Today’s post is about luggage, and some very persuasive and scientific theories I have about luggage. Cycling road trip luggage, to be precise.
To set the stage for my theories, I offer to you the following photographs as evidence.
First, here is a photograph — taken yesterday — of the backseat area of my BikeMobile:
As you can clearly see, two road bikes fit in that area easily, without the necessity of removing any wheels.
Next, here is a photograph — also taken yesterday — of the bed of my truck:
And here is another, to give you a bird’s-eye view of the contents of that truck bed:
Looking at all that, please take a moment to answer the following questions:
- How many people are on this trip?
- How long is this trip?
I know that you’re waiting on tenterhooks for the answer, so I’ll get straight to it.
It was a two-day trip (to Saint George, UT) for two people: The Runner and me. Here’s. Here’s a picture of us somewhere on the Goulds / Jem / Hurricane Rim loop yesterday:
Don’t we look happy? Well, of course we look happy, because we are happy. How could we not be happy? After all, by driving for 3.5 short hours we got away from winter to a sunny, warm pavement and desert-singletrack paradise.
But still. All that luggage? For just two people? For just two days?
Which is what brings us to the heart of today’s post.
Bike Stuff Is A Gas
As anyone who has ever farted in a room knows, gas expands to fill all available space. Which is why I have to believe that bike stuff is a gas. I mean, a few months ago, I went to the Ride for the Roses weekend in Austin, then directly from there to work for a week in Chicago, and I fit everything I needed into a single suitcase.
Because that was the amount of space that was available.
Last weekend, on the other hand, The Runner and I had The BikeMobile all to ourselves and — sure enough — our stuff exactly filled the truck.
Hence: bike stuff is a gas.
A Closer Look
Let’s look a little deeper into what what, exactly, filled the truck. This time, however, we’ll number the various items, for easy identification.
Item 1: The Backpack. This contains food items, such as PRO Bars and Fruition bars, and Honey Stinger fruit chews. And Salted Nut Rolls. And Dried Mangoes. And cashews. It’s also got a number of non-bike-specific food items, such as Chex Party Mix. And chips. And Oreos. Gee, I wonder why I’m not losing weight very fast this Winter?
Item 2: The Large Black Samsonite. This suitcase contains all of The Runner’s clothes for the trip, both for cycling and for non-cycling. I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that The Runner is a more efficient packer than I am.
Item 3: The Small Yellow Tote Bag. This bag contains The Runner’s non-clothes-related items for the weekend. And now suddenly I’m not feeling so bad about the fact that all her clothes fit into a single bag.
Item 4: The Large Grey Tote Bag. This bag contains all my biking clothes for the weekend, and is almost certainly the most perfect example of my theory. Since I knew I had plenty of room, I filled this bag with a pair of bib tights, knee warmers, arm warmers, three pair of bib shorts, three long-sleeved jerseys, three short-sleeved jerseys, a wool base layer jersey, three pair of lightweight wool cycling socks, two pair heavy wool socks, shoe covers, one pair lightweight cycling gloves, one pair middleweight cycling gloves, and one pair cold-weather cycling gloves. And three different beanies, of varying weights and colors.
The thing is, when all was said and done, what I actually wore, cycling-wise, was two different pair of bibshorts (one each for the two rides we did), one long-sleeved jersey (I wore the same jersey for both rides, because I love my new Fat Cyclist Long Sleeve jersey so much), two pair of socks, and one pair of gloves. In other words, the cycling clothes I actually used could have fit in the side pocket of The Runner’s suitcase.
Item 5: The Purple-and-Brown Tote Bag of Hideousness: I have owned two very ugly nylon tote bags for about 17 years. I’d get rid of them but they are pretty much bombproof, and incredibly practical. For this trip, the purple-and-brown bag contained four pair of cycling shoes (two each for The Runner and me) and two helmets. The side pocket contained spare tubes (both road and mountain), lube, CO2 cartridges, a triangle hex wrench, and an oil rag.
Item 6: Ice Chest. I make no apologies for this item. There’s nothing better than a cold drink after a ride.
Item 7: The Purple-and-Teal Tote Bag of Hideousness: This bag contained all my non-cycling clothes. This, embarrassingly, contains enough clothing to last me a full two weeks. I threw in multiple pairs of pants and about half the t-shirts I own. I could have done just fine by bringing two t-shirts (and the second one would have been just in case I spilled salsa on the first). I mean, it’s a biking trip, after all. Not a fashion show.
Items 8 & 9: Gary Fisher Superfly, Superfly SS: Our bikes, plus of course the road bikes (Orbea Orcas for both of us) inside the truck. I don’t feel bad about bringing these, because we did in fact go on both a road ride and a mountain bike ride. But if we had less space, it would have been easy to just bring one bike per person.
Item 10: My foot. As I perched precariously on the top of the bed of the truck and taking photos of the contents therein, looking like a fool to anyone in the parking lot who might be curious as to what I was doing.
The Consolidation of Stuff
So, suppose we hadn’t had all that room? Well, Item 1 could have been eliminated altogether, by stuffing whatever food we wanted into our helmets for the trip. Item 2 — OK, Item 2 stays as-is, but Item 3 could maybe have been pared down?
Okay, maybe not. I don’t want to go there.
Items 4, 5, and 7, however, could easily have been combined into a single bag, as long as The Runner was willing to share her toothbrush. And doesn’t mind me smelling a little bit bad by day 2 of the trip.
I’ll have to ask her about that.
So sure, we could have easily fit everything we needed into a smaller space for the trip. But you know, there’s something luxurious about lazy packing — just throwing stuff in there, so you know you’re covered, no matter what the weather or your mood.
And besides, there’s no fighting physics.