Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bike Tour Planning and Gear List

Faithful steed.


I don’t know how long to go, but I’m looking at 5+ months and even that may be on the overly optimistic side.  As once I get on the road, I may not stop.  I know there is a lot to see and do and I don’t want to just have to keep my head down and pedal for the next target.  I want to be able to appreciate my surroundings and if I feel compelled spend extra time in a place and possibly forgo another.  My tentative plan is to start from Tauranga after my contract ends.  I will travel down the East Coast of the North Island and then turn inland to bike to Rotorua, Taupo, and make it over to the west coast to visit Mt Taranaki before turning south towards Wellington.  I would be looking to camp along the way and taking a rest day once or twice a week for the first couple weeks until I see how my body handles the new demands, but aim at 100+ km a day.
Mid-January ride in MN, couldn't have been better.

On the South Island, I would like to do hit Milford Sound and then ride down the West coast and end in Invercargill.  I understand that the mountains down on the South Island are longer and more gradual than their steeper, but shorter cousins on the North Island.  It is also a less populated area and I would want to spend more time there as it looked awesome when I was down there earlier.  I would probably fly out of Invercargill to Auckland before I start the Australian leg.  I plan to bike from Sydney to Cairns along the coast to see the Great Barrier Reef.  I would also want to eat a kangaroo if that is acceptable.  From there I would catch a ride/flight bound for Nagasaki.  In the land of the rising sun, I would then bike from Nagasaki over Honshu to Aomori, with as many bowls of ramen that I could slurp down.  Beth is talking about visiting for a week over this leg of the journey.  I would plan on going through Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Nagano.  I would like to hit their mountain range and almost do a version of the continental divide there.  I have some friends there I would like to see along the way.  Then I would catch a flight to the West Coast of the US.  I am thinking San Francisco would be a good place to land and then travel East through Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota (to see my family), and back to Minneapolis to the life I put on hold when I started A Backpack and a Fistful of Cash.

Rough estimate would be about 10,000 kilometers.
New Zealand: 2,400 km
Australia: 2,800 km
Japan: 1,800 km
US: 2000 miles

Cost: Priceless
This shortly after my 2nd ACL surgery.  Left is smaller.


What do I expect to get out of this?  An amazing set of calves and the ability to eat whatever I want.  There will also be the photographs and stories that will most likely come out of this bike ride.


·         Surly Cross Check: 56 cm
o   It needs some love before getting sent to me as its back in MN.  I would want a triple put on and possibly a new cassette as well as platforms with cages instead of my clip-less pedals.  Then just a general tune-up.  I have done all my multi-day touring on this bike and to put it frankly I love this bike.  Now only if I could convince Surly about a deal on a Pugsley for touring.  I could be on to something here.  Comfort and a slow, but reasonable pace on steel.
·         Lights
o   I have front and rear LED lights, but I could always slap some more on.  I want to be seen.
·         Bell
o   Will I want one?
·         Front and Rear Racks
o   Have rear rack that has seen a fair amount of use, but is sturdy.  It could use some duct tape love where there has been rubbing.
·         Front and Rear Panniers over trailer
o   I have a set of rear Ortlieb panniers that I love for their water-proof properties and a set of Jandd for their size and compartments.  If I had to choose today, I would pick the smaller Ortlieb as I don’t want to take a bunch of needless things.  Like a 13” flat screen and my Xbox for those rainy days.
·         Water Bottles
o   Have plenty
·         Fenders
o   Need to acquire some
·         Bike Computer
o   Have one as I want to track my daily distances and log them on
·         Tools and spares
o   Tubes x 2
o   Batteries for lights
o   Replacement Bulbs?
o   Healthy Patch kit
o   Frame Pump
o   Spare Folding Tire
o   Nuts & Bolts
o   Lock tight
o   Zip ties
o   Duct tape
o Repair book
o   Brake Pads
o   Spoke Wrench
o   Spokes
o   Wrenches
o   Chain
o   Master Link
o   Lube
o   Chain breaker
o   Pedal wrench
o   Derailleur hanger


