Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What I see of bike touring

delicate-flower-mobile.
I very much enjoy being a minimalist in most areas of my life.  It's kind of addicting to try and get down to the skinniest amount of gear. For me I think it's a personality trait I'm proud of at best, and a slight ego trap at worst.  That said, I learned today a lesson I could have sworn I'd learned before: I am not a bear.




Bears are totally cool to stomp around all day carrying nothing but their wits and claws and bear fur around.  They can get away with that.  I am a totally different animal, and as a not special or unique snowflake among my fellow humans, I need stuff to survive.  We are animals that require tools and clothes to survive out of doors.  I went too skinny on clothes and paid for it today.

I rode through some torrential downpour in 40 something degrees and soaked through and was cold, shivering, and miserable.  I considered selling the bike for a bus ticket because I was thoroughly cold and ill prepared for spring showers.  I didn't prepare for hypothermia but really I didn't prepare to stave it off.  I ducked into a coffee shop and dripped all over the floor while I drank hot tea.  I studied my maps and looked miserably at the miles ahead through more rain.

I hopped on the google and while it was still early for a lot of bike shops to be open, REI opened its doors just as I slapped a U-lock on my land whale set up.  I looked for the waterproofiest, warmest, maximalist gear that I could get my hands on.  No shit I would have shelled out that bus ticket money and then some for whatever they had.  I couldn't believe they had nothing waterproof, water repellent, or super warm but I found the dregs of winter sale stuff and some neoprene bike shoe covers and some hand warmers and I got the eff out of there into sunshine and a wonderful raise in temperature.

A homeless man squatted next to my land whale on top of a stack of newspapers with his bike behind him.  I gave him a cliff bar and I set about sunning some of my soaked gloves and minimalist gear before I stuffed them back in.  I rearranged my pack, donned all of my layers despite the sun, and when I rode off the homeless man wished me luck and for a tailwind wherever I was going.  Thanks, mate.

Life on the road has been much. much. much. better since I agreed to taking more stuff onboard.  Stuff kept me warm(er) and dry(er) and comfortable.  Riding down a heavily trafficked highway in torrential downpour is not fun, nor does it set me up to enjoy any riding later.  If I'm comfortable I can focus on seeing the beautiful places I'm passing through instead of being on a loop repeating how cold I feel.  I'm pretty stoked on being like a bear now--able to stomp around rainy places all day focused on my next score of berries and next couple of hills, now possible because of gloves, tools, and a bit of wit that protect this delicate flower from the elements.

selfie featuring either huge smile or duck face but I'm warm and pawing my phone through huge gloves.  

2 comments:

  1. Hi Hannah all the ULTRA D DAY TRAIL and EOLIA Normandie teams support you in this bike trip. Enjoy the time for it . We are waiting for you in Paris June the 10 th to come with us on the D Day Beaches for another long trail running !

    ReplyDelete