I stepped off the plane expecting to ride my bike to the campground for the night. Mother Nature had other plans, the warm humid air was inviting but the near hurricane force winds and torrential rains had me second guessing trying to find and set up a stealth camp in the dark. A short cab ride and nearly a hundred bucks out of my tiny stash found me reclining in a nice comfy couch chilling with travelers from all over the world sipping on red wine.
Each new trip is a learning experience and I get a little better at packing and more importantly leaving things behind. It’s easy to let the mind run wild with all the things you will need on bike tour but in reality there are very few. We live in a new world and bike parts can be overnighted virtually anywhere if you can find Internet which is almost everywhere these days and this is the genious of touring on a folding bike. If catastrophe does strike just fold it up and hitch to the next town which is a new adventure in itself. I meet people on the road touring in America and they carry enough spares to almost build a new bike. I carry a scant few extras and in 3000 miles haven’t had to use a single one. Someday I might but Im trying to leave someday for when it actually arrives.
Sure bringing the ukulele was a bit idiotic and I won’t do that again nor will I carry so much food or all of the little things that never got used. My micro Swiss Army knife was one of my most used items and carelessly lost somewhere, next time it will have a little string to hang around my neck. I didn’t use my uber expensive titanium cooker either, preferring fresh food and snacks all day long over cooking in camp. I carried just a bit too much of everything but ounces add up to pounds.
The big killer was my iPad and dslr but I love those things as I like to blog for my family as often as I can so they know all is well. As a photographer it’s hard to leave these things behind but I’m pretty sure the next trip will be with an iPhone. My old POS iPhone 4 did ok in Hawaii but it’s heavy and the battery sucks so maybe I’ll update to an iPhone 5. Phones are an issue with keeping the battery charged but also easily fit into my accessory pouch for more photo ops.
Less gear, lighter gear and more reliable gear make for more fun on the bike which is what the tour is all about which brings me to bikes. When I committed to a folding bike it wasn’t to tour with, it was for the boat and small trips. I had from the beginning of time thought that I wanted a Bike Friday but that all changed once I went to the factory and checked them out.
The Bike Friday rides very nice and every wheel upsize adds to the quality of the ride but they are also heavy, extremely complex and in my opinion would be fragile on tour, they also are difficult or maybe awkward to fold is a better description. It’s more of a take apart bike than a folding bike. For the price I could buy a Norco and tour in a full size folding bike which brings me back to the whole boat bike… the little Brompton turned out to be the Swiss Army knife of folding bikes, it does everything perfectly for my needs and is unbelievably reliable, comfy to ride, cute and dorky which makes every journey a social expedition. When it comes to boating and biking all I can say is choose your battles wisely. I have so much more to share on this but the sun is out and I’d rather be out riding my bike than sitting in Sookie writing about it.
“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
― Albert Einstein