boxes of books

Decluttering on Steroids

Alan and I plan to be bike traveling for several months, if not a year or more. A major problem to solve before leaving will be to figure out what to do about our house and all of our belongings. There are basically two scenarios that we’re entertaining. Sell the house or rent out the house. Regardless of which option we go with, however, we’re going to have to get rid of a lot of our stuff, downsizing and eliminating all but the essentials.

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Travel Credit Cards

In the next year or two we might be taking several international flights.  Potential flights include U.S. to New Zealand, Australia to Europe and Europe back to the U.S.  We thought it would be a good idea to earn some frequent flier miles by signing up for a couple new credit cards which offer big sign-up bonuses as well as bonus miles for any purchases.

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Freya’s Fenders

Any bike tourist or commuter knows that if you’re going to bike in the rain, you want fenders.  After searching online, I only found one obvious choice for the Ogre: Planet Bike Cascadia 29er fenders.  After reading a blog post from Surly and other info posted by Ogre owners, I knew there were a couple challenges involved.  The biggest problem is ensuring you have enough clearance between the rear tire and the front derailleur.

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Front and Rear Racks

Before and after photos:

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Caroline’s new Surly Ogre, named Freya, was in need of racks for carrying gear.  Tubus racks have a very good reputation and I had no problems with the Tubus rack on my old touring bike.  So, off I went to TheTouringStore.com to look at racks.  They have the best prices I could find on Tubus racks and they’re semi-local (based in Ft. Collins, CO).  I called them up and spoke to Wayne about racks for the Ogre.  On his recommendation I chose the Tubus Logo Evo for the rear and a Tubus Duo for the front.  He was very helpful and took the time to make sure I was aware of any possible issues with installing the racks.  Two days later they arrived and I made quick work of installing them.  The installation was pretty straightforward, but here are some details that might help someone installing the same racks on this bike (which is a size medium frame, by the way).

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Caroline’s New Bike

Before we head off on our next long bike tour, we needed to find new touring bikes.  My list of requirements wasn’t very long.  I was looking for bikes which had disc brakes, 26 inch wheels and were capable of occasional off-road riding as well as on-road touring.  And of course the bikes should be comfortable for long days in the saddle.  Given these requirements, the Surly Troll was high on my list, but I did some research into other models of touring bikes just to cover all the bases.  Many thanks to the folks at Cycling About for their comprehensive list of touring bikes. There are a lot of great touring bikes out there, but a major concern was that we wouldn’t be able to test ride most of them since they aren’t sold locally.

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