This list is originally from Roderick Young.
Things to remember for a bike trip
[ ] Ability of riders
[ ] Preview route and make a map
[ ] Does everyone have a bike?
[ ] Does everyone have a helmet?
[ ] Does everybody have enough equipment (panniers, sleeping bags, etc?)
[ ] Weather - is any special attire appropriate
[ ] Cost - can people spend money?
[ ] Budget - for a long trip, estimate daily expenses.
[ ] Carpools to start point - who has bike racks?
[ ] Flyers for publicity
[ ] Open and close trip in prayer if appropriate
[ ] Gas in your car?
[ ] Campground or motel reservations
[ ] Sign-up lists
[ ] Release forms
[ ] Camera
[ ] Film
[ ] Small Tripod
[ ] Flash (not for long trips)
[ ] Film loaded in camera
[ ] Batteries in camera and flash OK
[ ] Brake cable
[ ] Tube
[ ] Folding tire
[ ] Deraileur cable
[ ] Spokes
[ ] Chain rivet
[ ] Small bolt (for water bottle, rack, etc)
[ ] Tent
[ ] Sleeping bag
[ ] Ensolite
[ ] Groundcloth
[ ] Nylon cord
[ ] Brake wrench
[ ] Patch kit
[ ] Allen wrenches
[ ] Presta/Schraeder adapter
[ ] Tire irons
[ ] Adjustable wrench
[ ] Chain tool
[ ] Spoke wrench
[ ] Freewheel tool
[ ] Pump
[ ] Helmet
[ ] Jacket
[ ] Gloves
[ ] 3 Cycling Socks
[ ] 1 thin cotton long socks
[ ] Long and short sleeve T-shirts
[ ] Hat
[ ] "Can I draft you?" shirt
[ ] Sweats
[ ] Goggles
[ ] Nice pants
[ ] Nice shirt
[ ] 2 Underwear
[ ] 1 Cycling tog
[ ] Leg warmers
[ ] Cycling shoes
[ ] Kung Fu shoes
[ ] Aluminum frying pan
[ ] Aluminum pot
[ ] Cup
[ ] Stove
[ ] Fuel bottle
[ ] Fill fuel bottle - but not for Air travel
[ ] Chopsticks
[ ] Small plastic spatula
[ ] Water bottles
[ ] Lighter
[ ] Can opener
[ ] Swiss army knife
[ ] Sponge or scouring pad
[ ] Powdered soap
[ ] Spoon
[ ] Fork
[ ] Checkbook
[ ] Make sure checkbook has enough checks
[ ] Money
[ ] Cirrus card
[ ] Credit card
[ ] BikeCentennial ID
[ ] HP ID card (for rent-a-car)
[ ] Insurance card
[ ] Traveller's checks
[ ] AAA card
[ ] Driver's license
Medicine and Toiletries
[ ] Aspirin
[ ] First aid kit
[ ] Sunscreen
[ ] Vaseline or chapstick
[ ] Insect repellent
[ ] Campho Phenique
[ ] Cotton swabs
[ ] Toothbrush
[ ] Toothpaste
[ ] Dental Floss
[ ] Razor
[ ] Towel
[ ] Nail clipper
[ ] Eyedrops
[ ] Toilet paper
[ ] Comb
[ ] Shampoo
[ ] Antihistamine
[ ] Bike license numbers
[ ] Credit card reporting #
[ ] Credit card balance #
[ ] Credit card payment address
[ ] Credit card numbers
[ ] SVBS directory
[ ] Addresses of churches, friends, relatives to write to
[ ] Bible
[ ] Diary
[ ] Pen
[ ] Stamps
[ ] "Head Light" Flashlight
[ ] Batteries in flashlight OK
[ ] Inflatable pillow
[ ] Cyclometer
[ ] Watch
[ ] Maps
[ ] Compass
[ ] Thermometer
[ ] Camp book
[ ] Snot Rag
[ ] Straps or Bungee cords
[ ] Ziploc bags
[ ] 1 Trash bag
[ ] "Wisdom for Cyclists"
[ ] Small reel of fishing line
[ ] Clothespins
Lighter is better. Pack less for a longer trip. Go on a
2-day test ride which includes some hills.
