Geared to tour from Florida to Oregon – The Beginning

Preparing for an all-weather, fully self-sustained bicycle tour can be stressful if you’re new to it. Once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes like second nature. Additionally, it can be very expensive to acquire the proper gear so we have been piecing together our collection for years. This is also the first tour either of us have embarked upon that required shipping our bicycles to the start point. Needless to say, it took several months and several to-do lists to slowly chip away at the necessary preparations for this journey.

This is all of the gear that we will bring on the trip. We each carry up to 4 Ortileb Pannier bags and can also attach gear on top of the front and back racks. We have our bicycles in the boxes ready to ship and the gear that we intend to take.

The picture above is of Kelly’s clothes and the picture below is of Milo’s clothes.

We each have 1 pair of cycling specific shoes that double as sneakers, 1 pair of sandals, 3 pairs of socks, 4 pairs of underwear, 3 bras, 1 pair of bicycle pants, 2 pairs of bicycle shorts, 6 shirts, 1 pair of casual pants, 2 pairs of causal shorts, one mid layer jacket, 1 waterproof jacket, 1 pair of waterproof pants, 1 pair of waterproof shoe covers, 1 sun hat, 1 beanie, 1 pair of rain gloves, 1 pair of bicycle gloves , 1 bandana, 1 balaclava. 1 pair of sunglasses.

If we were riding in colder terrain, we would also pack our winter sleeping bags in addition to our summer bags as well as 1 pair of thermal pants and 1 thermal sweater each.

The kitchen and non-perishable staple foods that we carry are very well rounded and ensure that we will not be spending most of our money at diners and drive-throughs.

We don’t mind carrying a little extra water weight in our food but most of what we carry is dehydrated. Every time we have access to a grocery store, we stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and cheese which adds a lot of water weight but we are adamant about eating healthily.

Our staples include: Oatmeal (sugar and cinnamon mixed in), dehydrated fruit and chai tea for breakfast. Energy bars, nuts, seeds, peanut butter and fruits to snack on during the day. For dinners, we carry coconut milk, rice, dehydrated split peas, dehydrated beans, nori paper, tortillas, ramen packs, bouillon cubes, cooking oil, hot sauce, soy sauce, curry powder, taco seasoning and one hardy soup seasoning mix. These staples provide for a variety of dinners that we can easily make.

Some things that are harder to come by yet pictured above are boxed milk, boxed tofu, single protein powder packs and hemp seed packs.

Dinner is the most time and fuel consuming meal of the day. It is also the meal that both of us are super ravenous for. We can easily make burritos, vegetable curry, sushi rolls or split pea soup. We will follow up with a blog entry specifically documenting just how beautiful and healthy the food we prepare is.

We each carry a fuel container to use with our MSR camping stove so we can go several days without needing to buy more fuel. If we do run out of fuel, or simply want to share a fellow-camper’s fire, we brought an MSR metal pot. It is heavier than our newer collapsible pot, bowls and cups set, but it is much more dependable and we used it almost exclusively when we cycled CA-MT. We also bring 2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 cutting knives, 1 spatula, 1 cutting board, 1 sponge, 1 towel, 1 flint and 1 pack of fire starters.

Our toiletries are pretty basic and this photo is mostly for women’s reference. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to have a shower at the end of the day so we carry baby wipes to get the grime off of our faces and other areas. We use menstrual cups and we highly recommend that every menstruating person does, especially when you’re on a bicycle tour.

Our bathroom equipped for two includes: 2 towels, 2 toothbrushes, 2 toothbrush travel caps, 1 travel toothpaste, 1 mouthwash, 1 floss, 1 all-purpose soap, 1 all-purpose lotion, 1 Chamois Butt Her, 1 roll of toilet paper, 1 pack of baby wipes, 1 Go Girl STP, 1 hand sanitizer, 1 chapstick, 1 hair tie and 1 clothes line.

We recommened buying a prepared emergency kit at your local adventure store and adding anything that you know you’ll specifically need. We have the basics like advil, burn and scrape ointment and bandaids, but we also bring indigestion medicine, benadryl cream, allergy medicine, hand warmers, salonpas and a blister prevention pack. We also carry 1 hunting knife for protection and 2 rain covers designed for backpacks but they fit over our bicycle bags as well.

