Now I have one week left at work, the reality of leaving my ordinary life and going away on a long trip is starting to sink in. I am not sure if I really understand it yet, I am surprisingly not worried about not having a job to attend and the negative side effect of that.
So more and more people are becoming aware of my plans and to my great joy most people are interested in my adventure, OK, there are those that look at me like I am crazy when I explain that I will stop working and leave for a +1 year bike trip. So in my previous post about The Warmup, I showed the first phase of my trip.
When I have completed that phase and near Helsinki (Aug/Sept), I will have the option to chicken out and go back home and continue dreaming, or continue onwards. Since I have decided not to plan too much I will call it my goal, instead of the P-word, and it will be to go on south, south-west to be more precise.
I am aiming for Sagres in Portugal, spending Christmas with the windsurfing hippies, after that I will linger around Gibraltar/Morocco until spring is coming. Then I will go island hopping, crossing Italy and then go back through Balkans, Austria, Czech republic, Germany.
But I guess all the details will sort themselves out eventually, this is my rough plan of my dream trip,
All in all, I guess it will be somewhere between 15 000 and 20 000 km on the road, don’t know how many kilometers the ferries will be – but who’s counting ? So what to bring on my journey ? That is the million dollar question, I have spent lots of time since 2009 researching and testing bike touring and I guess the scientific answer is – lots of stuff.
In the world of bike nerds there are many types of nerds, obviously the main struggle is to find labels for all of this and blog on the Internet why one type of nerdism is more fulfilling than the other.
On the “how much to bring”-scale the opposite ends of the scale are “a credit card” to “+60 kg of stuff”, the “how much to bring” might be a function of what you need or it might be the opposite, I sense that this could be the basis of a PhD thesis with a Nobel prize on the horizon.
So in the light end we have people that go touring with racer bikes, like this guy that has traveled the world and back with bike + stuff lighter than 10 kg, in the other end we have people that spend 5-10 years on their bikes and travel the world with mega heavy loaded bikes. If you bring a place to stay and kitchen to cook the food, what more do you need ?
To quote Tim Travis – I would rather carry a pound than spend a dollar.
Being able to ride long distances and deserted places is something I really enjoy doing, the fact that it also is much cheaper than staying in hotels and eating in restaurants is of course an added bonus.
So how should I label my journey ? As usual when in need of scientific facts I turn to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_touring#Types. It seems like I qualify for “Fully loaded touring”, I will go through some remote areas in northern Scandinavia so I might be qualified for “Expedition touring”.
I still like Stephen Lord‘s term “Adventure Cycle Touring” the most, but could I qualify ? I will travel no developing nations, no Indiana Jones style adventures, but since my journey will be an exciting and very unusual experience with an uncertain long term outcome I think I do qualify.
So my new title is Adventure Cycle Touring specialist ! Most unfortunately there are no certifications or trainings available or meetings required. So back to the question, how much stuff is lots of stuff ? My bike is roughly 19-20 kg, I have 7 bags totaling 40-50 kg, I can carry up to 9 liters of water, so the bike and stuff has a match weight of roughly 65-70 kg. Good thing that I am only going 20000 km, I so hope there are no mountains in the alps, massif central, Pyrenees or picos de Europa.
I did some test with trying to pack the bike and stuff for a flight, this obviously failed due to that my bike (Schauff Sumo XT 14G) was too big to fit any airline, but during this I found out that I needed more than two really big bags to fit all the stuff (excl. water, gas and food).
So this Friday I leave my work, from then on it will only be HIIT interval training and squats to increase leg strength to “Adventure cycle touring” mega strength level.
To summarize – I will go north, I will go south, bike for many kilometers and bring lots of stuff.