Toys and Tools

Here are some of the toys and tools I’ll be bringing with me.  Not a full gear list by any means, but just some fun tidbits and things I’ll use a lot!  I’ll likely be adding to this list as I actually compile my things (and unpack from my recent move to Vermont!)

Bike:  My last tour was 600 miles and I rode on my Cannondale Road Bike.  It was a little small for me, and while it certainly worked well and I didn’t have any major complaints, I got a sore neck at the end of long days.  It also isn’t a touring bike, so it’s not quite as sturdy as my new one.  My new bike is a probably mid-80’s Miyata touring bike with a  has a steel frame and a longer wheel base, both of which will help absorb more of the bumps than my Aluminum Cannondale did.  It also is built to carry more weight and go on longer trips!  I look forward to trying it out over the next few weeks, and falling in love this summer!

Pedals:  After my last bike trip, on which my friend Sera had clipless pedals, I decided to make the plunge.  Last week I invested in a pair of Shimano PD-M545 pedals, which are fantastic.  I’ve been riding for a few hours each day the last week and can really feel a difference in the power of each pedal stroke.  I got these pedals because they have an actual pedal around the part you clip into, this both spreads out the point at which  your shoe touches the pedal and doesn’t concentrate all the pushing power on one spot of your foot, and also because it gives me the ability to either clip in (on either side of the pedal), or to ride with regular shoes, which is convenient for running to the store or whatnot when I’m not on a bike tour!

Shoes:  To go with my SPD pedals, I got a pair of Louis Garneau 2010 Women’s Multi LG Fitness Cycling Shoes, these shoes have a nice stiff sole and an inset SPD clip, which makes it so you can walk in them without looking too funny!

Netbook:  I bought a Acer Aspire One Netbook. I’m not a computer nerd and don’t know what most of the stats mean, but it seems to be a nice computer with plenty of memory for my purposes.  It is less than 1 inch thick and weighs less than 2.5 lbs, which is why I got it.  I plan to use to to update my blog, and do any route updates I need to do.

Maps:  Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Trail Maps 4-9 which will take us from Yorktown, VA to Missoula, MT.  From Missoula we’ll jump on Adventure Cycling’s Lewis and Clark Maps 6 & 7, which will take us to Astoria, OR.  We of course may deviate from this route, but these maps are extremely useful as they have been ridden many times by bikers and thus folks along the way are semi-used to us!  The maps also list lots of places to camp/eat etc. that are specific to bike tours and are not on regular road maps.  The other advantage to using these bike maps is they are sure to give us the most bike-friendly route and thus we won’t accidentally get trapped and forced onto some highway bridge or whatnot.

Stove: I’m bringing along my trusted MSR SimmerLite Stove.  I’ve used this stove on hiking, kayaking, car camping, and bike trips for years.  It is light weight, reliable, fuel efficient, and easy to maintain in the field.

Tent:  We plan to camp out most nights on the trip, and given we are passing through/over the Rockies, our tents are key pieces of gear.  I’m bringing my Mountain Hardware LightWedge 2.  This is a tent I bought in college and have used in a very wide variety of conditions.  It holds up well in heavy rain, wind, or snow.  It’s kept me dry in some really big storms.  It’s a 2 person tent, but depending on what other folks have I may go solo in it so I have plenty of room to bring all my gear out of the weather!

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