Tag Archive: touring

Up close look at the Tour de France

If you like bikes, bike touring, bike racing and/or are following the Tour de France, then check out George Christensen’s blog about his worldwide bicycle travels, which ultimately take him along the Tour de France route every year.

From the his posting on July 20, 2009:

Friends: There was simply too much pep in the young legs of Lance’s teammate Contador and the Schleck brothers for the old war horse Lance to keep up on the climb to the Swiss ski resort of Verbier and the finish line of the 15th stage of The Tour. Lance has looked painfully hollow-eyed and at his limit whenever there has been any climbing during the previous 14 stges. It was no act, as he once hoodwinked Ullrich. He needed his German teammate Andreas Kloden to pace him the last few miles, finishing over a minute and a half behind Contador, though holding second overall in the race. Eight riders finished ahead of him, including Cadel Evans by nine seconds. I couldn’t tell if he muttered to Lance as he passed him, “c’est fini,” as Lance has pronounced of Evans over a week ago.

To read more from this post and his other travels, visit his blog at

Safe travels, George! See you in Chicago soon.

Ostrich Panniers Review

Another video review from Epicurean Cyclist that I thought might fit here too:

-Looks darn classy
-Nice heavy material
-Good closures
-Some “overstuffability”

-A little too small for longer tours
-Not as quick to remove from the rack, like say with an Ortlieb pannier..but with practice you get pretty fast
-Wish that the lacing was more functional…unlacing would actually expand the bag

Not just a pretty face!

Here are some photos of my new touring expedition bike!

It’s a Surly LHT that I had powdercoated to a coffee tan. I built the wheels, picked out the components and assembled it all over the course of a week. It’s outfitted with a Tubus rear rack and a Nitto Mark’s Rack in the front. The bags, bottle cages and Kleen Kanteens are from Velo-Orange.

The Velo-Orange Ostrich bags not only look great but work well too. The design allows for some over-stuffing, so I was able to carry my tent , two baguettes and a folding tripod chair with them!

The handlebar bag is cavernous and holds my Nikon D300 perfectly! It’s super functional with the elastic band closures that make for quick open/closings and also allows for some over-stuffing (on hot climbs, I slipped my shirt under the top flap).

I’ll be posting a ride report about my recent ride from Santa Barbara-Lake Casitas-Ojai-Santa Paula-Ventura-Santa Monica-Redondo Beach!

CETMA Rack – Fender Hack!

Here’s a little trick I used for my recent mini-adventure. I wanted a platform to carry a load on the front. My first attempt was to use a Nashbar mini front rack with a basket. Well…I rode around for a few days with the load I was going to carry and I noticed the whole thing bouncing a lot. That center mounting strut that comes with the Nashbar rack just wasn’t up to task, so off it went!

I threw on my CETMA rack from another bike. The CETMA is great for carrying heavy loads on the front. It works best with bikes with a nutted axle because the Wald hardware can rest on the big axle. It theoretically should work on wheels with a quick release, but when I tried it I was a little weary of the hardware grinding down the QR skewer.

So, what I did instead was try to mount it on the fender eyelets. Unfortunately, the eyelets on my Trek 520 are placed in a real crappy spot. They are located behind the dropout. What this means is that the strut runs into the fork blade and won’t sit flush with the eyelet.

My solution was to replace the regular fender bolt with a longer one and screw on a nut to act as a spacer. What all this does is it allows me to attach the hardware WITHOUT it bending around the fork blade. In the photo above, you can see that the nut moves the strut to the right just enough to clear the fork. A much better and elegant solution than bending the strut or cutting some semi-circular hole around it.

Anyway, it worked great. If you have a CETMA rack and want to put it on the front wheel with a QR, here’s one way to do it. If you’re thinking about getting a CETMA rack but have a front wheel with a QR, this may work on your bike depending on the fender eyelet placement.