Coastal Bike Tour 2014--Planning and Preparation and Possibilities (Oh My)

This rather lofty goal that seemed to spring spontaneously from the depths of my soul has its arms wrapped pretty tight around me and I have to admit it's pretty exciting.

I spent a few hours today reading blogs, forums, and tip sheets about bicycle touring. Actually, I have been for most of the week. A little notebook now houses my lists for what to pack, what I need to do before I go, what I need to purchase and/or acquire for the trip, and what foods will be manageable to pack and eat during the long haul. Yesterday, husband and I visited REI after reading some reviews of touring-style bikes. We spoke with a reasonably knowledgeable employee about the nuances of the bikes (and packs and seats and pedals and water systems) and generally, just riding for great distances. And while they didn't have the exact bike I'm looking at available for me to ride right out of the store, I can assure you it's damn adorable. Here, why not look at its vintage-y beauty. Don't become too attached. I haven't decided yet.

I've needed something like this to occupy myself. And luckily, I really enjoy planning for events and activities (even lessons and unit plans). A tendency to completely immerse myself in the preparation and planning of something is not unusual for me. Having said that, it's no surprise that I kind of feel ready to go, right now...minus the whole training aspect. But that, my friends, is what the next four months are for--if all goes accordingly.

Husband found a great website of a guy who did the same journey, backwards to our plan, last year. His was for charity and so there are some obvious variances and perks to his trip. He had ride support for 13 out of 30 days which literally lightened his load for over a third of his ride. And he also had meals and stays planned out with a group during this time as well which helps alleviate some of the pressure of packing. [Please note: I do not want it to sound in anyway as if I think less of that situation. It's awesome. I'm a little jealous. If I had anyone willing to give up 30-35 days of their summer to be my ride support: driving all of my camping supplies, and food, (and Leah and Latimore) so that I could ride free with no extra weight, I would be all over that. My goal isn't to ride all those miles with as much weight as my body can handle like some pack mule on wheels; it's simply to ride the miles. So, you know...if anyone is interested...(wink, wink)]

And since I doubt you are jumping at the opportunity to be my ride bitch support, I know I have to minimize what I choose to pack to keep my load as light as possible.

A few items I've been considering:

  • little trailer hooked on the back- After researching, it seems touring cyclists say no. Although having something like this for grocery shopping would be pretty cool. 
  • Cooking while on the road- While I can easily use backpack cookery I have obtained over the years, I've found a few "tourers" who suggest not cooking at all, maintaining a cold diet, and simply stopping somewhere to eat occasionally every few days for real meals. Packs become lighter and less occupied and there is no real cooking and cleaning. Definitely an interesting concept and one I'm leaning toward especially since I'm not actually leaving civilization, nor the country for that matter. Grocery stores exist most everywhere.
  • Per day mileage--Goal is for 50-60 per day with some days topping out around 70. This obviously will be adjusted as the route is detailed out. Plus, I'd like to factor in a few rest days--either very small mileage (20 or so) and actual days off. 
  • The actual route- It is important to me that I establish this sooner rather than later. This way, anyone who wants to join for a few days or a few miles (or to hand off some banana bread and oatmeal cookies) are able to do so. Husband found this cool GPS that will let keep anyone interested in the ride updated to the current location.
Those are just some thoughts at the moment. Let me know if you have any suggestions, experiences to share etc...


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