Caryl and Brian's World Bike Tour

Equipment: March, 1998

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  1. Bikes & mounted equipment
  2. Clothing
  3. Bags and such
  4. Camping/cooking
  5. Food staples
  6. Tools & spare parts
  7. Hygiene/first aid
  8. Recreation
  9. Miscellaneous
  10. Final Comments

  1. Bikes & mounted equipment

    Two 1993 Trek 950 MTBs with:

    bulletBlackburn front mountain racks
    bulletJANDD rear mountain rack
    bulletSalsa bar ends
    bulletTwo regular H2O bottle cages on each
    bulletOne 1.5 liter size H2O bottle cage on Brian's bike
    bulletTrek Radar cycle computers
    bulletBike fenders front and rear
    bulletRegular pedals with toe clips
    bulletSpring bell mounted on bar ends
    bullet2 1/2 watt Vista headlights powered by AA batteries
    bulletVista red strobe taillight powered by one AA battery

    Comments:

    bulletWe chose Trek 950s because they are sturdy bikes having standard chromoly frames. These frames can be welded, sandblasted, and repainted should anything go wrong. We wanted MTBs so we could ride on all sorts of road conditions. Having identical bikes ensures common components and maintenance tools. Currently they have the Shimano STS rapidfire shifters. However, we would consider switching to friction shifters if we were to take them into more remote regions of the world. So far the bikes are holding up well. But we did have to buy two new rear wheels after only 5000 miles and front after 10,000 miles.. At that time we switched from 32 spokes to 36. Trek makes extremely good bikes and, with about 21,000 miles on each, we've been more than happy with their performance. However, we were not too excited about the longevity of the wheels. We now have wheels with Mavic rims on front, Brian has a Ukai rim on back and I have some generic rim on back. All these have lasted longer that the original Trek rims so far.
    bulletOn the other hand, one aspect of having a full size bicycle for touring is anytime you want to take some form of alternate transportation whether it be a car, taxi, bus, plane, train or even ferry the bike causes difficulties. You never can be sure the bike will fit, it often ends up being badly manhandled in cargo holds or up on a roof rack, and you're almost always charged extra. It's at times like these when you wish you just had a back pack. There is one possible solution to this problem that we are considering. There is a folding bike, called Bike Friday, that can be completely disassembled and put inside a Samsonite suitcase. The suitcase can be outfitted with brackets and wheels making it into a trailer. So if while touring you decide to take a bus you pull up, take everything out of the suitcase and put it into a handy lightweight duffel bag, put the bike into the suitcase, and you're off. No one will know you're carrying a bike. Seems to us to be the best of all worlds and we're seriously considering buying a couple for Europe. The main drawback, price. The approximately $1500 price tag takes a big swallow before taking the plunge.
    bulletBy choosing regular bike racks as opposed to Blackburn Low Riders for the front we have places to mount our panniers on the sides as well as a spot to carry additional bags across the top. The racks have held up fine, but the brackets holding the rack onto the front fork has broken on both bikes. If we do switch to Bike Fridays we will use only one rack.
    bulletThe Salsa bar ends provide multiple hand positions, hopefully preventing wrist problems. One of the H2O bottle cages is mounted under the down tube behind the front wheel using hose clamps. We carry fuel bottles in these. In the other cage we carry the new Nalgene bottles that have the cover for the spout which do help keep some of the worst mud off. The first covers lasted 2 years and finally broke when the bottles were being thrown about in the back of the van. We discovered a water bottle cover made by Croakies that can be soaked in water to provide evaporative cooling. In 100 degrees these covers bring the temps down to about 80. Still hot, but certainly better. You can do the same with an old sock.
    bulletAfter trying several cycle computers we finally found the Trek Radar. We like these because they provide time, temperature, as well as the usual bike functions; speed, average speed, distance, and odometer. Speed and distance show at the same time. Batteries seem to last 1 1/2 to 2 years. The only problem we've had with them is sometimes they hang up and don't register motion. A quick reset clears this up.
    bulletWe started the journey using a knobby dirt tire on the rear and a smooth road tire on the front. The idea being the knobby tires would give traction in soft dirt while the smooth front tire made for a smoother ride. We have since switched to two Performance reverse tread tires. They're inexpensive and we seem to be able to get a good 5,000 miles out of each. They're not as good on soft dirt, but still adequate enough to allow us to get off road when we want. Since most of our riding is on pavement, this has not been a problem. If we were to do more off road we'd look at more knobby tires.
    bulletWith all this equipment and one full 22 oz. bottle of water each bike weighs 35 lbs. Surprisingly my little 15 inch bike weighs essentially the same as Brian's 18 inch bike.
  2. Clothing
    bulletCyclng gloves with padded palms
    bulletPolar fleece mittens
    bulletOutdoors Research Rain Mits
    bullet1 short sleeve T-shirt
    bullet2 long sleeve cotton shirts for riding
    bullet1 long sleeve shirt not for riding
    bulletsweatshirt
    bulletpolar fleece jacket
    bulletgortex rain jacket
    bulletpolar fleece vest
    bullet2 pr lycra riding shorts
    bullet2 pr long cotton pants for riding (for sun protection)
    bullet1 pr long pants not for riding (converts to shorts)
    bullet1 pr lycra tights
    bullet1 pr gortex pants
    bullet1 pr sweat or fleece pants
    bulletHelmet w/visor
    bulletBandana
    bulletBaseball cap or visor
    bulletPolar fleece or other winter cap hat to wear under helmet
    bulletSweatband
    bulletMosquito head net
    bulletRiding/hiking shoes
    bulletFlip flops or sandals
    bulletSeveral pr socks
    bulletGortex sock covers
    bullet3 pr riding underwear
    bulletNon riding underwear
    bulletBras (for the ladies)
    bulletBathing suit
    bulletOrange safety vest with reflector strips

