Tour 2011, part 2, Preamble

2011 seems to be the year to travel. We started in January with a new car and a trip to California, Arizona, and New Mexico; a short trip to Vancouver, BC (via Birch Bay, WA), a Linux conference in Bellingham, and the Conference Marathon in June, hitting the ANWG conference in Salem, Big Sky Fiber Fest in Hamilton, MT, and back to Oregon for the USENIX Federated Conferences Week in Portland.

"Leviathan," our trusty Santana tandem we've had since 1986

Along the way, we ordered our long-awaited replacement for the HPV Leviathan, the trusty Santana Arriva XC tandem bicycle we’ve been riding for 25 years, and signed up for an Adventure Cycling supported camping tour in Upper Michigan in September. Over the 25 years, we’ve strapped the big fat-tired tandem in the back of a pickup truck and, later, on a roof-top rack, variously on the pickup with canopy, on a Nissan Sentra, and, for 17 years, on a 1994 Jeep Cherokee. When we traded in the Cherokee on a new Jeep Patriot, a wee smaller vehicle, the tandem rack no longer fit. Also, as we found out back in 1988, it is very difficult to box a full-sized tandem so that the airlines and rail lines will accept it, and, lately, if you do meet the size requirements, the oversized baggage fees (special for bicycles) are prohibitive.

The "Green Machine" with full trailer, ready to roll

Our new ride, a Bike Friday Project Q, which has been featured before, is a bit lighter, uses a bit more modern technology, and, most importantly, breaks down into luggage-sized pieces, so it can be checked as ordinary baggage on public transit.   We initially ordered only one case, a modified hard-shell Samsonite pullman case that converts to a trailer, but found getting even the single-bike conversion mode into one case was problematic.   So, a second case was ordered, which comes with a stacking attachment that allows it to swing out of the way for access to both bags when configured as a trailer.

And, here it is, packed and ready to be transported.  With both cases, there is room for additional bike gear: shoes, helmets, tools, and bike clothes.  The various bike components–tubes, seats, pedals, etc–slip into felt bags.  The brown blankets are spread out on the ground or floor for assembly/disassembly and the bike held together with slip joints and clamp screws.  The front half of the tandem is on the right, and the back half is on the left, along with the trailer components.

So, we’re off again for Tour 2011, part 2, which will take us to Montana, where we plan to reassemble the bike and ride some of our old familiar routes around the Bitterroot Valley in the evenings: it’s a business trip, with a few days at the customer’s site.  We’ll spend a day or so at our cabin in the Mission Mountains, but probably no time for biking, before heading farther east to Minnesota, where the Unix Curmudgeon plans to attend a high school reunion for the first time, having avoided previous ones for the past 50 years.  Depending on weather, we might or might not break out the bike in Minnesota, as we’re only there for a few days before racing back west to Chaos Central to train hard for Tour 2011, part 3, which will be in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in September.  So far, we’ve put less than 50 miles on the new machine, in a series of 6-12 mile rides, part of the break-in period with frequent adjustments plus learning to break it down and assemble it quickly.  Stay tuned.