When I was a kid, my friend, James, and I would spend a whole day building a fort and not even realize we had missed dinner. It was nice to be so absorbed in a singular task with not a care in the world about anything else. Many a time, I arrived home after dusk, not hearing my dad yell for me.
I had a paper route when I was 12 and I suppose that was one of my first multi-tasking lessons. I had a wire frame basket on the front of my bike that held the Vineland Times Journal newspapers that arrived daily at my house just about the time I got home from school. I would cut the band off the bundle and heave them up into the basket, balancing the bike against one of the front porch posts.
I learned how to fold the paper in thirds as I rode from one mailbox to the next. I learned to do a tight fold so that the paper edges didn’t catch the edge of the newspaper tube boxes that were mounted next to my customers’ regular mailboxes. I remember a stretch of Palermo Avenue where the houses were perfectly spaced and each had an open front paper tube so I didn’t have to fumble with mailbox doors. I could pedal at a pretty good clip and time putting the paper in the tube so that I didn’t even have to slow much.
The bike trip ahead presents less of a multi-tasking situation and more of a “double duty” situation. Because we are not having a “support vehicle” and we are carrying all of our gear on our bikes, it’s important that what we do take is not only absolutely necessary BUT should also serve more than one need, if possible.
We’ve been gathering the necessities for this trip for a few months now and here are some of the items that will go onboard and the purposes they’ll serve:
1) Non-stick pie pan: No, I won’t be making and selling pies along the way! Please! I almost killed the first husband with my lack of cooking skills. The pie pan will be one of our meal plates but also will serve as a fry pan or skillet when we need it. I’ve already tested it and it worked well for making pancakes, which we’ll smear with peanut butter in order to add protein into the meal.
2) Round Cake Pan: Again, no cake making either! It is also one of our meal plates but also happens to fit snugly into the rim of our Tramontino lightweight non-stick pot which I mentioned in an earlier blog (the $2 thrift store find). It’ll cover the pot and bring water to a boil quicker while also warming another element of our meal in the top.
3) Mess Kit: We will be bringing only the small 2 part nesting pans, one with the handle that closest across them and holds them together with a wing nut. This allows us to have a prep bowl/dish or a meal plate if the pie or cake pan is being utilized elsewhere. Also, our flatware rolls up nicely in our kitchen dishcloth and stores inside the mess kit (which also nests inside the cake pan).
4) a work table: No, we won’t be bringing a 6’ folding table on the bikes but we will use my easy to remove handle bar basket as one. When flipped over, it becomes a small table top to prepare food upon, work on bike parts, etc. When camping, it’s nice to have a place to put a stirring spoon that won’t get dirt on it.
5) Shower shoes: Since the Beast and Frankenbutt are riding “clipped in”, they will each need a pair of “off the bike” shoes. When we started considering the places we’d wear our non-bike shoes, like the beach, grocery store, waterpark, the shower house, etc., we concluded that they should be comfortable, waterproof and lightweight. Frankenbutt chose a pair of BASS “H2O” lace up shoes (similar to Keens), the Beast chose a pair of cute Crocs and I’m bringing my slip on black rubber Nike Velcro closure sandals. They’ll also be our emergency backup shoes to put on if our cycling shoes get damaged or destroyed or lost (YIKES!).
6) A Football: A football? Well, hear me out. It’s nice to have a small item that you can throw around and have a little fun, right? Years ago, we found this waterproof zippered football shaped bag at a hiking store. It measures about 6” long and you can put things inside it. When I asked the hiking gear salesperson about it, he told me that hikers commonly use it to keep a small roll of toilet paper in since it’s the right size and waterproof. There’s also enough room for a couple “wet naps”. So, we’ll throw it around for fun and pull it out for roadside emergencies.
7) Spare Wheel Spokes: We’re taking a few spare wheel spokes which will also serve as replacement latches on our BOB trailer if one of the safety latches that hold the towing “hitch” to the bike.
8) Fleece Pull over: We’ll each be taking a fleece pull over for cooler nights (if we are so lucky!) but they will also serve as our pillow at night. If we want a larger pillow, we’ll stuff a shirt or two inside it and ball it up for a cushy head rest.
9) Dental Floss: I found a small dental floss recently and in addition to cleaning between our teeth, it’s also our sewing kit. I’ve scotch taped 2 small sewing needles to the outside of the case. If anything needs stitching, the dental floss is super strong (Have you ever tried to break floss? will be a very good thread. We’ll use the small foldout scissors from our Gerber Multi tool (think “leatherman”) to cut the floss.
If you’ve got any good “double duty” items or ideas that you think will help us, please send us a comment or an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, we now have over 300 email addresses whom we send ride updates to and we average over 100 page visitors per day since we started our website in February. Thanks for joining us in this EPIC adventure!