    Comments:

    bulletWe carry two complete sets of riding clothes. This includes long sleeve shirts and long pants we wear over our shorts. We don't ride in just shorts because of potential sun damage to our skin. We have essentially one set of clothes we wear while not riding that we can also wear into nice restaurants. We carry sufficient layers to have 2 to 3 on our legs and 4 to 5 on top. This layering has been sufficient to get through temperatures in the teens, although just barely.
    bulletThe pants that convert to shorts are great, available at REI. It eliminates the need to carry extra shorts. We don't use them too often, as we don't want the legs exposed to the sun.
    bulletNo matter what you wear, in a downpour you will get wet while riding mostly from sweat. But we've found the triple layer Gortex rain gear from Performance Bike Shops to be some of the best. the triple layer Gortex is the stuff with the gray backing that actually feels like a single layer. Stay away from any rain gear that has a nylon liner. The outer layer may stay dry, but the nylon liner gets wet and stays wet and feels slimy. Triple layer Gortex feels comfortable even when you've been sweating in it and it dries quickly. In a downpour we've found the REI Gortex foot covers are great. I wear them right over my bare feet and that keeps my feet plenty warm. Brian wears them over socks. Finally, after searching high and low we found a completely Gortex set of hand covers. The OR Rain Mits have Gortex on the palms as well as the backs and have fully taped seams. We just found them and haven't given them a try, but we expect them to be both good water and wind protection. They can be special ordered from REI.
    bulletWe started wearing low ankle hiking boots rather than riding shoes. They are comfortable, have more insulation than riding shoes, and can be made reasonably waterproof. Their biggest advantage is we can wear them both riding and hiking. We can take off on a 6 mile hike without having to change shoes. Also, we don't have to carry a second pair of shoes. If they get wet, though, our only option is socks with the flip flops or sandals. So the Gortex sock covers come in handy then.
  3. Bags and such
    bulletFront and rear panniers
    bulletHandle bar bag
    bulletQuest convertible fanny pack
    bulletSports Chalet convertible fanny pack
    bulletBlue fanny pack for wallet
    bullet2 Outdoors Research canoeing bags, one for down bags the other for tent and tarp
    bulletOutdoors Research canoeing bags to line panniers for clothes
    bulletOutdoors Research canoeing bags for food
    bullet1 REI canoeing bag for electronics
    bulletPlastic ZipLoc freezer bags, quart and gallon sizes
    bulletMisc nylon bags for toiletries, tools, etc
    bulletNylon carrier for kitchen supplies
    bulletVarious bungee cords including extras

