Pre-Ride – What do I think you should know and have
As I you can tell by the first video…I had no idea what I was doing. I think the longest jaunt I ever took on the bicycle prior to day one of the trip was maybe 40 km. That was my first error of several.
If you are going to go on a tour, getting your body prepared is uber important. Now this has nothing to do with physical fitness per say. I don’t think you need to be in peak performance mode to do a bike tour. It’s not really a test of strength, but more so, it’s a test of endurance. By endurance I mean, how long you can stay comfortable and alert on your bike. Lucky, my bum is made out of Tatinium, so my terribly wilted seat didn’t really bother me. For others, if your not use to sitting on something the shape of a smooshed banana for long hours it maybe a good thing to get use to. Because you’ll be sitting on that hard smooshed banana…a lot. A don’t even think about getting a wider seat unless you are super bow legged. If your seat is too wide, your calves are going to gnawed down to the bone as they run against it.
Riding in a variety of environments is also important pre-bike tour. If you are just riding around your neighborhood, waving at all the friendly people you pass as you leisurely cruise around quiet streets, you are going to be painfully surprised when you realize that highways aren’t as quaint as the hood. Loud trucks, construction, scary drivers and scary bikers as well as a tonne of other scary things are something you should get use to, because on a tour they are constant.
When it comes to gear, it really is up to you. People will advise you this way and that way, but it really comes down to what do you want. Do you want to cook? Are you going to want to tent? Do you need an outfit for everyday? These choices will greatly impact your choice in gear. One thing you want to make sure is that you get good gear that works well. I am not talking top of the line, sponsored by Nike, type deal, I am just basically pleading with you to do your research and make sure your gear isn’t going to fall apart in between No Where Ville and Lonely Town. Also, make sure that everything is attached to your bike properly. Loose screws are bad, but random things attached by bungee chords is just annoying. I did this for both bike tours I have done with water bottles. A story that will come up later is, that if someone is going to do this and you go on tour with them, be prepared to constantly stop so they can reload their gack. Also do NOT ride behind them, unless you’d like a sudden obstacle course laid out in front of you at possibly a very inappropriate time.
On that same line of thought, DON’T OVERPACK. You will see my backpack in the film. DON’T BRING A BACKPACK asides from a daypack! The unnecessary weight will make it feel like you are tandeming with sleeping sumo wrestler. It’s also hard to look up with a heavy backpack hitting your helmet onto your eyes.
You don’t need to necessarily plan where you are going, but plan where you are NOT going. Make sure if you are going somewhere, that you can do it and that all roads are good to get there by. As I learned from experience, logger roads are no fun when they are over 140km long to their final destination. I am directionally challenged, so I brought a GPS. I regret bringing it, as it kind of took a bit of the surprise out of where I was going. I kept looking at it’s countdown to see how many more kms I had to go before I could eat next, instead of my pedalling taking care of distance and my eyes focused on the scenery. Also maps are cool! And you can put them up on the wall later!
If clips don’t work for you, don’t use em. I learned that bike pants didn’t fit me comfortably, so I threw them away. I also hated the repetitive swooshing sound of rain gear, so I got rid of it as well.
And something that I think all touring cyclists should do: Keep a blog! Take notes! Bring writing gear! Film it! Your adventure may inspire someone else to go do it! I think even from the get go, the pre planning, the pre packing, take notes, write, so people can learn how they to can cycle wherever their hearts take them!
I will add some more ideas of pre-planning suggestions as they come to me as well as post a somewhat accurate list of what I brought on the trip with me and why.