First tour done - nine days circling the Olympic Peninsula
I just completed my first-ever self-supported tour. I spent nine days going 664 miles around the Olympic Peninsula following Adventure Cycling Association's new "Washington Parks" route.
I had awesome weather and saw lots of great scenery. It was a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to my next tour.
I want to say a special thanks to all of you here in the Touring forum. I've spent many hours over the last two years reading your posts about tour experiences, equipment, planning, etc. I haven't posted many messages myself because I usually found that one (or many!) of you had already written up informative posts which answered my questions. Without you, I don't think my first nine-day tour would have gone as smoothly as it did. Thank you!
Thanks for the journal and pictures. I enjoyed the read a lot.
With all your information that you gather before you first tour, hopefully you can pay it forward as I am planning my first tour from Los Angeles to Nebraska and am also hungry for information as you probably were.
I am really trying to figure out my budget for the trip. And I have gone through it over and over and I keep finding hidden costs that I did not expect. I guess my question is, how much did everything cost for the gear, from the complete bike (I am also looking at the LHT) to your helmet mirror? I know travel costs pretty much differ from person to person and their lifestyle so I will not go there.
I guess my question is, how much did everything cost for the gear, from the complete bike (I am also looking at the LHT) to your helmet mirror?
Tally up what I've spent on all this stuff? That's cruel. OK, here goes:
Bike and significant accessories:
- Surly Long Haul Trucker Complete ($985)
- PlanetBike Cascadia "hybrid" fenders ($40)
- Shimano PD-M520 SPD pedals ($55)
- Trek Back Rack ($30)
- Topeak Road Morph G pump ($39)
- Brooks B17 saddle & maintenance kit ($101)
- Jandd saddlebag ($18)
- Click-Stand ($38 from Click-Stand.com)
- Take A Look helmet mirror ($16)
Stuff from TheTouringStore.com:
- Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus panniers ($200)
- Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus panniers ($180)
- LonePeak H-100 handlebar bag ($70)
- Tubus Tara front rack ($100)
Camping equipment from REI:
(full price shown -- substantial discounts available if you purchase with member coupons and/or during one of their big sales)
- REI Half Dome 2HC tent ($169)
- REI Half Dome 2HC footprint ($25)
- North Face Cat's Meow 20F sleeping bag ($149)
- Granite Gear DryBloc stuff sack (for sleeping bag) ($17)
- Big Agnes insulated air mattress ($70)
- GSI Soloist mess kit ($30)
- Snowpeak Gigapower stove with piezo ($50)
- Snowpeak stove windscreen ($8)
- inflatable pillow ($3)
- reversible nylon/fleece stuff sack (used as pillow) ($12)
- headlamp ($20)
- REI MultiTowel Lite - large ($16)
- REI MultiTowel Lite - medium ($10)
- titanium spork ($8)
- Gorillapod tripod ($23)
Total: $2482 (if you paid full price for everything)
Yes, but. That's what you gave up - - But what did you get in return?
Was the exchange of a few green pieces of paper worth it?
Yes! Even though this was my first tour, I pretty much knew that this was something that I would want to continue doing many times in the future. For some of the items, I spent a few extra dollars to invest in quality equipment which would last a long time (for example, the deluxe Ortlieb panniers which I expect to last the rest of my life). It was a big chunk of money to spend for my first tour, but now I've got all the equipment so all my future tours will be much less expensive.
Then, of course, there's the adventure that I experienced and the memories I'll have forever. As the commercial says, those things are "priceless" -- every dollar I spent to make it happen was worth it!
How was the click-stand? I've been thinking about getting a kick stand and balking at the weight. Was it secure? Was it annoying to deploy?
The Click-Stand was AWESOME! I bought it just a week before my tour and I was totally glad that I did. I don't want to sound like a shill for Tom at Click-Stand.com, but since you asked, here's what I liked about it:
Many times I would need to stop and get off my bike in the middle of nowhere and there was nothing around to lean the bike against. I don't like laying my fully-loaded bike down on it's side, so it was very handy to whip my Click-Stand out of my handlebar bag and lean my bike against that.
When I was parked at my campsite each evening, I would put one pannier and my handlebar bag inside my tent, but the other three panniers I just left hanging on my bike. Even though there was usually a picnic table or tree available to lean my bike against, it was actually more convenient to prop my bike up with the Click-Stand so that all of the panniers were easy to access (not leaning against anything).
Even when there was a wall or guard rail to lean the bike against, sometimes there was a significant front-back slope. Using one or both of the brake bands that came with the Click-Stand would stop the bike from rolling.
Sometimes when I went inside a store, I didn't feel the need to break out my cable lock, but I would put the brake bands on both brakes to slow down anyone who might try to roll/ride my bike away.
I used to have an ESGE double-leg kickstand mounted on my bike, but it weighed over a pound and it was much less versatile than my Click-Stand, so I won't be using it anymore.
To specifically answer your questions: Yes, it was secure and No, it wasn't annoying to deploy (or retract).
If you have any spare tent pole segments lying around it's pretty easy to make one. I used the hook from a plastic coat-hanger and two longer tent-pole segments. The shorter segments used in the click-stand would make it fold up smaller than mine, which would be handy.
One more thing about the Click-Stand...
At some of my campsites the ground was really soft and the tip of my Click-Stand would sink into the dirt. On my tour I solved the problem by finding a small flat rock to put the tip on, but now that I'm home I've decided to keep a small piece of plastic (an expended gift card) in my handlebar bag to handle soft dirt in the future.
"Hildy", a Novara Randonee touring bike; a 16-speed Bike Friday Tikit; and a Specialized Stumpjumper frame-based built-up MTB, now serving as the kid-carrier, grocery-getter.
The Clik-Stand works well on pavement or gravel, and I find the included brake bands incredibly useful even apart from the Clik-Stand. The customer service from Clik-Stand is almost up there with the Touring Store.