What's in the bag part 2 - Cycle Touring

My apologies for the lack of chronology lately. There is a certain relationship between price and weight for items related to survival. The more, that is to say, the heavier things are, the higher the cost. More food means more money. More layers or thicker blankets mean higher cost. This relationship is logical.

Its reversed however, when you look at technical outdoor gear. The lighter you go, the more expensive you get. The same amount of function carries a hefty premium for a lighter weight, because with this comes increased comfort and convenience. This difference references my idea of different levels of life, adding joy and intracacy when changing from surviving to thriving.

There are two main ways to bike tour, and they play with this difference. There is the cheap and heavy way, and the expensive yet lighter and more comfortable fashion. Fortunate to have been raised at least comfortably wealthy, the lion's share of my bike touring has been of the latter style.

The former is bike touring with camping as the main means of accommodation. Therefore, you must carry a sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad, towel, and usually a camping stove and food. Added together these items are quite heavy and take up a lot of space. They also neccesitate a sturdier bike that can support the weight.

The other vein of bike touring is that of minimalism, because all survival requirements, which are carried in the first method, are replaced by a credit card. You sleep in hotels, eat in restaurants and carry as little as possible. Oftentimes, it increases the joy of riding because the minimal weight means you can ride with a non touring specific bicycle. Because we chose the credit card in Corsica, I got to use my race bike. It meant that instead of hauling a major load, I enjoyed my time on the bike much more. In a sense, I was paying for the increased thrill of a race bike, instead of a loaded down heavy bike with worse handling.

All my baggage for two weeks

Without further ado, here's the contents of my minimalist packing. I'll preface my list with two notes; I packed some gratuitous luxury items, and second is that it must be remembered that this is all I took for two weeks:

1 set of on the bike clothes: jersey, socks, bibshorts, bike shoes (worn, not carried) 1 set of off the bike clothes: t-shirt, shorts, belt, underwear, socks, boat shoes 1 set of of cycling layers: arm warmers, leg warmers, thin softshell (worn off the bike as well) NOTE, I forgot gloves, so had no gloves in any weather, warm or cold 1 set of simplified toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, eyedrops, inhaler 2 week supply of contacts 1 paperback 1 kindle fire hd 1 7 in moleskin notebook 1 dSLR camera 2 containers of NUUN hydration tablets 2 bicycle tubes 1 multitool, 1 set of tire irons 1 credit card

So there you have it. You can live on very little for two weeks, and if you can for two weeks, why not a year? The most shocking item is the clothing, it gets repetative wearing the same thing every day (no regets!)

The correlation between price and simplicity is startling however. I believe that many people who believe simply also believe in a life with a lower budget, or are burdened by a lower budget. Yet it truly was money that enabled us to have so little. Obviously, cycling is a luxury sport, yet even still, money can take care of conveniences in the place of multiple material goods.

I look forward to touring on my own and embracing the cheaper and more independent style of cycle touring, sleeping in nature and being more responsible for my survival and comfort. Until then I continue without the bike, Corsica was three or four weeks ago, and I haven't been on a bike since then. Everyday it becomes clearer and clear. Its a passion, its a lifestyle, its an obsession. That's what matters most. No matter how I bike tour in the future, at the end of the day, what counts most is that I'll have spent it on a bike.

Riding the dream in Corsica

The propostion was simple - a two week bike tour of Corsica and Sardegne - many miles a day, self-supported, with my less than normal but very much loved aunt and uncle. The pros of the idea were overwhelming - an idealistic escape by bicycle to what the natives call the most beautiful island in the world (I can understand why). The only doubt was that of my fitness, my aunt and uncle were in top shape after countless endurance events and I was coming off of my Parisian spring, but it was not a nagging doubt, knowing it would be worth any pain and suffering.

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Corsican Getaway - Living or Dreaming?

We hold certain esteem to islands as places of escape. The reasons are numerousm but thery can all be reuced to the idea of less, of simpliciation. Less land, less built up, less busy, less chatoic. Add the pleasure of the vacation style life, the warm weather and the overall augmentation of isolation, and what remains is quite near to paradise. Blue skies above, a soft yet bold hue, unyeilding semmingly until inifinity when it reach gently but ever so distinctly caresses the deeper blue of the sea.

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Looking backwards and forwards (travel plans!)

I''ve finished my first semester in Paris and am feeling pretty stoked and accomplished. I've seen some great things in Paris, France and Europe. I' 've vastly improved my French, made New friends and greatly expanded my passion for art. needless to say it's been a great semester. It's a bittersweet time though. Most of my friends are back in the US, to be replaced with other students. It's sad to be going on without them. The weirdest part is that I know Paris in the context of my friends. To have them gone means reinventing my life in Paris.

I'm ready for the change. I'll be with a new family, smack in the center of Paris, working a new internship for a chef and seeing new places with new people.nostalgia is necessary, but so is a life full of new possibilities.

Which brings me to the next month. I've got over a month for winter break and am taking full advantage of it. It'll look something like this:

-tomorrow I fly to Malaga in SW Spain to spend three days with my buddy George.

-bus to Seville where I'll meet my parents brother grandma and cousin and spend four days

-with that crew drive to Morocco and spend a week in fez and Marrakech.

-three days in Lisbon

-everyone but dad and I go home, fly to Salzburg Austria and ski in filzmoos for a few days

-train to four days in Rome

-dad leaves. ferry to Corsica

-ferry to nice

-train to Lyon

-back to Paris (albeit for .an immediate field trip to the Loire valley

As you can see, life is going to be sunny and exciting coming up. and I couldn't be more thrilled to see George and my family.

I'll blog small updates from time to time, don't forget to keep in adventuring yourself