I made my first self supported weekend trip this week, and I have to say, it was a blast! I wanted to take a short trip so I could get used to the idea of self supported touring, so I traveled 65 miles round trip. I learned alot from this simple outing about what to do and not to do, what to bring and what not to bring. The thing I needed most that I didn't bring were extra rack bolts for my fenders and rack . It's no fun to travel three hours and have your rack bust off the end of your bike while riding, then having to improvise a solution because I wasn't forward thinking enough to bring extra bolts, Doh!
Any way, I had alot of fun freezing my butt off in my tent and and will be heading out as soon as I get my bike out of the shop! Thats right, I guess I pushed my non-touring hybrid bike to its limits. The fork is coming loose from the headtube, I broke a spoke and my wheel is way out of true, and there is a very anoying click coming from my crankset . The worst part is that this is my main commuter bike, so now I have to ride a womans bike till I get mine back . The only damage to me is that I injured my knee. I think I stressed a ligament on the side. This caused me to average a six mile-an-hour pace on the way back due to the blinding pain.
I know this isn't a very big deal to all you cross country folk, but I had fun, enough to want to do it again and again, and make longer trips. For now I am stuck with only making weekend trips as far as my legs (and bike) can carry me.