Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What is the best way to prepare for a cross-country bike trip?

Answer: Little biking, busy with work, and 24 hrs (or less if possible) to pack. Or, at least, this appears to be a 2-data-point trend.

Before the last big bike trip, you may recall that I was working on a project which was due a mere 24 hours before our flight, leaving me with no time to bike or even think about the trip. Furthermore, you may also recall that I more-or-less had to quit my job. (Or, more accurately: I insisted upon going on the bike trip, which was neither approved nor rejected up to a few days ahead of time, which led to them half-calling my bluff by threatening to fire me if I was gone for more than 2 weeks. Of course, skilled diplomat that I am, I had already negotiated a job with a former office as an escape plan for just such an occasion.) This time things are more amenable with work (I love being a grad student), though I am heading out on Thursday to give a presentation at a conference in Cambridge (the one in England, not Massachusetts). When I get back, I have one day to pack my stuff up into the car and head to DC for The Traverse, and our train departs from DC half a day after that event ends. Thus it appears that in a similar way as last time, this bike trip is going to spring upon me without warning and that feels ok to me.

So we haven't been doing a lot of biking recently, though the DC to Pittsburgh trip must count for something. But I'm not too worried about this. They say (and I agree) that on a big bike trip, you tend to get in shape throughout the trip. Furthermore, we plan to start of relatively easy and work our way up to feats of strength.

Also, the packing for such trips is just too easy for me now. On any given day, I could probably be ready for a 6 month bike trip in an hour or two. So while we are organizing contacts and places to stay along the way and considering the number of rechargeable AA batteries to bring, that is really all gravy.

So while I am focused more on my Cambridge presentation, I am not really worried about the bike trip planning or packing. If the first big bike trip has taught me one thing, it is that problems are meant to be solved on the road.

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