Gear Fix

This info first appeared on my original blog waaaaay back in October 2010, and is entirely out of date at this point. BUT-it's still a good starting point for understanding gear selection. I hope to get to a full update soon.

Hardly a hardcore cyclist or shop-talking gearbuff, I began planning for the CWU project with the vague notion that I would have to buy a touring bike with racks, some bags and a few other odds and ends. After wearing out my credit card and spending countless hours in gear shops and reading product reviews online, I finally have the bike outfitted and ready. I'm still looking for a scale, but I reckon that the fully loaded Surly Long-Haul Trucker (including 3 full water bottles) weighs-in at almost 100 pounds-before I sit on it.

This post is for those of you interested in understanding some of the technical issues involved in living on a bike for 5+ weeks and traveling 1,700+ miles through all types of weather and terrain. It's a breakdown of the gear attached to the bike, and also describes some of the equipment I'm taking along. While none of the listed manufacturers (nor any unlisted manufacturer, for that matter) is sponsoring the project at this point, I am humbly and enthusiastically accepting applications for such, and will cheerfully place your brand and product name in hot pink italics (along with a smiley face icon) upon signing a contract and accepting your generous and lucrative support.

I suppose the bike itself is a good place to start:

2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker

My ride is a Surly Long Haul Trucker, 54cm frame with 26" wheels. These pics show the bike as naked as it gets without having to cut or unscrew anything. This bike has a superb reputation among bike tourists. I chose the LHT because: it has a strong steel frame which is *easily* weldable/repairable if it happens to break (but it won't break), it's mid-priced as far as tourers go, it has an extended wheelbase so that I can mount my rear panniers without worrying about my heels hitting the bags as I pedal, and it has plenty of bosses and eyelets (places to screw stuff onto the bike). I bought the bike assembled, meaning it came with handlebars, gear shifters, etc (but not racks).