Time for an adventure! I'm spending the day out with friends and bikes. We'll start by taking our bikes on the Northstar Commuter Rail to Big Lake, MN. From there, it's a 12-mile bike ride to Lake Maria State Park, where we'll go hiking. Then we ride back to the train station and take the train back to Minneapolis. The commuter rail only runs 3x/day on the weekends, so I hope we don't miss the train back home!
Planning, planning...what do you pack for a day outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures, exploring somewhere you've never been before? I don't want to be an alarmist, but it's cold out there and we want to be prepared for the most likely scenarios. That means having enough food, some tools, and a backup plan for emergencies. Fortunately the train will be warm and there is a visitors center at the state park where we will also have a chance to thaw out if needed. There are no lockers for stowing our extra stuff, so it's a balance of packing lightly and bringing everything we need.
On the trip north, I'll strap my lock and cable to my bike and carry everything else in my backpack. I might lock my helmet to my bike once we get to the state park. I haven't decided yet. I'll continue to carry my backpack while we're hiking.
--lunch and plenty of snacks, including vegan Samoas from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and lots of trail mix
--extra layers-a fleece jacket for when we're waiting outdoors for the train, a hat for when I'm not wearing my helmet, an extra pair of gloves and mittens, plenty of extra socks (I anticipate using all of these things)
--chemical hand warmers, since I have a few around the house. If we end up wanting them, we will really, really want them.
--sunglasses or ski goggles, depending on the temperature
--a spare tube, a patch kit, some tools, including a 15 mm wrench. I'm the only one who needs the wrench or a 27" tube. One of my other friends is bringing a 700cc tube and the pump.
--bike lock and cable, bike lights (it will be dark by the time we get home)
--a map and directions from the train station to the park
--money for the train fare, of course! and some extra cash
I've also checked over my bike and made sure my tires are at the proper pressure. Underinflated tires are more likely to get flats while riding. There was a slow leak in my rear tire, so I finally did something about it last night. It works ok if I keep pumping it up for my short commute, but I want to go into our adventure with all of my gear in good working order.
That's a lot of text! Hopefully I'll have some pictures for you in the next few days. In the spirit of traveling light, only one of us is bringing a camera, and it's not me. Now if you'll excuse me, I have an adventure to prepare for.