Rest at San Luis Obispo

Standard

20140510-202214.jpg

I did a mini-ride today of 30 kms in order to get some rest. 30kms would be about the longest I would do a few months ago ! That was around one and a half hour riding instead of five the previous days. I actually had some reservations stopping here because of the French singer ๐Ÿ™‚ but hey he’s not a tax expatriate like Pagny ๐Ÿ™‚

Another bit about the city, like almost all other cities here on the coast, is that they were started as Spanish religious missions : they had no money or settlers to spare, so they sent missionaries to convert the locals. Just like a Civ game ! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hence the “San” and “Santa” all over the place.

So, a mini ride, I mostly skipped lunch as Daryl cooked us a great breakfast (ball pepper and cheese omelette, mashed potatoes, wholesome bread toasts), and I had the day to rest.

20140510-202044.jpg
Greg with Daryl and Jana

I crashed into a movie theater, and of course that meant popcorn covered with butter ! I also love the soda dispensers that let choose from like 30 sodas and then add from 7 flavors like lime or strawberry. That was my “almost” lunch ๐Ÿ™‚ I also benefited from a swimming pool and that should help the legs greatly.

So, nothing much to say in terms of riding, but there’s a subject I wanted to address for some time : shedding skins. It’s a process all bikers go through apparently. You start off with way too much stuff and get lighter along the way. I did just that the first days.

I’ve been leaving untouched items like a soap bar, baby wipes or pens in some hotels, thrown away some elements, mostly cardboard covers or rolls, and then sent away two packages home, for these things I couldn’t really part with. That consisted of the flag I had prepared for the flag pole behind the trailer : it was way too heavy for the pole. Also my older phone, a bit of official papers, and half of my clothes ! In that process, I got lighter of at least 6 pounds / 3 kilos, sent in the mail alone ! Now I’m able to close the trailer bag more easily. But I still feel like carrying a dead horse behind me – and the German guy I met two days ago carried up to 3 gallons of water ! That’s almost 12 liters and so 12 kilos. I never got above 2 up to now.

So, parting with stuff like this, in the middle of a long trip alone in another country, is not that easy. Sure, I can always buy back anything I would miss, but it’s still a decision to do away with something that might, sometimes, be necessary. But on a ride like this, the difference is felt immediately in terms of weight and volume.

I’ve gone along the same kind of process before moving out of the apartment. That consisted in giving away the interesting bits, throwing away the crap, storing what I wanted or needed to keep, and selling the rest. I’m only missing the selling part here ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve seen my first yard sale when leaving Morro Bay today ๐Ÿ™‚ During this selection, there was a much bigger psychological element of course : I didn’t bring anything really personal in the US.

So, will I find my true self when all the old shells have been parted with ? That remains to be seen ๐Ÿ™‚

20140510-202310.jpg

Advertisements

Packing roundup

Standard

It’s been almost a week now since my accident, and that’s one week without any cycling at all :p That will hurt my weekly average a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m supposed to get my repaired bike end of this week, or early next week. I’m also waiting for the final bike, which will come very late… But more on that one later.

So, no biking as of late. In the meantime, I’m checking my packing list. Almost everything is accounted for at this time, apart from the bike, the trailer or panniers, spare parts, security stuff, food & cleanliness items, & payment methods.

All of the rest is already quite a lot of stuff !

stuff_roundupHere I have all the camping equipment on the right, clothes in front, electronics & maps on the lower right, and tools & first aid kit on top right. In terms of volume it’s already quite a lot. And it ends up just a bit below 12 kilos. That’s including the clothes I’ll be wearing, which I did not count in the previous post on the subject, but also missing some critical elements, notably a few liters of water.

So, at this stage, three weeks before departure, I’m still not completely decided about going with trailers or panniers. I’m edging towards a trailer. Once I get my bike back, I’ll go back to the shops who carry one and decide there. That’s a major weight on top of the current one. But to me the pros of the trailer outweigh the pros of the panniers.

Spare parts, I’ll decide once I take a couple classes on bike maintenance. But I need a bike for that ๐Ÿ™‚ There are a few classes around here, once or twice a week.

Security stuff will also be a huge weight. I’ve found very nice & strong (and expensive) U locks, but they’re above a kilo each.

Food & soap and all, I’ll buy when I start. It should also be a huge weight with at least 3 liters of water.

Payments methods (a credit card and a bit of cash) should be very light on the other hand ๐Ÿ™‚ But that requires a trip to the bank, planned right after mid april, when I’ll have my departure from work signed.

So what am I doing these few days ? Resting from the crash first, I have very nice bruises on both legs, on top of the small brush on the knee. The back of my right calf is almost green :p I’m also gathering boxes for moving my stuff out, and have started packing my comics. Half of them done, 15 boxes already. On top of that, I’m selling some leftover items, like a dvd player, wicker chairs, my old PC that I refurbished from scratch (and was still working flawlessly after three years in the basement – so long, old friend ! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), a lot of cables, etc. Finally, I’m almost done on “google map route”, where I take screenshots along the road I’ll be following. It’ll make a very nice movie, that I should post during the week end.

It’s impressive how much you got to do when you’re not working ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Weighing my options

Standard

I’m working on a particular piece of preparation : weight. Not especially my own, no, although it would help in said subject. I’m weighing all of the stuff I’m planning to carrying around on the bike.

When thinking about that point a month ago, my rule of thumb was that I shouldn’t be carrying around more than the weight of the bike, so about 15 kgs (or 33 lbs). That seemed to be already quite a lot.

Then a couple days ago I started writing down the weight of the stuff I already had, and the stuff I’m planning to get. And figures started building up *very* quickly.

Camping equipment, only the tent / sleeping bag / mattress was already closing in on 5 kgs.

After putting all clothes on the scale it was showing 4,5 kgs.

I have a good kilo of electronics :p

electronics

 

The bike equipment (cleaning, maintenance, spares…) I estimate at 3kgs.

I was astonished to see that front & rear panniers, plus handlebar alone were about 5kgs.

Food-wise I’m counting 2 liters and another kilo of snacks / canned food.

All of the health equipment is a bit less than 2kgs.

Finally all of the 13 maps and business cards is a bit more than half a kilo.

So, all in all I’m clocking more than 23kgs !! Way more than what was already too much. And in this count I’ve already struck down many items in my initial list : sketching book, chair, headlamp, walking shoes, hand sanitizer, cooking equipment, …

 

I’ve searched around and found some amazing stuff like this guy :ย http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.fr/ย who goes around all over the planet on a TOTAL, bike included, of 15kgs.

Other resources on the subject :

http://www.adventurecycling.org/adventure-cyclist/online-features/ultralight-touring/

http://www.worldbiking.info/wordpress/bicycle-touring-gear-list-world-biking/

http://www.bikepacking.net/

 

A second look on the drawing board and I’ve reduced the total of the gear to 18kgs, down 5kgs :

– I’ll be looking for lighter panniers, a smaller tent, lighter / fewer tools

– I removed from the list the clothes & stuff I’m wearing – kind of a cheat, but I’m used to its weight already

– Also fewer change items (the guy doing the ultra light only has a spare set of socks !)

Well that’s about it for now, I still have a long way to go to reduce it all another 3 or 4 kgs.

The count by family would then be : camping 4, clothes 2, electronics 1, bike tools 2.3, panniers 3.5, food 3, health 1.7, maps/cards 0.5

 

A good rule of thumbs I’ve read is to use panniers to carry more than three times their own weight – in other words, panniers / containers should be less than a quarter of the total weight. So with a 15kgs objective, panniers should be around or less than 3,5kgs.