Recap- Bike Camping 101 with Casey and Jen

By : Lowrah · May 2, 2014

Thank you to Casey and Jen for sharing their skills and perspectives on bike camping!  We had a great turnout, yummy snacks, and we spilled over from Boneshaker to Seward Cafe for more Q & A.  Fabulous.

I took some notes.  Here they are!

5/2/14 Bike Camping 101 with Casey and Jen!

Jen's YOU DO YOU Bike Tour Philosophy

Accomplished a Seattle to San Diego bike tour!

Bike touring is often gendered, white. Jen and their partner created a "Small People, Big Trees" zine, which came out of noticing these aspects of touring. Overall bike touring is FUN and CHALLENGING.

  • Don't sell yourself short

  • Safety and comfort first

  • It's not a race, be flexible

  • Listen to your body's physical, mental and emotional needs

  • Everyday is an accomplishment and something to be proud of

YOU DO YOU. Set some ground rules for yourself so you are know your expectations and you can refer back to them when you are feeling stressed.

Bike Camping 101 with Casey

Casey is a mechanic, and has done a few long tours.  Her first tour- strapped stuff to their backpack and asked other people to carry things for them.  Success!

What is a touring bike? Longer wheel base, lots of gears, shorter top tube, for starters.  Casey prefers steel frames.

If you are looking for a touring bike, look for frames with holes for attaching racks. You can attach racks without the holes, but you won't be able to load it up as much.

Jandd Expedition racks are tough and durable!

Trailers are great at carrying odd shaped and heavy items, but add a lot of rolling resistance.

Personally prefers Ortleib waterproof panniers. Kitty litter/ paint buckets DIY panniers are also awesome!

Handlebar bags for essentials: Chocolate, chapstick, wallet.

Fatter tires are more comfortable and absorb shock, and are better in varied terrain. Reflective strips on your tires are bright and visible! A little bit of tread and thorn resistant. Recommends tire liners.

Best tip for a successful tour? Ask people for directions or talk to locals- that could be the best story of your tour!

Things go wrong, you might be tired, you might want to hang about- be flexible with your schedule!

Local bike shops are the best places for finding local info.

Before you leave: Clean and lube everything on your bike before you leave, tighten all bolts, make sure your chain is not worn out, any necessary repairs or replacements and test ride! Check brake pads and bearing systems.  Everyday, check your ABC-Q: Air, Brakes, Chain, Cranks, Cog, Quick release. Listen to your bike!

City and County maps have good detail- rest stops, gas stations, visitor centers. Some cities/ counties will send you maps, or you can download them.

Make a budget. Online bill pay can help you keep up with your bills back home- computers at libraries are free.  Food is the most expensive, besides lodging.

During your tour:

Balance your load, side to side.

One bag full of gear and bike stuff.

Keep things in individual bags.

Stretching is great for your body! Take lots of stretch breaks.

Bring some basic tools.  Not every little town has a bike shop.

Zip ties, duct tape, dental floss (for sewing), and electrical tape. Because you never know!  Tools to carry for minor fixes like adjustments and flat fixes: Multi tool (with chain tool), extra tube, pump, extra spoke, Freewheel/ cassette removal tool, etc.  Carry small film canister of necessary bolts and washers.  

What do you do when spokes break?  Rear wheel has two different side spokes! Always bring spare spokes with you, spoke wrench. Even tension, true wheels: check at Grease Rag!

Safety and security? Cable locks through panniers, u-locks, and more danger in populated areas. Don't be afraid of high visibility and bright clothing.

Camping: You can camp anywhere on Forest Service land, and all State Parks in MN and WI HAVE to give you a place to sleep. Tents are a personal choice!  Sleeping bag liners and good quality sleeping bags are important.

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