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Touring Info & Resources

For those who are interested in going on their own bike tour, here is some information that might make planning a bit easier.

ROUTES AND PLANNING

We traveled on several routes on our trip from St. Louis to Portland.  First, we followed the Katy Trail from St. Charles to Clinton, Missouri.  It was a great introduction to bike touring – simple directions, with no traffic to worry about.  Do be warned though, mosquitoes in early summer are brutal.

From Golden City, Missouri to Missoula, Montana we followed the Trans American route, published by the Adventure Cycling Association.  Maps published by the ACA are very thorough and reliable, and we strongly recommend them to anyone, with or without bike touring experience.  From Missoula, Montana to Portland, Oregon, we followed the Lewis & Clark route, also published by the ACA.

EQUIPMENT

Here is a pretty thorough list of the equipment we brought.  We met people who were touring with all the best, shiniest, and most expensive equipment available, others with nothing but a sleeping bag, a couple tools, and the clothes on their backs.  In the end, we had enough equipment/supplies with us to feel comfortable (most of the time), but not so much that it weighed us down more than necessary.

Bikes – Surly Long Haul Trucker (2), Trek 520*
Lights (front and back)
Water bottle cages (2 each) + water bottles
Rearview mirror (absolutely essential)
Hand pump
Multi-tool + tire levers + patch kit
Extra tube
Bike lock
Bungee cords
Panniers – back only**
Handlebar or frame pack
Camelbak
Tent – 4 person
Sleeping pad
Whisperlite Pocket Rocket stove + fuel + lighter
MSR Quick 2 Pot Set
Sealable, watertight food container
Spork
Leatherman/Swiss Army knife
Headlamp
Solar-powered emergency radio (we didn’t use this ONCE on the entire trip)
Large dry bags (2)

Sunscreen
Bugspray
Bandanas
Toothbrush + paste
Nailclippers
Dr. Bronner’s soap (16 oz)
Shampoo
Medical emergency kit
Chamois Butt’r – possibly the most important thing to bring, besides a rearview mirror
Pearl Izumi bike shorts – 1-2 pairs each (don’t buy cheap bike shorts, I mean it)
Athletic (moisture-wicking) shirts – 2 each
Undergarments – 2 each
“Leisure” clothes – one warm weather outfit, one cold weather outfit to layer over the other
Bike socks – 2 pairs each
Warm wool socks
Warm hat
Warm fleece jacket
Rain jacket
Rain bike pants
Long underwear – top and bottom
Bike gloves
Warm windproof gloves
Clipless SPD shoes
Waterproof sandals
Sunglasses
Travel towel
Toilet paper

Notebook/sketchbook
Camera

*These were definitely the most common bikes among other touring cyclists on our route.  Other recommended components: Shimano A530 reversible pedals, Brooks B17 saddle

**Ortlieb comes highly recommended by Joey and others we met on the road.  Jenny and Janelle had panniers from Seattle Sport.  Whatever you do, make sure your panniers are waterproof, or buy covers for them if they’re not.

OTHER RESOURCES

Warmshowers.org was a great resource for us on the road.  You can sign up as a host for touring cyclists, or as a touring cyclist yourself.  Each host’s profile lists contact information, personal information, what services he/she can offer (i.e. lawn for camping, bed, shower, etc.), and references.  It was most useful to us near larger towns and cities, but occasionally we found a welcoming host in a smaller town, too.  They have a really user-friendly iPhone app, too.

Crazy Guy on a Bike has lots of equipment information, forums, and cyclist journals.

Dirty Gourmet, regretfully, was not part of our tour.  But I wish it had been! If you need some inspiration for your own gourmet bike tour cuisine, definitely check out this site.

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