GEAR: Not Your Standard Equipment List - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

GEAR: Not Your Standard Equipment List

Let's start with the bike itself.  It's a stock 2013 Surly Long Haul Trucker.  It has new tires.  It is comfortable, reliable, sturdy, and fun to ride.  It seems fashionable to give one's bike a name.  I usually do not follow fashion, and it seems strange to me, but I think my bike DESERVES a name.  Yesterday, I looked long and hard at it.  I studied its shape and color, its strengths and weaknesses, its personality.  Everything considered, I narrowed it down to three possible names.

1) The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong

2) Capitalist Pig Dog


3) Jim

Today, I made the final decision.  I chose option #1.   However, I liked #3 so much that I will relegate that name to my tent.  Yes, Jim the Tent.

Like any true gearhead, I wanted to bring everything--EVERY THING--I had.  I practiced packing up needs, wants, AND luxuries in an assortment of panniers, stuff sacks, dry bags, trash bags, and suitcases.  I figured a bike tourist can never be too prepared.

I think that should include everything.
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Everything I could want--right there on my bike.  I took it out on the road.

During a practice ride I felt a bit unsteady and determined I should scale back a little.
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Adam ZamoraThis is the greatest picture I have seen in my entire life.
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9 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Adam ZamoraIt took me well over an hour to set up that picture, so I appreciate the compliment. It just shows the lengths I will go to make a cheap joke.
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9 months ago

After the test drive, I put my backpacker's sensibilities into play and eliminated all of the luxuries and most of the wants.  The items I WILL be packing mostly involve the ability to keep warm and dry:  A very good tent and sleeping bag, a foam pad, rain gear, and clothing.  Extras include a lightweight stove and fuel canister, one pan, a cup, a lighter, some spare tubes, a pump, some basic tools . . . OH FORGET IT!  It's most of the same stuff everybody brings.  Suffice to say, I'm just keeping it minimal, lightweight and small.

That's better.
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Perhaps I should move on to a list of some common items which are NOT going to be loaded onto The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong:  Fenders (road spray will not harm me.)  Kickstand (I will lay the bike down.)  Front panniers (I won't need them with my minimalist load.)  Shaving crap (a bike tour is a great time to try out a beard.)  Camera (I'm a terrible photographer and I don't like disrupting my momentum for pictures, therefore my  cellphone will be fine for taking just enough photos to further my narrative.)  Rear-view mirror (I can look over my left shoulder.)  Extra food (there will be convenience stores or grocery stores ever 10-20 miles for that purpose.)   Computers (I love stopping at public libraries for updating my blog.  Also, it doesn't bother me if I don't know my EXACT mileage for the day, my average speed, my elevation gain, etc.)

Now, I've already admitted that I am America's most naïve bike tourist, so chances are pretty good that I will break down and buy one or more of those things somewhere along the way.  I wonder which one it will be??  Probably the shaving crap.

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