A big part of getting ready is to list aaall of the things I’ll need on the ride. I’ve found a few packing lists on the web and at this stage I think I’ve covered most of the requirements. It’s of course based on the kind of trip I’m envisioning : mostly camping, and a few motel nights. That means I need to carry with me all of the stuff needed for everything : sleeping, eating, finding my way, blogging, etc. The best advice I’ve read is, for each element, not to question whether it will be needed but rather if it could be just left behind.
I’ve cut the list in three parts : everything around the bike (moving), all needed for camping (eating / sleeping), and everything worn on me (cleaning / dressing / interacting). I’ll probably review all elements from a Maslow pyramid perspective later 🙂
The first part is, apart from a few elements, actually the bike and all accessories. It’ll be a large part, perhaps half, of the total weight (excluding me !). All the bikes I’ve reviewed are around 15-17 kgs. Adding in a trailer + a bag, panniers, that would lead to around 25 kgs. I doubt I’ll be carrying around much more than that in food, water, clothes etc. Perhaps with the tent and sleeping bag it would be equal, I’ll see. But the camping equipment I’ve seen up to now seems extremely light.
I’ll be going with a trekking bike, not a road bike. It seems more logical, and I’m not used to road bikes. I have a cross bike now, but it’s not ready for getting all the additions a trekking bike has on standard. I added a few details like a saddle cover for the rain, when the bike will stay outdoors, or grips to be more efficient when pedalling. These are nice-to-have, light, and cheap.
As for the religious war of trailer vs panniers, I’ll use them both certainly, to be able to have more space to use, and not cram everything in the same place. Maybe I’m over-erstimating the need in space, I’ll see that in april when I test the whole system. Right now I like the luxury that’ll bring.
I haven’t yet got a complete list of all repair tools and spare parts required. It seems logical to be able to replace a tube, to adjust bolts… but I’m a bit suspicious of the lists I’ve found with spare cables. I’ve never had such an issue with cables, riding the same bike for about 10 years. Puncture kit, pump, chain lube seem to make a lot more sense.
And the crux question is about security… Maybe I’m oversensitive about it living in France – I’ve read a travel report from a guy who never even locked his bike – but I don’t intend to be by my bike for 5 months, and there’ll be a lot of moments when it’ll be just left behind. So, I have to beef up this part, just to feel secure. In large cities at least, I’ll leave the trailer and panniers behind in a motel while I tour the place. As for outdoors and small cities, I don’t know yet. Maybe crime is not such an issue. But with 1% of all americans behind bars (vs 0.1% of all french), I have my doubts :^p I’ve researched GPS bugs, but many will hit the market mid-2014, a bit too late for me. The existing ones are expensive and getting a bit old.
To end the list on a more positive note, I’ll tape the bikingbad.net logo on the bike and trailer to be more visible 🙂 I also intend to have a flag pole (longer than the one on the pic), to attach small flags from each state 😉
Can’t wait to have all this assembled ! I’ll start buying the expensive stuff in a few weeks, when I’ll be going up on my rampup program. For the start, I just need my current bike.