Okay kids – fun’s over! It’s back to work today.
Hits and misses: Some things I tried for this trip were great ideas. Some, not so great. Here are a few reactions after the trip is over.
- Hit: the new bike – it was light, responsive, held up well.
- Hit: integrated brake/shift levers – nothing new to a lot of you, but I still use downtube shifters and being able to shift without moving my hands (a thumb or a finger only) and being able to shift while out of the saddle make a big difference in >4000 miles.
- Hit: new sleeping pad (though, in the end, it could have been thicker)
- Mixed: tent (it was roomy but it leaked and condensation was terrible)
- Mixed: bringing a sleeping bag – it was usually too hot and when it was cold I could have just worn more clothes. A fleece blanket would probably have been enough.
- Hit: full zip jerseys
- Hit: zippered 3 gallon Hefty bags – one for jerseys and gloves, one for shorts and socks, one for rainwear, one for cold weather wear, etc. (regular clothes, too.) You can squeeze out all the air and have less bulk and keep everything dry.
- Miss: jumbo Ziploc bags – they were hard to seal, leaked, and tore easily.
- Hit: new zip tie-like bike locks – these were an impulse buy at a sale and were great for quick lock-ups at a coffee shop. They fit in an under-saddle bag and will at least stop impulse thieves and slow down other thieves.
- Miss: Sigma bike computer – a switch quit for about a month mid-trip (then started working again); went through six batteries (3 each for wheel sensor and computer), complicated programming.
- Hit: Nulaxy keyboard – this made typing way easier and faster than a phone keyboard and takes less space than a tablet (plus costs hundreds of dollars less than a tablet).
- Hit: bringing clothesline and clothespins
- Hit: bringing only sandals and bike shoes – I had no need for “real” shoes
- Hit: CO2 cartridges – great for emergency on-the-road inflation after a flat (“puncture” to the Brits in the audience)
- Hit: snack bag as waterproof iPhone holder
- Hit: Velcro straps under saddle bag to hold extra stuff – this was an improvisation. My sleeping pad came with straps and a nylon sack. The straps were superfluous but were great to fasten rain gear under my saddle bag, or in case of an impulse purchase.
- Hit: Clif shot bloks – handy way to get electrolytes when I ran out of Cytomax (lighter and easier to carry, too). Before a climb I would stick one between teeth and gum and let it slowly dissolve. Also helped with dry mouth in arid regions. Sometimes it is hard to breathe and swallow at the same time (long steep climbs at altitude). These helped.
- Miss: Gatorade – I’ve already talked about that.
- Miss: Greg not securing Wi-Fi passwords for all overnights
- Mixed: tools, parts, and warm clothes I didn’t need – all stuff I might bring anyway, as insurance.
- Hit: solar charger. I usually had access to electricity to charge the phone but this sure came in handy to keep a back-up battery charged at all times.
Coming soon: My top ten and bottom ten lists (good days and bad, good weeks and bad). Neither list will necessarily contain ten items.
And now, because I haven’t worked it in before, because I mentioned truffles yesterday, and because it is one of the under-appreciated Beatles songs: