Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RAGBRAI Preparations Part 3

... and this is how it goes most years. It's 11:45 on Wednesday night and I had plans for departure on Friday.

I did manage to mount the front rack and basket on my touring bike the other day.  Short of that I have not packed anything, have not even started the staging process by making random piles of stuff all over the house.  I printed the packing list mentioned in the previous post, but misplaced it and now the printer is complaining about no toner.  My annual trip to Target to peruse the trial-size aisle was replaced by a trip to the pharmacy to secure some antibiotics for a raging infection I have in my right knee.

I may leave on Saturday morning instead, not certain what will sway my decision one way or another.

On the plus side; I have been searching for a set of these for years and finally some finally showed up today in the mail.  No particular need, no bike that I could even mount them on.  Only a bike addict would understand how to rationalize the design and build of a new bike around a single part.
"New" Gran Compe 450 Center Pull circa 1986

Friday, June 27, 2014

RAGBRAI Preparations Part 2

Somehow, as crazy as it seems, I had enough fun as part of year one to want to go back again the next year.  I had enough fun that when it came time to sign on with the good folks at North Iowa Touring Club, they didn't want me.

I tried a different club year 2 but was rejected again for year 3.  For years 3 through 10, I convinced my older brothers and friends to go along, pack up a vehicle and head off on our own. The support vehicle and packing list grew more elaborate; stereo, coolers, LOTS of beer, clothes, extra bikes, food, music, lawn chairs.

After year 10, I tried something different.  I bought a Trek 520 touring bike, some racks, some panniers and set off from the house in Saint Paul and rode to Onawa, IA. It was 1995, no internet to find someone else's advice on how much stuff to bring or research just how far it was going to be.  It was only about 5 inches on the map. I over packed and under-estimated just how far it was but managed to ride 1,156 miles in 12 days before returning home.

No matter the years following, the preparation has followed a similar pattern...

  1. Think about getting ready
  2. Prepare a pile or several small piles of stuff all over the house
  3. Make a last-minute trip to REI to buy something I never knew I needed
  4. Make a last-minute trip to Target to stock up on stuff from the travel-size aisle that I never knew I needed.
  5. Finally pack at the very last minute, frequently LATE into the night
  6. Leave the next morning
  7. 80 miles from home recall something important that I forgot to pack
  8. Ride for a week with things I never use.
In 2002 I started getting a little smarter and started a list.  I created a column for what I thought I needed to buy. I added a column so that I could mark off when I put something in one of the piles somewhere in the house and then I mark off when I actually pack things.  The last column is for the inventory process when I get home so that I can better plan for the next trip.


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