    Comments:

    bulletFor panniers we selected ones where we could fit everything with the exception of the tent and sleeping bags inside. The theory being that if we can fit absolutely everything inside we'd have less chance of getting things stolen. It's much easier to simply grab something hanging on the back than digging through a pannier. These turned out to be made by JANDD. the large mountain pannier for the front, the Mountain Panniers for the back, and the Touring bag II handle bar bag. They have tons of space, lots of pockets, and a large plastic map pocket. To add extra water holding capacity I made 1 1/2 liter bottle holders out of 3 strips of webbing material and elastic strips attaching the webbing into a cylinder shape. These I attached to the back of each pannier. With 4 of these we have the capacity to carry an additional 6 liters of water in those super duper lightweight plastic bottles you can get at a grocery store for under a dollar. When you no longer need the extra water, just toss the bottle.
    bulletSo far the panniers are holding up well. But, there are a lot of things we're not all that excited with. First, they're not waterproof. In fact in a downpour they actually tend to hold 1/4 to 1/2 inches of water inside. Consequently we have to put absolutely everything in other waterproof bags, hence the need for all those extra canoeing bags. Second, they are rather hard to get on and off. They have a velcro synch down strap that is difficult to get at due to it's being under the rack posts. I've had problems with them jumping off once in a while. Finally, we carry so much weight in the handle bar bags we keep breaking the bracket. JANDD had been very good about sending replacement brackets. But it would be nice not to have the breakage problem to begin with.
    bulletTo solve the waterproof problem for my clothing I made a set of front panniers from REI vinyl canoeing bags, the yellow color ones. I sewed on 2 hooks at the top using webbing material and another hook at the bottom attached to the two top hooks using an elastic strap. I put the bags on the bike, roll down the top, and clip them to each other across the front rack. They seem to be quite stable and have lasted a good year so for. Not bad for a total of $40 worth of material.
    bulletHowever, if we had it to do over again we would likely look at panniers made by the German company, Ortleib. These are roll down vinyl bags similar to the canoeing bags, but made specifically for bicycle panniers. They are rugged and completely waterproof. They also have an interesting rack attachment system that is real easy to put on and off yet they will not come off even in some of the worst jostling. Their primary drawbacks, they're a bit small and they have no pockets. We do hear there are similar roll down vinyl panniers made by other companies that are a bit larger and do have pockets, but they are available only in Europe. REI just recently started carrying Ortleib panniers. If we do switch to Bike Friday's we will likely sell the JANDD panniers and handle bar bag and switch to Ortleib so we can get away from having to carry so many extra waterproof bags.
    bulletWe us the Outdoors Research (OR) canoeing bags for clothing, sleeping bags, and the tent because they are made of some sort of rubber coated fabric that is lighter than the all vinyl or plastic canoeing bags made by other companies. These are not the kind of bags you can throw into a lake and expect to keep things dry. But in a drenching rain they do keep things dry which suits our needs. The only completely plastic waterproof bag we have, the REI bag, we use for the electronic equipment which could be ruined if it got wet.
    bulletFor plastic bags we found the ZipLoc freezer bags last the longest. You may think you save money by getting generic bags or the nonfreezer ZipLocs, but they just do not hold up nearly as long.
  4. Camping/cooking
    bulletTent, poles, and stakes
    bulletTarp with pole and stakes
    bulletSmall hammer
    bulletDown sleeping bags rated to 20 deg F
    bulletSleeping bag sheets
    bulletSmall pillow case
    bulletThermarest pads, bags, and chair kits
    bulletSteel cook kit for 2
    bulletCascade Design's Backcountry Bake Oven
    bulletMSR Whisperlite International 600 stove
    bulletStove maintenance/repair kit
    bulletCandle lantern with extra candles
    bullet3 22 oz fuel bottles
    bullet2 plastic dishes, bowls, cups
    bulletPlastic knives(2), forks(3 2 plastic 1 steel), and spoons(2 tea and 2 soup)
    bulletRubber spatula
    bulletVegetable scraper
    bulletPlastic flat pasta strainer
    bulletPlastic pancake turner
    bulletCork puller
    bulletSharp paring knife
    bulletCan opener
    bulletPot scrubber/sponge
    bulletCamp dish towel
    bulletSink stopper, Universal
    bulletPlastic cup with measurements
    bulletPlastic cutting board
    bulletMatches and lighter
    bullet2 Petzel micro head lights
    bullet50 ft clothes line and 12 clothes pins
    bulletNylon mesh bag to hang food
    bulletPlastic shovel
    bulletToilet paper
    bulletPowder laundry detergent in tube
    bulletPlastic water bag in nylon carry bag
    bulletSpare water bag
    bullet2 large bike water bottles
    bulletWater filter & spare filter elements
    bullet4 oz Nalgene bottle for oil
    bullet4 oz Nalgene bottle for dish washing liquid
    bulletNalgene squeeze bottle for mustard
    bulletPlastic jar for jelly
    bulletRubbermaid plastic bread box and top
    bulletSquirt bottles

