Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Trans America kit list

So every blog for cycle touring I have read has a kit list. This has been extremely useful for me. As I am heading to Australia first I need to have my panniers packed and ready to go this week. So, as the Knicks take on the Celtics on TV, here's what I packed so far:

On the Bike:
Fuel Belt cross bar bag
Sunlight handlebar bag
2 Ortleib rear panniers
2 white led front lights
1 red rear light (although I might get another)
Specialized helmet (with another light on top!)
2 insulated 24oz water bottles
A two man tent (a bit old and a bit heavy unfortunately)
Sleeping bag
Roll mat

Small bottle of bike lube
chain cable lock
4 spare inner tubes
Tyre levers
Swiss army knife
Hand pump
Head torch
Small roll of duct tape
Bike spanner
A few Allen keys
Pack of self adhesive tube patches

Pair of flip flops
Rain pants
Rainproof shoe covers
Rain jacket (shell)
Swimming trunks
3 pairs of socks
3 tshirts (made of sweat wicking material)
1 pair of tracksuit pants
2 pairs of shorts with padding
1 pair of basketball shorts
1 longsleeve cycling jersey
1 fleece sweater
1 casual shirt
1 pair of jeans (although I might jettison these on the journey)
1 reflective vest for poor visibility days/nights
1 pair of thin gloves
1 pair of fingerless riding gloves
1 skull cap
1 cycling cap

SLR with 35mm lens
Cheap point and shoot
Gorilla pod tripod
ipad for internet access
ipod for on bike music
Old school clam shell phone (7 days of battery!)
Chargers for all the above!

Factor 50 suncream for body and a suncream stick for lips
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Nail clippers
Shower gel/soap
First aid kit (plasters, assorted tablets)
Antibiotic cream
Ibuprofen tablets
Some electrolyte tablets to mix with water
XL travel towel
Combination padlock
Pack of matches
Some safety pins
Spare batteries
Little unbreakable (apparently) travel mirror
A knife, fork and spoon (taken from my cutlery set)
American Cycling Association maps

Have I forgotten anything? I think I may need:
a simple sewing kit
possibly some pepper spray for angry, snappy dogs
chamois cream
couple of bungie cords to hold the tent/bag/roll mat down to the rack
spare brake pads
body wipes

Pic from sbnation.com

Thursday, April 4, 2013

E is for Electronics

Its just over 5 weeks to go now and final preparation is underway. Now this is going to be one long long trip and I will have a lot of time to myself. I like photography and am interesting in making some videos of the trip to preserve a feeling of how it felt cycling across a continent. I am traveling relatively light so have been thinking how I can combine everything together. So far here is my thinking...

I already have a Nikon D3100 which is relatively small for an SLR. I have the kit lens and a 35mm that I will probably take with me for photography. I was really mulling over buying a Go Pro or a Contour Plus but have instead decided on another path (mainly due to not wanting to spend $400 on the new gear).

I need a good mini tripod that I can use for this trip and for any subsequent backpacking or hiking that I will do later this year. After some research the best option was the Gorilla Pod Zoom SLR. Sturdy and able to hold the SLR steady.

I already had an old Samsung TL350 point and shoot that can take HD movies so will use this on the bike somehow to take action scenes. Because I didnt get a Go Pro I also wanted a way to try out using the Gorilla Pod either as a monopod substitute or even hold the camera to the bike (although I anticipate a lot of shake). Using the ball head on top of the Gorilla Pod will make this easier to achieve.

Thankfully I went to B&H in Manhattan and received excellent advice. The Gorilla Pod was $49.95 on its own. The same brand ball head is $39.95 but I have two cameras. I need two quick release plates or else I will constantly be switching the plate between cameras which will be annoying. Joby (makers of Gorilla pods do not sell plates by themselves).

The answer was to get a Benro ball head that fitted on the Gorilla pod which uses standard fitting plates, I was able to get the ball head for $38.99 and an Oben quick release plate for $12.99. Perfect solution and real props to the B&H salesman who helped me out.

In terms of editing of pictures or creating videos I had to lay out some bucks. Initially I was looking at one of the chrome books but have instead plumped for the ipad mini with 64gb. An indulgence but something that will allow me to access my Barnes&Nobel books from my Nook, will allow skype video calls with girlfriend/family/friends back home and hold my music collection all in the tiniest and most exquisite package. (Have to be careful not to lose it, break it or get it nicked). iMovie and iPhoto are a total combined $10. Great value for relatively good editing software.

The only thing now is to test it out by getting some interesting footage and trying to edit it on the ipad. Hopefully the weather is good this weekend and I can organise a quick jaunt around Brooklyn.