Bike - the most essential part of my gear is of course my bike. I have a Surly Long Haul Trucker that I bought a few years back. Its been my commuter bike and has performed perfectly, but it was in need of some TLC. I stripped it down and overhauled it from the bottom up. I changed out most of the components, the most significant changes were:
- Brakes - I switched from the cantilever brakes that came with it and had dismal stopping power to linear pull brakes. I wish I had disc brakes, but since I have an older frame, it doesn't accommodate them. So linear pulls will have to do and they are much more gooder than what I had.
- Wheels - I did splurge on a new set of hubs and rims. The rims are Velocity Atlas and the rear hub is also made by Velocity. The Front hub is a Shutter Precision Dynamo Hub and it is connected to a Sinewave Cycles Revolution USB inverter that I will use to keep my electronic gadgets charged. I shipped the dyno hub to Velocity and they built both wheels. They are the bomb!!! I highly recommend!!!
- Tires - I've read enough accounts of folks that have ridden across the country to know that flats are a part of the journey. In an effort to minimize that experience, I chose Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. I've used the Schwalbe Marathons on my bike for commuting for quite a few years. I've had a pair on my bike for the last 5 years, they have held up well AND I haven't had a single flat. I commute to work everyday and not a single flat in 5 years.!! There is no better endorsement than that!
Panniers - I'm using Ortlieb Roller Classic panniers front and back and an Ortlieb Ultimate Pro handlebar bag.
Stuff Inside The Bags - this is where I will spare you the long list. At a high level...
- One rear pannier - Tent Stuff
- Other rear pannier - Clothes
- One front pannier - Kitchen
- Other front pannier - Food
- Handlebar Bag - Valuables and easily accessible stuff like wallet, keys, cell and camera. Anytime I walk away from the bike, this bag will be on my shoulder.