What do you need to take on a long-distance cycling adventure? Pro tip: Before your first long-distance cycling trip, get a gear list—and use your own judgment regarding what to take. You can always send excess stuff back home or buy needed items. Talk to people who have taken long-distance trips to see what worked and what didn’t work for them. But remember: Ride your own ride.
My long-distance hiking adventures have convinced me that I don’t need a massive pile of clothing and gear to be safe and comfortable. Thus, as on my previous long-distance cycling trips, I’ll be taking many of the items I’ve used on my hiking trips. My approach to bike touring: Take just what Betsy and I need and no more. For example, I’ll take one pair of camp shorts, no long pants (except for rain pants), a rain jacket, one long-sleeve shirt, and one short-sleeve shirt. Plus one pair of bike shorts.
The vast majority of the cycling trip runs through low-elevation terrain. Thus, I won’t need certain items, such as my cold-weather sleeping bag or long-john bottoms, which I would otherwise take. My base weight including two rear panniers, clothing, gear, and fuel (but not water and food) should end up weighing about 15 pounds. We’ll be able to buy food each day so we won’t need to carry much food very far. Water should also be available in several locations each day.
Two days to go until blast off on May 13 on the Pacific Coast – Sierra Cascades bike trip. Lots of small details need to be addressed. I updated the long-distance cycling gear list that I created for my 2012 Pacific Coast Route trip. I have a growing pile of clothing and equipment in my home office, as I check off the various items on the list. If I could only remember where I put the burner for the can of compressed fuel that I’ll buy in Washington!
This year, I’ll be riding a new Trek FX3 hybrid bike, a Christmas gift from my family. My son, Riley, the technical expert in such matters, clued me in on how to prepare the bike for boxing. Both Betsy’s and my bikes will accompany us on the Southwest flight to Seattle then on the shuttle bus ride to Ferndale, Washington. We’ve never had a problem sending our boxed bikes on airplanes.
This year’s cold, wet, and sometimes snowy spring in Boulder limited my training rides. However, this past weekend, I got a few modest rides with elevation gain in and near Zion National Park (see photo). I felt ok. Fortunately, the ride down the Pacific Coast does not entail many long climbs. The north-bound Sierra-Cascades portion of the trip is an entirely different matter, with many long climbs. But by the time Betsy and I head north from near the Mexican border, my cycling legs should be in reasonable shape. Yahoo!