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Bruce Gordon Rock 'n' Road Tour, 28-38-48 front and 13-34 rear gearing (22 in. low, 100 in. high). Bar-end shifters on standard drop handlebars.

Continental Top Touring/Top Touring 2000 tires (700 x 32)

Brooks B-17 saddle (broken in)

Bruce Gordon pannier racks

Robert Beckman panniers & handlebar bag

Cateye CC-AT100 cycle computer/altimeter

Shimano M-535 SPD pedals

Zefal fenders

Visalite headlight, rear flasher

I had only trivial mechanical problems during the 8 weeks. All of this is great equipment and I would recommend it to anyone. Bruce Gordon makes a solid, dependable machine that is as well-suited for touring as any bike I've seen. It rode comfortably and true and gave me no problems worth mentioning. Continental's Top Touring tires are the best bar none -- I had two flat tires the whole trip, only one of them was a puncture and it was into a rear tire that had more than 2,500 fully loaded miles on it. Bob Beckman's panniers, well designed and impeccably manufactured, are in a class of their own. The only problem I have with them is figuring out to whom to will them when I die, because they're certainly going to outlast me. The Cateye CC-AT100 is the first cyclecomputer I've ever owned that endures cold and rain without pitching electronic fits. Bike altimeters have a reputation for skittishness but this one worked reliably and was accurate enough actually to be useful. The Shimano SPD clipless pedals needed a couple hundred miles to break in completely but I loved them after that and am even thinking of replacing the Look-compatibles on my road bike. The Zefal fenders added a few ounces but riding in the rain was much closer to fun without road spray constantly spinning up into my face. They also kept grit and grime off the bottom half of the bike, making cleanup a lot easier. And then finally, that Brooks saddle. It requires a little bit more attention than your standard plastic jobs but you're rewarded with a comfortable, shock-absorbent ride that only gets better as you spend more time on it.

Packing list

Bike clothing

glasses-mount rearview mirror
SPD shoes
3 bike shorts
4 jerseys (1 wool, 1 cotton, 2 synthetic)
arm warmers
3 pr. bike socks
lightweight tights
Lands' End merino sweater
microfiber rain jacket
goretex socks
wool hat
wool gloves
thermal underwear
plastic rain pants

Tools & maintenance

Cannondale hex key combo
small 15/32mm wrench
8/10mm crescent wrench
small vise grips
Swiss Army knife
tire irons
spoke wrench
patch kit
1 spare tire
3 tubes

cassette removal tool
chain rivet extractor
chain lube
Proofride (for leather saddle)
rain cover for saddle
clear nail polish

spare spokes (all 3 sizes)
6" of old innertube
4' duct tape (around seatpost)
cables (1 brake, 1 derailleur)
cleanup rag (under seat)
spare brake pads
zip ties
spare SPD cleat screws

Off-bike clothing

khaki long pants
short pants
two T-shirts (one long, one short sleeve)
Izod style shirt
wool socks
nylon shorts (for swimming)


Adventure Cycling maps
misc. state maps
reading book

spiral notebook
microcassette recorder
extra microcassettes

small compass
travel case for wallet
radio/alarm clock

glasses strap
mini tripod

extra bungee cord
various rubber bands
bike lock
toe strap for locking wheel

plastic cover for bike
pannier rain covers
strap-on extra water bottle holders

 Camping equipment

waterproof stuff sack holding:
sleeping bag
camping pillow

North Face Ventilator tent
ground cover
MSR Whisperlite stove
22 oz. fuel container with fuel
16 oz. pot
10 oz. mug
scrubber cloth
linen towels - 1 bath, 1 face
Thermarest pad
clothesline, pins
emergency toilet paper
water purification tablets
variable size drain plug
emergency food (tuna, dried soup)
sugar, creamer packets
tea-style coffee bags

Toiletries/1st aid

soap & case
razor & blades
shaving cream
nail clippers
ear plugs
small first aid kit

The foregoing is what was on my bike or on me when the trip ended, by which point I had things pretty well tuned. Along the way I did send several things home, for example a deck of cards, a book of solitaire games and a lightweight rain shell that I took mostly because I owned it. The only important additions were in Colorado -- I hadn't really prepared for snow, so one cold and ominous morning I bought wool gloves, a hat, some thermal underwear and a pair of plastic rain pants. Also I had got a little too used to my two bike shorts and so I picked up a third pair just to be chafed somewhere new. (Lesson learned: Always carry 3 sets of bike shorts on trips lasting longer than 2 weeks.)

This is a fairly complete packing list. Indeed some might think it a little too complete, and to be sure a person could get by with a lot less -- a change of off-bike clothes is nice but not really essential; a bike headlight can double as a flashlight at night; a truly tough guy can shave with soap (or just water) instead of shaving cream. Next time I will probably cut out the purification tablets, the additional small towel, one synthetic jersey, one off-bike shirt and -- really! -- the Thermarest, which I used once. Other than that, however, I used just about everything on the list often enough to continue carrying it. I doubt I'd pare things down much below that.

A few items turned out to be exceptionally useful, and I won't take another long tour without them:

The single pair of shoes was a Shimano SPD hiking/biking model. They were generally quite comfortable, though something different on my feet would have been nice from time to time. Also they weren't the greatest for extended walking (which I discovered during my off-days in Yellowstone) but I would probably do the same thing again unless I planned to spend a whole lot more time off the bike.

Um, what else. Waterproofing! I had rain covers for the panniers, which were useful if for no other reason than keeping the pannier fabric from soaking up 3 pounds of water in heavy rain, but the covers were kind of a pain to put on and so I also kept most of my gear inside plastic bags too. Someone somewhere on the internet suggested using the long tubular bags that newspapers are sometimes delivered in, and it was a great suggestion -- they're lots less bulky than ziplocs plus they fit more easily into one's (primarily vertical) panniers.


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