Monday, 27 January 2014

Still Dodging the Rain....

Yes...I'm still dodging the rain...

I've never really enjoyed cycling in the rain even though over the years I seem to have spent an awful amount of time doing just that....
A summer shower can be quite enjoyable   but a winter downpour that just goes on and on does seem to spoil my enjoyment of the ride somewhat.....
Unfortunately over the past month, winter downpours seems to have almost become the everyday norm...

Most of my 'training' so far this year in preparation for this year's bigger rides seems to have been on my static bike, although I do try and get out on those very few and far between drier moments, not that there have been many of those.....

Last year I was pretty impressed with the results that I got from using the static bike as the centre of my training plans...it certainly didn't fail me during my ride over the Alps or on the ascent of the Ghisallo.
That having been said I would dearly love some nice dry cold and crisp winter days so that I can get out on the training bike more often....

One development over the past few weeks concerns my blog post where I highlighted the rides that I was planning for this year....
A friend of mine from the backpackers club read about my plans and got in contact to tell me that he would be interested in joining me for part of both the South Downs Way (easy) Double and the Bournemouth-Holyhead-Bournemouth ride...

Anyway a few emails later and it looks as if the dates for these rides have been set....
We should be setting off on the South Downs Way Double on Friday 27th June and the first two weeks of September should see us riding the Holyhead (Lon Las Cymru) ride.....

Hopefully we should have some other riders join us for all or at least part of these two rides but in the meantime it looks as if I will have to continue dodging that rain.....
Looking out of the window I have just noticed that it has started to rain yet again.....

Monday, 20 January 2014

Topeak MTX Beam Rack

Here is something that I have acquired in preparation for my 'South Downs Easy Double' ride which I am planning on doing later in the year...

Topeak MTX Beam Rack

This is a Topeak MTX Beam Rack which clamps to the seatpost.

It is not practical to use a standard style of cycle rack on the MTB such as I have fitted on my touring bike, due to the risk of the panniers catching on rocks and branches etc... so for off road bikepacking all the bags need to be carried higher but closer  to the centre line of the bike.

The pannier bags will be left at home and I will be using waterproof drybags similar to the ones I use when backpacking.....

Close up view of the MTX Clamp fitting

I was a little concerned at first that the clamp would not be strong enough to hold the rack rigidly enough when fitted to the bike.....I need not have worried about it, as once fitted to the seatpost properly the entire rack is absolutely rock solid...

The beam rack is able to carry up to 20lbs (9kg) of weight....and as my total summer backpacking kit weight tips the scales at just under 16lbs and I intend to spread this weight across the bike I think that this rack will be more than man enough for the job.

My intention is to carry my Tent...Sleeping Bag...Thermarest (inflatable mattress) & some items of clothing on this rack. 
As the tent is the heaviest single item at approx 3lbs I estimate that the total weight that I will actually be carrying on the rack will be well under 8lbs max.

Topeak sell a small mudguard unit that fits underneath the rack and that seems a pretty good idea in order to help keep me, my kit and the bike clean..... needless to say I have placed an order for that too..... 

Cabin Fever .......

 Sorry for this week's posting being three days late but like the rest of the UK last weekend saw the arrival of storm Ciara and our in...