Friday, March 31, 2006

Packing List.

Because everybody has one. Mine, however, comes with running commentary, so hopefully that will make it a little bit more interesting.

Equipment
  • Specialized no frills 21-speed men's mountain bike. A generic, simple, basic quick release tires bike with no shock absorbers or any of that fancy shmanzy stuff. It is a $200 dollar bike, bought 6 years ago. You've seen those pictures of Mt. Everest expedition teams on TV, right? How the westerners are all clad in fancy The Northface brand equipment, really expensive stuff, and the Sherpas are all attired mostly in wool and yak hide? Now, you tell me: who climbs Everest most often? There you go. Same thing here with the bike. If it is good enough for 1004 kms in Italy, it is good enough for this trip too. The mountain-width tires have been replaced with a 1.50 in, I think, that is, hybrid/touring width, so as to reduce as much weight and drag as possible.

  • Left and right Arkel T-42 rear panniers. Fits all clothes and tools comfortably. Use same ones from Italy bike trip, too. They're still in excellent condition.

  • Bike rear rack. For attaching panniers and carrying backpack.

  • Backpack. For carying electronics, docs, toiletries, immediate use tools and other easy access stuff. Useful mostly while on airports. Too big to carry around cities, though. While sight-seeing, best to travel as light as possible.

  • Bike U-lock and bike lock chain. Ties quick release tires and detachable bike seat.

  • Tire pump. Generic hand pump attaches to bike crossbar, of course.

  • Puncture tube repair kit. Patches and sticky gum.

  • Two inner tube spares. 26 inch. Fits 1.50-1.95 width tires.

  • Two sets of brake pads. 'Cause the current front ones are on its last legs.

  • Set of front (white) and back (red) LED bike lights. Front light doubles as headlight/flashlight, practical gift from a dear friend.

  • Sigma BC 506 bike computer and spare. Just a fancy name for odometer/spedometer module and sensor. The spare is because these things get easily lost and stolen, and besides it is kinda cool knowing you're at the moment hitting 44 km/hr on the downhills, and knowing exact trip distance is essential for claiming honorable bragging rights!

  • Pedal wrench. Doubles as deterrent in case a boy gets fresh (just kiddin' ;)).

  • Euro-Atlas: Spain and Portugal. Scale 1:300,000. Nice road atlas from favorite map company. My only complaint is that elevation is not always very clearly indicated. Will need to guess steepness by the pretty colors and how curvy the road appears on map. Anyway, atlases for subsequent countries either buy en-route (esp. for France, Germany) or have friend in U.S. send previously internet-bought ones to Poste Restante as I go (i.e. Bulgaria map. The one I've got, by the way, is published in Hungary so it is all in either Cyrillic or Hungarian which might as well be the same thing for me, ha ha).

  • Big map of Europe. So as to not lose track of the big picture. ;)


  • Tools
  • Set of allen keys/wrenches in inches and metric. Because I was a bit too lazy to figure out whether my bike was metric or not. I think it is in inches, since made in the U.S. Still, you never know, so good to cary metric set.

  • Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, compact size. Leverage extended by threading allen wrench through slot on handle. Cool huh? :)

  • Adjustable wrench.

  • Pliers.

  • Eyeglass repair kit. These are always useful, and since unobtrusive practically free to carry. You never know when they can come in handy, even if they are too small for bike repairs.

  • Set of 3 tire levers. For inner tube replacement.

  • The Alien: multipurpose bike tool gift of a good friend. Has all sorts of nifty stuff including chain tool and truing tool and all sorts of tools whose use and name I don't even know.

  • Basic Swiss Army Knife. Gift from a visit to ABB in Switzerland long, long ago. Knives are always useful. Make sure to put in checked baggage, though.

  • Rob Van Der Paals' Bycicle Repair Step by Step. Because of bike repair, I don't know diddlysquat. But....I can read. Therefore, I know everything.


  • Clothes
  • 3 prs shorts: 1 pr padded biking shorts, 1 pr Billabong beach shorts, 1 pr short sports shorts (because the first two are long to the knee, and if you're going to spend so much time and sweat and effort in the summer heat on beach roads and mountains and stuff, you might as well get a decent tan while you're at it--bikeshort tanlines look funny, you know).

  • 2 prs pants. 1 jeans, 1 black street pants (casual, but nice cut).

  • 6 T-shirts/polo shirts, assorted and various colors. For easy mix and match.

  • Evening skirt, blouse, and strappy heels. No, my friends, this isn't woman's vanity, it is the paragon of practicality. Because you can't show up to the Berlin Philharmonic on your bike shorts and sneakers.

