Almost nothing from our former RV or our home seems to fit the bill. All of Frankenbutt’s copper cookware is too heavy and too bulky. We’ll trade sheets for sleeping bags and lightweight fleece blankets. I’m not the cook but I think I’ve found a terrific lightweight one pot meal piece of cookware at a local thrift store, after searching everywhere from specialty shops to Walmart. It's a single handle, non stick pot by "Tramontina" (Brazil) and it was only $2.00! Good find! That definitely goes into the pannier.
We will start our trip with our 7x7’ backpacking tent that served us well when we hiked Mauna Loa during our stay in Hawaii. That was an amazing 2 day experience that began in balmy 80 degree sunshine through lush foliage and changed into driving frozen sleet over barren, loose lava rock. While researching the hike, we found a quote that says it all: “he who comes to Hawaii and doesn’t hike Mauna Loa is a fool. He who hikes Mauna Loa twice, is twice the fool.” It was an experience we treasure that tested our resilience, taught us our weaknesses and proved that a can of Dinty Moore stew tastes incredible in certain situations.
Searching for the right food options for this trip is a science in and of itself. The parameters are: 1) must be lightweight, 2) have nutritional value and viable calorie count, 3) be easy to fix, 4) must not require refrigeration, 5) should hold up well when stuffed into a pannier bag and 6) should be affordable. Soooo… that means no fresh meats, no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no bread … or at least none of those items in the form we are used to buying them in. Right now, we are prowling grocery stores in search of items that fit the bill. Join us in future blogs as we detail our food search adventures and develop a shopping list of items that taste good, work well and can easily be found en route. We'll typically carry 3 days or less of breakfasts and dinners. Lunch will be bought while we are out riding; anything additional needed for dinner can be bought near the end of our day's ride, when necessary.
When we got serious about this trip idea, Frankenbutt took a 2 day a week job at a local bike shop. As planned, one of the percs of his bike mechanic job is the opportunity to buy parts and gear at or near cost. We will be riding 3 bikes that we’ve bought in the past year; we actually bought 5 bikes but narrowed it down to the 3 most functional and comfortable and plan to sell what's left on Craigs List once Frankenbutt is done pillaging parts.
Frankenbutt scored a 90’s Giant Iguana for $38 at a Goodwill thrift store, stunned to see it in such good shape and at a good price. My L.L. Bean Acadia (also a mid 90’s model) was also a thrift store find for only $12! It’s now a compilation of the original bike and another $20 yard sale bike, and works well for me. The Beast is riding a ‘95 (or ‘96) Trek 850 that Frankenbutt built from the frame up, which he bought for $20 during a visit to the Jersey shore. He chose that particular model because it has an extra small frame (perfect for the Beast’s under 5’ height) but accepts the same 26”x 1.5” tires that Frankenbutt and I are riding. Doing so means we only need to carry one extra spare tire and a couple of tubes all of the same size, keeping on board carrying weight and bulk to a minimum.
With our equipment mostly squared away, our thoughts have turned to the proper clothing for this adventure. Although I’ve worn everything from shorts to capris to jeans for bike rides, I’ve found the most comfortable bottoms to be the form fitting, mid-calf drawstring compression pants made of wicking material (by Nike) that I picked up at a Florida outlet. Frankenbutt prefers the padded biking shorts and the Beast likes loose fitting stretch exercise capris. We will be packing wicking material tops and undergarments to accommodate the warm weather months we’ll ride through. The plan is to pack only 3 basic outfits, plus something comfy and compact to sleep in and 2 pairs of shoes each. Allow me to say, these are not flattering clothes but as quoted in the movie Babe, “that’ll do, Pig”.
Speaking of shoes, both the Beast and Frankenbutt will be clipped in during the bike ride. I’ll be riding flat pedal, since my attempts at clip shoes led to a series of slow speed crashes that made Frankenbutt and the Beast laugh hardily. The Beast will be wearing Specialized brand clip shoes, the same as she wears when BMX racing. Frankenbutt will wear Shimanos. The three of us plan to bring a spare pair of shoes that will serve as “shower shoes” at campgrounds and just a welcome change for our feet at the end of a long day of riding.
We each have high visibility cycling specific rain jackets that are light weight and fit nicely in easy access compartments on our panniers. We also each have a fleece pullover, as is recommended by many long distance cyclists. The fleece pullovers can easily be "stuffed" with the next days riding clothes and serve as a comfy pillow.
We'll share a single small bottle of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant and a folding hairbrush with a built in mirror in the handle. We have a "multi-tool" for bike repairs which also has scissors, tweezers and a nail file and will purchase disposable shavers as we need them. We'll each have helmets, sunglasses and two personal water bottles plus a 14"x 14" super absorbent towel.
Soon we plan to lay out all the items we think we are taking and start figuring out what we can possibly do without in order to keep the hauling weight down. I plan to photograph all our gear and post pics of it so that you can share any wisdom you may have about what we're taking and what we should leave behind.
More later; Til then, Feel free to weigh in with your shock, support, doubts, wisdom and your own biking experiences. You can post a comment or email us, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miles ridden so far: 0