Revised Gear List
This is the gear list that i moved from the Team Northern Tier journal on crazyguyonabike and linked everything to the equipment that we used on the trip.
This is an excellent gear list for anyone cycling across the country and unsure of the equipment that they would need for such a long trip. Some stuff worked out great and other stuff we got rid of. All Post-trip comments are written in BOLD!
Mike is riding a Surly Long Haul Trucker, Jamie and Chuck both have Trek 520’s. The long haul trucker is a fantastic bike. HOWEVER I changed the BB, Crankset and rear derailer to Ultegra, before we left. Basically just matched whatever the 520 had. Jamie and chuck had big chainrings and I used big chainrings on my last cross country trip so I got rid of the stock small ones that came with bike. The 520’s worked great, except when chucks rear rim exploded in ohio. All our bikes had kickstands. Chuck and I had fancy ones, Jamie had a basic kickstand. We were really excited to be able to quickly throw down the kickstands and be able to walk away from our bikes. A lot of people made fun of the kickstands, but it makes a lot of sense on a touring bike.
– We all have Brooks B-67 Saddles and fenders on our bikes. the saddles worked out great. People that don’t ride bikes, told us they don’t look very comfortable, but I don’t think a bike saddle could be anymore comfortable. When it rained we covered our saddles with a cheap plastic bag and were all very happy to have fenders. there has always been alot of discussion on this website regarding breaking in a brooks saddle. I have never done anything to break in my brooks saddle. i also avoid using the proofhide, it makes the leather slippery and feel different.
-Ortlieb Front roller and Back roller panniers & handlebar bags. Jamie has a pair of REI panniers. The zipper broke on Jamie’s REI panniers. He took them back and got ortliebs. The Ortliebs worked fantastic. No complaints or problems. I will never go on another bike tour without using ortlieb panniers.
–cateye mighty 8 bike computer no complaints, it’s a basic $30 computer. Jamie broke his computer ¾ of way through the trip. on my transam ride i carried a fancy bike computer with an altimeter. it turned out to be a pain in the butt and the altimeter barely worked.
–topeak road morph frame pump Excellent. Couldn’t imagine using any other bike pump on a bike tour. The beauty of this bike pump is that its small and looks like a handpump but it actually folds up and works like a floor pump. the nozzle is on a tube so you wont break the valves. I have easily pumped up my tires to 90-120 psi.
-Blinking lights for riding at night Many times I wish we all had carried more blinking lights for riding. jamie and chuck carried a good white light for the front of their bikes but i just used the flashlight that attaches to my head for ridint at night.
-3 tubes, 2 park patch kits The glueless park patch kits were used on all our flats. Its just a big sticker that you put over the hole in the tube. its super quick and easy. We patched our tubes until they were unpatchable.
-bottle of pro-link our chains drank this stuff and when they got thirsty they had no problems with letting you know. Prolink isnt that easy to find in most bike shops. all bike mechanics told us to use triflow instead, but i like prolink better because its cleaner and it cleans the chain as it lubricates it.
-5 spokes in every length for each of us They were heavy and didn’t use them at all except when chucks wheel exploded. But I have had spoke problem in the past and will prolly always tour with a lot of spokes.
–Kevlar spoke kit never used it, but happy to carry it.
-spare brake & derailer cable glad to carry it, met some other touring cyclists who told us how a broken cable, really ruined a day, Before we ran into them. never used it
-1 can of halt! never used it. Never used it in my life. But happy to carry it. Its comforting to know it can also be used on humans if a hairy situation arises.
-spare nipples, chainlink, misc nutz and bolts, we used the nutz and bolts quite frequently. Sometimes after riding through construction we would loose a bolt or so, usually off our racks or something. Eventually I also picked up a bottle of lock-tite from a napa auto parts store and lock-tited all our bolts. Our loosing bolt problem ended quickly
–Cable lock It was a lame lightweight cable lock that wrapped around our seatposts. We all had the same lock so we could lock them together and make a really long cable. 1979 was our code. It was the year we were all born
-bungee cords mike and chuck each had 2 bungee cords. We tied knots in them to adjust the length.
-chaintool chuck took the chaintool home from Chicago, so I bought a new one in Minneapolis, we never used it.
–presta to schrader converter never used it
–tire levers, patch kit, multi-bike tool frequently used. I like multi tools that have a metal handle because ive broken plastic ones before.
–spoke tool Used it a couple of times. I had some loose spokes so I gave my wheels ‘the mikeriscica amateur truing’ and then let the professionals straighten them up at the next big town.
