Harpers Ferry, WV
In mid-September, encouraged by a five day weather forecast that was as close to perfect as Washington, DC can get, I decided to finally try a little touring. A first step. The overnight trip.
Seeing as I was alone, inexperienced at bike touring, and devoid of camping equipment, a bed and breakfast trip seemed most reasonably accomplished.
The bike took longer to set up than I thought as I struggled with clamps and hooks for the first time. My depurature was puctuated by a short ride on my rim as the weight of the panniers reminded me I'd forgotten the basic task of checking my tire pressure. I packed the bags heavier than necessary for a hotel overnight to get the feel of a loaded bike as this is a trial run for the combined GAP-C&O canal trip that I am going to do one of these days.
It's no joke that a loaded bike handles differently. Gravity has much more of an effect and when that thing starts to lean the downward momentum is darn difficult to halt. I decided not to take pictures of the bruises the frame raked down my thigh as I stopped just before reaching home to take a last drink of water and disregarded the bike for a second.
Anyway, the trip was fantastic. I could book at 10mph with a sustained effort and was relieved to hear that an average of 10mph on a loaded bike on the canal is above and beyond. So on the return trip I left earlier and enjoyed a more relaxed 8 mph with frequent stops to stretch, drink, enjoy the scenery, and reposition the toe seam on my left sock. Amazing what starts to bother you after a while.
- 60 miles per day was okay but wouldn't be fun for me for five straight days
- therefore I must camp some nights if I am doing the whole thing
- Brooks saddles take WAY more than 20 hours to break in
- chamois cream is a darn fine idea
- I absolutely want to do more of this