Saturday, May 20, 2017

With What Am I Gonna Do It

Ok, I've talked about what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, so now let's talk a little bit about gear.
I'm not going to cover all my gear in excruciating detail, maybe I will do that at the end after I've paired down my gear to what I really need.  I am reminded of a bike tour I did in upstate New York. After the second day, I was so desperate to shed weight that I was squirting out toothpaste from the tube.  On the third day I stopped at the first post office I came to and shipped a buttload of stuff home.  I'm hoping I've learned something from that experience and have been trying to keep my gear to a minimum, but I suspect I still have too much.  We will see!

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.
So there you have it, the stuff I will be using to get across the country.

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