    Comments:

    bulletWe tried several different tents before finally finding we both like. First we tried the Sierra Designs Meteor Light tent. It's main problem is it has one pole that runs through a pole sleeve made of a very light nylon mesh. Within just 2 weeks we had managed to poke a pole through the sleeve. We imagine within a few short months this sleeve would be in tatters. We next tried the Marmot Bastille. It's problem was a zipper with far too tight a radius in one corner. We managed to blow out the zipper in just 3 weeks. Finally we tried one of those North Face Star Gazers (I think that's the name). Try as we might we never seemed to be able to get it set up without having big wrinkles in the fabric around the zipper which gave us lots of trouble getting it opened and closed. We finally would up with a Kelty Vortex II which has worked out well. From all this trial and error we've come to several conclusions. The most lightweight tent concept one can get for 2 people has just 2 poles. Having these poles cross in the center makes for the lightest possible 2 pole free standing tent. However, you'll need additional tie downs in the 4 corners to ensure it's rugged in the wind. Next, with the exception of the Kelty most tents we tried cost $400 or more. Yet for all this money they help up no better than the Kelty, if not worse. So spending a lot of money on a tent you plan to use every day may not make sense. You're better off getting el cheapo and if you have to replace it every 6 months to a year you've gotten your money's worth. Look for straight zippers or ones with long gentle curves. Sharp curves may result in early zipper blow outs. If you get a tent with nylon pole sleeves look for a heavy duty nylon sleeve or some sort of reinforcement at critical points. For all of these tents we had trouble with the poles. All US made tents that have Aluminum poles seem to be using an Easton pole with a very high heat treat. It makes for a strong pole, certainly. But it also makes the pole very, very
    bulletIn general US tent manufacturers seem to sacrifice durability for weight. Since the normal US backpacker probably uses his or her tent just for a few weeks each year this is not a problem. However, for continual use over months we haven't found a tent that really holds up. From what we've seen tents made in Europe seem to be better suited for the long term camper. One other thing we've learned, if you're ever in one of those famous desert dust storms with howling wind, take your tent down and find a hotel. They use sand blasting to remove paint from buildings, just imagine what it does to nylon.
    bulletAfter riding the Casiar Highway for 2 weeks in almost continual rain, setting up camp, cooking, , striking camp all in drizzle, we decided we had to do something to make this kind of weather more comfortable. We got a huge 9ft X 14ft tarp made of heavy weight coated nylon from some friends. We put tabs on all four corners and in the middle of each edge and added cord at each location. We also found a 6 ft tall aluminum pole that breaks into 3 pieces in the Campmor catalogue. With the tarp, poles, and a few trees, if available the tent if not, we can make a great rain cover. The size is just about perfect for covering a picnic table with sufficient length on both sides to give us cover and to cover the bikes. If we don't need a rain cover for us the tarp also acts as a bike cover. Smaller ones, 8X10, can be found at REI, but the 9X14 is better. Total weight for this extra rain protection is only about 3 lbs, 3 lbs well spent.
    bulletWe had been carrying 2 down bags rated to 35 deg. and two thinsulate bags rated to 40. In extremely cold weather we put the lighter bags over the down bags and were able to stay quite warm. But, we've recently learned that the majority of the weight in a sleeping bag is in the nylon shell and zippers. So we replaced the 2 bag system with a single 20 deg Blue Kazoo down bag from North Face. These have been just about perfect. If it gets too cold we just throw extra clothes under us.
    bulletWe also started with two regular thickness Thermarest mattresses. They were great. However, they were long and heavy. So we recenty bought the Thermarest Ultra Light. Advantages are, it can be folded in half before rolling, and it's a lot lighter. Finally we can put them inside our panniers. Sleeping on them seems to be just as comfortable and warm and they still work OK with the chair kit. Amazingly we've had them for over 2 years and only now think we may have one very, very small leak that we have as yet to locate.
    bulletThe chair kit turns a Thermarest mattress into a back support for sitting on the ground. In the US we find we need to use them mainly when we're free (or wild) camping or when it's raining and we're trapped in the tent. I can't stand to sit all day without some support. In Europe, the campsites never have picnic tables. So the chair kits will be absolutely necessary for our sanity.
