This one ran in May of 2015 in Thunder Press Magazine…

So last time I checked in I had just ordered the 2×2 Cycles Rack to get myself and my bicycle to a Triathlon two hours north of here. Sure, I could have just ridden the bicycle, but then I’d be completely wiped out for the race. And I’d be late to work the next day if I got there at all.

So first about the 2×2 Cycle Rack. Installation was easy! No modifications were required. I did consult with Garrett at 2×2 to be sure the hardware I was using would work as I’m the first Victory Cross Country owner to install one and wanted to lean towards paranoia in getting it right. The last thing I wanted to worry about was hazards on the road that would put others or myself at risk.

My bike resting on the extension arm of the 2x2 Cycles Rack.

My bike resting on the extension arm of the 2×2 Cycles Rack.

I have to say, the thing is damn well put together. there’s a quick release to hold your front fork, an adjustable extension arm on the back to rest your left pedal on, and a spot to mount your front wheel using the quick release axle. What keeps the whole thing from wiggling around is the 2×2 tie-down strap that holds your cycle to your cycle much like you’d tie down your motorcycle in your truck. Something I had decades of practice at while being a shovelhead owner. The difference is that 2×2 uses a single strap with loops at each end that go around your pegs, peg mounts, or whatever solid location you have to loop to. A taillight is included that you can bolt to the back of the setup should the law require it in your area.

How did it ride? Well the first day I took it out was kinda windy. I could definitely feel the wind grabbing my bike and trying to move me around, especially in the large sweeping turn at the start of the Hwy 25 bypass in Hollister. When I rode up to Napa for the HITS Triathlon, it was pretty steady, but I did feel the need to dial back my speed between Vallejo and Cordelia on Hwy 680, which is usually a pretty windy area. Overall, however, it was not a problem. Since I have not had a passenger on my bike in forever (mama don’t ride), I have nothing to compare it to, but it serves to reason that if you have a full tour pack, a passenger, a trailer, or (in this case) a bicycle loaded up, yer gonna hafta cool yer jets a little if you normally fly with a hot throttle hand.

After a few miles you get used it, and now have to deal with being a highway rock star as kids take your picture and cars slow down to figure out what the hell you’re doing. Big bonus? Would be tailgaters back off for fear that the cycle on your cycle may at any moment come loose and land on their hood. Which it never will as long as you load the whole thing up properly and check all points of connection.

Getting ready to leave the triathlon site after my race. There's my bicycle getting loaded on my 2x2 Cycle Rack.

Getting ready to leave the triathlon site after my race. There’s my bicycle getting loaded on my 2×2 Cycle Rack.

And the triathlon? Was great! For my first effort at nearly 49 years old, I’m damn proud of myself. Overall I came in 337 out of 442. In my age group of men 45-49 I came in 12 out of 14. What’s goofy about that is that I avoided last place in my age group because I also got 12/14 in the swim. The water was somewhere around 5o degrees. While I was wearing a wetsuit, this was my first time doing an open water swim, and I had a very hard time getting my face in the water to swim properly. As a result, I frog swam, about two shades from a dog paddle, and back kicked, alternating. About two thirds of the way through the half mile swim I finally sacked up and tried freestyle, and found I could really glide across the water that way. In cycling I was on a mountain bike in a race full of road bikes, and had a blast anyway for 12.4 miles. Running I knew I could finish and established a solid steady pace for the 1.5 miles uphill and the downhill return. The fastest runners are often around five feet tall, so a 5’17” giant does pretty good in around 30 minutes.

I signed up the next day for next year’s event, since the rate was $40 for just a few days. Much as I’d love to do a few more this year, between time and money it may not happen, though there are a few within an hour between now and October. I think I’ll probably do one more. Next time I get in the water and adjust to face in the water swimming first, and hit a harder pace on the run. I can handle three miles of pain. Eventually I will have to pick up a road bike, but I’m not there just yet…

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for Cartoon Thunder reviews on the 2×2 Moto Grill (yeah, cookin with fire!), Kuryakyn toe rests, and Reg Kitrelle’s book, Motorcycles and Our Second Fifty Years.