  • Day skirt and blouse. Because pretending to be a damsel in distress in order to pick up handsome blond and blue-eyed gentlemen is so much simpler in a flirty summer skirt. ;P

  • 7 prs underwear/3 prs top underwear.

  • 7 prs socks

  • Pajamas. Blech, pajamas are for weenies. Real women run around the youth hostel hallways in their underwear. Ha ha. Nah, just kidding. But see sport shorts above. They double up as pajamas with a T-shirt. Saves up a bit of space.

  • Sneakers. Got me a pair of these super cool blue suede Puma Sabercats. They remind me a bit of my rock climbing shoes, with their thin soles and a snug fit that hugs your foot all over(but these are much more comfortable!). Besides, I think they look very "European". To blend in with the locals. Hah. :)

  • City shoes. For wearing both with skirts and pants. They are these beautiful black ballerina slipper style shoes. Very light and easy to pack. The sole is rather thin, though, so probably not very good for too long with walking...

  • Reasonably waterproof windbreaker. The one I've got is phosphorescent yellow with grey reflecting lines, very visible. Ugly for the city, but ideal for biking in rain.

  • Fleece sweatshirt/sweater. Originally I wanted to take my woolen one, to put under windbreaker during rainy high elevation days, but it folded up rather bulkily, so this will have to do.

  • Bathing suit. Bikini, of course. ;P

  • Towel. Best advice Arthur Dent ever got.

  • Misc small towel (bright red) and clean rags. For emergencies, wiping grease off fingers, etc.

  • Biking gloves. Biking gloves, too, are for weenies. I never found the use for them. They're uncomfortable, make your hands sweat, and still can't understand what the point of them is supposed to be. So not taking those. Listed only so that the list looks cool, as that is the only reason I can think of people wear them anyway.


  • Entertainment
  • Let's Go Guide to Spain and Portugal. Subsequent tour guides get mailed from aforementioned friend. Let's Go guides are really good for people on a budget, but they're not so hot in terms of recommending what sights to see unless they're bars or nightclubs. Their sense of humor is also a bit annoying in the history and culture sections. Oh well. Can live with it/ignore.

  • Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. Entertainment, you say? Well, yes, you see, I'm currently in the middle of Book IV, Chapter V: Of Bounties, and it would really, really suck to set the book aside for six months at this point, considering the three months of previously accumulated momentum. Besides, it is a good book, he tells you all sorts of interesting things, like why tariffs on imports are always bad.......except when they aren't. Heh.

  • Living Language Complete French Course and Living Language French Beyond the Basics set of books, dictionary, and audio CDs. I picked up enough French to get by just from hearing it during the two weeks I was in Morocco last October (Pardon, sil vous plait, ou est la garre routière? is not exactly rocket science, you know), which suggests that achieving conversational levels shouldn't be too hard over the span of a month or so while traipsing through Spain, just in time for some Pyrinees crossing.


  • Other/Misc
  • Toiletries. The usual. Use your imagination.

  • Handy wipes and hand sanitizer. 'Cause hands get really dirty on the road and after changing spares or handling the bike chain.

  • Keys. What? Keys, you say? I no longer have an apartment or car! Well, bike lock, silly. :)
  • Sony DSC-T9 6MP digital camera and spare battery.

  • Collapsable camera tripod. See comments pedal wrench above.

  • Sagem AM/FM/TV/Weather compact radio. Because music is culture.

  • Memory cards: 256 MB and 2 GB.

  • 20-in-1 USB card reader. For uploading pics/movies to web from internet cafe.

  • Cheapo CD player.

  • Cell phone and SIM card. Buy when get to Lisbon.



  • I think that's about it. Surprised it all fits? Yup, and with plenty of space to spare. Cool, huh?

    4 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    You forgot the limerick. This is really the only one you'll need on your trip.

    There once was an X from place B
    That satisfied predicate P
    He or she did thing A
    In an adjective way
    Resulting in circumstance C

    Elisa said...

    Ha ha! Nice. :)

    Torsten said...

    Hi, Elisa,

    glad you arrived safely in Lisbon. Although I am dissapointed that you took the cab from the airport...what kind of biketrip is that? :-)
    Have fun, and I look forward to read the first report of aching legs, wind always blowing the wrong way, and roads always having an upward slope.
    Down a glas of port for me!
    Torsten

    Elisa said...

    Ha ha! Torsten, for you, I will drink not one glass, but many. :) Just not all of them in one sitting. ;P