You might think bicycle touring is a liberating experience, and it is, but just like any large-scale adventure, riding a bike around the world takes a lot of planning, organizing and yes, gear. As I rid myself of metaphorical baggage such as a job and a mortgage I find that I am adding a different, more literal kind of baggage to my life. After all, just because I'm not going to be living in a house doesn't mean I can completely do without possessions and I need someplace to stow all that stuff.
I'm leaving for my trip in less than 70 days and as the time draws near, I realize that gathering the necessary gear is becoming more critical and time sensitive. New equipment has to be properly fitted, tested and tweaked before I leave on the Big One because when that day comes there's no turning back.
So it was in this state of mind that I purchased two new pieces of literal luggage: A bright red Ortlieb Rack Pack to fit over my rear Ortlieb Back Roller panniers and an orange, Seal Line dry bag for my front rack.
The Rack Pack will hold clothes, tools and other gear that just won't fit in my four panniers, and the Seal Line dry bag is reserved for my REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent.
I've loaded up my bike with all the gear I'll be taking around the world and test-ridden it through the neighborhood. I've been training for the past year and have logged thousands of heavily-laden miles, but never with all the gear necessary for three years on the road. My trusty Trek 520 is definitely heavier and handles differently, but it feels solid and I'm confident it can take the extra mass. I'll know for sure after a fully-loaded 3-day training tour scheduled for this weekend in the San Juan Islands.
Stay tuned for that report.