Sunday, June 8, 2008


Bicycle touring isn't just about the adventure. It isn't just about riding. It isn't just about seeing amazing new things. It isn't just about meeting new people. Nope. It is also about gear. I'm not saying everyone who bike tours loves gear. Not at all. I'm saying that to actually do a long, self supported bicycle tour, you need gear. For some bicycle tourists, gear is the motivator. I love gear...Especially bike gear.

Looking back at this photo taken the first morning in Alaska makes me laugh a lot. While I could pick the obvious things to laugh at in this picture, I am mainly laughing because of all the gear strapped to those bikes. I wonder how many first time cross country bicycle tourists bring too much gear? It also makes me laugh to know that just 2 days later, we sent home 20-25 pounds of junk.....and we still had too much!

I'm going to share most of the things we packed on this trip. You might not believe it. All this stuff was pretty small and at the time, fairly high tech. goes.

1 Bridgestone MB-1
1 Bontrager OR (I modified mine by adding braze ons for racks)
Both bikes were outfitted with complete Deore XT group
Blackburn Low Rider front racks
Blackburn Expedition rear racks
2 each Blackburn heavy duty water bottle cages
4 Madden Panniers (I don't remember the model names)
1 handlebar bag


1 Eureka tent - 3 person dome
Small tarp
1 full length Therma Rest pad
1 3/4 length Therma Rest pad
2 sleeping bags
1 MSR International Stove - can run on almost any fuel
1 MSR Whisperlite Stove
4 small fuel bottles for the stoves
1 Pot/pan set
1 cookset - spatula, forks, spoons, knives, pan scrubber & pot holder
1 spice set - Salt, pepper, minced onion, and a few others
1 PUR water filter - self cleaning, iodine impregnated carbon filter. We could drink almost any water.
2 small candle lanterns
2 small flashlights
1 small back pack
2 water bottles on bikes, 2 nalgene large bottles
1 journal
1-2 books each
1 swiss army knife each
1 pair hiking boots
extra bolts
extra rack mounting hardware
cassette cracker
1 spare tire each
2 sets of brake pads
2 extra shift cables
2 extra brake cables
Allen wrench set
Tire Irons
patch kit
2 spare tubes each
duct tape
small spade

Clothing (We each carried the following)
Rain Jacket
Rain pants
Fleece top
2 baselayers
2 long sleeve long underwear shirts
1 pair long underwear
several pair of underwear
3 pairs of biking shorts
3 pairs of riding socks
2 pairs of warm, wool socks
1 pair neoprene shoe covers
1 pair casual short*
1 pair casual pant*
gloves, warm
Lot's of stuff sacks and straps.

Now the crazy stuff
Pentax 35mm mechanical camera
1 small point and shoot
28-105 zoom (2.8) - Heavy
Camera bag
About 20 rolls of film
1 medium size tripod
1 granite gear frisbee pad
1 Crazy Creek chair

In the end, we had trimmed down our gear list considerably. I've shown this picture before, but it does show how I managed to get almost all those things in my bags and on my bike.

In this picture, the only things not packed on that beautiful morning are my sleeping bag, my pad and my tripod & camera. This picture is taken several thousand miles later than the first image shown above.

At the start of the trip, we had never packed our stuff in our bags AND packed those bags on our bikes. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. As you can see in either photo, we had stuff everywhere. And while we did send stuff home, we still carried too much. At the time, I was young and strong so I could do stupid stuff. Now, I'd do it much differently. Stay tuned as I dig into some of my gear choices and talk about what I'd use today.


Captain Bob said...

This is great reading gnat.

I love the grin on your faces the best.

Guitar Ted said...

The gear choices made me smile with remembrances. I recall doing that run down of parts and clothing beforehand. Agonzing over whether or not to bring that bottom bracket. ha ha! Yes, that was something else!

I look forward to your breakdown on the gear from your current perspective. This should be cool.