Traveling by Bicycle Across America

What Items Did You Carry Coast-to-Coast and Not Use

Items Not Used on the Tour

Unused Items Carried Coast-to-Coast

I was asked if I carried anything coast-to-coast on my bicycle ride across America, that I did not use. Above the photo shows most of the items I did not use. The long sleve shirt was to have gone with a pair of khakis that I left at home during my rest days in July. I also left a pair of jeans, my rain coat, a long sleeve jersey and light weight cycling tights home at that time. Early on I mailed about 6 pounds of gear home from Columbia Falls, Montana, including a cotton polo shirt, a metal pot for cooking, a long sleeve jersey and a small duffle bag.

Out of curiosity, I weighed each item not used. Long sleeve cotton shirt: 240g; Kleenex: 20g; wrenches (for brakes) 180g; tube2: 120g each; patch kit: 20g; tube for B.O.B trailer: 110g. Not included in the list is a small box of Park self-adhesive patches and another tube carried in an under-seat bag. The total is 1040 grams or 2.3 pounds.

This was my first loaded bicycle tour. Next time I will be more selective about what I carry. Some of you may be thinking, what difference will a couple of pounds make. I was told there was more than 50,000 feet of climbing from Ticonderoga, New York to Bar Harbor, Maine. A rider has to lift all of that weight. That means an additional 115,000 foot-pounds of work for that portion of the ride.

I read a book early this year in which a mountain climber that had been to the summit of Mt. Everest cut the handle off his toothbrush, even on less challenging climbs. Later I read of a cycling tourist that does the same thing. I’m not sure I will go that far. On this bicycle tour the weight of my gear, trailer, bicycle and 3 full water bottles totaled 60% of my body weight. My goal for the next tour is to reduce that ratio substantially.


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  1. Susan

    Marty has your blog set as his home page. Each day, I wonder where you have been riding and what you have been seeing on your rides since you got home. I enjoyed reading your posts and the seeing the pictures you had taken when you biked across the USA.

    • Thanks Sue,

      I have taken a few pictures of local rides this fall. I hope to post some of them in the near future.

  2. Thomas Machtan

    I too have done a short run in comparrason to his. DC to Chicago, 863 miles, 7 days. I literally dumped 18 pounds of unneeded gear after my first day. Most were extra clothing, an extra pair of shoes, (old tennis), shaving gear, (can get that enroute as needed), nutritional items that can be purchased along the way, extra batteries, the heavy lock for the bike chain. Believe me, those 18 pounds made a huge difference going through the appil. mnts.

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