East Coast Bike & Hike & Bike: The Plan

Long distance hiking and adventure cycling seem to go hand in hand.  I met a lot of people on my first biking trip that were in the process of, planning to or had completed hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and/or the Continental Divide Trail.  In El Paso, Texas, for example, I met a young couple that was on their way to Maine by bicycle to hike the AT.  That got me thinking.

So this summer I am going to try to ride to Georgia from CT, about 1,000 miles, hike the AT, about 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, and then ride back to CT, about 450 miles.  I had lots of ideas from my first trip, so this time I am going to try a few new things.  Many of which involved hours and hours of time with my sister's sewing machine.

First, I am taking my road bike instead of the Surly cyclocross/touring bike. The road bike weighs about 10 lbs lighter and greatly limits what I can carry, so hopefully will be faster riding.  I constructed a frame pack for between the down tube and top tube and modified a compression sack for under the saddle.  I also changed the cassette to an 11-32  (works fine with Shimano 105 derailleur despite some things I read online) and put a 38 tooth chainring on the front for easier pedaling on hills.   I put on some higher spoke count wheels and hoping that durability in general won't be an issue.

Lastly, I broke down and bought a fancy Brooks Cambium Saddle, which I paid about $130 for.  After a few 15-30 miles rides I was impressed, but after back to back 50+ mile rides I had bad saddle sores.  I've decided to give it a 1,000 miles before I definitively say that high end saddles are a waste of money.

While riding I had a number of ideas about creating a tent that could be used as a hammock and also a backpack.  So after a few hundred hours of sewing I put together something that does that.  However, I haven't had a chance to test it extensively other than a few short hikes, which makes me a bit nervous.  Worst case scenario I'll have my backup non-homemade gear shipped to me.  Details and pictures of hiking equipment to follow.  For now, I will say I've got everything to about a 12lb pack, not including food and water.

Leaving today, Saturday April 18, 2015 (Madeline's 6th Birthday).  First stop, New Haven.