Monday, October 8, 2012

Twenty Two Gallons of Milk

The old but faithful panniers, ready to head home from the farm.
This fall has been a clear, dry one, but in my dreams I've been seeing downpours, deluges and torrents of cold rain water.

Maybe that was because our bike trip is less than two months away, yet we lacked a critical part of our gear: Something waterproof to put them in.

Now, some folks I see bicycling in these parts are content with five-gallon buckets attached with a bungee cord to their rear racks, but Hannah and I wanted something a little more high-tech to get us through Oregon's monsoons and down to dryer weather (hopefully) down south. Namely, we'd written Ortlieb a couple of months ago to request a couple pairs of their state-of-the-art waterproof panniers. Bicycle bags you can trust to keep your sleeping bag, food and fuel dry, a key factor in surviving on the road in the winter.

Stressed about funds, gear and getting ourselves in shape for the ride, Hannah and I set off last week to do something about the last item, a necessity we have a little more control over. After breakfast, we loaded up Cynthia and Edith and headed north, through some suburbs and farmland, to a scenic road that winds along the McKenzie river. We survived hills and getting passed by a man at least forty years our senior, picked up a handful of ripe hazelnuts from an orchard, made a stop at the Food For Lane County Youth Farm and met Brice, a dog who vacuums up fallen tomatoes and apples like a grazing horse, and arrived home sweaty and satisfied. Then, her frustration not alleviated, Hannah picked up the phone and called Ortlieb.

"Yes, we received your letter, your email and your last phone call," the nice woman on the line told us. "You'll hear back when we have time."
It's enough to make someone need to go on another thirty mile ride. 

Instead, we pulled out our deck chairs to enjoy the fall afternoon and put our noses to our laptops, working on our route (Hannah) and more outreach (me).

Half an hour later, I checked our Food Cycles inbox. There, miraculously, was an email from the president of Ortlieb. I opened it. Ten seconds later, I was out of my chair and squealing. Unable to communicate, I pointed at the computer screen. It was a victory moment. The email said the company is "happy to participate in this exciting endeavor". Our panniers, and heavy duty racks to put them on, are on the way.

So Hannah can put away the crate she's been using to haul apples from the farm, after I fill up our one pair of old and somewhat sour-smelling panniers with cantaloupe, ripe tomatoes and jars of milk. The new panniers have a 2,441-cubic inch capacity, which means you could technically fill them with twenty two gallons of milk (and since they're waterproof, it would actually stay).

Thank you Ortlieb, and to everyone else who has supported us financially and otherwise. Please check out our Wish List to see what else we're still lacking, or just contribute via Indiegogo. Now, go out for a ride before the rains and snows arrive!

1 comment:

  1. that is awesome! free panniers - what a deal! now try and get some merino wool from these guys:

    you'll want wool socks, long underwear (top and bottom), and long sleeves, plus a wool hat. put that under some rain gear (when needed) and you'll never get cold.