Shopping….I’m not a big fan. But, I have a list of things for our trip..things I can’t easily find in Malaysia…things that are really cool but I could probably do without except that they’re cool and lightweight and well made and wisely marketed to a cycle-tourer who wants to be comfortable.
The problem with shopping for all these cool things is that “necessary” and “want” becomes blurred..And, since we’ve never done something like this before, I’m not really sure what “necessary” actually is.
These things were on my original list:
Flat, super light-weight, Park bicycle wrenches in size 14,15, and 16 – Eric requested these and since he’ll be doing the repairs, I’ve got to trust that he knows the sizes he needs.
A rear-view mirror – Anytime I turn to look backwards, I lose stability. With a fully-loaded bike I need as much stability as possible.
Below-the knee cycle shorts with super nifty zipper pockets – I’m still bringing my spandex the dark brown knees and the lack of pockets are forcing me to find alternatives.
A two-person mosquito net – This is totally precautionary. The day I put this up is the day you know we couldn’t find a hotel…and I hope that day is never….
Waterproof cell phone bags – I think we are starting our journey near the end of monsoon season…but if you ask the locals, they don’t actually know when monsoon season is. In any event, we need our phones to be dry and functional
Waterproof stuff sacks – Biking in wet clothes is one thing. Sleeping in them is another.
Compression bags – These seem like a gimmick but we’re probably taking too many things so now we need a way to squeeze them in our panniers. I suspect about 2 weeks out, we’ll be shedding ourselves of some excess weight.
These are some things that were NOT on my list but seemed like a good idea:
Fast drying, guaranteed easy to wash, “the only pair we’ll need” as the package reads, underwear
Lightweight towels – these go with the mosquito….hopefully, never to be used. I hope our “hotels” have towels.
A shirt with zipper pockets, UV protection and bug repellent all wrapped in one. I’m going to look like a poster child for Eddie Bauer, REI, and Patagonia all in one.
Croc flipflops (aka shower shoes) – These are super light-weight, actually quite comfortable, and an option for use when we’re biking in the rain.
Items I’m still deciding on:
Light weight Merino wool long-sleeved shirt – lots of bikers swear by these shirts. I’ve even read that they are relatively cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather. But I can’t decide. When I went to the Patagonia store and talked to the sales person, she said Merino wool is great if you can stand to wear it. I immediately though about my itchy head with my wool winter skiing hats. This seems like a lot of money and volume to give up for a shirt I may not be able to wear because it makes me itch. The sales person mentioned some alternatives, but , since they are made out of man-made materials, will eventually smell bad…a problem with so many of our sports clothes…
All these decisions are making me crazy…. it’s time for a bike ride.