Misc Tour Divide Stuff and Work

I had a great conversation with Tour Divide Finisher Joe Meiser the other night. We discussed bikes/packing/terrain etc. I now have a new approach to how I will try packing my gear. I ride a size small bike, so I’m limited in how much gear will fit in the frame bag. This means that I’ll more than likely have to carry a backpack. If you talk to anyone about the TD, you’ll hear over and over “if you want to go fast, don’t carry a backpack”. That works out well if your frame bag is large enough to carry your stuff. I’m not that lucky. Stupid short legs. Joe gave me a couple of suggestions to try out though. So on my next shakedown I’m going to do some more experimenting. I hope it works out well. I also confirmed the order of a new piece of gear. I think it will be here in a couple weeks. It’s designed in such a way that I can attach two large hoops to either side of it. More on that later.

Since I’m not independently wealthy I have to work, a lot. I work downstairs in a dark basement. There’s not much to look at down here, so while at work I keep my self sane by looking at this window.

That’s on one side of my console, and this is on the other. Homework!

At lunch I look over the maps, trying to plan out the days, where to re-supply, what the elevations are etc. Every once in a while this guy comes by to give me some shit. He’s known around here as “The Finger”. Think I’m joking? Look at his jacket. You wish you were this badass.

  • That jacket is hilarious 🙂

    Hoping to convert my old Shogun into an “adventure bike” this year so I can join you on a bikepacking ride or two (if you’ll permit).

    • Sounds great Ryan. I’ve probably got doubles of some pieces of gear if you need to borrow anything. It’ll be great to have you along. I know you’ll help me push the pace.

  • Just found your blog. I am playing TDR fan this yr…Any info
    from Joe is invaluable! He puts a lot of thought into his gear
    choices. Here are a few unsolicited ideas of mine While I did not
    use a backpack, Blaine Nester and Aidan Harding did! So using one
    is not a game stopper to going fast! But if you have to use one
    it’s important to minimize the two main, from my/ TDR point of
    view, draw backs of a backpack. One is accumulative wear &
    tear on the body. The rear end, shoulders and even hands can suffer
    over time from a backpack. Key is of course fit and weight. Both of
    these are relatively easy to address but imo it takes several
    overnight/long test/trial rides to be sure you have it right. The
    second and assuming the first is handled, bigger issue is lost
    time. If you want something in or out of your pack typically you
    have to stop to deal with it (unless you can ride ‘no-hands’ well
    enough to access deep in you pack). And putting on and off rain
    gear etc takes to long—should be able to do that while riding or
    with a quick 20 sec, 1 food down, stop. Over time this all adds up
    to hours of lost daylight-ride time. But if you pack only stuff you
    don’t need till camped, instead of stuff you handle several times a
    day, and have a jacket system that you can put on/off OVER the pack
    you don’t need to lose any time. And don’t forget a pack has some
    advantages—a place to keep you money, id etc and with pre-planned
    extra room– a ready shopping bag.. For these reasons a backpack
    can actually ‘save’ time at the store Anyway imo the key to be able
    to access several common items, food and also change/adjust layers
    without needing to stop—your entire set of clothing and gear pack
    out should keep this in mind. I could access chain oil, multi tool,
    chap stick, sun screen, chamois cream, Aleve, No-doze,
    mp3/phone,extra food, head light, profile sheet, small knife,
    toilet paper and wipes all from 1 outer side pocket on my frame
    bag–with 1 zip– while riding. Ha, obviously some of those things
    required a stop, but if so whatever I needed was in my hand before
    I parked the bike. Anyway you get the idea—just apply and practice
    this basic idea to clothing and what ever final bag/pack system you
    use and you will literally save 1+ hour a day over your
    competition. Plus you are more likely to grab that sunscreen, chap
    stick, whatever if its at hand and without needing to

    • Marshal,

      Thanks for the all the advice there! That’s a ton of info. It’s much appreciated. After my talk with Joe I came to the same conclusion, that a backpack “could” be a good thing. However, as you describe it, my Ergon might be too big. It’s kinda clumsy to get anything out of it without completely taking it off. Maybe a smaller backpack would be a compromise.