I have spent the best part of the last few weeks converting my road bike into a touring machine in preparation for the big ride. Although using a race bike is not usually recommended for touring because of it’s lack of strength, I was willing to risk it as I was not prepared to spend money on a special touring bike and liked the idea of using what I already had. I also figured that if I pack lightly, the combination of my 70ish kilograms plus another 20 odd kilograms of bags would still only be equivalent to a big bloke on the bike.
The bike was not designed for carrying anything other than the rider so adding something like a rear rack turned out to be tougher than I expected. Because there were no mounting points for anything, the rack had to be custom built and clamped directly to the frame. Using bits of aluminium and bolts, I put together a rear rack and an extension for the tri bars at the front of the bike. I then fitted a cheap plastic storage box to the back which screwed onto the frame with wingnuts.
For the bags, I sourced a big roll of blue waterproof nylon fabric from a second hand store for $10 and hit the sewing machine. The bags were built to be a tight fit to the frame and easily removable via velcro straps. I’ve used silicon sealant for the seams so they should be relatively waterproof but I won’t know until I get rained on.
I was struggling to mount a headlight to the front of the bike as there was no space left on the handlebars after the tri bars had been added. After a brainstorming session with Dad (who teaches design technology at a local school), he got to work designing and printing a custom mount on the schools 3D printer.
Last of all I fitted a cheap dynamo bought off ebay for $20 which would run off my wheel and allow me to recharge my phone, lights and an external battery pack while riding.
Once everything was added to the bike, I took it for a test ride with only two days to go before the big ride, luckily it held strong!
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