Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Notes from my Southern Tier Tour

It's better late than never so here are some notes from my tour:

The question most often asked by people we encountered was: “Why are you doing this?”

Use a bicycle that is made for touring when doing a loaded tour if you don’t want bike problems.

Adjust your bike so you are more upright (touring position) rather a low racing position. Comfort is the key to enjoyment.

Carry extra spokes and learn to replace a broke spoke if you plan to tour. The Kevlar spoke replacement kit is a great quick fix and don’t forget the cassette removal tool.

Best panniers for rain protection while touring are the Ortlieb.

Handlebar bag are indispensable on the road for quick access to items such as camera, maps, food, sun block, etc.

Be simple with your clothing. You can make with a lot less than you might think: Two set of riding cloth and one set of walking cloth with a few essential extras. Use layers to stay warm on the bike and off. Make your garments serve double-duty.

When touring, you can actually survive on peanut butter and jam sandwiches and instant oatmeal if you can’t find anything better.

Touring is more enjoyable when you are fit and ride your own pace.

Riding with 17 people made our arduous trip more fun. This, however, would only be true if you are lucky enough to get a good cohesive group.

One of the funniest moments occurred when several people drank a hummingbird mix thinking it was a new drink.

A bad moment: Realizing that I had caught the flu just two weeks before the end of the tour.

My favorite drinks on the road were Gatorade, V8, and chocolate milk.

My favorite treat at the end of a day’s ride was ice cream.

For scenery, the best campgrounds are the State parks.

For facilities and services, the best RV parks are the KOA’s.

My favorite city along the Southern Tier route was Austin. Second was St. Augustine.

For me, Texas was the friendliest State.

Hardest Day was the 80-mile day to Seminole Canyon. The last forty miles was into a strong headwind. That evening, Tom and I also had to prepare the dinner.

Worst dinner during the tour was Marconi and cheese with dried beef jerky.

Coldest morning temperature encountered was 27 degree.

One of my favorite regions was the Gulf Coast from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Pensacola, Florida.

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