·         Sleeping bag
o   Mountain Hardware Cloudburst 32 (synthetic) or other
·         Tarp
o   Looking at using a tarp and bivy bag over a tent
·         Bivy Bag
o   US Military Surplus
·         Closed-Cell Foam Sleeping Pad
·         Pillow?
o   Could always fill a dry sack with clothes or sleep on my folded up soft shell.
·         Para-cord
·         Tent Steaks
o   Pin down the tarp


·         Cooking equipment
o   MSR Pocket Rocket Stove and possibly a repair kit?
o   Gas canisters
o   BioLite Stove?  It is a cool little stove that turns heat into energy via an USB charger
·         GSI Dualist (Cooking and dishes)
o   Own a dualist and it is with me already and I can have company for a meal
·         Utensils
o   Have a Light my fire and titanium sporks as well as polycarbonate cutlery set
·         Knife & sharpener
o   Have a couple with me of varying weights and purposes
·         Means for water purification
o   Probably iodine or tablets no bulky filter for me.  I'll deal with the taste.
·         Water bladders or plastic jugs for long dry areas like Australia and Nevada.
·         Spices (Cajun, pepper, salt, nutmeg)
·         Scrapper and detergent


·         Rain gear
o   Jacket
o   Pants
o   Gloves?
§  Saw some eVent mittens
o   Water-proof socks
·         Soft Shell x 1
·         Fleece x 1
·         Wool LS tops x 2
o   Heavy LS
o   Lite LS
·         Wool or synthetic SS x 2
·         Convertible pants x 1
·         Board Shorts x 1
·         Thermals
o   Top
o   Bottom
·         Underwear x 2
·         Wool Socks x 2
·         Cycling shorts x 2
·         Biking Gloves
·         Helmet
·         Bandana
·         Sun glasses
·         Shoes
o   Sandals
o   Salomon XA Ultra 2


·         First Aid
o   Ibuprofen
o   Blister care
o   Asprin
o   Bandages
o   Sun screen
o   Aloe
·         Passport
·         Visas
·         Glasses &  Contacts
·         Soap & Towel
·         Tooth brush & paste, floss
·         Sewing kit
·         Bike lock
·         Dry sack
·         Credit Card(s)
·         Airline Tickets/Reservations
o   See my itinerary
o   New Zealand to Australia to Japan to US
·         Maps & Compass
o   GPS?
·         Camera
o   Spare SD cards
o   Spare battery
·         Phone
·         Headlamp
o   Spare bulb and batteries
·         Netbook
o   Would need to pick one up
·         Batteries/Chargers/misc.
·         Watch: Heart rate monitor and calorie tracker!
·         Music
o   MP3 player
o   Radio?
·         Journal
·         SPOT Messenger
This list is subject to change as it is my first attempt at writing it down.  It is a much more comprehensive list as my other tours were basically 3-4 days of riding with a bed at the end of each night.  I'll be camping almost every night and carrying my food or hitting up a cheap eat.  So there is a different dynamic and it will be a lot longer than I have ever gone before.


  1. That is crazy... but awesome, Kaleb. Definitely something not many people can ever say they have done.

    5+ months, 10,000 km and only 2 pairs of underwear... might want to rethink that.

    Very cool though!


    I have several pairs and when traveling. I go down to 2 pairs. You can hand wash and then kinda like a shammy towel twist and fold. Then shake out and hang for a couple hours. Dry and clean. Try that with cotton.

  3. I'm totally an ex-officio fan! You'll have to tell me how that Bio-Lite stove works out. I am already considering buying one.

    I'm very curious to know about how the wear on your tires handles. That seems a really high amount of distance for one set of tires. Are you going to tune your bike once a week, given the high usage you're going to put on it?

    I'm also curious to know how your bike will handle the sand in the desert areas. This is something I've never done. Well, almost none of this is anything I've ever done.

    Will you be using this blog for the trek? The title still works...:)

  4. Bike gears are cool! Touring different places on bike with some cool gadgets and gear is legendary. All these things make them tough and intelligent riders.
    Bike Tours in Australia