18 Days In
Well, I am 18 days, over 800 miles and three states into the Bike Around America tour. I have had the luxury of meeting some amazing people along the way as well as seeing some beautiful country. Mississippi was a real treat for me, never having been there, I found it absolutely beautiful. The ACA route takes you through meandering back roads largely dominated by pine forest and the occasional farm land. The traffic was light and the weather was ever changing.
I have biked out of Florida in 80 degree temps; felt the chill of a 19 degree morning; been dowsed by extreme rain storms twice; and seen just about everything else in between. No complaints, just observations. I opted to really reduce my clothing kit in order to successfully deal with pedaling a single speed. This meant that I am limited on optional clothing including any rain gear. I ended up with the following:
- One biking outfit (bike shorts, over shorts, one bike jersey, one pair of bike socks)
- One pair of Nike tights for cold days
- One camp outfit (shorts, Ice Breaker long underwear top/bottom, smart wool socks, crocs)
- One wind-stopper jacket that doubles as my camp fleece
- One GoreTex jacket that is my only rain gear
So, when it is cold, everything goes on and when it is wet, well, it is a challenge to keep dry. Not having rain bottoms is a bit of a weakness, especially when the temps get cold. I don't mind getting the lower extremities wet when the temps are moderate, but on cold rainy days it is a bit of a challenge. I especially dislike getting my feet soaking wet and will look to solve that issue.
The BOB trailer, now that it is lighter, is just stellar. I love the feel of not having panniers attached to the side of the bike and other than on hills, I completely have no sensation that a trailer is being towed behind me. If I had gears, I don't think I would notice it on hills at all, but for now, it does provide a drag on the bike. I am sure that panniers would do the same, but probably not as bad. Going down hills I have encountered absolutely no stability issues at all, and on steep hills, you definitely pick up speeds. If I had one gripe it is definitely the whole parking and maneuvering issues when you are parking the bike in tight quarters. If the trailer just needs to be parked, the 90 degree method works great and in lieu of that I am always looking for something to lean the bike/trailer up against. Having to move it backwards for any reason is a real challenge.
I get lots of questions about the Salsa Fargo and have to say, it simply rocks. I love the bike, and seem to have finally dialed in my fit. It is solid on the uphills when I have to stand and cruises down the hills without a shimmy to be found. On the flats the bike plus the large Schwalbe Big Apple tires really soaks up the shock and vibration of the road. The Brooks B17 is finally molded to my butt, so all in all, I am really excited about the ride. While I have managed so far on a single speed I do believe that it will be incredibly difficult to complete the route without a mininum of 10 gears.
Today I entered into Louisiana and am really stoked to see the area. New Orleans was always one of my favorite places to visit, so seeing the rest of the state will be a real treat. I hope to save up a few pennies and splurge on a good ole fashion boil. After Louisiana it is on to the great state of Texas. Something that I have heard much about, from flats to winds, to the amount of time it takes to cross.
It should be a great next couple of weeks, so please keep reading the Daily Trail for my daily updates on life on the road.