Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weekend test run


We traveled to Perkasie, PA this weekend with our bikes fully-loaded as a test to feel what it was like to bike with everything that we will be taking on the trip (see picture below).  Despite the nearly 40 mile ride being entirely uphill, the ~40 degree temperature, and the fact that it poured rain the entire night, the trip was a success and an important learning experience.

Taking a break on the Schuylkill River Trail (pronounced 'skoogle' by Philadelphians)

Our hosts were a lovely couple who became friends with my grandfather in Ft. Myers, FL and own a farm in Perkasie, PA.  We arrived, had dinner, set up our tent amidst a grove of apple trees, and drifted off to sleep to the soothing sound of raindrops hitting the roof of our tent.

The tent proved itself worthy as we awoke to a dry tent and dry gear; however, I realized I had forgotten one very important item -rainpants.  It was still heavily raining, and the temperature was still in the 40s, so we made an executive decision.  Rather than risk catching pneumonia on the trip home with only a week before our actual departure date of this Saturday (!!!!!), we decided to get a ride to a train station and load our bikes up for the return trip to Philadelphia.  Call us lame, but I don't think that I'll be looking back on this decision and saying hindsight is 20/20.

Well that's all for now.  We have a very busy few days ahead of us before our departure and want to let everyone know to keep checking the blog as we will be posting about how you can get your hands on our bicycler's guide to healthy, nutritious, and sustainable eating on the road.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gear & Gadgets

First of all, our apologies for the lapse in time from the previous post to this one...Preparing for a cross-country bike trip is a very time consuming task!

We have less than TWO WEEKS before we depart, and all that's left on the list are the little things most of which will be purchased at CVS or one last trip to the bike shop. Today we wanted to inform readers about the basic gear/equipment that we will be taking on the trip as well as some of the more useful and unique items...

Kevin's setup:
  • the bike - Surly Long Haul Trucker
  • the racks - a Jandd Extreme Front Rack and an Axiom Journey Rear Rack
  • the panniers - Ortlieb Front Roller Classic + 1 backpack conversion and Axiom Champlain Deluxe Rear Panniers
Caitlin's setup:
  • the bike - Kona Dew Drop with disc brakes and STI levers
  • the racks - a Surly Front Rack and an Axiom Journey Disc Rear Rack
  • the panniers - Ortlieb Front Roller Classics and Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers

Of the many things that have been purchased for this trip, there are a few that are rather unique and cool that we wanted to share.

After doing an immense amount of research on what type of 'cooking stove' to purchase, we decided on an eco-friendly product called the kelly kettle.

It's an old Irish fisherman design that boils 5 cups of water in 3 minutes! Not to mention the fact that we use twigs, grass, and whatever else is lying around to get it going! It is a unique 'volcano boiler' design, which is what makes it so effective.

Once we figured out how to cook the food to fill our bellies, we needed to find a product that would assist a steady hand for photographing the food we will be preparing. This is the camera and gorillapod in stealth mode to photograph any hungry bears that might sneak onto our campsite at night:

The gorillapod will work on any uneven terrain, and as you can see, it will pretty much attach to anything (like bike handlebars) with the greatest of ease. It even comes with a built in level!

Not only is it important to have a steady camera, but also a steady bike! Kevin had a pletsher kickstand that gave him a bit of trouble, so we opted for a kickstand that was a little more portable AND removable.

The click-stand is foldable, lightweight, and can be mounted to your bike. It also holds my bike up very well, fully-loaded or not! The only difficulty we have found with it is putting it away when all of our panniers are packed-up and attached. You almost need a click-stand to put away your click-stand. This is mainly because we opted for mounts that velcro the click-stand to our bikes. If we were to just throw it into one of our panniers, we probably would not have so much trouble...except when we wanted to find the click-stand again.

I hope these finds have been as intriguing for you as they have been for us! More to come soon!