Friday, January 20, 2012

Equiping for Here and There

When I began assembling what I needed to become a bicycle tourist I did it slowly while trying to balance cost and quality. Because I had given up car ownership two years ago I felt comfortable with investing money in better equipment. This idea grew when I finally had a bike suitable for the task of long distance touring.

There are better and more expensive bikes than my Novara Safari, but it exceeds adequate. I’d wrestled with the pros and cons of its aluminum main frame then found that for 2011 it had been reborn as all chromoly. It offers high value versus its cost, which was significantly less that the list price of $899. At 20% off and free shipping I could avoid a trip to Atlanta to purchase it and have the bike I’d wanted since I conceived the idea of hitting the road after retiring. The only other bike I considered was the Salsa Fargo, but at $1600, it cost more than I had saved when the Safari was offered at a discount.

Since purchasing the Safari in April 2011, I have ridden about 4000 miles (3916), mainly weekday commuting. I have made additions and adjustments to make commuting better and to prepare for my first tour up the East Coast.

Delta Riser for too low handlebars.
Ortlieb Back Roller Plus Panniers.
Tubus Tara front rack
Ortlieb Front Roller Plus Panniers.
Ortlieb Ultimate 5L Handlebar bag.
Brooks B-17 Saddle
Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS348, 700c x 38
Princeton EOS Headlight
Planet Bike Superflash Taillight light, which was stolen and replaced with P/B Blinky 3 LED Taillight
SKS Chromoplastic fenders, Black
Topeak Road Morph G Bike Pump and Gauge
Four Delta Inox Water Bottle Cages
Minoura SGL - 300 Accessory Bar
Lezyne tool

Some things had to be replaced or serviced;
Handlebar tape.
Cane Creek Head set (probably because it was not properly installed. )
Bottom bracket was loose.
Brake pads rear at 2190 and front at 3000.
Original Continental Town Tires in 700c x 42 were still serviceable but I wanted to experience Schwalbes in a narrower size.
Replaced original pedals which were inadequate and screws loosened.

The total cost for everything as of January is about $2200. I have invested about 700 in camping/touring gear, including;

Big Agnes Lynx 3 tent
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag
WhisperLite Internationale, MSR-11780
Snowpeak Titanium Hybrid Summit Solo, SCS-004th
SnowPeak Spork, SCT-004
MSR Fuel Bottle, 887 ml, MSR-11832
Ortlieb PD 350 Dry bag
Adventure Cycling maps for East Coast.

After nearly 4000 miles I believe I made the right choice. It is a helluva bike. I also have the best friendly neighborhood bike shop.

The lists above are incomplete, but soon I will have a better list for all to consider and criticize.

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