Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ortlieb, Racktime, Thule help my recovery

Ortlieb and RackTime rack on Fantom Outlaw commuter

It takes a while to recover from a bicycle/computer disaster (read about mine here.)  It's been almost a month and I'm almost back to normal.

My pannier was trashed, so I went shopping for a new one. The story among cyclists is that you can try all the panniers you want, but eventually you'll get an Ortlieb.  So, despite the price, I bought one. After a helpful chat with the nice folks at the BikeBagShop I ended up with the Downtown Commuter model.  It's supposed to be super water proof, and it come with a nifty attachment system titled "QL3" (nifty video here) that lets it be used as a shoulder bag and not have hardware rub against you, and also lets the pannier be mounted a bit lower on the rack for better balance. So far it's a winner.

I didn't, however, love how it sat on the rack I had. It was a little high, and made swinging my leg over the bike more awkward than I'd like.  It also meant I couldn't easily bungie things to the rack top. So I went rack shopping.

RackTime rack needed a spacerI ended up with a Racktime Addit. It's made by the same folks that make the crazy-expensive Tubus, steel racks, but this is in aluminum. Of course, having disc brakes makes mounting a pain. Fortunately Ace Hardware had a long bolt in the right size, as well as some nylon spacers. With some bending and prayer (and even a little cutting) I managed to get it on my bike.

It has a couple of nice features. The design includes a lower rail that let me mount the pannier mounting hardware where I wanted it, and it has a recessed mount for my Planet Bike SuperFlash that looks like it will protect it from getting banged up. Pretty swell.

RackTime and Superflash

Of course, I also had computer issues to deal with. In the end I was able to buy an external hard drive case, put my trashed computers drive in it, and recover almost everything. I got a new-to-me Mac through PowerMax and, because I'm totally paranoid now, I also got a super protective case from Thule, the bike rack people from Sweden.

Tricia asked if I was going to mount it on top of the Subaru, but that's just silly. We have a Yakima rack, and putting Thule parts on it could unbalance the universe. I'm not going to risk it.

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