Jeremiah Watt Cycling around God's Creation

long distance bicycle touring

Archive for ‘February, 2014’

Post 2- packing practice………..really

Post 2- packing practice………..really

 Now, I know, I can see the raised eyebrows of wonder and maybe even confusion. Packing practice Jeremiah, you need practice throwing 14 items into a bag and finding the bike seat? Well okay, maybe if you were to carelessly summarize what a bike trip was all about, then you may arrive at that conclusion. I understand. But the reality of it is, it is not nearly as simple as what is often described. Everything must be ironed with care and given a crisp tri-fold……….okay, okay I am just checking to see if your really awake with that.


For those of you who may not know much about me, I actually work all day at building saddles, and doing silver work. For a hobby I guess you can say I ride my bike and lift my weights. About 7 years ago I done a bike trip solo across USA and absolutely loved that trip, it was indeed the inspiration for this trip I am planning now. One of the bits of wisdom gained from my first long trip had to do with training and preparation, I came away concluding that you could actually just pack and get on the bike. Meaning that I felt you could forgo most all the pre-disembarkation training and just get on and ride. Your butt and legs would harden in short order and you would be just fine.  I have just recently come to the conclusion that while that theory may hold true for someone under say 50, I am not sure it holds true at 57 or almost 58 as I am right now?? I am having some trouble with the loaded weight of a long tour bike.

The weight lifting, so tell me about the weights and why? Most tour cyclists lose approx. 30% of upper body mass on an extended tour. I began about 4 years ago with the whole weight program. Started with P-90x, which as a whole program I really like. It will work you hard and get one fit in pretty short order. By the way, I no longer give my wife a hard time about Yoga……….OMG, what a brute that is. From the P-90X I went into the Whole Body workout by Tim Ferris. Sorry Tim, but this proved for me to be a total waste of time. I stayed the course for about 9 months and finally just abandoned all of it. At age 57, I can tell you that like many of you, we end with aches and pains we can only explain by previous horse wrecks or the like. So the constant moves of P-90 were taking their toll, I needed something with less joint stress. I finally just went to a series of Power Lifters routines. To this point, I have been able to add 2” to the arms, and over 4” to the chest and I doubt that it will change much from that point.


My kids will tell me this is a TMI sort of image, but I wanted to put some context to what I am describing.

The practice miles we put in, I say we, because with any luck my son Pine is putting in some loaded practice miles as well. He is living up in San Jose going to SJ State. My bike only has about 45 pounds on board right now, plus the bike weight and you are cranking quite a bit down the road or worse yet- up the hill. I know from past experience that most of us would by nature over pack or over prepare. It’s the Mrs. Potato Head syndrome-packing up Mr. Potato Head in the classic Toy Story movie………………”you just never know when you will need it”. I thought I had trimmed the load pretty well, but I can see in my practice packing that I will have to be even more diligent. Add to the fact that we always pack more than is actually needed, we also forget that along the way we gather. Not sure why a person with ultra limited luggage space on a bicycle would fall prey to the old “hunter/gatherer” syndrome, but I guarantee it happens. You will leave the store or bazaar with a huge smile. Strap the new wares on the bike, ride 10 miles and find yourself wondering WHY?  So the moral of this story, pack lite.

In preparation, I am just now starting to ride loaded miles, better yet, partially loaded miles. The last 3 weeks to a month I will ride fully loaded. I will cut the weight room back to 2 or 3 days per week, right now I am in the weights for 5 times per week. I am doing about 20,000 to 45,000 pounds per work out all depending what day and what routine is being done. A small confession is in order, I have never had any interest in weight lifting. Over time what I have found is that I enjoy it very much, even a little addicted to it if that is even possible.

I have a pack list that is made up of the minimums required as far as clothing goes, and with a consideration of latitude/altitude and weather expectations. The one thing I do remember, is that you do not want to be stuck in a place or situation where you are cold and have no way to get warm. So that thought alone would have a person slightly over pack, rather than under pack. With all that said, you are still on a bicycle with extremely limited space, the challenge being that we take exactly what we need, nothing that we don’t, and no luxuries period.

I will keep you posted on how our progress is coming along, follow along, tell your friends

Gott’a say I really like this bike, love the way it handles and love how stable it is, now if I just have the horse-power to get it done.



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