Friday, June 24, 2016

My New Set of Wheels

Someone has a new set of wheels. And that someone is me!

Wanna guess what kind of wheels I got? Here's a hint:

My new set of wheels.

Yup, I got myself a Brompton! For those of you not familiar with Bromptons, they are the coolest little folding bicycles on Planet Earth.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reflections on My Patagonia Trip

My trip to Patagonia ended seven weeks ago. As with all my travels, I have spent time reflecting on the trip.

In Reflections on My Turkey Trip: What I Learned About Myself, I compared life experiences to the tiles in a mosaic. Just as tiles are combined to create a unique picture or pattern, our experiences combine to create a mosaic of our unique selves. And just as a mosaic becomes clearer with a greater density of tiles, our true selves become more apparent as we acquire more life experiences.

The individual tiles in this mosaic are photos from the Patagonia trip.
You may wish to enlarge the image to fully appreciate the mosaic.

The Patagonia trip added more and more tiles to the mosaic of my life. Though some of these experiences confirmed what I already knew, others revealed new insights about Patagonia, Chile, and myself.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Best & Worst of My Gear

The gear I take on a cycling trip depends on a number of factors, such as the type of tour (paved vs. off-road), the route's proximity to water sources and grocery stores, and the weather. The more miles I tour, the better able I am to dial-in on my gear.

My recent four-month tour to Patagonia proved to be a true gear test. The remoteness of the route, the weather, and the bumpy roads made it quite clear which gear were my favorites and which were my least favorites.

This post describes the best and the worst gear from my trip. For my cycling and outdoorsy friends who enjoy geeking out about gear, read on. For the rest of you, you're more than welcome to bow out, if you'd like.

Best Gear

If you are interested in more information about any of the "Best Gear,", simply click on the photos, and you will be whisked away to the product's webpage. Note that I was not sponsored by any of these products. As such, I am at liberty to share my unedited opinions.

Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Chair

As is true for most all forms of travel, the general rule is to carry the minimum of what you might need. Excess weight is carried at the cost of energy, comfort, and speed. Minimizing volume has its benefits, too.

Some travelers will go to extreme measures (and extreme costs) to travel as lightly as they can. While I'd just assume pedal with as little weight as possible, I'm also of the frame-of-mind that if I'm going to be living on my bike for a few months, I want to be comfortable. Plus, once you add food and water to your touring load, meticulous savings in gear ounces here-and-there are easily overshadowed. And so on our Patagonia trip, where I knew that seats (even those offered by a picnic table) would be far-and-few-between, carrying the extra weight and volume of a Crazy Creek chair was acceptable.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Flying with a Bike

When traveling with a bicycle, one must always consider how best to transport said bicycle. When traveling within the United States, transporting a bike via an airplane is often far more expensive than shipping a bike. If you fly, airlines often charge $150 each way to transport the bike. Shipping a bike, such as with Amtrak Express or BikeFlights, often costs half that amount.

When traveling internationally, however, shipping costs are prohibitively expensive. As such, Shirley, my Surly Long Haul Trucker, flew in an airplane on our recent trip to and from South America. On the way down to Ushuaia, Shirley was enveloped in a frumpy cardboard bicycle box ("The Cardboard Method"). But on the way home, she was dressed to the nines in a revealing, form-fitting plastic gown ("The Plastic Method").

On the left, Shirley is in her cardboard box on her way to South America.
On the right, Shirley is wrapped in plastic on her way home from South America.