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Oh Seattle

The actual amount of free time to roam the streets of Seattle on this trip is very limited. Still, I'm glad I had a chance to ride up Interlaken Boulevard and drop in at Elliot Bay to pick up a book or two. Seattle in August smells like lavender and sweet, ripe blackberries.

I also jogged down (by bicycle) towards REI. I see that parts of that area are still completely and utterly torn to bits with various construction projects.

The REI trip was motivated by a desire to get a "sport top" for a HydroFlask water bottle that was recently given to me. I also wound up doing some bike part shopping, specifically for a new bike rack. Everyday pannier use in combination with my previous Blackburn rear rack has led to a lot of wear and tear on the Jolly Roger's rear fender stays, to the degree that the fender now rubs against the tire anytime I attach a pannier to the rear rack. Fender stays just aren't meant to provide lateral support to panniers.

I struck out at the Montlake Bike Shop, but I think the Topeak rack I got from REI is the exact same model I have on Froinlavin, so I am pleased and optimistic that it will help in the long term.

Subtle differences become a big deal over time when it comes to rack design

Three of the crucial but subtle differences:

1. The rear supports on the Topeak are flush with the edge of the rack. On the Blackburn, the rearmost supports are recessed and don't provide any side support for panniers. As I looked around, I noticed that multiple rack brands have recessed rear support, and I have no idea why anyone would do that other than for aesthetic or manufacturing reasons. The Montlake Bike Shop had a couple of racks for touring purposes, but they lacked hook points near the rack base for hooking my Overland panniers in place.

2. The total height of the Topeak is shorter, which means that I can hook my antique Overland panniers onto it properly.

3. The Topeak has a rear bracket that perfectly fits my rear rack light. On the Blackburn, I had to find a pair of metal clips to attach the light, and then had to add zip-ties to keep the whole arrangement from rattling like crazy.

I may still have to do something about the pannier-fender situation, but I am pleased with the rack.

Tomorrow, we ride. To Bellingham.

This entry was originally posted at http://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1173686.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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