Post for 22-07-27, including the days & weeks before.
After reading past posts, people have mentioned they like it when I put the song first. This song is fun and very fitting, for what’s below.
After enjoying bike tours for 10 years, I’ve gotten better at it, at least a little. But in the last week or so, I’ve scrambled around like a newbie, again. Before every bike tour, I lose gear, look around with frustration, lose something else, and find what I couldn’t the first time. And of course, there were times when the bit I was looking for was in my hand.
After that, I found a good place to pack stuff in my bike-bags, moved it to a better place, forget where I put it, and repeat the process of searching, finding, and losing. It’s like my own self-inflicted Easter-egg hunt—for everything from socks to spare spokes, or sock to spoke. But eventually, my bike looked pretty good.
As mentioned in the previous post, her name is Fernweh, which is German for “far-ache.” It’s the opposite of homesickness.
Preparing for this trip was no different, but after packing my stuff on Fernweh, and moving all my gear to luggage to put on a plane, there was something else. On this trip, I decided to pack my bike myself, so it could also be shipped on a plane, hopefully the same one I would fly on.
Shipping a bike is part of bike touring, usually on an airplane. I’ve always taken my bike to a bike shop, so experienced mechanics could make my full-size bike fit into a much smaller bike box, for shipping. I decided to pack my bike on my own this time, since I’m so experienced at bike-touring.
I wrote most of this while sitting in airports and on airplanes, while flying from Missoula to Calgary. While I sat and typed, a few questions wandered through my tired mine, such as:
Question 1: How much gear did I forget?
For me, it’s not possible to remember everything, even with pages of lists.
Question 2: What kind of problems will occur after my bike comes out of the box?
Normally, packing a bike means taking off only the front wheel and putting a bunch of padding around the frame, and other bits.
After that, you put the bike into a box and easily tuck the front wheel by the very-padded frame, in the box. My bike is XL, like my disorganization skills.
Having an XL bike meant I had to take both wheels off, tuck the rear derailleur inside the frame, and tuck (or shove) both wheels into the box and next to the frame.
In the process, I had to nudge or shove every delicate spot on my bike, from spokes to shifters.
Since this is the first time I’ve packed my bike into a box, I’m concerned I may have a Humpty-Dumpty problem, about putting all the pieces back together again. And then, riding the bike for 700 miles in mountains.
Question 3: Will my bike arrive with me?
I spent a lot of money on new gear for this ride. As mentioned in the previous post, this ride will be bike-packing instead of bike touring. The gear I’ve used for the last 10 years is made for bike-touring, so I bought a lot of gear for bike-packing. Since I spent so much money on gear, I decided to save money on my flight.
I flew Alaska Air. It’s rated high by cyclists, but staff at Alaska Air couldn’t assure me my bike would be on the plane with me until I was at the gate. They were “almost certain” but not entirely.
Perhaps the most puzzling part of the unpredictable packing process is that I still love it, even when I’m holding the piece of gear I’m looking for or shoving bits of my precious bike into a box.
After my flight to Calgary, the next step is taking a shuttle bus to Jasper, arriving at 8pm, and very likely setting up my tent in the dark, like I have for 10 years. We’ll see what happens.