This is an obligatory page for gear geeks who like to know what sort of rig a cyclist might use for a transcontinental journey. Others might find it a monumental bore. So if you’re not very interested in panniers and V-brakes, headsets and derailleurs, just skip this page.

Gear ad

First, the bike: I ride a custom touring bike made by Dallas-Fort Worth builder Boyd Atherton, who unfortunately had to get out of the bike-building business because he couldn’t make enough money at it. So, at last report, he coaches wrestling and teaches at a Dallas-area high school. Boyd is a perfectionist and a super nice guy. Maybe those traits don’t fit into a profit-making business plan.
Mini MeBoyd, who I believe still races in local criterions, built mostly racing bikes and at one time sponsored a team. Because of a childhood friendship in Michigan with actor Verne Troyer, who played “Mini Me” opposite Mike Myers in the Austin Powers movies, Boyd also had a special niche building or adapting bikes for little people. I believe I have the only touring bike that he ever built. I rode it for the first time Jan. 21, 2002.
Atherton logoEssentially, my bike is made from heavy-gauge aluminum tubing and is fitted out with a combination of road and mountain bike components.
The drive train has carbon cranks, three chain rings (46T/34T/24T) and a nine-sprocket rear cassette. It has a Shimano Ultegra front derailleur and a Shimano XTR rear derailleur.
It has Shimano Ultegra FlightDeck shifters and Shimano XTR mountain bike V-brakes. The wheels are heavy-duty, 36-spoke Mavic T520s with XTR hubs.
The tires are Schwalbe Marathon Plus, 300×32. I had hoped to mount 700×35 tires for the cross-country trip, but I don’t believe I have sufficient clearance between the chainstays for a 700×35 tire on the rear.
Other bits and pieces: Ritchey Pro headset, Bontrager seat post, a Brooks B-17 leather saddle.
Touring cyclistsFor the trip, I will mount a set of Bruce Gordon racks that I had used on my other bike, a Bruce Gordon Hikari touring cycle. The panniers are Arkels: GT54 in the rear and GT18 in the front.
Some ancillary gear: REI Quarter Dome T1 solo tent, a lightweight Eureka! Horse Creek sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, Lake MX155 cycling shoes, a Topeak Morph Road G Master Blaster pump with a gauge and a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook to try to maintain this blog on the road. (See April 27 post, “Blogging on a bike.”)
The photo below shows the bike fully loaded in pretty much the same configuration that I’ll use for the cross-country trip. That photo was taken in Illinois last September during the Illinois Great Rivers Ride, which was a self-contained test run for this trip.

Fully loaded in Illinois, September 2008

Fully loaded in Illinois, September 2008

Gear for cross-country trip

Gear for cross-country trip


13 responses to “Gear

  1. Ben P.

    Nice photo Dad. Where are you going to put the laptop on the ride?

  2. Josh Lindsay

    Jim, I don’t know what your email is and I can’t figure out how to send you a message directly. Hopefully you will get this comment. You asked about a mount I had for a light so I figured the gear page was as good a place as any to post this. I got it from dealextreme. Their stock changes pretty often. I can’t find the exact one, but this one might work:
    Not the greatest quality, but this sort of thing doesn’t need to be mission critical for me (its not like I’m going on a cross country journey).

    Also, I thought you might like to see a couple of video recordings I made for my girls while I was in Holland. It’s geared toward a 3 and 5 year old, but you can get an idea of the simple gear we survived on.

    All the best,

  3. Josh Lindsay

    Wait, I found the exact one. It wasn’t where I would expect it to be.

    All the best,

  4. Steve Heather

    I am going to do something similar –am planning a solo cross canada ride begining June 1 next year after I retire. I have a similarily equipped bike with tubus low-riders on the front with Arkel G-18 panniers. I haven’t used low-riders on a tour before but have tested these on a short ride. The bike rides well with them but I am concerned about clearance and the bags possibly getting caught on a curb or other obstruction. Have you ahd any problems like that?

    • Steve,
      Thanks for looking at the blog. No, I haven’t had any problem with the low-riding bags catching on an obstruction. But I guess I tend to give curbs a wider berth when fully loaded. The only problem that I’ve had with clearance is on the rear. I had to mount my bags as far back as possible on the rear rack to give my heels sufficient clearance with the turn of the crank. I guess my chainstays could be a tad longer. Good luck on your cross-country journey and thanks again for looking at my blog.

  5. Earl Thrash

    Hello Jim, I would probably not be considered a cycling enthusiast but I have had the opportunity to cycle in some very interesting places under many varying conditions for the last 25 to 30 years. I am a member of the Houston Police Bicycle Charity Relay Team. We cycle to various places around the country each summer and we raise funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for the last 25 years at least. We are heading to Niagra Falls this June for the team’s 3oth Anniversay Ride and we should surpass the $5 million dollar mark on funds raised over te years. I really didn’t need to say all that but it lends a little interst maybe. I found your blog off on and enjoyed what I have seen so far and find your blog really interesting. I am trying to sign up to receive your postings when ever you post. I live in Cypress, Tx. just outside of Houston. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy the blog and am trying to sign up to follow it. Earl or ET

  6. Earl,
    Many thanks for looking at my blog. I did some Internet research on the Houston Police Bicycle Relay Team. It sounds like a great organization. Take care and keep in touch. Your trip to Niagara Falls in June sounds like material for a blog post. Please give me a heads-up closer to the time so I can write about it in advance.

  7. Here is a quick suggestion for those who are looking for transitional apparel for the climate changes faced by cyclists. The first are the shirts and boxers found at that employ moisture wicking technology to keep you cool and dry as well as being extremely durable. Another exciting innovation they have is a new fabric which increases oxygen flow in your blood stream by 10%. This could be extremely helpful for trips involving high altitudes, or long distances where recovery time needs to be shortened.
    This is definitely worth checking out.
    Happy Cycling!

  8. Umm Jim,

    I suppose there is a reason for it but I can find no trace of your email so I want to post a comment. I suppose im not really a cyclist but none the less I stumbled across your blog and thought I’d give ya a shout. Im in charge of putting together a Ciclovia type event on here in Fort Worth. I cant discuss everything publically at this point but its been my full time job now for about two months and the City is an Official partner so its kinda a big deal.

    If at all possible I’d like to fill you in and get your take? Shoot me an email and perhaps we can talk more.


  9. Thanks for sharing your equipment. I’d like to attempt a cross-country bike ride one day. Could you link me to any cross-country blogging cyclists whose routes went through or around Missouri? It’d be very helpful to see a route that go’s through my area

    Also, do you have any future long-distance cycling goals? Have you ever thought of riding the continental divide from Canada to Mexico? Or perhaps over the Great Wall of China or across Europe?

    • Josh,
      So sorry for the tardy reply. I haven’t been very active on my blog lately, but many thanks for taking the time to look at it. I know at least one cross-country cyclist, Mark Troxler, who incorporated the Katy Trail across Missouri into his cross-country trip. I have done the Katy Trail three times. It’s a great trail and a good way to become accustomed to multi-day touring. I’d like to do the Katy Trail again, partly because the eastern terminus, St. Charles, is not far from my hometown, Alton, Ill. The last time I did the Katy Trail, I rode with a friend from Clinton, Mo., to St. Charles, and then used farm roads to link up with the Clark Bridge across the Mississippi to Alton. As for other future trips, I’ve been fantasizing about riding the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo. But so far it’s just an idea. Take care and happy trails.

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