    bulletWe've come full circle on stoves. We started with the MSR Whiperlite International 600, then tried the Coleman Peak 1 Apex II, and now have gone back to the MSR. They both have advantages and disadvantages. Both burn a variety of fuels including white gas, kerosene, and unleaded gas. The MSR is lighter, more compact, and is completely field cleanable. However, it tends to get dirtier when using unleaded gas and flame control is almost nonexistent. We have discovered that it will stay somewhat cleaner if you preheat the generator with fire paste, sometimes available at Wal-Mart or K-Mart. The advantages of the Coleman is it has great control, from simmer to full blast, and really stays clean, on the outside that is. It's big drawback, the one that finally persuaded us to give it up, is there is absolutely no way to clean the generator. If you get one tank of dirty gas, the generator clogs and the flame gets and stays dirty yellow. You have to buy new generators, which at $10 to $15 each gets mighty expensive. If you're staying in the US and stick to either white gas or more expensive unleaded gas the Coleman is great. But for Mexico or even some places in Canada it just won't due. We never bother with any of the stoves that require the butane or propane canisters as they are too hard to find in many places.
    bulletMSR has just come out with a new stove that we have our eyes on. It's called the Dragonfly. According to the MSR representatives this stove was actually designed for people who use their stove every night and need to use all sorts of different and possibly dirty fuels. It burns just about anything, white gas, kerosene, unleaded gas, aviation fuel, even diesel. It doesn't appear to have a regulator. Instead it has in interesting Y shaped valve and a jet sprayer. It's supposed to be completely field cleanable, like the Whisperlites, and even has 2 separate fuel filters, one that fits at the end of the hose in the fuel bottle and the other at the end of the hose to the stove. Both can be replaced when needed. The best thing about this stove is it has flow control, from simmer to full blast. So it appears that this one may be the ultimate answer.
    bulletThe pots we use are made by MSR. There are 2 stainless steel pots (2 and 3 qt I believe) with a lid and metal pot holder. The 3 qt size is just big enough to cook spaghetti for 2. We'd like to get something lighter but aluminum pots simply don't hold up and the available titanium pots are not large enough and outlandishly expensive. We had been carrying a 10 inch fry pan and an aluminum lid. With the MSR Whisperlite stove we also wanted to get one of the Cascade Design Scorch Busters to prevent burning. So we finally broke down and got the complete Cascade Design Backcountry Baker Plus 10. Not only can we bake just about anything we desire, including baked potatoes, it also doubles as a fry pan. For anyone going on a short bike tour I'd say it's an extravagance you can do without. But for a long term biker it sure gives a lot of variety to your meals.
    bulletTo fill temporary needs, we bought a Sweetwater filter primarily because it's light and has an easy to use lever style pump handle. It's body is plastic and the ceramic filter is small. We expect it to last through much of Europe. But, we expect we will have to eventually buy the more expensive and heavy Katadyn mini pump which can filter many more gallons of water with a single ceramic element.
    bulletLight at night has been another one of those trial and error items. During the summer we have used those Petzel Micro Head Lamps along with a candle lantern which has been sufficient. In winter we've tried one of those small Coleman dual fuel lanterns which gives out a lot of light, but weighs a bunch. On the east coast we wound up camping at electric sites a lot so we bought an electric cord and a light bulb plug and bulb. On the candle lantern we've tried using the standard large Candle Lantern available at REI and other backpacker store. But their major drawback is finding the right sized candles. Normal sized candles you can get in a grocery store or dollar store are too skinny and just pop up through the hole in the holder. Now we've switched to an el cheapo Coleman candle lantern that takes tea candles. Each candle won't last as long, but tea candles can be found at dollar stores, drug stores, and grocery stores everywhere for about $1 for 10, and it's real light weight. For summer touring we expect we may use one candle per night, if even that.
  5. Food staples
    bulletCoffee, tea, sweetener
    bulletNoodles, rice
    bulletJelly
    bulletMulti vitamins and calcium pills

