Minimalism , Maps and Saying Goodbye.

Spending a few weeks on a bike and being completely self contained takes minimalism to a new level. Still, there’s no getting around that some things are pretty indispensable, and the line between what one MUST have, and what makes one a little more comfortable is blurred. Bike:UrinalOur bikes are heavy with what we’re carrying along. The bikes probably weigh thirty pounds each. Liz’s has a mongo steel rack that weighs about 8-10 more; then there’s our gear. Each pannier holds something different. Each of our bikes sport five bags, one handlebar, two front and two rear, plus the tent on the back. We always carry food, both trail-side lunches and snacks, and, staples such as coffee and emergency something or other in case we are out of energy.  Cooking in camp instead of eating in restaurants means having a slew of things,  pots, stove and stove fuel, place settings, spices, cutting board, fry pan… I brought my little laptop and so have adapters and cables, then there’s the tent and sleeping- therma-rests, sleeping bag, pillow, book, and you can’t just go naked so we have clothes. I have an atlas of France and a few other miscellaneous things. It’s a load, probably a bit more than fifty pounds of gear- fortunately the terrain has been relatively flat so once it’s moving, keeping it going isn’t too hard. Minimalism it isn’t but we have few things that aren’t needed or useful on a longer bike trip.

Some items bridge the gap between necessary and frivolous. The folding fry pan has made preparing varied meals so much easier. Saute, fry and slow simmer, it has been worth carrying along for the cuisine. On this trip we don’t really need maps because of the wonderful signage along the cycle routes, but maps have made a big difference in our cycling experience. CockpitViewWhile shopping one day we stumbled onto a cycling specific map book for the “Loire A Velo” trail. It has been an extremely useful guide. Each page shows the trail and sights along the way, gives a history of the area and occasionally shows alternatives that are interesting. It’s been fun to track our progress by turning the pages in the mapbook. Each page is about 25 or so kilometers, and so we have slowly cycled our way, page after page, up the Loire River. With our arrival in Nevers yesterday we completed the mapbook and have finished the cycle portion of this trip. a Vendre 2 VelosSlowly, preparations have begun for our return home. Saying goodbye to the itinerant cycling touring life is a little sad, but we’re also looking forward to being home again. So, we’ve got a couple of well used touring bikes for sale. Interested?

How observant are you? Notice the highly public “privee?”

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