Bike Across USA blog

Traveling by Bicycle Across America

Natchez Trace Parkway Bicycle Tour

Natchez Trace Parkway Map

Natchez Trace Parkway

This is an overview of the Natchez Trace Parkway. I will be riding 444 miles to Natchez and ride back to the northern terminus.

I will be riding a Specialized AWOL with Schwalbe Marathon plus 700x37c tires.

Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage

Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage

Cargo cage

Since the Specialized AWOL has only one screw on the fork, I added a hose clamp with a piece of inner tube padding. The Sea to Summit 5 Liter Big River Dry Bag fits perfectly.

The cage is rated up to 4kg or nearly 9 pounds. I put about 2.5 pounds in each one.

Mounted Dry Bags

Mounted Dry Bag

Mounted 5 Liter Dry Bag

The bag fits very well. It is carrying my cooking pot and some food.

Sea to Summit Dry Bag Disappointment

Sea to Summit 5 Liter Big River Dry Bag

What’s wrong with this picture?

Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I opened this brand new Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag. The first one I opened a few weeks ago was fine. Without the matching clasp, it isn’t going to create a water tight seal at the top.

These bags ride on the Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cages on the fork. Mounted pictures soon.

How Much is Enough: Better Choices for My Packing List

You don’t always need the economy size

Comparing sizes

On the Northern Tier I carried the big one on the left. At 10 ounces including the container, with far more sunscreen than I needed for a 74 day trip, it was too much.

Items like sunscreen can be replaced along the way. I hope the small “stick” works as well as the lotion. A weight savings of 9 ounces compared to my first bicycle tour is a great change to the total weight for my packing list for the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Weight Reduction: Do You Really Need That?

Can opener from my first tour

From my first bicycle tour

When I started on the Northern Tier in 2012, I had not cycled on a self-supported trip before. I did not have a stove. I used it to open cans of tuna fish. I am thankful for the wide availability of tuna in foil packets and many options not in a can. On my next tour I used the opener on my pocket knife. After that, I haven’t carried any cans. At 6.4 ounces, it was a heavy luxury for limited use.

My packing list is much more refined today, yet it still is not as light as I would like it to be. It still is not an ultra light packing list.

Specificalized AWOL Mounted for Travel


Mounted to travel

My bike is mounted for a trip to Natchez Trace Parkway.

Riding The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

GDMBR start

GDMBR start at Canadian Border

I started south toward Mexico from Roosville, Montana Monday, August 14, 2017. I will post here from time to time as Internet access is available.

Quick posts will be on Facebook page @Bike AcrossUSA

First Two Weeks of Bicycle Travel on the Southern Tier

US 70 north of Duncan, AZ

US 70 north of Duncan, AZ

My journey began in San Diego, California on March 14. Total miles ridden are 738. I have taken one rest day. Today I averaged 10.1 mph while riding. It is deceiving, since I was not riding for about an hour while I patched an inner tube. When I stopped at Main Street in Duncan, a man ask where I was headed. I told him Saint Augustine, Florida. He asked if I was looking for a place to stay. I told him I was going to the park. He told me he was a warm showers host. I I have a bed and a shower! The fellows name is Clayton. He owns the hotel.

He told me he had thee cyclists at the hotel. I met Vance, Terry and Fritz. We had pizza (excellent) together. It is great meeting new people and seeing how the Lord provides for my needs.

US 70 north of Duncan, AZ

Pizza in Duncan

Day 15 on the Southern Tier

Steel removed from Tire

Steel removed from Tire

Schwalbe Marathon Tires are puncture resistant, not puncture proof. I had to pull that little piece of a steel belted radial tire from my tire this afternoon. It was my second flat of the day. I could not find a leak in the tube or feel anything in the tire after breakfast. That was only one problem. The other photo shows the hole in my Park frame pump where it should slide over the tube valve. If I had been out away from town this would have been a huge problem. Sac ford, Arizona has a Walmart (my only choice since the bike shop was not open). I would like to have found a better pump.

Park pump missing valve head

Pump missing valve head

When the puncture came this afternoon I had to remove the panniers an lay the bike on the ground. It took nearly an hour to find the leak, remove the steel, reinstall the wheel and put everything back to ride again.

Schwalbe tag

Schwalbe tag

The added material probably helps. It isn’t perfect.

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