    Comments:

    bulletWe also usually are carrying some complete pancake mix, enough noodle or rice mixes for two dinners, enough canned meat for two dinners, some apples, pears, bananas, or oranges, Carrots and other salad fixins. Now that we have the oven we carry flour, salt, pepper, sugar packages we get from restaurants, baking powder, yeast, oil, dry milk, and dry eggs. With these we can make pizza dough, bread, biscuits, and pancakes from scratch. Basically enough food to make two full day's meals.
  6. Tools & spare parts
    bulletFolding tire
    bullet4 tubes (Schrader)
    bullet2 tubes glue and lots of patches
    bullet2 sets tire levers
    bullet2 tire pressure gages
    bullet2 tire pumps
    bulletHypercracker
    bulletSpoke wrench
    bulletPliers, regular & needle nose
    bulletWire cutter
    bulletWrenches, allen and other as needed
    bulletChain rivet extractor
    bulletScrew drivers, philips & flat
    bulletBrake adjusting tool
    bulletScrew driver for glasses
    bullet3 spare spokes of each length
    bulletWhite Lightning Chain lubricant
    bulletSpare brake cable and bridge cable
    bullet3 Deraillure cables
    bulletCable end caps
    bulletSection of spare chain
    bulletExtra nuts, bolts, washers, plastic cable ties
    bulletDuct tape and/or hockey tape
    bullet12 to 18" stiff wire
    bulletHose clamps, various sizes
    bulletRag
    bullet2 Spare front rack brackets
    bulletSection of old tube
    bulletFray Check
    bulletSpare parts to be considered for developing countries
    bulletSpare deraillure rollers
    bulletFront deraillure
    bulletBottom bracket bearings or cassette
    bulletHeadset bearings or cassette
    bulletRear cluster
    bulletBicycle computer

    Comments:

    bulletWe chose Schrader valves because we like being able to fill the tires at gas stations. We each carry our own tools and parts to change a flat. Our generally accepted agreement is that each has to fix his own flats. Although I usually require help pumping.
    bulletWe found the greatest frame tire pump. The Combo Master Blaster II by Topeak is a frame pump that with just the flip of a foot lever and handle it becomes a floor pump. This gives enough leverage that even a 110 lb weakling can get good pressure in the tire. Also the company, Todsen, seems to be real good. The pump we bought had those screw on caps for the fill valve, our one and only complaint. The newer ones have a thumb lock lever, some with pressure gage and some without. We happened to lose the screw caps for the valve. When I called to find out about not only replacing the lost parts but possibly upgrading to the thumb lock lever, they not only agreed to give us an upgrade, at no cost, but to ship it via priority mail. Now that's a good company.
    bulletA hypercracker is an interesting device for removing a freewheel. You put it on the freewheel, put the wheel back on the bike, and push on the pedal. This loosens the freewheel enough so you can get it off. The main advantage of this tool over a standard cylindrical shaped freewheel remover is you use the leverage of the pedals against the gears. There's no need to carry a large crescent wrench which is required by the standard tool. It also includes two slots that can be used as spoke wrenches. But we prefer a regular spoke wrench.
    bulletWe sometimes carry cone and headset wrenches so we can do a complete overhaul of the bikes at any time. We only take these when we're going into some remote area where we expect to be traveling for a long time away from bike shops. For the US, Canada, and even Mexico we've determined they aren't necessary.
    bulletWhite Lightning is an amazing chain lubricant that we discovered in San Diego. It's paraffin wax suspended in some sort of solvent. To use it on a new chain we first remove all the lubricant that comes on the chain. Then generously apply White Lightning and let it dry. The biggest advantage of this lubricant over other anything else we've tried is it keeps our chains incredibly clean. Dirt and road grim simply flakes right off the was coating. We replace our chains about every 2500 miles (or when the length of 12 links reaches 12 1/8 inches) and use White Lightning. As a result our gear clusters are staying in great condition.
    bulletDuct tape, hockey tape, or a spare piece of tube can be used as a tire boot. Tape can also be used for a variety of other things like taping broken bike parts, taping holes in panniers, taping Brian's mouth (oops can't say that). We've used the stiff wire to fix fenders and racks on previous trips. It could come in handy for a variety of other uses that we just haven't discovered yet.
    bulletWe both have broken the bracket holding our front rack. So now we carry spares. Also, we always keep the leftover section of a chain when we put new ones on. If a chain breaks we can simply replace a link or two. We don't currently carry a complete chain since they're easy to get in the US.
  7. Hygiene/first aid
    bullet2 Tooth brushes in holders
    bullet1 tube tooth paste
    bulletDental floss
    bulletSpare glasses
    bulletGlasses cases
    bulletSunglasses or clip-ons
    bulletShampoo and conditioner
    bulletBar soap in plastic container
    bulletPackage disposable razors
    bulletSmall container shaving cream
    bullet2 camp towels
    bullet1 washcloth
    bulletInsect repellant
    bullet1 bottle sunscreen
    bullet2 tubes lip balm w/sun screen
    bulletAthletes foot creme & powder
    bulletFeminine hygiene products as needed
    bulletMirror
    bulletScissors for cutting hair
    bulletFirst aid kit including lots of gauss pads, tape, Band-Aids
    bulletBurn cream
    bulletTweezers
    bulletSnake bite kit
    bulletHair brush
    bulletSewing Kit

    Comments:

    bulletThese items will vary from person to person. So this list can just provide a guideline.
  8. Recreation
    bulletShortwave radio
    bulletHP360LX, modem, acoustic coupler, connectivity kit
    bulletCamera
    bulletFilm
    bulletBooks
    bulletDaytimer organizer

    Comments:

    bulletWe had also been carrying a flute and hand held TV. But both of these were given up in one of our weight saving downsizing.
  9. Miscellaneous
    bulletNotebook or other paper
    bulletPens
    bullet1 bike lock and cable w/ keys
    bulletPersonal alarm
    bulletSeat lock cable
    bulletMaps and travel books
    bulletCompass
    bulletCredit card
    bulletDriver's license
    bulletBirth certificates
    bulletPassports
    bulletVisas
    bulletMoney and traveler's checks
    bulletHealth insurance ID cards
    bulletSpare batteries, AA and 9V
    bulletCopies of birth certificate and picture page of passport

    Comments:

    bulletWe've typically found traveler's checks to be of limited value at least in the countries we've visited so far. Our Visa card works well in ATMs, which we've found all over even in Guatemala, and banks rarely take traveler's checks. We question whether the checks are even worth carrying, yet we're a bit reluctant to give up on them completely.
    bulletWe also made an official looking registration form for our bikes, something that looks like it was issued by some government agency. We found that came in handy when we entered Guatemala because they wanted to see some sort of paperwork for the bikes. Even though the paper is totally phony, a typical border guard won't know that.
  10. Final comments
    bulletAt our last weigh-in all this combined with the spare food and water resulted in 110 lbs for Brian's bike and 95 to 100 for mine. The weight of my bike varies daily probably between 90 and 105 lbs. I carry the food and we often buy extra when we're in an area with long distances between stores.

 

Copyright 1995-2011 by Caryl L. Bergeron - Distribution for personal use permitted. Distribution for other uses with written permission.

Acknowledgements

bullet

We'd like to thank my father, Charles Johnson, whose diligent mail forwarding and other logistical support make this journey far easier than it could be otherwise.

bullet

Wendy Strutin Riedy for archiving the newsletters on her WWW site, http://outthereliving.com


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