Sleeping well is incredibly important for prolonged self-sustained bicycle touring. We each carry 1 sleeping bag, 1 sleeping pad, 2 pillows, 1 eye cover, 2 ear plugs.

We will be cycling during late spring and early summer so we won’t be bringing our winter sleeping bags, but if we were to go during a colder time of year or in colder climates, we would bring our winter bags in addition to our summer bags.

Maintenance and security is always important but maybe more important to us this time because we are on new bikes as opposed to last time when we rode used bicycles that were manufactured while we were toddlers.

We each carry 1 U-lock and I carry a cable lock that can secure both of our bikes together and to something bolted down.  Other items in our tool kits include: 2 Crescent wrenches, 1 extra tube, 1 tube repair kit, 2 tire levers, 1 tire pump, 2 zip ties, oil, bicycle multi-tool, gerber multi-tool (includes a can opener), 2 red rear lights, 1 headlamp and 1 front bike light. This time, Milo’s bike will be equipped with an odometer that measures temperature, mileage, and speed so that we can more easily track our progress.

Our electronics are very simple, we have 1 solar panel that keeps our electronics energized and can directly charge Milo’s headlamp. We carry 1 extra battery, 1 ipod and 2 phones. We have a waterproof case for a phone if we need to use it for navigation but we try to avoid that. We prefer to navigate using Adventure Cycling Association maps.

Our tent is a Mountain Hardware 3 season, 2 person backpacker tent. Why do we carry a tarp that is easily the same size as our tent? We discovered on our last long-distance tour, where we were cycling through very rainy and sometimes snowy terrain, that we can use the tarp to create a “bathtub footprint.” This “bathtub footprint” technique has kept the bottom of our tent and all of our bedding dry when we were stuck in rainstorms that lasted 3+ days. In fact, we are very baffled that tent companies have not yet created tent footprints that apply this idea. We will create a blog entry that specifically shows how we set up our tent to avoid moisture build up underneath and maybe the tent companies will catch on and improve upon the idea!

IMG_2245And last but not least, our trusty steeds, our bicycles. After hours of research and informed conversations, we decided to invest in Surly Long Haul Disc Truckers because of their reasonable pricestrong steel frames, upright touring geometry, and disc brakes that increase the stopping power.

After deciding what gear we want to take and what adjustments we needed for our bikes, we got packing materials to send our bikes on ahead of us to be put together at a bike shop in St. Augustine. To save money up front, we decided to take apart and pack our bikes ourselves, which we have never done before.

We took our bikes to the Bike Farm in Portland, which is a self-service, volunteer-run cooperative bike shop where we took them apart and boxed them up. We shipped our bicycles across the country to a bicycle shop called Sprockets in St. Augustine, FL where the mechanics re-assembled them in time for us to pick them up.

We took a red-eye flight from Portland to New York and made a connecting flight to Jacksonville. From there, we took a 50 minute cab ride to St. Augustine. We could’ve take the greyhound bus but it would have cost at least half of the cost of the cab and it definitely would’ve taken 3 additional hours to get into town. Those were hours that we needed to buy additional supplies like campstove fuel and fresh produce to supplement our dry foods.

Once in St. Augustine we arranged our gear, connected everything to our bikes, and starting doing a little exploring.

We found a nice vegan restaurant called
The Present Moment Cafe.After running a few errands, we cycled to our couchsurfer host’s house.

After a long day, Milo was relieved to flop down on the couch. It didn’t take long before they were joined by Bronson, the resident dog, who like most dogs, found a kindred spirit in Milo. Meeting new animal friends is one of their favorite parts of traveling.

Well, dear readers, we have been up for about 36 hours so we are eager to turn in. Tomorrow, we ride!

4 responses to “Geared to tour from Florida to Oregon – The Beginning

  1. I am so very proud of you both and your adventurous spirits.
    Take care and relish everything.

  2. Your discipline and determination make me so proud! I continue to brag on you both to my friends. Love and hugs

  3. We met you at Brown’s vegetable market near Melrose, Florida on Monday, April 23.
    Best of luck !! Robin & Beth

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