No more crocs
I was able to root through some of my brothers old biking gear and pick up a few things. Most importantly he had a pair of old MTB biking shoes that magically fit, which I am still not sure how that happened, but it did. So shoes, combined with an old entry level pair of SPD pedals and I was tossing out the Crocs and moving into the land of clips. Wow, we went for a ride the next day, and I could not believe how much better I peddled. I am longtime user of SPD peddles, but I had truly forgotten what a great sensation it is to peddle clipped. I think this is even more true when using a SS, as you really have to spin. We did about 15 miles and I really cruised, spinning around 90 - 100 RPM the entire time. It was a great training ride and while I love my Crocs I am so glad to be clipped in.
Years ago, my last set of SPDs were XTR pedals and it is really apparent the difference between the higher end models and the lower end models. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely not looking the ungrateful, but wow, what a difference there is. I am sure that their is a good middle ground between the upper end and the bottom end, so something worthy of note. I also had the chance to try out my brothers Crank Brother pedals which were a treat to get in and out of, although they do create a strange sensation of not being attached to anything. I think the versions with a small platform, similar in size to the SPDs would be great.
Training rides continue, and the bike is still a Single Speed (33-17T). Unfortunately I was not able to come up with any other parts for gearing the bike, so I am seriously thinking of going fixed gear on the trip. If I have to do this, I will buy a new 30T ring from Surly and when I get into big hill terrain I can just switch out the ring to at least give me some lower gears. This is clearly not the optimal choice, but the move over to a rear wheel with gearing along with the other components necessary to make the switch are just beyond my means. There is still a few weeks left before the start of the trip, so I am optimistic that something will work out, but if not, it might just be the longest trek done on a modern day Single Speed bike?
On the big news front, I was able to get a donor for my B.O.B trailer, so I am stoked about that. While I will still go ultra-light, this will certainly make things a tad easier. As I began to work out where gear was going to go, it became apparent that I could make it work ala the Bike-Packing community, it was really going to be a challenge because of the length of the trip and my desire to document and share. Things like my solar panel were just not going to easily fit on the bike. With that and other issues, when the opportunity came to get a trailer, it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do. A trailer should tow very nicely and will give me the opportunity to explore some areas without any gear attached to the bike. I will update pics of the trailer and my loading/kit when it arrives.