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.

1 comment:

bicycletorch said...

I have used that list now a couple of years, thank you. And my bike has no wheels, drivetrain, or cables with under 2 weeks to go. Plenty of time.

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