Packing and planning is such an exhausting part of the process.
In the packing and planning stage, I suffer bouts of self-sabotage where the anxiety and fear of the unknown take over the rational part of your brain.
Do I need a pair of gloves in case the weather turns cold? yes!
Do I need a second pair of gloves in case the first pair gets wet? um, yes! I had better be safe…
This leaves you with a pile of gear that looks more like you’re packing a dog sled then a bicycle.
At which point I attempt to pack it all onto the bicycle. There goes another few hours to figure out how to fit everything and then finally attempting to lift the bike (difficult!) and then riding the bicycle around a bit to realize how ridiculous my concept of essentials really was.
I carry about 10 pounds worth of tools and repair parts on the bike and even though it would feel good to have used the tools to repair something on the road, I hope I never need to dig them out of the bags.
The first and maybe also the final part of my planning is route planning. I’ve done enough small tours around Minnesota to know that the only thing you can really plan for is where you’re going to stop – not what’s going to happen in-between.
I guesstimate that I’ll do about 60-80 miles per day on average, figure out how many days I have, and then find a place in the mileage range that is my end point. I like to figure out my daily stopping points the day or two days prior, but not much before that, because life on the road is unpredictable… Expectations only lead to attempting to control things that you can’t like the wind, flats (kinda,) and traffic. Mitigation is a possibly with pro-active bike maintenance, being aware of the world around you (no headphones!,) eating frequently (stop the hangry,) and not running over pointy things in front of you.
Ultimately when I make plans I find myself rushed and frustrated, so hence, I make one day goals. Living in the now, because the now is really what I need to deal with. I acknowledge tomorrow and next week and the week after, but my world operates one pedal crank at a time. If I want to climb a hill faster or reach a stopping point sooner, my only option is to pedal faster and harder. The flip side is I’m not obligated to climb that hill or reach that destination, so I can stop any time I’d like. To me, the trip becomes much more enjoyable when I don’t have much for plans outside of the final stopping point of the immediate trip and miles and miles to think about plans in my head to decide how to proceed with determining the next waypoint on the trip. There’s always plenty of excitement along the way to keep things interesting.
More stories about the adventures on the road coming soon…