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Thursday, November 03, 2011

"Dialing it in" on the Long Haul Trucker

Since I lived on the Long Haul Trucker for four-plus months on the road, it’s been nice to have a choice between two bikes again. I’ve been riding the beloved Raleigh Wayfarer for the most part. The upright bars and the simplicity of three gears has been refreshing. I’ve only pulled out the LHT for longer rides.

I’ve paid more attention to the Trucker in the past few days, however. I’ve been making some modifications and changes, and “dialing it in” for the upcoming Verboort Sausage randonneur ride this Saturday.

The first thing I’ve done is take off the rear rack. No, there’s nothing wrong with the rack (a Jandd Expedition.) It’s basically because I’ve had both front and rear racks on the LHT since Day One, so I figure it would be a nice change to only have front racks for awhile. Since I’m not touring, there’s no need for both sets. And removing the front rack would mean having to remount the front light.

It’s a minor change, but it already makes me want to ride the bike more. Is it psychological? 

The bike feels a little lighter. I don’t feel like there’s that much change in handling, except when I only have one front pannier. I tested this on Wednesday when I rode to North Portland. It handles ok for the most part, but if I hit a bump, I can feel a noticeable “jerk” on the front wheel. And that’s the big problem with a front rack vs. rear--having only one pannier on the rear doesn’t affect the steering that much, whereas on the front it makes a difference. I’ll probably stick to using two front bags in the future to balance things out.
No rack to support the Carradice anymore!

I finally got a new tire for the rear (thanks to North Portland Bikeworks) so hopefully I won’t have to worry about flats for awhile. Front brake pads got replaced so no more squealing. It looks like it will need new cable and possibly housing soon, though. The drivetrain will need to be replaced sooner than later, as 4,000+ miles has ravaged the chain and rear cassette. These things will happen when I get some cash. (Hopefully soon!)

And onto lighting. You may have recalled me complaining about the “flickering” of my B+M Lyt Senso Plus headlight. While some flicker should be expected under low speeds, it was flickering at even moderate speeds like 10 miles an hour. I bought it (along with my dynohub front wheel) from Clever Cycles right before the trip, so I never had the chance to have them check it out. So Tuesday April and I swung by their Happy Hour celebration (Music? Free beer? Sure!) so they checked out the setup. Turns out the light itself was defective. So they swapped out a functional one, and problem solved.

I never got around to installing a rear light before the trip, due mostly to time and financial constrictions, but also because I wanted a fender-mounted light, and I wanted to get nice aluminum fenders first. No use putting on “nice” fenders before a multi-month trip while the plastic ones are perfectly functional. Now I’m back, and I don’t think nice fenders are going to happen anytime soon. So today I swung by Citybikes and picked up a Spanninga Pixeo XS Fender Dyno Tail Lamp. This is the same one I have on the Raleigh. That one I bought through Velo-Orange, but they are currently out of stock, so I figure I’d scoop up one now from Citybikes. And it’s only $20, quite the value.

I also picked up for April a Spanninga headlamp:

This is similar to the headlamp on the Raleigh, the big difference is this one is halogen (the other is LED.) But it was in Citybikes’ bargain bin for only $10! Score! When we retrieve April’s Raleigh from her friend Katrina we’ll mount both the S/A Dynohub built on a CR18 rim (purchased from Dave of Portlandize) and the headlamp. I’m not the biggest fan of halogen lighting since LED uses less juice and don’t have bulbs to futz with, but it will do for now.

In the coming days I’ll attempt to mount and wire the rear light on the Long Haul Trucker. Oh yeah, I got a new can of shellac so I just redid the shellac on the Raleigh’s cork grips. Hopefully today I’ll be able to shellac the Trucker’s bars. And then the baby will be ready for her first randonneuring event. Woot!
Yeah! Can of shellac ready! And radio tuned to KGON! Maybe they'll play a "twofer" of Foghat. I can only hope...


  1. Looking good! FWIW, I hated riding with one pannier in back, I always felt like it was pulling the bike over (although i used a largeish 20L pannier, which might have contributed to that). That's the main reason I got a Carradice, although I slightly miss the rear rack's light plate now we're into winter here.

    I'm tempted by a front rack though, at least partly because of the light mounting forward of the fork crown. Is that one on your bike a Jandd too? The platform looks like a useful thing to have...

  2. John-The front rack is indeed a Jandd. It is their Extreme model, I believe. I like having the platform so I can carry stuff there or mount my handlebar bag. When I got the rack five years ago there weren't as many options for a front rack as there are now, and the Jandd had the most bang for the buck. I've been satisfied!

  3. I've read about drop-in LED replacement bulbs for halogen bike lamps, designed to work with the existing optics and provide more light with the same juice. Not sure if they'd be economical though.

  4. Mr. C- Yeah, an LED bulb replacement for that halogen Spanninga might be overkill. I got it mostly so April would have "somethiing" when we put on the Dynohub wheel. Then she can upgrade, and the halogen would become the spare light.


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