Sunday, 15 August 2010

Vale the Ranchslider

Since 1996 or thereabouts, I've been a big fan of Groundeffect cycling gear. They're a little pricey, but they're bombproof.

My faces have always been the daddylonglegs leggings and the ranchslider cargos. I've ridden 2 pairs of rancheis into the ground, 5 years out of my old first edition cordura ones and 10 years out of the second edition microfibre pair.

Sadly, Groundeffect don't do the cycling pad in them anymore. This makes then into an overpant only, requiring bike shorts under for riding. My $30 cargo pants from Costco can do that job with a pair of reflective ankle wraps to keep them out of the chain. $30 v. $130 is no contest.

I'll probably still buy my next pair of daddylonglegs from them if my current 12 year old pair ever wear out, but ranchies without the padding? Too expensive.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

One less Holden ute!

While riding home recently, I discovered treasure on somebody's hard rubbish pile. Amid a pile of old glass televisions, broken garden furniture and a badly stained cot matress, was a Burley "buggy" bicycle trailer. Apart from flat tyres, there was nothing wrong with it, the owners had just outgrown it - well, their kids had, apparently.

Now, I don't need a kiddy trailer, but a load hauler is a very useful gadget indeed. Panniers only carry about 10 to 15kg and there's no room for a decent water supply for cooking and washing at the end of a day's touring. All that was needed was a plywood floor and a rainproof, polytarp tonneau cover to replace the "flymesh" one. Et voila! A hauler for 40kg camping and shopping loads. Now all it needs is a clamp-on jockey wheel at the front and a push handle at the back, and it'll be ready for a trip to Costco :-)

In my previous trailer-towing life, I used a steel-framed Winchester 2-seater to take my kids to daycare. Trailer plus kids and daycare bags was close to 60kg, and even on Hobart's hilly terrain, was rarely more than a gear lower for any given climb, compared to no trailer. The only time I ever struggled with it was a camping trip to Bruny Island with a climb over Mt Cook on a badly eroded, steep fire road. So, in Victoria, with an alloy frame, the sum total of my camping gear and 10 litres of drinking water, hauled over mostly level ground (by Tassy standards) should be easy.

And the logo on the back? If a bicycle is one less car, with a trailer, it's one less Holden ute on the road ;-) It's also a reference to my next project, a pedal powered utility with the capacity of a Suzuki MightBoy and full fabric weather-proof skin: the "One Less White Van" project. (This one may take a few years...)