If the title of this post didn’t give you an ear worm you are probably not yet 45. Or you didn’t catch the allusion. Just to help you along (and share the ear worm I’ve been carrying around for almost two weeks), check out this link so you can sing while you read this post: Brand New Key
After our grand cycle adventure across the US (Cycling Across the US – A Three Minute Video Overview) we wore through a number of things or decided that we needed to swap out gear to accommodate our new cycling adventures in Europe and Morocco.
On our TransAm we carried a tiny set of clothes (What to Wear to a Cross-Country Bicycle Trip), so every day we were wearing something we’d just worn a day or two ago. That kind of usage and repeated washing is really tough on clothes. They just aren’t up to it over five months. Stains just pile up after a while. And, ya know, you get to the point that you really don’t want to wear that thing one more time. So we each threw away our worn out shirts, shorts, skirts, etc, and we’re now sporting new duds – some of which look exactly like the old ones.
I also have two new key cycling items.
After 15 years of abuse, I traded in my old cycling helmet for a new one with new, improved brain protecting technology. Having recently watched the movie Concussion was added incentive.
I also replaced my cycling shoes. Joy and I had matching Keen cycling sandals. Those were great shoes, if dorky looking. But one of the screw holes on the bottom of my left shoe was slightly stripped and got worse each time I replaced the cleats. (They get worn out with so much clipping in/clipping out all day long and then walking around campsites or rough, unrideable dirt roads – thank you, Google Map Lady). The loose screw made the cleat periodically come loose, which is not a great thing. Sadly, Keen no longer makes these shoes. Bastards! On the other hand, I love my new Giro shoes. Orange and Black. Go San Francisco Giants!
Because we’ll be spending more time cycling in and through cities and sometimes sharing paths with pedestrians when there aren’t dedicated bike lanes (we’ve already experienced this in Malaga, Spain), we decided we really needed bells. Yet another contraption on our handlebars! It’s taking us some time to get accustomed to using the bells.
We bought new fenders here in Spain because we couldn’t fit them in our bike boxes. There’s nothing materially better about these new fenders other than that they’re black and they look better on the bikes. Looking stylish is important in Europe!
We’ve added red/yellow reflective triangles that dangle from our bike saddles so we stand out that much more. Given the lack of dedicated cycling lanes on backroads, we really want to take every opportunity to be seen.
Only half the baggage
One of the big changes is that we won’t be carrying any camping/cooking gear on this trip. That means we are only carrying two panniers each instead of four, and about 35 pounds of gear each instead of 55 pounds.
We are skipping the camping/cooking part of touring partly because Europe is a lot more populated than the US so there won’t be long stretches with nowhere to sleep/eat. And based on the first few days of our time in Spain are at all representative of the food we’ll be eating in Europe, that’s a great decision. I don’t expect a “great hamburger desert” like we experienced on our TransAm ride.(Adventures in American Eating)
Plus, as Joy has declared, “We’ve been there, done that.” And I agree that it sure is nice at the end of a long cycling day to use a shower, plop onto a real bed, and eat delicious food — particularly if someone else has made it.