2. Our Stuff

We are both riding 2019 Trek 520’s, mine red and Shelly’s gray.  They are touring bikes, built for exactly the kind of trip we are taking.

(No, we did not consider E-Bikes.)

The bikes have chromoly steel frames, which make them heavier than a typical road bike, but also make them sturdier.  Front and rear racks for carrying gear come attached to the bikes. The

520’s have wider tires and a longer wheel base than our road bikes, which enhance their stability.  The wheels have more spokes than a normal road bike, providing the extra strength needed to ride with cargo. The bikes have front and rear disc brakes, providing better braking than center or side-pull rubber pad brakes. We can pick up a lot of speed on downhills with the added weight of our cargo, so the brakes are important. The bikes have a triple chainring, giving us a low “granny gear” (or “grampy gear” in my case – or “grumpy gear,” now that I think of when I use it) to help us climb.  We have 27 gear combinations, but regularly ride in  only a few of our favorites.  We ride with SPD pedals, which we clip into via cleats on the bottom of our bicycle shoes, making our pedaling more efficient.  We replaced the stock saddles on the 520’s with more comfortable Terry Liberator saddles.

We wear Sena bicycle helmets with Bluetooth technology.  We can talk to each other at a conversational volume and hear one another perfectly as long as we are within about 1/2 of a mile from one another.  This helps us alert one another to oncoming traffic from front or rear (we do wear rear-view mirror on our sunglasses), hazards in the road, an upcoming turn, or the need for one of us to stop.  We can listen to music stored on our phones, or listen to the radio, through our helmets.

We ride with small but very bright running lights front and rear.  They make us visible from about 1/2 mile.

We’re carrying our gear in Arkel water proof panniers, front and rear.  We each also have a handlebar bag and a small saddle bag.  We do not use a trailer.

We each have two water bottles.  We each also have a collapsable water bottle which we will use when we are areas where water will be harder to find.

We are of course limited in the clothes we can take with us.  For cycling, its a waterproof helmet cover, cycling gloves, short and long sleeve shirts, sun sleeves, a vest, a rain coat, cycling shorts, leggings, rain pants, waterproof rain booties and socks.  Almost all of our raingear is Gore-Tex. It works. You can’t beat it.

For street clothes, we have sandals, a lightweight pair of shoes, socks, undies, long undies, short and long sleeve shirts, lightweight pants, shorts, sun hats and wool caps.

One item we decided to take even though it is relatively heavy is our REI Half Dome tent (a little over seven pounds with the ground cover).  We certainly could have invested in a lighter tent, but the Half Dome we’ve enjoyed for many years is pretty roomy for a  two-person tent, and we did not want to give up that space in order to carry a lighter tent.

We have goose down sleeping bags, bag liners, Therma Rest sleeping pads and inflatable pillows.

We carry some basic bike repair tools, two inner tubes each, extra spokes, chain lube, a bike lock, a first aid kit, pepper spray, a whistle, an MSR stove, fuel canisters, a cook set, cup, plate, utensils, toiletries, a towel, cameras, cell phones, headlamps, a collapsable lantern, a solar charger, charging cords, batteries, an iPad, a wallet, a coin purse, the Garmin, Adventure Cycling Association maps of most of our route, a book each, some dice and a deck of cards.

We do not carry extra tires. We should get all the way across the country – and then some – on our new Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires.

For food, we usually just carry snack bars and fruit. We eat our meals when we stop at grocery stores and restaurants along the way. When we camp, we’ll buy food at the last opportunity before going to the camp site. When we ride in areas with fewer opportunities to buy our meals along the way, we will carry more food.

Not including the weights of our racks, or our own weights, I’m carrying 63 pounds on my bike, and Shelly 55 on hers.  The difference between the weights of our cargo is essentially the tent.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Wanda Jackson

    Wishing you both a fabulous and safe journey.

  2. Brenda

    What adventurous spirits you two have! What a way to see the country! Look forward to following you!

  3. Chris

    I love the details of your stuff… so interesting!

  4. Kirsten

    Hey guys,
    Your stuff fascinates me for some reason, especially the helmets. An uncensored recording would I’m sure being a few chuckles! I’m so thankful God sent an “angel” to remind you that you’re covered in prayer. Love you both!

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