-cheap leatherman ripoff Frequently used this to remove stuff from tires while changing a flat tire. The leatherman was real heavy and we could have gotten away with a small pair of needle nose pliers.
–casette remover Used it once when chucks wheel exploded. Weighs nothing and I slept better at night knowing I had this tool.
-Helmet w/ mirror mounted Jamie and chuck broke their helmet mirrors not very far into the bike trip. Jeff & Elliot Geotz our good friend in Gibsonburg, Ohio gave them their really fancy bike mirrors that are made from a bicycle spoke. I personally believe that no cross country cyclist should be riding without a bike mirror. Its too quiet on a lot of the these roads and its easy to zone out and get lost in your thoughts. its also nice to watch whats going on behind. Sometimes we would use the bike mirror to checkout the ladies.
-2 cycling short synthetic shirts chuck and Jamie went through several pairs of shirts. They started with the Synthetic blend soft REI brand shirts. But they stopped wicking and then basically just became a cotton shirt that just absorbed water. i really enjoyed having shirts with the pockets in the back to carry snacks, cellphone, tools etc.
-1 longsleeve synthetic shirt Jamie started with 1 and then ended with a long sleeve cotton shirt
– SPD Cycling shoes at the end of the trip we all looked forward to wearing a normal pair of shoes.
– sunglasses chuck had 1 expensive pair the entire trip. Mike and Jamie had several pairs of cheap sunglasses
-windbreaker/rainjacket. Mikes rainjacket started to absorb rain, so he took it to REI and they gave him a new one.
– Rain paints wore then twice. But because it was cold and not because of the rain.
-2 pairs Cycling shorts mikeriscica used the same 2 pairs of Pearl Izumi Triathlon shorts for the Northern Tier that he used for the transam. Talk about cheap.
-1 pair of shorts to wear over ‘gay cycling shorts’ Used REI hiking shorts, Worked great. Also used as a swimsuit.
-2 pairs of cycling gloves Chuck went through several pairs of gloves on the trip. Mike wore one pair of Gel Trico gloves. Jamie lost his gloves the first day on the road and didn’t wear gloves the whole trip.
–Legwarms (for chilly mornings) wore them quite frequently. Would also use them at night in the sleeping bag. But unless your wearing cycling shorts they wont stay on my legs, so you cant really walk around in them with a regular pair of shorts on. carrying legwarmers is a much better option then full length cycling pants.
-2 Cotton t-shirts It feels so good to get outta those uncomfortable synthetic shirts and put on a soft cotton shirt. and even better if its clean
-Sandals Old navy makes great cheap lightweight flip flops. on the transam i used crocs, but i found their shape to be kind of annoying when trying to pack up. flip flops are flat and sometimes i stuffed them under the bungee that was holding my tent on the rack.
-1 pair of cotton shorts (sometimes wear on bike) Great on days off.
-2 pairs of cotton boxers more stuff to wash
-3 pairs of socks We all went through several pairs of socks. Some held up better then others. Mike bought a pair of cannondale socks at a shop in ohio and they turned out to be his favorite socks of the trip.
-Lightweight 1 man Tent We all used the MSR Hubba Tent. Worked great, no complaints aside from its price tag. Assembles very fast and makes camping 80% of the trip, not so bad. In ND I ripped the stuff sack in half. The whole trip we refered to the hubba tent as our ‘Condos’.
–Synthetic Sleeping bag. Was glad to have a synthetic bag when I got destroyed by a sprinkler in Montana.
–3/4 length inflatable thermarest no complaints.
– A flashlight that straps to your head. It doesn’t make sense to not have a flashlight that straps to your head. We all have $15 walmart flashlights. I started keeping it in the stuffsack with my tent.
-Rope Hung some food in New England because of bears. Chuck sometimes used it as a clothesline to dry his clothes.
-A little fan for the tent On the transam this thing saved my life. On the Northern Tier, I didn’t really need it. Eventually I broke it and through it away after the Adirondacks.
–insect spray only used it once or twice. I would rather put on a lot of clothes then spray that crap on myself. Nevertheless I will prolly always carry it.
-a compass YES! I love my compass. I always placed it ontop of my maps and frequently refered to it. At the beginning of the trip I mounted it on my bike and it wasn’t working right. It took me 2 weeks to realize the compass wasn’t broken . it was the steel from my bike frame screwing with the magnet inside the compass. Duh!?
–camp soap & small scotch bright pads We used a lot of this stuff. The cheapest place to get it is in walmart in the camping aisle.
–first aid kit w/ insect/snake bite fluid, emergency blanket, used it a few times, we all used the bee sting fluid. Threw out the emergency blanket halfway through the trip.
