Author Topic: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered  (Read 5473 times)

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Offline Joseph

Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« on: August 05, 2011, 02:48:45 pm »
Last summer, I rode from my hometown in Western NY, to Saint Paul, MN, on my 2007 model Trek 1500 SLR. I rode light, since I was staying in motels, so I only had a rear rack with a medium size pannier on each side. My bike, despite not being a tour design, handled the weight just fine.

However, my next trip is going to involve a little bit more gear. I'll be biking from Astoria, OR, to San Francisco, and I'll be camping. So, in addition to all the gear I needed for my previous trip, I'll be carrying at least part of a tent (since this ride won't be solo, I can share the gear load a bit) and a sleeping bag. My question is: should I get a front rack and try to disperse the weight across both the front and rear ends of my bike? Furthermore, could my Trek reasonably handle having a front rack on it? (the fork is carbon fiber)

Also, if anyone who reads this is from this part of the Pacific Coast, what do you think about waterproof gear? I have two five gallon SEAL bags that I can back stuff into, but is it a better idea to get new waterproof panniers? I am as yet undecided about whether I will do the trip next summer or this January, in between my semesters. If you could give me an opinion for both scenarios that would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Offline aggie

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 04:25:03 pm »
The summer is usually a dry time along the pacific coast.  Although it can rain it isn't like the week long rains during the winter.  Water resistant covers are all you should need although waterproof panniers are always nice to have. 

The are some racks that you can mount on your front fork that will handle a small load.  It is possible to put everything on the back but that puts more stress on the rear wheel so you are more likely to suffer a broken spoke.  You could also use a trailer and it will easily carry all your gear.

Offline Joseph

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 09:46:24 pm »
Read your review and your advice was much appreciated. I did a quick search on REI's website for some trailers and came up with the following: BOB's Yak Plus Trailer, price $359.00 USD. Had very good reviews, which is heartening. Do you think that it is worth the price?

Offline aggie

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 11:29:49 pm »
If you do a search in the gear section you will find others think about the different brands of trailers.  I use a yak and am very happy with it.  The price at REI seems to be the MSRP.  You can put and "ad" in the classified section to see if someone is willing to sell theirs.  You may also be able to find it on amazon for less.  The bob dry sak is very effective at keeping things dry and clean.  (I've put the bag in the shower to clean if off after a particularly dirty ride.)  The only thing I don't like about the dry sak is that it doesn't have any dividers.  It's just like a duffel bag.

I haven't used the Burley Nomad but I've read some pretty good things about it.  It is a two wheel trailer and is rated to carry a little more than the bob. 

You can find both of these in the ACA (Adventure Cycling) store.

Offline happyriding

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2011, 04:49:24 am »
Based on what I saw out on the road, a BOB is the standard touring trailer.  The world is divided into two kinds of people: those that tour with panniers, and those that tour with trailers.  There is no consensus on which is better.  Trailers are harder to get on trains and are longer. Panniers can be a pain in the butt to load and unload.  I've talked to people who have used both, and some hate the way a trailer makes a bike handle, and others prefer a trailer.

Quote
The only thing I don't like about the dry sak is that it doesn't have any dividers.
That can easily be remedied by buying 3-4 stuff sacks to organize your gear.

If you don't want to spend the money on a new one, it should be easy to find a used one for sale.  Same goes for panniers.  

January does not seem like a good time to tour on the Oregon coast.  It can be cool and foggy in the summer.  You should expect rain in the winter, and riding and camping in the rain isn't much fun.



« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 04:52:27 am by happyriding »

Offline whittierider

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2011, 11:58:38 am »

Quote
Based on what I saw out on the road, a BOB is the standard touring trailer [...] and some hate the way a trailer makes a bike handle

The BOB setup will be terrible for the way the bike handles, but it's kind of necessary to get the one-wheel arrangement that's especially needed if you go off road and do singletrack.  OTOH, my wife and I rode with the neighbor who was pulling a 2-wheeled trailer with her little daughter and was very slow, so I offered to pull the trailer.  Its pivot was right at the left side of the bike's rear axle, and I couldn't even tell the trailer was there.  I kept looking back, wondering if it had come off and fallen back.  Really.

