Imagine: You’re out on the road, climbing a five thousand foot pass, when you suddenly look back and realize you’re carrying an awful lot of stuff on your bike. As sweat pours from your forehead and your bike slows to a stop, you think to yourself, “Did I really need to bring my pillow? My blow-dryer? Those three Steven King novels? What in the world was I thinking bringing all this stuff on my bike tour?”
Packing for a bicycle tour is not an easy task. It’s difficult for a beginner to determine which items are essential and which items can be left at home. And to make matters worse, there is no list on earth that details the essential items needed for every bicycle adventure. What you decide to pack will ultimately depend on where you are going, what time of year you will be traveling, and what comforts from home you will be able to do without.
Determining what items you truly need is not always easy. And as you will learn, many of the items you think you need are items you simply don’t need at all.
To illustrate this point, I just recently returned from a three-week trip to California where I visited with my family, met up with some old friends, and took the train down to San Diego to stay with my aunt and uncle for a couple days before returning to my home in Park City, Utah.
Upon returning home, I began unpacking my suitcase and realized that half of the things I brought with me to California were items I never once used while I was away. Books, clothes and electronics made up the list of unneeded items for my short three-week getaway.
As I continued to unpack, I realized that there were a lot of things in my home that were unneeded as well. Shoes I had never worn, electronics I no longer use, and magazines I will never read again.
As I continued unpacking, I realized two very important things:
1) I have everything I need. I don’t really need any more stuff.
2) I can do away with a lot of the stuff I already have. I either don’t use it, don’t need it, or don’t want it anymore.
The point I’m trying to make here is that when you begin preparing for your upcoming bicycle adventure, you are going to be tempted to bring everything you own with you on your bike. It’s easy to get carried away and think you will need all your comfort items from home.
But I’m here today to let you know that you don’t need all those things. You may need to buy a new bike, tent, or panniers, but most of the items you will need for your bike tour are items you already own.
Assignment: Go through your home and look at every item you own. When was the last time you used that item? When do you think you will use that item again? Could you do without that item? Could you give that item away to someone who could use it more than you?