Appendix B: Equipment Reviews

A big thumbs up goes to the Canon SD500. It withstood the rigors of bike touring, sitting in the mesh pocket of my Delta Cycles handlebar bag most of the time. Once again, my Sunnto Escape altimeter provided readings that were almost always within 10m of the summit sign. The Delta cycles handlebar bag suffered a tear from overloading, but was otherwise ergonomically designed with perfect pocket placemment for every item that was important. For the price ($25 on ebay new), you could buy a new one for each tour you do, and spend many years touring happily for the price of a single Giles Berthoud bag. I could always reach for my camera and shoot without ever stopping the bike on a climb. Having seen a Giles Berthoud bag in person, I now consider it nowhere as convenient or useful as the Delta cycles bag. I think of it this way: would you rather have a useful bag that lasted about 6 weeks of cycling, or would you have a bag that lasted forever but made you stop the bike to get anything out of it? For me the answer is clear. Once again, Carradice saddlebags work exceedingly well. Avocet 700x25 tires surpassed all my expectations --- as a reference Mike went from being a nervous, white knuckled descender on continental tires to a supremely confident fast descender on the Avocet 700x25s. Topeak Road Morph pumps are similarly recommended.

Endurolytes proved their usefulness on long hot hard bike tours. The effect after taking two is almost immediate. Every time Mike or I started to cramp we would take one or two and our symptoms would completely disappear.

Poor experiences came from cantilever brakes. If I had my bike to do all over again I would build a frame around long reach caliper brakes instead of cantilevers. They squeal, they don't stop any better, and are a pain to adjust and replace brake pads. I will never buy a road touring bicycle with cantilever brakes again. With long reach caliper brakes as an option there is simply no reason to accept an inferior solution.

Steve's experience with his Ritchey breakaway demonstrates that no matter the manufacturer, you must test ride your bike with a full touring load to check for shimmy before you go touring. There is no way to predict whether a bike will have shimmy problems, and it's best to find out before you go. (Not to mention, your frame will have better resale value if you don't put several hundred miles of rainy day riding before you try to sell it, which you will have to do if it shimmys)

Up: Contents, Prev: Appendix A, Next: Appendix C