It has begun. As society spirals out of control with vitriol and violence and hatred and bullshit, I’m pushing towards center through the time-tested, tried-and-true technique of travel tabulation. And all that alliteration adds up to a whole shit ton of time spent planning and packing.
My spidey-senses indicate a theme developing here.
So. When you’re shipping your bike but flying yourself to the start location of a bike tour, it’s much more involved than simply getting on your bike and riding 3,000+ miles — and the be certain: the packing and preparing for simply getting on your bike and riding 3,000+ miles is already abso-fucking-lutely involved. But since no one believes anyone about anything anymore, don’t take it from me: try googling “bicycle tour packing list” and get back to me on how much is out there on this subject. Even I’ve kept a distinctly separate “Packing List” page on this blog since Day 1 in 2010. Cause, you know…. it must be true if it’s on the internet.
No, this flight-and-delivery-version of a logistical labor of love of mine requires an acutely astute acumen allotment. I must first pack everything as if I was about to ride east out of A Whale’s Vagina, CA. Then I must unpack and disassemble everything. Then I must repack my bike and some gear into a box for BikeFlights to deliver via UPS. Then I must repack more gear into another box I will check on my flight. Then I must repack the last of my things into one pannier which I will carry on to the flight. All these musts must then not only comply with all the various size and weight and content restrictions imposed by United Air and UPS, but also fit the timeline of my bike’s departure vs my own — i.e. I cannot bring my multi-tool on to the plane and I also cannot ship anything I’ll need the week it takes UPS to drive my bike to the Pacific Ocean. So I gotta balance all this and the most important task of simply not letting anything get fuckin’ forgotten in the mix.
Long bicycle tours are a series of avoiding critical fails. I’ve previously pontificating on the point at the start of my 2019 ride home from NOLA. Forgetting something was not on that list, but it could be the most self-sabotaging and debilitating error out there. I find it easiest to do this “pack, unpack, disassemble, repack” process all in one day to avoid making a mental meltdown. Anything I don’t yet have or need to keep unpacked goes on a “DON’T FORGET” list.
This salaciously selectional system of staging is more of an internal documentation, whereas the final version can be found below… Wait, did you really google “bicycle tour packing list” when there was one on the same page the whole time? Next time maybe read to end before starting the test.
PACKING LIST 3.0
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In “Desert Solitaire”, Edward Abbey notes:
“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles. Better to idle through one park in two weeks than try to race through a dozen in the same amount of time. Those who are familiar with both modes of travel know from experience that this is true; the rest have only to make the experiment to discover the same truth for themselves.”