Solo Bicycle Tour Preparation

GAP Tour Preparations

On Wednesday, August 12th, I’ll begin my solo, self-supported bicycle tour from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. The ride will take place along the Great Allegheny Passage railtrail and the C & O Towpath for approximately 350 miles (including side trips). I’ll ride an average of 60 miles a day and will take 6 days to complete the journey. This first post is not very fancy, but serves as an introduction to some of the nitty-gritty details of the tour. I’ll post lots of information on what I’m taking, riding, and using for this ride in these first few posts.

clissold touring bike ca13aaac81f081f61017ef464a30bb3f_w640We’ll start with the most important equipment…the bike. I own several (c’mon, I work at a bike shop!), and among them is a Trek 520 loaded touring rig that I absolutely LOVE. Truth be told, it’s my favorite bike (don’t tell my racing bike that). However, for this trip I’m using my newly acquired Trek 7.3 FX Hybrid. I really struggled with the whole bike decision, because it’s obviously the heart and soul of the equipment for any bike ride, but eventually the terrain made me lean toward the hybrid. Both trails that I’ll ride have a gravelly, crushed limestone type surface. If you’re familiar with the Indy area, think of the surface of the Towpath near downtown that heads up to Broad Ripple. Michigan readers, think Kal-Haven Trail. So, the bike that’s designed to be ridden on rougher surfaces and runs wider tires won out. Here’s the list regarding the bike….

2008 Trek 7.3 Hybrid
·         Aluminum frame, chromoly fork w/ rack, fender, and low-rider eyelets
·         Shimano Deore components, Avid v-brakes
·         Bontrager wheels
·         Continental Tour Ride tires
·         Topeak “Explorer” rear rack
·         Blackburn “lo-rider” front rack
·         Planet Bike fenders
·         3 bottle cages (installed bottle boss under downtube)
·         Ergon “ergo 1” grips
·         Serfas bar ends

There aren’t any major upgrades to the stock 7.3 hybrid that we sell. I’ve obviously added front and rear racks and fenders, different grips, and bar ends. Beyond that, it’s a stock bike. I do prefer 3 bottle cages on a tour, so we used our shop tools to drill holes for and install bottle bosses underneath the downtube. I also swapped out the tires, as the 2008 model came with Bontrager slick tires and I need a bit of grip on these gravel surfaces. I didn’t go super wide, however, and am using 700 x 32 c tires.

By Brian C. – BGI Staff

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