Use General Delivery mail in the US and regularly scheduled
phone calls to keep in touch with a base station.
Transamerica east-to-west: 2/3 of riders take this route.
Avoids opressive heat and humidity of southern/midwestern
summer. Scenery improves as you go on. Camping more
available as you go on. Can start earlier - some mountain
passes in the west may be snowed in before June.
West-to-east: wind will be at your back more, you'll meet
more other riders (since they're going the other way).
Rear view mirror is worth it. Types vary.
Traveller's checks are the best money. Visa is not bad, but
no good for most food. Automated teller machines are rare
outside of urban areas (in 1988).
Change tires after 2000 miles. Never mind if they don't
look worn. Of course, many of you will ignore this, anyway.
It takes getting stranded with a falling apart tire to learn
this. Don't carry the spare tires. Buy them in a bike
shop along the way.
27" rims preferred to 700 mm. Hard to find 700mm tires
except in big towns (could be days apart). Presta valve
tubes also are only in big towns, but tubes rarely fail
catasrophically, and you can carry a spare or two.
(this was in 1988).
Use Mr. Tuffy's (tire liners). Saves much aggravation.
Bring insect repellant. Cutter's or equivalent. Will be used
almost every night while camping.
Sunblock - use maximum protection. You'll still get a tan.
Don't bother bringing fishing line. Usually hard to find
places to fish.
White gas is the best choice for a cooking stove. In the US,
it is not necessary to have a stove that burns multiple fuels.
Don't buy a whole gallon of white gas at a store, ask neighbors
(car campers) at campgrounds if you can buy a pint from them.
The MSR XG-K stove is overkill for TransAmerica. It gets
very hot, but is hard to control. Don't use it on a picnic
table; it will burn the table.
A 40-degree F sleeping bag is enough for the summer. If
you camp in an unusually cold place, wear heavy clothes
inside you bag, or cuddle up to a riding companion.
Carry a boot (a 6" piece of an old tire), not a spare tire.
If you get severe tire damage, line the hole with the boot.
Anti-itch lotion is good in hot dry weather. Lanacane is
worthless, get the Hydrocortisone stuff.
Keep a journal. Years later, you'll leaf through it with
fond memories. Also, you WILL meet a lot of people along
the way, whose addresses you'll want to keep. You might
even bring a small pad of address labels if you have
Bring a light point-and-shoot camera, not a heavy SLR.
Better yet, sketch into your journal.
Use a touring bike, not a mountain bike, for the Transamerica
trail. Too much work pushing a mountain bike.
Use 28mm (1 1/8") tires at least. Some prefer 32 mm. The
trail contains some short sandy sections where you would have
to walk a bike with a 20 mm tire.
Put everything that isn't waterproff in ziploc bags. Did
you remember your wallet, camera, and traveller's checks?
It will rain. When it does, don't stop unless you plan to
stop for a long time. The coldest feeling is when you start
up again after you stop in the rain.
Don't use adhesive tape on handlebars. It may come loose
in extremely hot weather. Use adhesiveless plastic stretch
A compass-thermometer combination was something I used an
an awful lot.
A notebook computer, like an HP100LX or OmniBook, would be
good if you're writing a detailed journal for later
printing, or if you use online services. However, the
ordinary paper diary is still a good bet, since you can
sketch in it, affix small stamps and souvenirs, and the
batteries never run out.
Portable radio was NOT useful. If you take one, find the
smallest one you can. A cassette player is probably as
useless, unless you REALLY like music.
Cost: If you buy all your food at grocery stores, then
it won't cost much, especially if you can survive on
PBJ sandwiches, pasta, and water. Truthfully, I had
more money, so I ate almost all meals at restaurants
after a while. Figure 3 McDonald's type meals a day.
Other major expense is lodging. If you tour with
friends, you can split the campground/motel cost. A
campground costs (at MOST) about the same as a moderate
sit-down meal at a restaurant. Split 4 ways, it's the
same as a fast-food meal. It gets hot and humid in the
south, so if you have money, you'll really want to
get motel rooms each night for the A/C and shower.
Motel rooms are 2X the campground price, for cheap
motels. BikeCentennial maps list various camping
facilities, some of which are free.
Note: BikeCentennial changed its name to Adventure Cycling in 1994.
Their number is (406)721-1776.