In preparation of a bigger trip, I decided to ride from Japser to Banff last week in order to train and test my gear. It was a great experience, I learnt a lot even if I was not able to ride the whole trip (I did not mind, my objective was not to do as many kilometers as possible but more in the experiment, and I had to be in Banff on a specific day to volunteer at the Banff Mountain Film Festival)
- Unicycle: KH29. As I mentionned on the forum before, this is just the size perfect for me. Easy to mount on it while I’m carrying a 10kg backpack, even after being exhausted by several hours of riding.
- Hub: Geared KH/Schlumpf. Helps to compensate the fact that it is not a 36".
- KH Handlebars
- Freeride Saddle: I wanted to trim it but didn’t find the time before I left. In the end wasn’t too bad, I mean I would still want to modify it but I didn’t suffer too much. I mainly had to make sure I had as less layers/seams as possible
- Brake: disc brake Shimano Deore, I’ve rarely had to use it but I’m still super happy with the disc brake
- Cranks: 137/165mm! Was perfect. Once everything was finally all adjusted and I knew how to deal with the snow, I only used the 137mm because I’ve never really had to deal with super steep hills. But I was glad to know it was possible.
I had no problem switching gears! Finally (I’ve been struggling for the past 2 years)! With my short feet (5.5 woman), 137mm cranks is the way to go, if the cranks are longer, it just doesn’t work as easily. I actually have to admit, I was only gearing up. Gearing down didn’t work as easily and I didn’t want to work on it during the trip. But it was fine just stopping when the hill was too steep uphill to switch gear, I needed to stop regularly anyway.
- Tire: I realized I had to change my slick tire to be able to deal with the snow (well, I knew it before I left but I was in a rush and didn’t have time to do it), luckily I found a shop with super nice people - free wheel cycle - that helped me get ready for my trip, also cut my seatpost in case I needed to use the 165mm holes). The bike mechanic convinced me not to use studded tires because it would be too slow on the road and I’m glad he did!
- Rack: Justin made me a little rack - attached to the rim brake holes so I could add a bag with my sleeping bag and clothe. It worked great! Short enough that when the unicycle falls, it doesn’t touch the ground and doesn’t get damages. My legs would touch the bag a bit while riding but it wasn’t too much and I got used to it quickly.
- The bottle holder: holds a big bottle, I like it because it’s bigger than usual (0.9L) bike bottles, but it was a tiny bit on the way too, barely, so not really a problem. I thought I would not use that bottle during the day but only at camp. I had forgotten that the tube of the camel back could freeze. So in the end I was using the water bottle during the day, I was able to reach the bottle while riding but it wan’t super easy. Since I was not drinking a lot and stopped often enough and it was not needed, I only did it once I think.
- Tool bag: wasn’t a great bag, waterproof but annoying zipper because you had open it totally to get the tools and it wasn’t easy… I avoided using it
- Fender: “Rear Deflector Shield” , it worked great! I didn’t even need to attach it. If it was just at the position where it would protect both my sleeping bag and my water bottle, it wouldn’t touch the wheel. If it was too much forward it would touch, but it was easy to push back, even while riding. When the snow accumulated it was still ok as long as I was not riding in slushy snow.
Bag on the rack:
- OR AirPurge DryComp Sack 15L: waterproof and solid enough so I was totally confident that my sleeping bag and my evening/spare clothes (1 shirt, 1 underwear, 1 pair of socks and my down jacket) would stay dry!
- 28L.with frame and air flow I’m super happy with it too. Small but that’s also a way not to carry too much. At the end of the trip I had about 9.5kg on me. Probably more like 11kg 11.5kg with my food. It really didn’t feel like it
- I took a multi-tool with me so I would have tools that maybe I would not have thought bringing but I did not realize that with the disc rotor, i would not be able to reach the screws of the bearing holders. So I would have needed to take the crank out to change the tire/tube! When I needed to change the tire, I was at a a bike store so I borrowed tools. When my tire was flat I just pumped it, it had a leak and I would pump it once or twice a day and it was fine enough
- Mirror: Loved it. It’s a big one and looks ugly but it was so nice to know easily that a big truck was about to pass me…
- Sunglasses: loved them too, they were great when it was snowing!
- Bike shorts: I’m not sure if I want to keep riding with bike shorts. What I know is the more layers I was wearing the worst it was. So the day it was snowing, I was wearing my long johns, my pants and my rain pants, no underwear and no bike shorts…
(if you want to know more about my gear list, ask me, I have all the details with descriptions and weight. I’ve spent hours choosing every piece: the tent, the mattress…)