Packing and Repacking
A lot of people have been asking about what I am packing for our bicycle ride across the USA. We are only a few days away from leaving and I’ve packed and unpacked Ingrid (yes, that is my bicycle’s name) at least 12 times.
Fully loaded, Ingrid weighs about 90 pounds, but I have done a few test rides, and she handles smoothly under all that weight. We are bringing a lot, perhaps too much, but it all has a purpose. I am going to share just a few items with you.
First, I have 13 route maps from the Adventure Cycling Association. These maps have panels with turn-by-turn directions, elevation charts, lists of campgrounds, bike shops and other services, and they are made of a durable plastic-like paper. George has a GPS onto which we can load and follow the same routes. Time will tell if either the digital or the analog navigation method prevails.
Next, I want to show you the tools we have packed. We have 2 spare tubes for each bike, tire levers, a patch kit and a small tire pump (that I forgot to put in the photo because it is mounted to Ingrid’s frame). We have an adjustable wrench, pliers, a chain tool, a multi-tool, and chain lubrication. Plus, there are a bunch of fasteners: a bag of nuts, bolts, and washers, Velcro, rubber bands, zip-ties, a hose clamp, and electrical tape! This stuff weighs a ton, but will be essential to keeping us rolling when the bikes need a repair.
Now I want to comment on my footwear. I like to change my shoes often, so this was a particularly tough choice, but I settled on these three options. I have a pair of cycling shoes with SPD clips so my feet can be attached to the pedals. I have ridden long-distance both with and without these, and find that having my feet firmly affixed to the pedals gives me extra power and puts less pressure on my toes. The clips are recessed into the sole, making the shoes walkable overall.
I also have a pair of regular sneakers for off-bike adventures. I can ride in these shoes too, since my pedals are hybrid; flat on one side and SPD clip on the other. Then I have a pair of durable, waterproof sandals that I can wear to relax, to shower at a campground, or to swim in a river.
The last item I want to share today is this nifty solar lantern with a USB port for charging stuff. It can ride on the top of the bicycle and charge in the sun, then charge our gadgets while we rest at night. It inflates to make a soft light for the tent or the campsite, then deflates for storage. Plus it comes with a double ended USB cable for charging in cloudy weather.
That is all for now. In just two days, we will be on the Amtrak to Seattle from Milwaukee, a two day journey itself. The anticipation is compounding. We are done packing and ready to get rolling.