January 13, 2017 - Maxton Caplanides, Adventure Cycling's Sales and Shipping Specialist, rode the TransAmerica Trail in 2015.
The darkest days of winter are slowly creeping into the past, and seeds that lie dormant wait for the perfect time before bursting into bloom in all of their glory — much like the mental seeds you’ve been planting for your upcoming cycling trip.
But as any good gardener knows, a bountiful harvest only comes with preparation. And so it is, the months before spring provide the perfect time to plan the logistical side of your journey — a process that we at Cyclosource are excited to help you with.
Where do you want to ride? At over 45,000 miles, Adventure Cycling’s Route Network offers you the ability to piece your own itinerary together section by section, or tackle any number of our legendary routes end to end. We have the maps to make it happen, designed with tons of cycling-related information. To keep the map right at your fingertips be sure to grab one of our options for holding your maps so you don’t have to stop pedaling as you navigate, like this map case.
Do you have the right tires and tools? We have the tubes, tires, tools, and accessories to keep you rolling safe, and get you moving again in case you break down in the middle of nowhere.
The sleek, quick rolling Schwalbe Marathon Supremes were my tire of choice on my 5000-mile, cross-country voyage, and I highly recommend them for their rolling speed and durability. If you seek more flat protection, try out the classic, kevlar-equipped Schwalbe Marathon — a beefier tire with a reputation of providing mile after mile of outstanding touring performance.
Don’t be caught on the side of the road without a good multi tool: the Crank Brothers Multi-19 Tool has served me well for on-the-fly fine tuning and adjustment when my trusty bike develops an ailment. Another great option is the Park Tool Essential Tool Kit: WTK-2. It covers all the bases for basic bike repair.
Stay Visible! Grab yourself a Jogalite Safety Triangle and take a look at our other lights and reflective gear, and let those motorists see you from a mile away. Let your presence be known and respected out there!
Don’t be afraid of flats! Seriously. They build character and give a bit of time to reflect and slow down even more (as if 10mph isn’t slow enough). Just stock up on tubes before you head out; chances are you will need them at the worst possible time.
My first flat on the TransAmerica Trail was a blowout during a lightning storm in a torrential downpour in rural Missouri. Luckily, my riding companions waited for me and shared in my misery. My motto from then on was “Flats Form Friendships.”
Are you planning on camping? We offer reliable camping gear that has been tested in the field by our staff and tour leaders.
MSR’s Hubba Hubba line of tents is a bombproof choice when it comes to high-quality, lightweight shelter. On those nights when Mother Nature wants to cleanse that stench you’ve been working on the past few showerless days by pelting you with cold merciless rain, you can hold out a bit longer.
Depending on when you depart and where you’re headed, we carry a few great options for sleeping bags by Kelty with different temperature ratings, so you are never left feeling uncomfortable while catching a few ZZZ’s.
Are your clothes ready for miles of unpredictable weather? We have a great selection of jackets to keep you dry, jerseys to keep you looking and feeling cool, and shorts to keep you from getting sore after long days in the saddle.
Check out our options from Showers Pass. They offer a range of gear built specifically for those days where the weather doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. There is nothing quite like reaching the summit of a 10,000-foot mountain pass in a hailstorm without the proper raingear — trust me it hurts!
And what about those long days under the clear blue sky? You are going to thank yourself for investing in a bit of protection from the sun with Canari’s UPF Arm Protectors and that DaBrim Sporty Helmet Visor.
Oh, and don’t forget to peruse our selection of stylish and functional socks. (Buy more than you think you’ll need. Chances are you won’t wash them as often as you might like.)
How am I going to carry all of this? Racks and bags, of course! Once you outfit your rig with a reliable set of racks — Arkel, Tubus, and Old Man Mountain are our favorites — you will need bags to carry all of the gear. We have a great selection of top-quality panniers and bikepacking bags to help you carry all of the items mentioned above. Ortleib, Arkel, and Revelate are the top names in the industry when it comes to equipping your bike for adventure, all backed by outstanding warranties to keep you happy for years to come. Picking the right carrying system is all a matter of personal choice, so if you find yourself stuck give us a call and we can help you weigh the options.
Before you know it, you’ll be packing up your panniers and pushing pedals down a back road on a life-changing trip with a grin from ear to ear. But just in case you let a piece of gear slip your mind, don’t fret. We’re more than happy to ship something out, general delivery to the nearest post office.
Wherever you find yourself in the coming months, never forget: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
Wishing you nothing but smiles for miles, the Cyclosource crew!
Photos by Maxton Caplanides.
CYCLO NOTES is brought to you by Adventure Cycling’s Cyclosource team—Teri, Max, and Maxton.
Our Cyclosource store brings you some of the finest bicycling maps and gear available, and all proceeds from Cyclosource support Adventure Cycling’s mission to “inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle.”