Ready To Roll - The Explorers’ Ride - CycleBlaze

May 11, 2024

Ready To Roll

The Bike & Stuff

The Hume & Hovell Explorers Ride 2024 is a well documented route which passes through towns and villages with enough accommodation and  services not to require camping gear, although camping is an option for those who prefer tents or bivvies. 

I won’t be carrying any camping gear (except a stove-pot) this tour, and have already booked the first couple of nights accommodation in cabins. 

The route has over 7000 metres of ascent, and is reported to be about 50:50 sealed:unsealed. So I’ve chosen to take my venerable, but very low geared, 20” Norco hardtail MTB (bought in 2008) and convince it that it’s a touring bike. The gearing is good for touring. Front 22-32-44    Rear 11-34.

With the 26” wheels, this gives a lowest gear inch of about 16” or less I think. Very low anyway.

The Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres are those which I rode the exceedingly rough stuff Gibb River Road with in 2013. They should be Heritage Listed.

With food, minimal water and fully packed the total weight is about 27kg. 

I took it on a short practice ride yesterday, and it’s feels stable and balanced. No shimmy which was a problem on a previous tour when I tried panniers. Using the Carradice saddle bag and a frame bag seem to fix that problem.

The loaded bike. Saddlebag, frame bag, fork bags, small handlebar accessory bag, and two food bags on the handlebars.
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Rich FrasierI love it! That setup looks like it could handle some seriously bad roads.
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2 months ago
Graham SmithTo Rich FrasierI hope so Rich. It’s an experiment.
I know that about 50% of the route is too rough for my Thorn touring bike, but the other 50% will be sealed, so my off-road 29er tourer would be too slow.

The NORCO is a light MTB better suited to unloaded rides, but it should be ok with this set up.

And the SMART Sam tyre tread pattern is excellent for this type of mixed road surface tour.
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2 months ago
The rear view. Carradice long flap saddle bag fitted to the saddle post with quick release bracket (SQR). Contains about 7kg.
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Mike AylingHo.w long have you had the Carradice?
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2 months ago
Graham SmithTo Mike AylingMike I’ve had this particular bag for a few years. It’s only done one tour but has been used a lot for lugging groceries.
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2 months ago
The front view.
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