Bikepacking Shakedown for OBX Ride!

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We are approximately 2 weeks out from a family bikepacking trip of the Outer Banks of North Carolina!  The trip will take my wife our daughter and myself approximately 8 days to cover 250 miles via our trusty Salsa Vaya and Surly Big Dummy (Silver Back Gorilla).  A trip like this is a great excuse to snag some new accessories and gear, so this weekend we hit the road to test some of our new additions. 

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Yepp Maxi Child Seat

Our daughter is not quite potty trained yet, so for this trip we are still going to need to lug a full week of diapers with us.  The good news is they really don’t weigh much, but they do take up a ton of space.  So in an effort to find a good place to store a bulky light item, I found the Oveja Negra Threadworks Front End Loader.  This is the second bag I have from Oveja Negra and have been very impressed with the quality of their products, price point and timely shipping.  The Front End Loader allows me to strap a dry bag up on my Jones Loop H Bars and not even notice it is there.  Even with a weeks worth of diapers attached to my bars, my steering was the same and hand placement was not effected.

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Surly Big Dummy

The major addition, to the wife’s Salsa Vaya, was the Salsa Down Under Front Rack.  What a bargain at $65! Typical Salsa, the rack is super sturdy, easy to install and just plain WORKS.  We plopped some bags on the front of the wife’s bike, dropped her HUGE DSLR camera and lens with some clothes wrapped around it on one side and went for a test ride.  The racks hold perfectly, bags stay in place and everyone is happy.

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Brooks Saddle

All of our gear worked great!  I even had the opportunity to chase a couple of Tri geeks on my Surly Big Dummy after they passed me, fun race.   The weather was perfect our gear is just about all-together and we are super excited to get to North Carolina and cover some miles.

Here is the video of our new gear on our test ride!

Surly Big Dummy UPDATES

The Silver Back Gorilla (SBG) came into our life mid January 2014 and its been a hoot to put some miles on it during the winter. The Virginia weather has been a bit of a downer on outdoor activity, however the SBG has forced me to suck it up and get on the saddle. The Dummy is already proving to be an awesome addition to our growing stable of bikes, but like many other toys, this one CRAVES upgrades and aftermarket goodies!

Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat

 

Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat
The primary reason for purchasing the SBG was to haul our little girl around on the back (at least that is how I justified it to my wife). So the first addition was a Yepp seat. You can see the installation of this seat HERE.

Only change with the seat was moving it more to the center of the deck in order to keep it from hitting my heels when I peddled. The platform as a whole is very stable, proving to be very easy to haul a toddler, groceries, workout gear, large awkward objects and enough beer for all your friends in one trip if you so desire.

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat
Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat

The next thing I swapped out was the saddle. I added a black Brooks spring seat to the mix. We have Brooks saddles on multiple bikes, but this is the first one with springs and I really dig it. The springs add a nice shock absorber to the rig and I believe some style points for sure.

Brooks Saddle
Brooks Saddle
Brooks Saddle
Brooks Saddle

The last thing we’ve added up to this point is a set of Jones Loop H bars (710 version). I chose the slightly wider ones in hopes of finding a wide variety of hand positions and so far am very pleased. I slapped on some Ergon GP 1 grips and then wrapped the rear portion of the bars. The front loop will likely receive some bar tape in the near future, providing for additional hand placement. The bars are AWESOME.

Jones loop bar
Jones loop bar

I don’t think the SBG will ever be complete. A Dynamo front hub and light setup is on the wish list. Additionally I would like to swap out the tires for something a little more in line with our dirt road touring. At this point I’m trying to choose between the Scwalbe Marathon or the Big Apples. Anybody have experience with either tire and care to pass on some advice?