Sunday, May 3, 2015

2015's First S24O, and a Carmargue Update

Sam has been asking me for weeks, if not months, when we can go camping ("Sam, it's snowing outside...") Finally, we had a beautiful forecast for this weekend. I asked Sam if he would like to go camping, and he was so excited he ran right over and gave me a big, long hug. This made my restless, allergy filled night worthwhile.

We had some dinner, threw some gear in the trailer, and hit the road. Sam was happy to be out:

Over the winter, the city put in a new road and bike path along Emerald Parkway, making for a much nicer ride to our camping spot. Of course, we had to stop at the big playground at Emerald Fields along the way:

I was riding my Velo Orange Camargue, a bike that I really wasn't warming up to last fall, but is now really growing on me. Front load, rear load, slow, fast... it does it all, well. I've made some changes this spring to dial it in:

- the Albastache bars are so far, dare I say it, perfect, so I committed to a second layer of cloth bar tape over my worn fake cork tape. Feels great, and the orange only looks a little strange with the green frame:

I also worked on my VO decaleur to fit my Ironweed bag. I was all set to cut and weld to make the decaleur longer to reach the bag, when I realized I could just flip it over and make it work. It's no longer a quick release, but that's OK for me, since my bags are semi-permanent on this bike anyway:

The bag is worlds more stable now than when I had a strap looping from the side D ring to the handlebars.

On the drivetrain front, I wasn't happy with my front derailer: it rubbed a lot, and trimming it was a hassle when the left downtube shifter interfered with my frame bag. Finally, I realized two things:

1) I don't like front derailers


2) Central Ohio is pretty flat

so I pulled off the front derailer and went to a 1x8 setup:

Possibly, I'm the only person in 2015 upgrading from a Suntour XC Comp crankset to a Suntour XC Pro, but I need the small bolt circle on the Pro crank to fit the 32t ring (down from a 38/24 previously). The gear range was adequate: I never walked on this S24O ride, and the top end was still fast enough to get me to the library before closing time on my ride today. Someday, I may go to an 11/34 9 speed cassette, because just a little more gear range wouldn't hurt.

After the playground, we made it to our not explicitly illegal campsite, stopping only for a quick picture by a photogenic barn wall:

Sam was really looking forward to s'mores, so that was our first order of business:

While I prepared the s'mores, Sam kept busy blowing dandelion seeds around:

We played some card games, then headed down to set up camp. Our traditional event then is the throwing of the string over the branch:

Sam needs a little work on this--I had to get the string high enough so raccoons wouldn't get to our food.

By then, it was already approaching dusk, so we tucked into the tent. We had a pretty good night (excepting my allergies), though we both woke up in the early hours to put on more clothes when our summer weight sleeping bags proved a bit thin.

One nice thing about bike camping is that we're not squeezed for cargo space. Sam had room for his full sized pillow pet:

There's always room for his stuffed otter... the other nice thing about the trailer is that it allows me to messily pack in the morning. Rather than roll up the tent and sleeping bags, I just stuffed them all into the trailer:

We were on the road less than ten minutes after getting up.

Of course, we had some motivation: there was another playground to stop at on the way home:

and then breakfast:

(of course, we again brought some Timbits home for Henry and Kate). We made one more stop to work off some of those doughnuts:

and we were home by 9:30. A good start to 2015's trips!


  1. billiant well done your lovely son will remember this forever.
    seen your thread on BF

    1. At first I thought this was from my Mom, until I saw the BikeForums mention. Don't think she visits there often.


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