Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Check back here daily to read about our progress in our cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the FFB.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Time is flying by...

Well, A.K. and I have been very busy. There is so much to be done before we fly back east on May 12th to start the ride. As a result, the last few weeks have been brutally busy.

Imagine trying to study for a comprehensive exam for a Masters degree while at the same time trying to pack your apartment up for a move to storage, doing last minute shopping, practicing packing your bike equipment on your bicycle, figuring out when to ship your bike, figuring out WHERE to ship your bike, deciding which piece of equipment is really needed (I am starting to worry that we are carrying too much stuff), and a bunch of other stuff that cannot remember right now. The point is we are swamped! If I didn't have A.K. helping me out, I'm not sure what I'd do. She has been really helpful through all this, despite the fact that she has all the same stuff to deal with minus the test. But on the other hand, she is also planning a bachelorette party for her good friend as well. In the end, that may be tougher than the test.

Anyway, my comprehensive exam for my Masters degree was on Monday, and evidently I did well enough. The test is oral and given by four professors. The toughest part was staying calm. It is really easy to get nervous and struggle with the most basic topics. Weeks before the exam, I was speaking to one of my professors about how to prepare for it and what I should study. His jesting response, "It doesn't matter what you study, we'll ask you about something you didn't study." Well, he couldn't have been more correct. I certainly didn't study the first topic I was asked about. So, that was a struggle. Fortunately, I was a considerably more prepared for the second topic. In the end, I passed, and that is all that matters!

Sorry, this journal is supposed to be about biking so I should stop babbling. Although, if you really plan on reading about our progress across the country everyday, you really should get used to my babbling.

Anyway, today was a busy day packing, cleaning, going to the storage unit, etc. But I did manage to spend some time working on the bikes. Noting that this ride might make us very thirsty, we decided to mount extra water bottle cages on the Bob trailers. In addition to holding extra water, they are also for carrying a bottle of white gas for our camp stove. We have heard that it is best to keep this fuel separated from all your other stuff for obvious safety reasons and because it tends to make your clothing smell like a gas station. So, now each of our trailers have two water bottle cages. That makes for five total, three on the bikes and two on the trailers.

The Extra Bottles on the Bob Trailers

Since there are not threaded water bottle bosses on the trailers (something Bob could really stand to add), I mounted each bottle with a small automotive hose clamp. I wrapped a bit of a bicycle tube around the tubing before I clamped the cage on. That will hopefully keep the cage in place and not take off any paint. If you plan to do this on your trailer, I recommend Blackburn mountain bike cages. They provide completely enclosed opening in the center of the cage where you can put the clamp. Since it is enclosed, the cage won't fall off if the clamp ever comes loose.

I also spent sometime today trying to sort out our handlebar situation on the bikes. It seems like there is never enough space on the handlebars to mount a bag, a cyclo-computer, a map holder, etc. So, I had to get creative. On my Surly, I am carrying a Jandd handlebar bag which has a rather sturdy and elaborate mounting system. It takes up ton of space, but it does allow me to keep my cyclecross brake levers. As a result, I had to "shop around" for some space. I decided to mount my cylco-computer off of my stem with a zip-tie and an empty 35mm film canister. We'll see how long that lasts.

My Handlebar Set-up

I also had to mount the holster for the Halt dog repellent. You can purchase holders specifically made to clip the Halt spray can to your handlebars. But they are pretty worthless if you have no room on your bars. So, I took a saw to mine and "fixed 'em". I sawed off the portion that clips to the bar and then zip-tied two of them to my steer-tube. The end result is a sturdy mount that puts the spray right at my hand when I need it.

A.K.'s bike required no creative fixes to the bars. Everything seems to fit into place just fine.

A.K.'s bars

Notice A.K. is the one with the map. Anyone that knows me, knows that is a very wise decision!

Ok, that is all for now.



At April 27, 2005 9:18 PM, reeb said...

You should mount me on the handelbars, I am kick-ass with maps!!

At April 29, 2005 1:13 PM, Anonymous said...

Wish you and Nic could both come!


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