Friday, September 10, 2010

Packing for Bike Trips

After years of canoe camping and a fair amount of travel, I consider myself to be a good packer. I don't pack radios, or heavy books or anything that I will not use, I don't pack clothing for all occasions and yet invariably, my bag on any overnight bike trip is much bigger than anyone else's bag and at least twice as heavy! What is the reason for this?

I consider the following items essential

a) Good first aid kid
b) Bike repair kit, tools, inner tube and pump
c) A journal
e) sweater for cooler weather and a rain jacket
d) Comfortable shoes and change of clothing

On my last seven day bike tour I brought camping equipment in one bag and clothing etc in another. The clothing bag had wheels or I doubt if I could have lifted it. The camping gear was bulky and awkward but not that heavy.

How can cycling clothing made of lycra, nylon and spandex be so heavy? On the Bon Ton trip I even packed a polartec rather than my standard wool sweaters. Still, the bag was a challenge for me to lift!

I am left therefore with the following conclusions:

1) I need to vacuum pack my bags to give the appearance of a smaller compass and do more weight lifting
2) Other people bring one set of clothing and wash it each night in a sink, hoping it will dry
3) Other people rely on the shampoos and soaps available on site (school washrooms)
4) Other people have faith that it will never get cold and never rain, hence no sweaters or rain gear
5) Other people believe their bikes will never break down, hence no repair kit

If all else fails, I will bring my usual large and heavy bag but put a fake name on it and quietly collect it when no one is looking!

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