Bike Tour 2022 – Prep Continues

I just realized that around my house when we use the word “prep” it conjures up the cleansing that precedes a colonoscopy. Well, that’s entirely different from tour prep. Colonoscopy prep involves getting rid of, um…, stuff; tour prep involves amassing stuff. (Touring involves shedding stuff, but that’s another story.)

Today was a miserable rainy day here in the DC area so it was a good time to make a trip to REI for some goodies. I bought a summer weight Buff (for sun and bug protection), a 10,000 mAh (milliampere hour) capacity USB power pack, two pairs of socks, and a new Swiss army knife. The power pack has nearly four times the capacity as the one I’ve used in the past. The Swiss army knife does not include the useless scissors that broke about 25 years ago on my last knife.

When I got home I realized that I need a new, bigger lightweight camp towel so I’ll just have to ride back when the rain stops. Also, I found two perfectly good pairs of socks that had gone underground in my sock drawer. I can always use more socks I suppose. I had over $45 in rebates coming to me at REI so the sting of the shopping excursion was lessened considerably.

Other than the towel, all I need is a smaller plastic squeeze bottle for my castille soap. There’s no reason to carry a pint of concentrated soap. I can always buy more on the way. (I would have bought two four ounce bottles at REI but they were scented and I don’t want to smell like bear lunch when I am camping.)

The Weather Channel app told me that the rain would stop from 1 to 4 pm today so I went for a ride. Sure enough, four miles into the ride the skies opened with a cold, hard rain. Thunder. Lightning. What fun! Oh well, I managed to survive it in good shape aboard my Cross Check.

My last post included a packing list. Of course, since I wrote it I have thought of a few things to add. After watching more tent videos last night (my tent seems to get a lot of positive reviews), I decided I’d better bring more tent stakes. Because of the deep vein thrombosis (i.e. blood clot) in my left calf a few years ago, I need to wear a compression sleeve on that leg from time to time. So into the pile it goes. On my 2019 tour, I bought a pair of sweat pants to wear in my tent on cold nights. I never used them on the tour but they are hella comfy. Do I bring them? Do I ditch my rain pants and the sweatpants and bring my Hybrid Cycling Pants instead?

I am bringing a worn out t-shirt acquired during my 2017 tour. I will wear it a few times before it becomes my chain rag. This will meet with Mrs. Rootchopper’s approval as I tend to wear clothing well after it should be thrown out.

A couple of questions keep coming up, so at the risk of repeating myself here are some responses.

What does all this stuff look like on the bike? I have a picture from my 2019 tour and the 2022 load will look pretty much the same. Two small panniers down low, in front. Two bigger panniers in the back. A dry bag with tent and sleeping pad on the rear rack. And, obscured by that handsome dude in the picture below, a handlebar bag. Heavy stuff up front. Light stuff in the back. Anything I need to access during the day also goes up front.

It’s so light it practically flies up the mountain. Not.

Where are you going? The tour is in two parts. The solo part, about 1,000 miles, starts just northwest of St. Louis. I’ll follow the Katy Rail Trail most of the way across Missouri before angling northwest past Kansas City in the general direction of the Missouri River. In Falls City Nebraska, I will head west until I get sick of Nebraska, then angle back across northwest Kansas to Colorado Springs (just north of Pueblo, in the map below). If the Missouri is flooding, the Katy Trail likely will be unusable. Plan B will be to ride Route 66 and more or less replicate my 2019 tour in Missouri and Kansas. This route would include a dip into Arkansas and Oklahoma. And later, the Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway (Highway 160) in southwestern Kansas. This was listed as one of the 30 best cycling roads in the US. After that, I’d ride through Dodge City. This part of the tour should take 17 – 20 days. I’ll arrive a week or so ahead of Mark and Corey whom I will join for the second part of the trip.

From Colorado Springs, Mark, Corey, and I will head west (somehow) to the TransAmerica Trail. Somewhere in the high Rockies to the west we’ll pick up the trail and head north to Wyoming. Then it’s northwest to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Idaho north to Missoula, Montana. In Missoula we turn southwest through Idaho again and finally cross central Oregon to the Pacific Coast. The distance is about 2,000 miles.

One good rule about long distance bike touring is: Ignore the totality of the thing. Think in terms of mornings and afternoons. 30 miles by lunch, another 30 in the afternoon. It’s just two round-trip commutes to the office. Oh wait, I’m retired. Never mind. You get the point. With 12 hours of daylight, all you have to do is average 5 miles per hour. No problem. For 50 days. Eek.

If the miles don’t get me, the mountains will. YOLO.

7 thoughts on “Bike Tour 2022 – Prep Continues

  1. Looks like you’re going to miss HalfFastCyclingClub in Wisconsin. Who’s also doing a tour. Just a thought, if you’re notnconnected look him up.

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