Our Trip Gear

Our Trip Gear

Updated Post – August, 2010

In June, after several long rides with plenty of hills, we decided we needed more traditional touring bikes with a wider range of gears – specifically in terms of climbing. After much research and visits to three different bike shops, based on fine advice from the Bike Lane in Reston, Virginia, we decided on the Trek 520s. The Fujis will now be our reserve bikes and they remain great for flat rides where we want speed (15-18 miles per hour fully loaded).

Our basic load on the bikes has settled after almost nearly 4,000 miles (yes, 4 thousand miles) of training. In short, we’ve already crossed the country! We have handlebar bags for both bikes. In these bags we carry our maps, light snacks, HALT for dogs and other critters, eyewear and misc. light stuff. We have a two sided pouch on the center post in which we carry a camera and a cell phone. We also carry a long range radio in the handbag to communicate with our support van and to get local weather updates (we’ll be in the hurricane belt) when the cells are out of range of towers.

In our rear rack bags we carry repair gear, sanitary stuff, locks, rain gear, support gear, etc. Rob carries circa 30 pounds total and Kim carries 20 pounds total.

The Trek bikes have nearly 3,000 miles on them and we are very, very pleased. The tires, Bontrager Race Lite B Hard Case, have performed very well. Only one flat between the two bikes, which is remarkable when you consider that the bikes have a combined total of 6,000 miles on them!

We had the bikes professionally fitted to us at Bike Lane in Reston, Virginia where modifications were made to the stem and handlebars. We had full fenders put on front and back to help reduce road grit on the working mechanisms. They’ve been great, particularly during rainy rides.

We had Speedplay Frog peddles placed on the bikes as we enjoy their easy and quick release.

Kim has a Garmin Edge GPS 705 on her bike which records miles, speed, cadence and even calories burned.

The bike specifications as delivered originally are as follows:
Sizes 48, 51, 54, 57, 60cm
Frame Trek Butted chromoly
Fork Cro-Moly Touring w/lowrider mounts
Wheels Shimano Deore LX hubs; Bontrager Camino, 36-hole rims
Tires Bontrager Race Lite Hard-Case, 700x32c
Shifters Shimano Dura-Ace, bar end control, 9 speed
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore LX
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore LX
Crank Shimano Trekking M543 48/36/26
Cassette Shimano HG50 11-32, 9 speed
Pedals Shimano M520, clipless
Saddle Bontrager Select City
Seat Post Bontrager Alloy
Handlebars Bontrager Race VR, 31.8mm
Stem Bontrager Race Lite, 7 degree, 31.8mm
Headset VP Headset
Brakeset Avid SD-5 w/Dia-Compe 287 Aero levers

Original Post from April, 2010
After considerable research, we settled on 2009 Fuji Cross Pro Cyclocross Bikes for our primary bikes.  They are not as heavy as some of the more traditional touring bikes but not as light as a true road bike.  We liked their feel and while we’d like a better gear set for long climbs, the bikes are working well on our long trips at present.  As a good friend will be driving a support vehicle as we ride, we will only be carrying 20 or so additional pounds on the bike.  As we will be commencing our ride in early September in Florida, water will be our greatest weight factor.  If weather stays true to form, we’ll be in the 90’s for the first thirty days of the ride with high humidity.

As we’ll be sleeping in hotels/motels or some other type of commercial lodging, we will carry repair gear, water and snacks, light rain gear, a head cam, camera, a first aid pack, comm gear, gps and tracking equipment on the bikes.  As well, we’ll carry loads of sunblock, chapstick, etc.

We have two back-up bikes which will be carried in the van.  I will use a well ridden Specialized Stumpjumper which has been slightly modified for roads and is a great hill/mountain climber.  I’ve done 50-60 miles easily on the bike and its adjustable shocks are a nice change from a road bike.  When in cities or towns, I’ll ride this bike as the ride position provides better visibility.

Kim will use a Trek 7300 as her back-up bike.  It handles 50 mile rides well, has a good hill set and she likes its more upright riding position while riding in urban areas or heavy traffic.   (She also likes its loud bell!)

We’ve added SKS Raceblade XL dirtboards to our front tires on the Fuji bikes to alleviate some of the road dirt heading towards the chain and hub and swapped out the original stem for the bikes with adjustable Forte 31.8mm stems.

Kim replaced her original saddle with a Dolce Gel 155 and I’m riding a Terry Fly Tri Gel Saddle.

We’ll be using Giro lightweight Atmos helmets as we ride.  They have great ventilation and will be needed on the early hot days of our trip.

We’ve replaced the original tires with Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HD Cross/Hybrid tires which are reportedly well worth the price in terms of foiling flats.  We’ll let you know if they are worth the cost!

We are researching the headcam and GPS systems will use with the bikes and would welcome any thoughts on those devices.

We’ll update this page as we train with the bikes, change or add equipment, etc.