Patti has been doing great posts (I’ve helped some) with the day to day life and scenery of the trip. However we’ve had no bike geeky posts for some time.
We’re now a bit over 2000 miles into our trip and, fortunately, we’ve still had no mechanical issues. I’ve had to patch a tube, a very slow leak from a blackberry vine lying in the trail. There’s been the usual lubing and occasional BB7 adjustment. Nothing has broken or worn out. I had expected to be replacing brake pads as they’ve gotten serious use since we hit the Pyrenees. Surprisingly they still look good. I’m confident the chains are fine but I’ll measure them at the next opportunity. The rear tires (Geax Saguros) are just getting down to the center ridge where they’ll roll better.
My bike is around 60-70lbs on a daily basis. We aren’t skimping on food, we often have a bottle of wine and a tall boy along with food for the next day each evening. I’ve decided that at above around 50-55lbs bike weight, for me, technical riding stops being much fun. I’m just not strong enough or heavy enough to overcome the inertia the extra weight makes in handling. On smoother stuff it isn’t an issue other than slower climbing. I’d ideally take on even more weight as I’m still climbing a bit faster than Patti, still. The only feasible way to do that is with a trailer I think, and maybe this would be the best option for us.
The Trans Pyrenees route is sort of like a cross between the Great Divide Route and doing the CO Passes- Imogene, Stony, Cinnamon. Engineer, etc. Except once on top you tend to stay high for some time before descending back to a valley. It’s always a big climb and a big descent on either side, over and over and over again. The grades tend to be relatively mellow, we were able to ride almost all of them, it would sometimes seem like we’d spend the whole day climbing though. The surfaces vary greatly but overall are better than the jeep roads of CO. We had none of the wide and dusty washboard roads we have in the SW USA. Traffic was also much lighter than we have. A road only version of the Trans Pyrenees would be easy to lay out as well as being an incredible ride.
The Camino is more often than not surfaced, either asphalt or really rough concrete and occasionally cobbles. Occasionally we get a bit of single track and often it’s too technical for a heavily loaded bike but these sections tend to be short. The grades can be incredibly steep but usually aren’t super long.
For most of this tour from Denmark, our bikes have been overkill. I’d personally rather have been on my cross bike for all but the Pyrenees and some of the Camino. Patti loves her bike on any surface. If we were doing it over again I’d probably go with more road oriented tires for both of us. Overall we’re both pretty happy with our choices for gear, camping kit and clothing.
I may do future posts on our camping gear and clothing choices if there’s interest in that sort of thing.