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What I Brought Along On My Bicycle Across America Trip

Packing Items For Such A Long Bicycle Trip As This

Steve Below is what I brought with me on the trip from California to Georgia. I worked hard at packing minimally, and it became somewhat of an art to figure out ways that I could carry less. All those pounds and ounces back there would contribute to a slightly slower and heavier ride.

The Bicycle and Baggage - I had a Trek road bicycle with a metal rack in the back. One rectangular container on top of the rack and two saddle bags hanging over each side of the wheel held almost all of my belongings. Those three items had numerous compartments and could hold a lot more than they appeared. Among them, I carried:

Clothing - Red cycling shirt, black cycling shorts, long black cycling pants, cycling gloves, one pair of cycling socks (which became two when Landis Cyclery threw in a free pair when I bought the new bike), cycling shoes, a thin layered long sleeve shirt, a thick fleece for chilly weather, winter gloves (mitten style with the option to have open fingers), winter head band, my helmet, my leisure Arizona Cardinals t-shirt, beige shorts, one underwear, sandals and sunglasses.

Bicycle Items - Around 2-3 tire tubes, plastic tool to get inside the tire for flats, full tool adjuster of many sizes and small bottle of chain lube.

Personal Items - My digital camera, my wallet, my battery charger (for the AA batteries of the camera), cell phone and its charger, small notepad, pen, bike lock, a ziplock bag with maps, an extra memory card and important pieces of paper, any food or drinks I might carry along, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, small container of shampoo and conditioner, 2-3 razors and small container of shaving cream, allergy pills, chapstick, sunblock, a small first aid kit, water bottles that go in racks inside the frame and my Camelbak that holds 50 ounces of fluid.

That was it! Again, I was meticulous at carrying as little as possible. My cycling jersey also had some back pockets for easy handling of my wallet and cell phone. Those pockets were particularly handy when I locked the bike somewhere but wanted to carry all of my valuables with me ... like when my bicycle was stolen in Phoenix*. In the evening of every ride, I washed my cycling gear and anything else in a motel sink.

* - You are welcome to read my story about my bicycle being stolen in Phoenix, AZ early in my journey. I pretty much had the same items listed with my old bike, and I did lose nearly all basic items including my spare clothing, hygiene products and bike tools. Thankfully however, my most important and valuable items were with me. You can read about the ordeal in Days 8 and 9 in my trip report.

Atlantic Ocean Near the end of the trip in more populated and humid areas of the Southeast, a full CamelBak of fluid was more than enough and I did not need to fill my two red water bottles. I probably could have ditched the bottles and holders affixed to the frame to shed a few ounces or maybe a pound or two.

Lastly, if you are planning to camp regularly on your route, you will obviously need to account for the extra weight and size of your tent and camping accessories. Everyone travels differently and has "must haves" that they plan to bring along. Just remember ... Pack light!

It has been three months since I rode my bike joyfully into the Atlantic Ocean at Jekyll Island, Georgia, and I have been meaning to write about what to bring for others in the planning phase of my trip. My suggestion: Enjoy this exciting stage of planning your trip and have fun out there on the bike!

-Steve
(Written June 20, 2008)

-This article was written by Steve Garufi who bicycled across the southern tier of America in February-March 2008. You can read his trip reports of all 45 days of his journey here: 2008 Bike Across America.

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