March 24, 2012
It never fails, no matter how iron clad your pack list is, there will always be something you realize you missed, in addition to lot of things you realize you don't really need.
For the extra items, you can always ship those back home when you reach a post office, and with the items you forgot, you can usually pick them along they way. One fun thing about touring is that when I say pick thing up along the way, I really mean along the way. Over the years, I've found a lot of odd items laying on or next to the road while riding that I have found useful.
Some useful and common items that you can find on almost any stretch of highway include bungee chords, those red mechanic grease rags, and Bic lighters. I've also noticed that a lot of bicycle tourists tend to strap objects such as antlers, stuffed animals, or plastic toys to their bikes that they happen to find while out on the road. Tools are also common on the road, and I've definitely spotted more than my fair share of adjustable wrenches out there.
Maybe the best lost and found items along the road are the ones you would never expect to see. Just the chance of finding something completely out of left field can turn a long, mundane stretch of road into a fun treasure hunt. Here are some bizarre finds I've encountered over the years:
Fifteen dollars in pennies. Apparently they were stolen from an elementary school classroom earlier that day, and discarded on a remote highway.
A bike! Working cell phones A DVD of Under Siege, starring Steven Seagal. He was just a cook!
Those are some of my good finds. I would be interested in hearing what others have found on the road.
Photo by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.
One day we found various heads of garlic scattered along the road that had fallen off of agricultural trucks in a barren stretch of Argentina. The landscape was pretty repetitive and monontonous, so it was fun to rack up our garlic head high scores. Some were pretty destroyed from bouncing down the asphault, while others were in perfect condition. Added a lot of extra garlic to our meals the next couple of days!
I found a fully functional fancy bike computer in the middle of nowhere. Since it looked like it had been there for a while (dirty w/ a few scratches), I took it with me. Once at home I purchased the harness for it and use it on my rides. Score!
I'm an around town commuter, so my opportunities for finding things is unlimited. I found a Harley Davidson electronic keyfob. I later sold it on eBay for $5.00. I also found a pretty nice camo boonie hat that I have been enjoying for several years now. Just picked up an unlabeled music CD. Can't wait to hear what's on it!
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Third day out, Southern Tier (east to west)2007, I saw a shining object on the empty Florida highway. Stopped and picked up a very new QUARTER, stamped with the state of Nebraska. Euraka! An idea! Collect the all 50 states during my ride to San Diego. It'll be fun. The plan started swiftly, diligently collecting and admiring my finds. Never spent money without checking the change.
Then the progress slowed, until finally, somewhere in the desert of California, a taciturn shop owner told they haven't minted them all yet. Dumbass...oh.
I'm inclinded to think that you find something for every one thing you loose;
I was fortunate to never really loose anything terribly important (cell phone first day - kind of nice, actually.) But, yes, a wallet sans ID but with a $10 bill, safety glasses in Sanderson, TX which I wore, then lost; amazing what you find when you not looking...
I found a cheque book and purse last year in France. Handed it in to the Mayors office with my name, address and email( for the reward ) And received not a sausage.
I found a wallet. I turned it over to the local LEO and the person had a warrant issued. I am usually too tired to be bothered with stopping for items.
In Canada, circling Lake Superior, I found a wallet - no money, but ID, credit cards, etc. The next day, I came to a provincial police station, and turned it in. Because it had ID, they were able to return it to owner. Felt good to do that...
Road Treasure is awesome. Found some dancing mariachi shoes in Baja, a rattlesnake rattle in southern Mexico, a sweet leather vest in Ohio, among a hord of other countless things here and there. ROAD TREASURE!!!
Whenever i see on the side of the road one of this big black rubber bungee cords that trucks use, I take it with me, even if it is unusable. I keep the large collection as a memory of all the great miles I have done. Weird I know.
My girlfriend :) we met on a cycling tour.
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I lost my rear tail light on a ride in Valley Forge National Park. Later that Spring I found a much better one on a tour on the Outer Banks on North Carolina. Since I put return address labels on my electronics batteries, I received a phone call from the person who found my Valley Forge 'road treasure'. Had a nice conversation and many riding tours with him.