Dry Run 2

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Heading West on 27A, Long Island, NY

So this weekend I did another dry run.  Before I get into that let me update you on all the things that have happened in the past week or so.

First of all, my panniers arrived!  They are HUGE and BEAUUUTTIFUULL [from Ortlieb at REI]!! I can’t wait to pack them onto my bike!  Although that brings me to the issue of racks.  Last week I went through the ordeal of finding a rack that wasn’t too expensive just to take on my weekend run.  I made the mistake of starting with Wal-Mart.  I didn’t even know they carried bike racks!  I started off buying a 16 dollar rear bike rack that could hold 15 pounds.  I got home and discovered that it didn’t come with enough screws and that the holes were too big anyways for the screws [if they had been provided!]  So I went back and exchanged it for a 20 dollar bike rack that ended up not fitting my bike seat.  It was the kind that just goes right on your bike post but mine was too big.  By the end of the day I was racked out and exhausted.

Friday I finally dragged my ass to REI which, really, is what I should have done to begin with.  I bought a 40 dollar rack and it was perfect.  Not only that but with the REI membership if there are any issues with the rack I can return it so it more than pays for itself.

While I was there I looked at sleeping bags and tents.  The sleeping bag that I’m leaning towards is so beautiful I can barely stand it!  It’s called the North Face Snow Leopard for Women.  According to the reviews it’s damn cozy and the only real issue is that it’s a little bulky but I’ve decided that if I have a real big issue I can buy a compacting sack for it.

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The North Face Snow Leopard Sleeping Bag – Women’s

So with that decision taken care of it’s time to move on to talk about my tent.

I bought the KOPPEN tent that I mentioned in a previous post and I was both impressed and disappointed.  It was fairly easy to set up and very cute to look at and then I realized I couldn’t sit up.  I understand that for a teeny tiny tent I should have expected that but …I wasn’t ready for it.  Other than that it was cozy cozy cozy, the wind blew all night long and it didn’t bother me.  In the morning when I woke up though there was condensation on the inside of the rain fly and it was sliding in through my mesh windows.  In warmer conditions this wouldn’t really be a problem but I’m imagining being in a colder climate and having even more condensation.  That’s an issue I would really rather not have so I called Dick’s today and they said I could return it.  [Thankfully I saved my receipt in a safe place haha]

I had looked at a tent at REI that was perfect for me the only problem was that it weighed like 7 pounds so I immediately vetoed it …but now I’m eating my words and going back to REI for it.  Again, I decided that the extra few pounds [also I must have really misheard the REI guy because it only weighs 4 pounds] would be worth the little better quality than the one I have now.

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REI Camp Dome 2 Tent

Next on my list of things to think about is a mattress pad and start accumulating actual supplies.

Moving on:  my butt hurts.  ALOT.  This weekend was the first extended trip I had done since I first got Evelyn.  If you’re just joined us, Evelyn is my beautiful, adorable hybrid bike.  I will be the first to say that she doesn’t have a seat that’s made for touring.  That’s just one more thing on my list of things to buy, but other than that she was glorious!  I forced myself to figure out the gears because on my shitty bike that I had before I never really messed with the gears, standing up going up hills and dying of exhaustion at the top!  This time I was determined to learn all my gears and which ones I liked best.  One thing I thought a lot to myself going up hills was that if I was going any slower despite all my energy output, that I would begin rolling back down the hill haha!

I loooovveee my bike shoes!  Having the clipless shoes was fabulous.  I liked feeling like I was attached to my bike (I mean…I was) and guess what guys?  I DIDN’T FALL ONCE!  After that first weekend where I forced myself to get back on and learn to ride with them I have mastered the clipless shoes (for now, knock on wood).  The one thing that I did notice was that my toes were a little cold sometimes.  I vaguely remember hearing about shoe covers though so I guess I’ll have to look into that.  I also have to remind myself to wiggle my toes once an hour because my pinky toes are always falling asleep (in EVERY pair of shoes I own this happens, so I know it’s not just the bike shoes).

One of the mistakes I did make this weekend was not drinking enough water on my way home.  I usually drink like 5 bottles of water per 40 miles and yesterday I only drank like 2 and a container of coconut water.  I have to remind myself that just because I’m a little cold doesn’t mean I’m not thirsty.  When I got home I took a hot bath and when I got out of the tub I literally collapsed on the floor, I was so lightheaded.  I drank water and carb-ed up and felt better after that.

WIND. OMG. WIND.  I had to bike north from the beach for about 6 miles straight into the wind.  I literally thought I was going to die and blow off the big bridge that I had to cross to get from Fire Island back to the main highway.  It was BRU-TAL and freezing cold and I had my warm biking coat on!!  The entire time I was hoping that it wouldn’t be this bad all the way home otherwise it would take me HOURS to get home.  Thankfully once I turned west I was going with the wind and it wasn’t so cold.

The other thing I have become extremely grateful for is BIKE LANES!  Most of the time there is no designated bike lane but there’s always a fairly large shoulder.  Sometimes however there is like NO shoulder and no sidewalk, which is when it’s a little bit scary.  I am always thankful when I see signs like this:

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I think that’s all I can think of to update y’all on for right now!  Until next time!  Happy biking!

Fire Island, Mastic Beach, NY

Fire Island, Mastic Beach, NY

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Tent Time!!

Tent Time!!

Okay so as of right now I’m in the midst of decision making on tents. I have purchased a tent at Target back in May because I had star visions of camping all summer on the weekends. These were dashed of course by the fact that there are no good campgrounds around my home within biking distance for one night. I was finally able to de-flower my tent on her virgin voyage into camphood. Kerry and I went camping at Wildwood State Park the second weekend in September. We drove up to the park, pitched our tent in the dark, in the wind and proceeded to have a grand old time! And then we went to bed. How shall I put this? ….It was cold as fuck. I realized by morning, when I found myself trying to cuddle up to Kerry’s feet, that my tent was not too windproof. The window of the tent were only mesh, where some tents (I thought it was most tents but I was wrong) didn’t have a zip-over to close the windows, so to speak. I decided then and there that I would have to buy a new tent that was weather proof because I’ll be damned if I’m cold on this trip. =) So right now the tent I’m looking at is called the Koppen Lokal. It’s for one person and advertises that it is a 3 season tent, however all the reviews rave about how wonderful of a tent it is even in snow. I’m thinking that along with my tarp under it, this will be perfect for all adventures. It’s supposed to be cozy in the cold and the windows open for air BUT (here’s the best part) the mesh of the windows is small enough to prevent no see-ums, which was a real concern for me. One review even said it kept out tiny ants. I went over to Dicks to have a look see and it couldnt’ be more perfect. The price is great ($90.00) and it’s just enough room for me and my bags. It only weights 2 pounds and folds up into a small little bag which is, again, perfect.