 years, Steve is up to 4 figures. I think he might be higher if he didn't do alot of his own stuff, the guy likes to resurrect dead bike parts with chemicals and electricity...hmm Dr. Bike-n-stein??

Lots of articles in the Anchorage Daily New about biking in Anchorage and commuting on bikes. I think traffic riders are really brave. I would NOT try it where I live, in the Matanuska Valley. People here are crazy, it's a fact crazy people move out here because the land is cheap (relatively) and they can go live in there cardboard box homes and do their crazy behaviors without anyone bugging them. Now meth has become a HUGE problem in the Valley. Crazy people taking drugs which make them crazier. It was on the radio news the other day that this is the METH CAPITOL of ALASKA. I ride through some of the areas that tend to draw this type of crowd. I passed 2 women (these were about my age, grow up and get some help) getting high in a wooded section just a few days ago. They were stopped in the middle of the path, sharing their dope. A few hundred yards down is a row of junk, shacks, cabin with no water or toilet facilities, rented to anyone by the month. It's a gross place. It's a drop-out, drinking/drugging/desperate/crazy place. I get uncomfortable riding past there sometimes when there's groups of people sitting outside with nothing to do but their craziness and yell at each other and at me if they notice me. So in the end, where I ride has it's own kind of dangers. I prefer my drugs to be made of metal, leather and carbon and too big to swallow. And my bikes give me my own kind of high :)

4 comments:

George said...

You ride down there by yourself?

Yikes!

Doesn't sound very safe.

I think meth is becoming a big problem everywhere.

Michelle said...

The worst part is right along a busy highway, so I feel relatively safe there but it's still creepy sometimes. I wouldn't be riding at all if I had to have someone with me. I always tell my co-workers where I'm going and that I SHOULD be back by the end of the lunch hour and if I'm not, to send someone out to find me. I carry my cell phone. This is life in Alaska...at least a small part of it.

Tim said...

The only panniers you'll be able to use on that Juliana will have to hang from a seat post-mounted rack, which has a very low weight limit. Besides, panniers suck on trails because of the weight distribution.

I recommend a BOB trailer. It keeps the weight low and the trailer tracks the path of your bike really well. Plus, it comes in handy for hauling small loads around town. You can bungee all sorts of weird things in there. Another benefit is that you can detach it in seconds if you want to rip some singletrack.

DaveIT had one (Yakima's version) for sale at a really good price a week or two ago. Check his blog or send him an e-mail to see if he still has it.

steve said...

That four figures includes two bikes, getting a third bike back up to scratch after rescuing it from the garbage, a bike trailer for the sprog, lots and lots of lights to feed my blinky obsession, and a fairly large quantity of tools. I still don't have all the tools I want so I can't do everything, but having a bikeshop that's fairly tolerant of fixing my screwups helped me gain the confidence to figure everything out.

You might be better off with a saddlebag (eg, the Carradice bags, as seen at Peter White's site) instead of a rear rack. On the front you might want to consider a rack with a platform (like this one from MEC), then you can bungee the tent and sleeping backs on there. You could also fit a small pannier set on there too, but as Tim noted it will throw the handling off. If the trail really is as smooth as a dirt road you could put a
low rider style rack
on one of the bikes with a couple of big panniers to carry food and clothing, and spread the load of tent and sleeping bags across the other bikes. You definitely wouldn't want to go on a "real" trail with low rider panniers, though!

That said... I don't have any bikes with suspension, so I can't say for sure how well any of this would work, but it may be worth talking to your bike guy to see how well your bikes would take the load.