A Terrible Mistake

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I like nice things. When I get into something – like a new hobby – I’m the guy who goes pretty much all out and invests in the most expensive shit right off the bat. This has throughout the years cost me a lot of money and it’s earned me many nerd points, but I will say I’ve also ended up with tons of good experiences using good equipment.

Today I almost made not one but two terrible mistakes. Today was the day to turn my sleek sexy road bike into the kind of horrible, ugly, heavy touring monster that you normally see german couples in their sixties riding around on. Complete with mudguards, a rear rack, a front rack, panniers and a stand. You know the drill. For some reason I thought to myself, as I was deciding upon which racks and panniers to put on, that this was a great opportunity to deal with my habit of always buying expensive things. Yes, I thought it an amazing idea to try something for me different: to go with cheap equipment and see how I do. Not because I don’t have the money to buy expensive stuff, but more to show myself that I can get away with using cheap stuff – that buying the higher end gear is simply me trying to fill a void or something to that effect.

Bike pre tourification:


I should not have tried this and I am now an even more devout believer in buying good equipment. The mudguards went on fine – no issues there. Next up was the rear rack. The rack was from a company which name I won’t mention here but it was from let’s say the mid-range of racks that I normally wouldn’t even cast a glance. This rack was such a complete pile of crap that it nearly ruined my thursday evening together with the threads on the frame of my bike. I finally – after about an hour, several failed attempts and a few cut corners – get the damn rack at least semi-settled on the bike and it looks completely stupid because it has two big pieces on it which are CHROME while the rest of the thing is MATT… Next thing to go on are the rear panniers. These things are so poorly thought out that they BARELY even fit  this really standard looking rack. I had to struggle for about five minutes to get them on, and that’s with the bike hanging comfortably in a stand and the panniers empty. I wonder what that would’ve been like 3000 miles into my trip in the blazing hot desert.

Ruining my beautiful bike with this bad gear was my first mistake. The second one came when I actually thought to myself: Oh well, the stuff I just mounted onto my bike is mindless shit that some engineer who obviously smokes crack before going to work came up with, BUT I just invested two hours in this so I should just leave it on and see how it pans out once I start my trip.

NO. HELLO!?!?! That’s insane. I could hear my professor’s voice from an economics course I’d taken a couple months earlier discussing sunk costs. You don’t make a decision based on what’s already been invested. That time or money is gone. So I took everything back off the bike and I feel so much better now. I’m going to invest my money in stuff which someone else invested a lot of thought in creating instead. Why would I change this late in the game?

For those of you curious (probably no one) in what I’m getting instead:

http://www.tubus.com/ – German rack porn

http://www.vaude.com/default.html German pannier porn

Yeah, the german’s know what the hell they’re doing when it comes to bike touring.

Oh, one more thing. This is a quote I found on the website of the company that made the rack I was trying to mount:

“The map says there are some great wineries up this road. You stop and get some crusty French bread and a local cheese for a picnic. There’s still some room in the panniers for a bottle or two. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings but for now the wineries, and lunch, are calling. Touring by bicycle might be the ultimate expression of freedom. And this is where you’ll find just what you need for a self-supported bicycle tour. Just don’t forget the corkscrew!”

Either these guys are full of shit or I’m in for a summer of baguette-eating and wine-drinking! Sounds delightful.

In order to not bore you out of your little minds, here is a picture of my boss!! He just got a new haircut and now looks EXACTLY like the swedish rapper Adam tensta.


Adam Tensta:



The plan…



is that there is no real plan. There’s a group called the Adventure Cycling Association who’ve mapped out what they think are the very best, beautiful and friendly roads to use when crossing the US by bike. As you can see from the map above it’s not a really straight shot. Their trail – The Transamerica bike trail – adds about 1000 miles to the trip making it a total of about 4200 (or 6000 kilometers). The reviews I’ve read from people who’ve done it have all been great so I feel it’d probably be a mistake to try to map out my own route and wing it completely.

I arrive on the east coast on the 12 of June and my return flight from San Francisco on the 23rd of August. Those two dates, the limitation of my budget and the strength of my legs and psyche are what set the confines of this summer adventure.

The 6000 kilometers I have to cover divided by the 60 days or so I have on my bike gives me about 100 k’s a day to ride. Every. Fucking. Day. For two months. That’s pretty intense. 

As I want this to be a fun adventure and not a super stressful one I’ve decided to not be a purist about this whole thing. If I’m having a good time in a particular town and feel like staying there I probably will. If that means taking a bus the last 400 miles then so be it.

Over and out for now.