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Tag Archive: touring

What is a S24O? Only the greatest thing ever!

So you’re a hardcore commuter. You ride five days a week rain or shine. You know how to carry gear on your bike, or maybe you have an Xtracycle. You want to go on vacation with your bike, but you “just don’t have the time.” Think again! It’s time to go on a S24O!

A S24O (pronounced “Es-Two-Four-Oh”) was coined by Grant Peterson of Rivendell. It is a sub-24 hour overnight bike camping trip. The beauty is that it takes little time commitment (less than 24 hours) and if you forget something in your packing, it’s not the end of the world.

If your commuter bike has a rack and panniers, it’s S24O ready. Because the trip is so short, you don’t have to carry everything and the kitchen sink. Two rear panniers and a saddle bag should do it. No need for front panniers. GP shows a typical kit for one night out on the Rivendell site. It’s not a whole lot.

S24Os are also pretty inexpensive due to the short duration. They are also family friendly, since you won’t be covering huge miles!

Finding a suitable location for an S24O will probably be the biggest challenge. State parks with camping would be the first choice or if you’re going solo, you could free camp with discretion in your local foot hills or mountains. I live in Long Beach, CA which is in LA County. Not the first place that comes to mind when you think of camping. However, with a little research I’ve found some great S24O opportunities not too far from Los Angeles. Combining the train, I can do a S24O in the central coast or in the mountains just north of Pasadena or the state beaches south of Orange County. There are a lot more options than you would think.

Here are a few accounts of some S24Os to inspire you.

Kent’s S24O
Alex Whetmore’s S24O account
-A family going bike camping with Xtracycles!
-A S24O Flickr Group

If you know of any good ones in your area, write in and share! I’ll be going on a slightly longer than 24 hour trip this weekend and I’ll be sure post about it.

Fender hack….literally!

It seems like the more touring I do, the wider my tires are getting. I was of the “skinny is good” school a few years ago and swore that anything wider than 23mm tires was like riding your bike in the sand. After a few tours and one trip where we rode on rock ballast by a railroad, I slowly learned the error of my ways. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a racer or a roadie. I like to wander and explore, and sometimes that exploration will take me on a bumpy road.

I recently put on some Panaracer Paselas on my touring bike which are 35mm wide. What a ride! The tires provide a nice natural suspension (which is lighter and more efficient than shocks). The Paselas have a reasonable tread and are relatively high pressure (90psi that I run closer to 65psi) so they go reasonably fast. Not Tour de France fast, but fast enough to get you from home to your office.

Anyway, with new tire (mounted to some Velocity Deep Vs no less!) my front fender was scraping the tire something awful. The rear tire and fender had enough clearance, but the front unicrown fork of my 2006 Trek 520 didn’t. This meant I had to hack the fenders.

I took a hacksaw to my Planet Bike Cascadia fenders (which are great fenders by the way…look good, full coverage, haven’t broken on me yet) and cut them into two pieces. I made the cut right where the mounting bracket was for the front fender to attach to fork crown. Easy enough. I used the pre-existing bracket on the fender and the stays and that held the big part of the fender to the bike.

The real trick was the small little fender nub. I found an aluminum bracket (I think it was for a reflector) bent it into an L and drilled a hole into the fender. With a short nub of a screw and a bolt, I attached the bracket to the fender. Fortuitously, there were two holes on the bracket that were just the right space apart and I used the other hole to mount on the fork crown. So there’s only one screw holding the front fender nub, but that’s okay because it weighs next to nothing.

Not your Mama’s Long Haul Trucker

Awhile ago, I posted that Laura was painting her Surly Long Haul Trucker. Maybe a bit overdue (hey, it’s busy being an Eco-Friendly Bicycling Photographer!), but I finally got around to taking some snaps. She used a special sign paint that was to be pretty weather proof (it’s for signs after all).

The design is a very Japanese-esque vine with in simple black and white. She started with painters tape to do a rough outline of the lines and went in with a small brush to round out the vines and add the leaves.

I think it came out pretty killer!

She has a few more tricks up her sleeves for this bike, so stay tuned!

GWBR 2008

A few Long Beach Cyclists and I made the long commute up to Paso Robles this weekend for the Great Western Bike Rally. The GWBR is an annual event where thousands of people gather to ride back country roads and share the bike love. It has been described as a great Church picnic where the religion is the bicycle.

For Laura and I, half the fun was getting there! She loaded up her trusty commuter/touring bike, a Specialized Sirrus and I loaded up my Bilenky for its first bike tour. Here are some pics from the trip.

Laura likes to fly up hills!

I can get up a few hills myself…even with a loaded Bilenky cargo bike!

Taking a break at the summit to snap a few pics. It was a scene out of the Wizard of Oz with a bright blue sky and an endless field of yellow flowers.

The sign that every cyclists dreams of after a long climb!

Riding through some vineyards.

Water break at Morro Bay.

Made a friend at GWBR who rode back with us to SLO.

He was a fellow orange aficionado (Note orange IBEX jersey and orange Arkel panniers).

We rode and traveled hundreds of miles without once driving a car!

Green Tuesday: Well, almost

If I can finish this post in 45 minutes or less, then technically it will still meet the deadline to legitimately be “Tuesday,” well at least here in Arizona.

I went to Nashville, Tenn., this past weekend and just got back home this evening. And while there is nothing “green” about flying across the country, allow me to share part of the weekend festivities.

My best bud and old college roommate, Will, met me in Nashville since I haven’t seen him since last September. I wanted to show him around Nashville, particularly downtown, so we decided to cruise the streets on our bikes. It was a great way to see the city at our own pace, enjoy the cold Tennessee air, and not have to set foot in a car.

Downtown Nashville is not a particularly large area, but there are tons of venues for live music. Nashville is proclaimed to be the country music capitol of the World, after all. The city is steeped in music culture, especially country and bluegrass. We stopped at the Gruhn guitar shop, which serves as THE go-to place for many of country music’s and Nashville’s finest musicians. The next time you are in need of a $15,000 Gibson banjo, check out Gruhn.

The city has lots of these guitars placed all over, but this is the only one we were able to find.

We climbed the steps of the State Capitol building and got a pretty sweet view of the downtown area.

The Ryman Auditorium is one of the top music venues in the country, especially for country music. The Temptations and the Four Tops are playing there soon apparently…

I love bluegrass music, which is popular in Nashville, but have never been a big fan of country. However, the feel of a downtown environment that is rich with the community of music is a really cool thing – you can hang out downtown any day of the week and hear free music from some really talented people just playing on the street.

For the observant ones amongst you, you might notice that Will was riding a Specialized Langster London. These bikes have been quite rejected by the cycling community because of their big-brand capitalization of a more independent style. In my eyes, if it gets someone on a bike and out of their car, then that is green enough for me.

So just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you have to stay out of the saddle. I was fortunate enough to stay with someone that had a bike I could ride – but many Local Bike Shops will rent out bikes for your touring pleasures. In larger cities, you can also find bike touring companies that will rent bikes for your touring pleasures. The car is not the only way…