Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bike Trip Phase Two

After our two foreign exchange students from Korea left after their three week summer program, phase two of the bike trip began. Active preparation. This phase involved a lot of thinking, list making, route planning, shopping and anxiety. Would we actually be able to do this trip?

Anthony planned the route, using Map my Ride, except for the coastal route, for which we had a guide book, Bicycling the Pacific Coast, and an Oregon Department of Transportation map. The planned route looked to be about 900 miles long. That meant an average of 45 miles a day for our three week trip. Our route to get to the coast, though, was 120 miles and we were hoping to do it in two days, based on available camping, which meant we'd be starting off with a bang with two 60 mile days.

With all that in mind, we made back up plans. If we couldn't make it home in the three weeks, my parents would come and rescue us from where ever we had made it to and bring us the rest of the way home.

We made our packing list. It's long, but fairly comprehensive and I'll go ahead and share it with you. There wasn't much, if anything, that wasn't on the list that went with us.

Clothes - Each

2 bike shorts
2 bike shirts
3 pair socks (2 bike, 1 wool)
1 pair tights (or, in Davan's case, sweat pants because we couldn't find bike tights for her)
1 pair rain pants
1 rain jacket
swim suit
cold weather hat
long fingered gloves
bike gloves
sun glasses
long sleeved shirt or jersey
1 pair off bike shorts
1 off bike shirt
fleece top or jersey
2 bras for N
toe or shoe covers
off bike shoes
(all clothes, to the best of our abilities, were quick dry, sporty clothes so we could hand wash and line dry quickly)


one small towel each
one wash cloth each
tooth brush each
tooth paste
biodegradable soap
1 book each plus 1 family book (this ended up being a lot of weight and the family book was by far the most used - we'd have left the individual books home if we'd had a do over)
clothes line
water filter
mesh bag to drain pasta
pot and fry pan
stirring spoon
eating spoons and forks
sharp knife
spreading knife
light weight rag (we ended up taking two and these were invaluable)
cell phones
cell phone chargers
deck of cards
small journal and pen each
bug spray
heavy duty trash bags for rain protection for the large gear items
gallon zip lock bags for rain protection for clothes and smaller things
U lock
long cable for lock
nail clippers
GPS (borrowed from work with only the ability to give location - no maps)
Diva cup
contacts for Anthony
water bottles
dental floss
bike lights front and back
spare pins for trailer
duct tape
zip ties
Allen wrenches
adjustable wrench
chain tool
chain lube
tube patch kit
spare tubes
spare tire
spare chain
spare chain link
sleeping bag each
sleeping mat each
tire pump
drivers' licenses, credit cards, ATM cards, cash and insurance cards
Bunny and Bunny's necessities

Food to Start With

Lara bars or equivalent
Barbara's fig bars
fruit leather
baby carrots
freeze dried veggies
almond butter
veggie bullions
minced onion
Bragg's Liquid Aminos
agave nectar
flax meal
bulgar wheat
red lentils
vegan whole grain pancake mix

That was it. The plan was to wash our bike clothes by hand each evening. Several things needed to be purchased and, thus, there were more lists. Most of the spare bike parts needed to be bought. Anthony and I needed new rain jackets. Davan and I needed new rain pants. Davan needed decent bike shorts.

Bike shorts for kids are difficult to get well made. Davan had a pair from Performance and they were...well, they kind of looked like bike shorts and had something approximating a chamois. However, they offered very little actual protection. We tried a few and settled on ones from Trek. They still weren't near as nice as ours, which aren't top of the line for adults, I might add, but the best that we could come up with.

We had various running around, trying on and phone calls to make.

Anthony also did some modifications to our bike trailer. I wanted him to carry most of the gear, as I'm always left behind on our rides, so he added a rack to our homemade trailer, enabling the tandem, with him and Davan, also a strong but not always consistent rider, peddling it, to have four panniers and a trailer. I rode with two panniers, the tool kit and the U lock.

Things were coming together, but we were really nervous about the trip. Davan would tell people she was excited, but she definitely had mixed feelings. Anthony was really stressed between work pressures and worry about the trip. I was worried about my abilities. We pressed on.

We were also excited about many parts of the trip and looking forward to spending the time together.

The spare room became our staging area. A few days before the trip, we discovered that we could each use a pannier for our clothes, which was a huge relief for Anthony who thought they might take up more room.

The night before came. Anthony had to work late, but we weren't too worried as we were mostly ready with everything laid out. The plan was to have everything packed up and loaded up Thursday night so we could just roll out Friday morning. We were to have breakfast down the road a ways.

Things, as things tend to do, went wrong Thursday night. Anthony had changed the tires on the tandem out to touring tires, which are wider. He'd not checked that the homemade trailer would still fit with the adjustment, it not having occurred to him it wouldn't. Well, the arm attaching the trailer to the bike wouldn't fit around the wider tire.

He tried pounding it. We tried loading up the Bob trailer with out stuff, but it was too small. He tried pounding some more. I offered to strap stuff on my rack so things would fit in the Bob. Finally, around 8:45pm, he started building a new attachment arm. He got done around 11:00 and we all finally went to sleep as best we could. Davan had been in bed for hours, but unable to sleep until all was settled.

The next day was Day 1. We would be off. How would it go? Would Anthony be able to handle the long, heavy tandem? His brief up the street ride after loading up wasn't promising, but my offers to pull a trailer after all were waved aside. Would our nerves hold out? Would we be able to cover the distance? Would we make it back home or need rescuing?

Join me tomorrow to hear about Day 1.

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