Thursday, April 17, 2014

XC Gear

salsa with her fixin's.  
There's a bike involved and then there's the stuff to keep me biking.

I went super minimalist on my previous bike trips but I actually ended up hoteling it and eating at gas stations, etc. so it was pretty simple to pack and stow what I'd need to ride all day.  This time it's a bit more complicated but I am doing my best to honor my minimalist code and nature of the delicate flower--I am far too pretty and delicate to carry any extra ounce along with me.  I shall be most discriminate if an item is to earn its ticket east.

 Below are my selections of gear, thoughts on why I went with that, and issues I foresee yet am barreling ahead with anyway.

-Salsa Fargo with 29s...   29" wheels are much bigger than the 700c skinny tires I roll on with Allidillo but I'm expecting a lot of snow, trail, gravel, fire road, etc and wanted to build a bike that can come with me on the trails.  Also, this trip started out as a trans Alaska bike ride, but I decided that's some post-grad level bikepacking and I am a freaking greenhorn with no wishes to die by polar bear just yet.  That said, the design and hardware of this bike is such that I will grow into more and more ambitious and wild adventures if and when I'm up for them.  By then this bike will have a name and he/she/it and I shall be one.  Until then we're strangers that seem possibly compatible but I know I'm cheating on Allidillo, or at least not yet moved on.

Bike Tools, spare parts, repair, maintenance
-skabs tube patches (1 kit)
-park tools tire boot (1 kit)
-crank bros multi tool 17
-pedros tire levers (1 pair)
-spare tubes (2)
-bike repair app on phone for quick reference
-spare master link, 2 spare links

Dammit if a flat tire isn't one of the most frustrating things sometimes.  For me it always seems that when it rains it pours and I'll get several in quick succession.  I'm hoping that this is the biggest mech failure but I'll have some stuff to make my best crack at a quick fix and at least a working knowledge now to maybe just slightly be able to describe what's wrong to a bike shop with words a little more technical than thingy.

-Revelate Designs SALSA frame bag
-Revelate Designs SALSA pika saddle post bag
-Revelate Designs Salsa Jerry/Gas tank bags
-SALSA anything cage x 2
-Camelbak octane w/ 70 oz bladder

If I have the room I think I'll fill it.  I purposely wanted to limit the volume of stuff I can carry because I want to limit the weight I'm hulking around.  The saddle bag, frame bag, room forward on my handlebars, and a small camelbak ought to be plenty for this bike tour..  The good news is with a condensed timeline there aren't so many rest days or sight seeing days anymore which now requires less clothing.  I don't have to carry as many real people clothes and I will be able to get away with even more barebones wardrobe.

The truth comes out: after wearing a uniform for a long time, both before high school and after, I don't know that I trust myself to dress for a professional job.  I know how to wear a bike jersey and spandex however, so while the prospect of cycling across country solo is scary, it's slightly less scary than starting a new job in Corporate America with business professional attire.

Cheers to butt pads, neon yellow, helmet hair, and headlamps.

Camping Accomodations
-ENO singlenest hammock
-ENO bug guardian net
-ENO DryFly
-ENO Tent stakes
-ENO Hammock straps
-Hammock Gear under quilt (20 degrees)
-Hammock Gear over quilt (20 degrees)

I treated all of the exterior hammock surfaces with permethrin to guard against mosquitos and such.  I hear they're incredibly bad up north and after a long day of riding I'm pretty sure sleep will be a premium so I want quality, quantity, and to not wake up bitten and miserable.  Hoping this stuff does the trick but I'm about to put all this gear through the wringer so it'll be understandable I suppose if eventually I find myself swearing about the crap job permethrin's doing...I'll hopefully remember to reapply and remember the good old days when I didn't worry about bugs at night.

I find sleeping in a hammock wicked. wicked. comfortable.  It's some of the best sleep I've gotten in ages when I camped in NZ.  I was plenty warm without a sleeping pad, just a sleeping bag and me in the hammock.  Set up is pretty quick, provided you're around a good selection of trees to rig your hammock up.  I really like that my tent system breaks up into small pieces that I can move around and separate in order to just find the room and make the room.  There are no huge pieces that I have to strap down or anything so from a minimalist standpoint with limited stowage capabilities, a hammock separate from the rain fly separate from the bug net is grand.

Likewise with the sleeping bag system, I'm not using a sleeping bag, rather under and over quilts from  The under quilt hangs below the hammock and keeps a pocket of air warm and still beneath you and then the over quilt traps your body heat while still allowing you to move unconstricted in the hammock.  A traditional sleeping bag is the top and the bottom systems in one piece of gear, which is useful if you often forget halves of things but for me, I am able to separate and squeeze these pieces in and around things which make for easier packing and carrying.  I really really really dig these things and find them super easy to set up, take down, squish into my pack, and super cozy.

-Jetboil stove system
     -This satisfies my bowl, cup, cookware requirements all in one big 30 oz container.  I'll cook in it and eat from it and the jetboil stove boils water quite efficiently so cooking time is faster.  I've used these a decent amount and dig it.  They're easy to use, easy to clean, and pack up in a condensed fashion.
-PocketFuel Naturals
-1-2 days of food at all times
-40 oz hydroflask canteen x 2
-70 oz camelbak

-harmonica (TBD)
-ACA northern tier bike maps
-several dry stuff sacks
-zip ties
-stretch hook cords

-One set post ride campground wear
-Bike Jersey (1)
-super warm bib tights (1)
-cycling shorts (1)
-wool top (1)
-wool cycling cap (1)
-bike jacket in hi viz yellow (1)
 -socks (2)

-powermonkey eXplorer solar charger

Safety Last
-bear mace
-bear bells
-survival blanket
-first aid kid
-bright freaking yellow outerwear whenever possible


  1. Hi Hannah, I enjoy reading your postings and how you live your dreams. I don't recall the first time I found your blog but it has to do with our son (Dan) also attending USNA and graduating in '09 from the 29th company and you lving the life of an endurance athlete. One of my big bucket list things to do is to also ride my bike across America using the northern route 20 across our great land. So first, when you cross New York State my wife and I would enjoy hosting you for an overnight and listening to your stories, we live east of Rochester. Second, I hope that you make the time to share your experiences on this blog site as you progress. Think of the great community of people you will meet, and I hope if aliens visit our planet they meet you first! All the best, please reply and enjoy the adventure! Tim Murphy (Penfield, NY)

  2. Aloha and thanks for getting in touch. I remember Dan. I was '09 30th company so we saw each other around a bit. I will write and share my stories but a little time late for internet stalking safety reasons. I'll post a little time late but I will absolutely have stories to share and would love to connect, thank you very much. If you're on facebook I can add you to a group of trusted internet stalkers and that's what I'm using to keep people up to date as to my whereabouts and plans for tomorrow. Thanks for reading and I look forward to cross paths. Send my best to Dan.

  3. Hi Hannah...THANKS for the reply and safe travels!!! Yes, I am on Facebook but I could not find you as a friend...what do I need to do? Dan got married a couple of weekends ago at the USNA Chapel....good stuff!!!