-MSR whisperlite international stove. Excellent stove, a pleasure to cook with. A pain in the ass to carry.
–MSR pocketrocket w/ titan kettle (yes we are bringing 2 stoves) we frequently used the whisperlite more then the pocketrocket. Mainly because it was faster, hotter and fuel was cheaper. BUT IF, I did this trip again I would ditch the whisperlite and replace it with the Jetboil, but for one reason only. And this is because we all drink lots of tea and the jetboil seems a lot simpler and faster. Blah blah blah its easy to obcess about stove crap. Its really more about how much you use it rather then what stove you have.
-white gas & fuel bottle annoying to carry, ugh.
-scattered Cooksets 2 small pots
–spice wheel usually forgot we were carrying it.
-utensils we all just used a titanium spork. Great investment. Excellent for eating ice cream
-small laptop we actually had 2 laptops
–ipod w/ headphones. Yeah I couldn’t imagine cycling without listening to music. It isn’t anymore dangerous then driving a car and listening to music.
– ipod battery backup. I used a battery backup that needed to be charged every 2 weeks. Jamie and chuck charged their pods everynight.
–digital camera we had 7 megapixal Olympus cameras.
-video camera worked great. sound was fantastic. Recorded onto an internal hard drive so we didn’t have to worry about tapes.
-cellphone mikeriscica has a fancy cell phone that has internet and email on it. This became quite usefull while we were cycling. We got our guestbook comments, checked the weather wherever we were, looked up our location when we got lost and frequently surfed the internet from at night from my tent. Sometimes I would even make quick updates on the journal, however its tedious to type too much stuff. My phone is expensive but it served its purpose. Im thinking of writing a whole article about how my cell phone was a major tool in getting us across the country.
-rechargeable AA batterys forgot about em.
–extension chord Jamie brought a 20′ 3 prong extension chord and on countless occasions it saved the day. Often at night we would camp near the closest outlet and charge cell phones, ipods, laptops or batteries at night. I dont think i would ever do another bike tour again and not carry an extension chord.
-2 toothbrush’s, dental floss & toothpaste yeah yeah. Jamie brought a heavy electric toothbrush. His grandfather told him ‘You cant cycle away plague!’ so noone challenged him.
-razor w/ spare blades, travel size shaving cream chuck gave up shaving at the end. Jamie and I shaved the entire trip.
-toilet paper never used it but glad to carry it for emergency purposes.
-tums lost them.
-travel towel I hate travel towels. Feels like your squeegee-ing your body. I made the mistake of writing my name on mine so now I cant return it to REI.
-lotsa maps had northern tier maps, AAA state maps for every state and even carried a giant overview map of America that we could show to people. we often picked up local bike maps along the way. I usally sent old maps home.
-small sketchbook we all had some kind of a little notebook, to write stuff down
– wallet w/ money, id, AAA card, etc. used AAA card once.
-business cards w/ cgoab address on it. we printed 2,000 cards with our CGOAB website on it with a little map and a redline of our trail. At times I felt that having this card made our trip official. We gave this card to everyone we met.
-sport suntan lotion spf 50, wore lots of it.
-eye glasses never used em
-stamps Jamie mailed lotsa post cards, chuck and I were too lazy.
–smile Works miracles.
-a bandana brought 2
-small notepad in handlebar bag w/ pen I drafted the journal each day with chuck and Jamie and then typed it out later, when I had a moment to sitdown.
-zipties used them to attach the Maine license plate to the back of our computer bag
-duct tape used it a couple of times.
-ziplock bags used them for everything. Only used the bags that had the pink zipper.
-Health insurance. never used it. But good to have.
-vitamins forgot about em.
–sense of humor left it at home, theres nothing funny about bike touring.
am i forgetting anything? not really.
This is stuff that we bought on the road.
Ear plugs– yeah earplugs are good to have. Especially when your camping next to a railroad or obnoxious neighbors. I kept my earplugs inside my tent so I wouldn’t have to go looking for them in the middle of the night.
Clothes pins- chuck bought em in No dak to hang dry his clothes at night.
Cups- we all bought nice plastic coffee mugs. We each drink a lot of tea. So we would just buy box’s of tea and just ask to have our cups filled with hot water at all the gas stations we stopped at.
Tires 2/3 of the way through. – yeah we all bought new tires in eastern Montana
Handlebar mirror – I bought a mirror in Geneva because I thought my helmet mirror was gonna break soon. I hated the handlebar mirror because I stand up a lot and constantly change positions when I ride. so its useless for people like me.