JOEY'S INTERACTIVE BICYCLE TOURING CHECKLIST
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Obviously I do not take everything listed here on one trip. If my tour is a long one and I will need hot and cold weather gear, I will have to haul a lot of things. Bike tours in a hot or mild climate with no camping will require far fewer list items. Printing this list will also preserve your checked boxes. Closing this browser window will clear all of your check marks. My site does not save your list!
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I also have a ton of experience with an MSR Whisperlite International Stove that burns gasoline, kerosene, and white gas among other things. This is a great stove, I will not lie. I cooked with it every day for well over one year in the field, I loved it, and even though many I spoke to had trouble lighting it, the MSR stove never failed me. Why the switch? The answer lies in dogs and cats! I grew up a dog lover and never paid much attention to cats. When I hooked up with my future wife she had two cats of her own. In a very short time I found that cats are really cool pets when you get to know them and they do not require much in return. Throw some food and water at them along with a box full of clay particles and cats are good to go. I can interact with them all I want to, but they do not require much attention. I can leave the cats home four days in a row with food and water no problems. OK...dogs now - same food and water issue, but they must be walked, they poop in a new spot every time, require me to pick up the poop, and generally need daily if not hourly attention. And they bark, some more than others. Cats live with my schedule, dogs force me into their schedule.
What does that have to do with stoves? My Trangia requires zero attention when I am not using it, and burns whisper quiet with safety when I am using it. There are no parts to clean, nothing else to do. Compare the Trangia to my cats. The MSR stove on the other hand is persnickety to even get the thing lit, or keep it lit, must be meticulously cleaned and maintenanced from time to time along with replacing some parts (that I must carry with me) and hisses fairly loudly when in use. Add to this the dangers of handling gasoline, the odor of burning gasoline, and the methods and cost of acquiring gasoline 24 ounces at a time, and we have a dog. My MSR stove gave me loyalty and I paid with time and effort. My Trangia is a tad slower to boil water, but does not need to be preheated like the MSR, so boil time is a tie. So when I am on vacation, do I want more things to do, or less - Hmmm. I can start my Mini-T heating a pot of water, then setup my tent while it works just in view. My MSR needed me RIGHT THERE looking at it. So I actually save time with a slower stove, not that time is a huge issue on vacation anyway.
The rest of my cooking / eating supplies include lexan cutlery. Titanium cutlery is OK, but I do not own any. The only danger of lexan forks, knives, and spoons is the likelihood I will mistake them for plastic flatware and accidentally toss my fork in the trash at the end of the meal. Yes, I have done just that. A GI can opener is small, weighs nothing, and is easy to use. Any matches or Zippo or butane lighter will do to light a stove. Water may be treated by boiling, filtering, or tossing some purification drops or tablets (and about an hour) into the water. The drops are easy, cheap, light, and do not waste stove fuel. I assume if I am treating water that I am pretty far into the outback and away from fuel sources too. After cooking, there will be cleaning and storing of food. Eco-friendly soap is a good idea. Rinse soap onto dirt, not directly into the stream, river, or lake. Bacteria in the soil is needed to break down the soap. Then all food and related supplies must be stored out of the reach of bears, raccoons, rats, mice, squirrels, skunks, ants, crows, and whatever creatures haunt your camp day or night. Bear bag is the generic term for such a food storage system. And never eat or cook in your tent unless you are well above treeline during the dead of winter or you will likelihood house-calls from all of the above critters on an given day or night.
The last item under Cooking Gear on my list is Small Insulated Container. I use a crushable zippered cube to keep frozen grocery store foods from perishing before I get to camp. I often stop at a grocery for lunch, grab some dinner items too, then finish the second half of my day. Frozen veggies will be just about thawed by suppertime in the insulated box.
HOT WEATHER CLOTHING
Another thing not found in my clothes bag on a bike trip is cotton, except for some short sleeved seersucker shirts blended with polyester. Not even my bath towel is made of cotton. You see, cotton absorbs sweat and humidity but does not dry easily. This is costly at the laundry, and likely to cause skin problems. My underwear is made from Patagonia Silkweight Capilene®, both boxers and briefs. My socks are made of worsted wool, softer than cotton, washable, indestructible, warm during winter, cool during summer. (See my sock clinic if you want reams of information and the results of my 14,000 person study on sock materials and the dangers of cotton socks and underwear).
I wear prAna® 100% nylon shorts, almost knee length, over Capilene® boxers or briefs, depending on my mood that day. My shirts are Patagonia Puckerware® - cotton / poly blends with puckered texture. Cotton is cooling when worn loosely away from the skin. The added polyester speeds drying and wicking of sweat or laundry water. I wear synthetic padded gloves for hand protection and my saddle is lightly padded negating any need for lightly padded shorts. My helmet is well ventilated with a visor and a tiny rear view mirror. I wear each pair of socks and underwear twice (never on successive days) before laundering. I may rinse out some clothes mid week if it has been raining or really hot. Capilene and nylon dries fast without heated drying and almost instantly on low temperatures in the dryer.
For cold wind and rain I carry a lightweight Gore·Tex® shell top and bottom. I also keep a pair of SealSkins® waterproof socks in my panniers. For sun and insect protection I carry one pair of long Supplex® Nylon pants and a long sleeve cotton / poly blend or linen shirt. 100% cotton bandanas make good hankies or sweat cloths, but must be force-dried on the bike somewhere between uses. My cycling shoes are Gore·Tex® Shimano SPDs with recessed cleats for cycling and hiking. I always carry a baseball cap with a camouflage pattern to wear when entering a rural diner or grill for lunch stops in rural America. The camo is sort of a rural membership card. Since I can talk huntin' and fishin' with the best of them, I always have a great time visiting with the NRA crowd and sometimes get my meal free.
The last component of hot weather touring is my silk sleepsheet. Rolled up it fits in the palm of my hand. On hot evenings, this is all I need on to of my sleeping pad until it cools down enough to get inside the silky warmth. During really cold snaps, the sleepsheet will add a few degrees of comfort to my sleeping bag.
COLD WEATHER CLOTHING
PERSONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
If you have a modern cellphone with a few apps there are several items you can exclude from the list, assuming you always have a signal. Compass, weather radio, watch, maps, guides, camera, address book and stamps, pen or pencil, tape recorder, video camera, mp3 player, and perhaps even a flashlight. Cellphone//Charger did not make my list because I have never carried one on a bike tour. I can certainly see the usefulness of a nice "phone".
There are two other things on the list that need to be mentioned: The Four-way Sillcock Key and the 16 Point Handle. With these two tools, you can turn on any water faucet in North America even if the handle is missing. Rural churches and cemeteries have water supplies but often remove the faucet handles to keep people from washing their cars or filling tanker trucks with free drinking water. Grocery stores have little metal boxes along the front of the store hiding water faucets. With these two tools you have five of the most common handle patterns. Never run out of water on the road again. Just be sure to turn the water all the way off when you are done.