Offline ronnie421

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2011, 01:25:04 am »

Quote
Based on what I saw out on the road, a BOB is the standard touring trailer [...] and some hate the way a trailer makes a bike handle

The BOB setup will be terrible for the way the bike handles, but it's kind of necessary to get the one-wheel arrangement that's especially needed if you go off road and do singletrack.  OTOH, my wife and I rode with the neighbor who was pulling a 2-wheeled trailer with her little daughter and was very slow, so I offered to pull the trailer.  Its pivot was right at the left side of the bike's rear axle, and I couldn't even tell the trailer was there.  I kept looking back, wondering if it had come off and fallen back.  Really.

I agree with the comment about looking back to see if the trailer had come off. I own a Burley 2-wheel trailer. At the beginning, you might feel a slight "tug" when you first take off, but after that, you forget its there. 

Offline MrBent

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2011, 09:05:54 am »
+1 for two wheeled trailers.  I've used both panniers and the Burley trailer.  Go with the two wheeler unless you plan on doing single track dirt.  You'll REALLY appreciate the handling.  Whatever you do, DON'T do this tour in January.  You're almost guaranteed to have very wet, nasty conditions unless you are extraordinarily lucky.  Sometimes the southern section can be quite good (SF to Santa Barbara) in the winter, but, again, you have to thread the winter storms--not always easy.  To keep things dry, just pop them in a plastic bag or two.

Have a great trip.

Scott

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 10:42:46 am »
Have you looked at the official state planning guide for the Oregon section?  It shows average temperatures, percipitation amounts and numbers of days with measurable percipitation for various times of year.  You might want to take a look before you decide on January.

Offline Joseph

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2011, 05:23:19 pm »
Thanks to everyone who posted. Your advice has been very helpful. After reading your comments and looking at the adventure cycling maps I ordered, I ruled out doing the trip in January. You guys weren't kidding about the rain! Looks like I'll be heading out in the early summer. A little bit more traffic, but much better weather.

Also, the two wheeled trailer sounds like it might be a good idea. I'll have to browse around and see what I can find.

Offline aggie

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2011, 07:35:29 pm »
Take a look at the reviews of people that own and use trailers.  I'm very happy with my Bob and haven't had any handling problems.  It also seems like it isn't there when I'm touring.  I've some some reviews for a two wheeled trailer that would give me pause.  One stated that the trailer hit a pothole that caused the bike to crash and the contents of the trailer to fall into the road.  It also seems the cover isn't waterproof and is liable to open in the back as well as having the wheels rub holes in it.  If possible, find a dealer that will let you take one for a spin to see how they effect your ride. 

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2011, 10:28:01 pm »
You've re-opened a can of trailer worms that gets frequent coverage here. You will find passionate opinions about BOB'S both ways (I love mine) and the other trailers. Best to try one out if you can borrow one. I have a friend with a recumbent who wanted to move from panniers to a trailer. He ordered 4 different trailers and found they all handled differently and one was absolutely horrible, two were so-so and one was clearly the best for his bike. Even upright bikes differ so try it out if you can.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Planning Pacific Coast tour, need a few questions answered
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2011, 06:54:53 am »
Thanks to everyone who posted. Your advice has been very helpful. After reading your comments and looking at the adventure cycling maps I ordered, I ruled out doing the trip in January. You guys weren't kidding about the rain! Looks like I'll be heading out in the early summer. A little bit more traffic, but much better weather.

Also, the two wheeled trailer sounds like it might be a good idea. I'll have to browse around and see what I can find.
A bit more food for thought...

Don't rule out single wheeled trailers too quickly based on one thread.  In many of the threads that I have seen folks prefer single wheeled trailers.  In my very limited experience with two wheeled trailers and slightly greater experience with one wheeled trailer...  Of the two I'd go with the one wheeled trailer.  I found that a lot of places there is a need to ride close to an edge or to rumble strips and a two wheeled trailer is a hassle there.  I also never found any issues with bike handling with a one wheeled trailer.

That said I personally prefer panniers.  Enough so that I sold my trailer pretty early on.  It is enough of a hassle to fly or ship your gear with just a bike and I really don't need the added complexity of a trailer.  In general it is typically easier to keep the weight down with panniers.  For me the ideal setup is a light load (20-30 pounds including panniers, but not food or water) carried in panniers.

I think I might consider a single wheel trailer for off road touring.

I have to say that I am intrigued by the possibility of using a light road bike with a very light trailer if the total load could be kept lower that way.  That is not the case with most trailer set ups though.