A Cruzbike friend in Boulder, Colorado recently went on her first bike camping trip. She had asked for advice about packing and mounting panniers on a Quest and I sent her my bike touring packing list and blog post about using Radical Design panniers.
I followed up to ask how it went. It turned out the route consisted of single track, not much pavement, steep ups and downs, and generally a roller coaster of a dirt ride. She decided to take her Cruzbike Sofrider, but it sounds like she could’ve taken her Quest 26 if it had more appropriate tires.
She sent me this note and photos. I thought it was a great story about how a 26″-wheeled Cruzbike handles off-road riding.
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I ended up choosing the Sofrider because the route was mostly dirt – just a bit of pavement climbing at the beginning. There were some very challenging segments. When I say very challenging, I mean mountain bike material – very narrow rocky/rooty tracks through the woods up and down mountains. That part was not what I’d hoped for at all, but I made it through! Also at the end, there was a long 14% grade descent which terrified me. So, I braked hard. I also blew my rear tube, had to learn to change/patch it on the side of the road. ADVENTURES. Perhaps a bit of a “death march”* by the end, but I’m glad I did it and wouldn’t have been prepared without your advice. [*There’s a tradition at Cruzbike that we go for “death marches” every morning of the bike conventions. So far, Jim and Maria Parker have gone easy on us and I’ve been able to keep up.]
Here are the few photos I took on my phone! We rode the bus out of Boulder to Nederland the first evening, biked/climbed (literally scaled a mountain side pushing/carrying my loaded Sofrider) to our campsite which we reached at sunset then biked back all the way down to Boulder the next day.
As for the mountain bike trails, I think the Sofrider sans 20 lbs of load could have faired even better. The problem I ran into was front wheel slip climbing on very steep, loosely packed surfaces.
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Have fun, think fast,
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