Next week I am planning my first off road bike packing trip, so this morning I was up at sunrise with the Troll fully loaded and out the door. My plan was to ride on different surfaces, and try to follow the Buckeye Trail as much as possible. If you are not savvy to the Buckeye Trail, it is a hiking trail that goes around the entire state of Ohio. Unfortunately, the trail is mostly on back roads, and very little of it is on actual single track. Furthermore, what single track there is, is usually off limits to bikes. But horses are allowed? Makes no sense to me, but I will save that rant for another day.
Luckily, the Buckeye Trail goes right through my little town of Milford, so I followed it east, towards East Fork state park. All on pavement until I came to the dead end of Ross Road, which is in the photo above. This was my first loaded off road section with the Troll, and it handled beautifully. This part of the trail appears to have been a completely usable road, that the county must have decided to let die. The trail was made up of broken pavement, dirt, and lots and lots of rocks. Very interesting downhill to say the least. This section made me realize that my brakes are very underpowered. After this off road piece, I was dropped into the town of Batavia and almost to my destination.
From Batavia I rambled along St. Rt. 222 to Elk Lick Road, which then connected to Green Briar road. The Buckeye Trail follows Elk Lick to another dead end, but I continued up the hill on Green Briar to see if I could find a campsite in East Fork state park. Green Briar dumped me onto Old Rt. 32, which connected me to Zagar Rd. which I found a single track trail that should have put me at a backpacking campsite. Unfortunately, I could not find the campsite, so I turned around and found this gem of a road:
This old dirt road off of Zagar Rd. was a broken down gem. Broken pavement, gravel, and ended as a single track, and put me back onto Green Briar Rd. Very interesting to see roads fall off of repair, and get turned into trails. Also, pretty interesting to see how quickly the marks of man gets erased off of the planet in such short time. Makes me think of the book, “The World Without Us.” Definitely worth the read if you are into that sort of thing. Anyway, once back onto Green Briar, I followed that back into Batavia, retraced some of my tracks, ended up on US Hwy. 50, then back to the comforts of home. Total saddle time of almost 4 hours.
Things learned from this ride:
1. My brakes need upgraded. I am running Avid BB5s, which I am thinking of switching to Avid BB7s. I am most familiar with BB7s, but I also am thinking of switching to hydros, but they cost way too much, with too much maintenance for my taste. Anyone have recommendations for a good, economical set of hydraulic brakes? I’m all ears.
2. I need to rethink my packing. I am only planning an overnight, but I found myself running out of room for gear. I might still have to use a backpack, which I was trying to avoid. Now that they seem to have come back into stock, I will be picking up a Salsa Minimalist rack to run on the rear to add a bit more cargo space on the bike.
3. I love my Brooks saddle.
Not a bad way to start the day, next week should be an adventure!
Just keep spinning…
Had some time today to switch a few things around on some bikes. Switched my Avid SD7s from my commuter bike to the Haro Mary, along with swapping the Avid BB5s for Avid BB7s. Finally trimmed up the Jagwire cable housing on the Mary as well from switching out the On One Mary handlebars to a set of Bontrager Big Sweep. I feel that the Mary single speed is going to be a pretty solid bike this year. Another plan for it is to play around with the gearing a little bit. Right now, I am at a 2:1 gear ratio, which for the Cincinnati area is not too bad. I would like to gear it a little easier for when I go to other places though. Time will tell. Here are some pictures from my time working today:
Here is the latest version of the Haro V3. Looks like the xtracycle conversion will have to wait, but for now, this will be the commuter set up. Here are the parts:
-2003 Haro V3 frame
-Sram X9 rear derailleur
-Shimano LX front derailleur
-Sram X7 shifters
-Avid BB7 brakes
-Avid SD7 brake levers
-Easton EA50 handlebars
-Salsa rigid fork (From an Ala Carte)
-Sun Ringle Singletrack wheelset
-Truvativ Fire X mountain crankset with GXP BB.
-Original Haro seatpost
-Shimano clip/platform pedals
-Maxxis Crossmark 26×2.1 tires
I still need to fine tune the shifting a little, but for the most part it is ready for commuting duty. After the shifting is all set, the next thing to order will be some Schwalbe Big Apples! Here’s a few pictures: