Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Top lessons from Virginia to Illinois

After being in the road for 4 weeks here are a few other tips not in my other posts in no particular order...

1) My least used item so far has been my 35mm lens. I sent it back to Melbourne for just under $50 (was just under a pound in weight). I find that if my camera equipment isn't easy to hand then it's not going to get used. I'm also not using the SLR much, though its nice to have for higher quality pics when I have time off the bike.
2) My point and shoot has been great at capturing pics and video whilst on the bike. I keep it in my little fuel belt pouch on the cross bar so it's always handy. It's wide angle lens makes it very versatile.
3) My handlebar bag has been pretty disappointing. It droops (although I overload it) but mostly the Velcro plastic map holder constantly tears and I've had to duct tap it a lot to keep it together. Even so I think it will keep together all the way to Oregon (I hope)
4) One thing I do wish I had spent money on is a modern tent. My one is pretty old and takes 2 to 3 times longer to pitch/take down than newer tents. It's also a good deal bulkier and heavier. At this point though I'm not going to replace mid ride.
5) Saddle sores come and go but it's worth making adjustments to the saddle to try to find the sweet spot. Chamois butter has been interesting to use but I may be moving away from using it in future. I've also had lower back and knee pain recently which I think was because of having the saddle slightly too high and too far forward.
6) Top purchase has been the iPad mini. Although expensive it has been great for movie making, musical, books, magazines and general web surfing. Much better than looking at a small iPhone screen.
7) T-Mobile cell signal has been atrocious in the mountains. I find it super frustrating to receive a message and then find I've lost signal and can respond! I've seen that AT&T and Sprint customers have had better luck.
8) Road kill stinks and there is A LOT of it on the roads. It smells for like a 50 meter radius. Unfortunate side effect of being closer to nature.
9) Having clothes to wear off the bike can not be overrated. I have a pair of jeans that are heavy but its great to be able to change into them and wear around town without feeling you look too skoady. Also a pair of decent board shorts are also great off the bike. Padded cycling shorts aren't good to wear 24/7!
10) So far everyone we have met on the route have been warm and amazingly friendly and open to cyclists. This is truly a fantastic part of America to visit and get to talk to the local people. Also the other cyclists on the route are very cool and its a joy to bump into them along the way. Time does fly, 2 months and 3000+ miles to go!