Welcome new Surly

On Thursday Jesse became the proud owner of a his new Surly LHT.  It is a black 58cm bike which he picked up and brought home on the metro – keeping it shiny and new, avoiding riding it in the -20C snowy evening.   The seat has not yet been adjusted – he’s not actually that tall, and he still needs to add his pedals which he still needs to remove from his current Craigslist Special bike.  Next will be getting fenders, a back and front rack, and installing them.

Jesse’s Surly LHT
Jesse’s Surly LHT

Here is my bike, a 50cm LHT – a little older, dusty from a year without being ridden (sad.. I know), and still dirty from the last adventure. I’ll spend some time getting her cleaned up and ready for a new adventure.

Jackie’s Surly LHT
Jackie’s Surly LHT

Happy New Year!

It’s the first day of the year and we are still moving ahead with our planning and preparations. Family and friends have all been made aware of the trip plans over holidays and they know to expect us on some random day this summer when we are passing through.

Jesse still doesn’t have a bike.  Just a minor detail… he’s holding out for a black 58cm Surly LHT. The local bike shop here in Montreal was able to get him an older model 58cm Surly LHT at a reduced price, however it was blue – the same as mine and apparently Jesse doesn’t want to match.

We will also be getting a new tent. We’ve tried a few – we were using the MEC Tarn 3 for quite a while, however it is heavier than some of the newer models available now. So next we tried Six Moon’s Lunar Duo tent. This one is very lightweight and works well for shorter trips when weight really is an issue, but you do have to be careful not to touch the roof since there is no separate fly and touching the roof will cause any water or dew to come in. Given the amount of time we will spend in the tent on a 5-6 month trip, it seems worthwhile to carry a bit more weight and have a bit more comfort in our temporary home. Now we are looking at the MSR Hubba Hubba tent – a classic, tested tent.

We still need some other gear items, and soon will have to decide if we get front rollers for one or both of our bikes as well. Given we will need to be prepared for a variety of weather this may be a necessity.  Another choice we will need to make is if we bring all our gear with us on the plane, or if we send some ahead with Amtrak and pick it up once we arrive.  Jesse has read that sending things with Amtrak may be a cheaper and better option, but that also has it’s own potential complications.

Planning Ahead

We have had plans for a trip across Canada now for a couple years, so we are not entirely starting from the beginning with our planning.  We have also completed a 1000 km tour around Gaspesie, Quebec as well as a couple other small trips, so bike touring is also not a new endeavor for us.

One major task ahead is Jesse’s bike – he needs to either build it or buy a complete touring bike.  He has been using a $150 Peugot, a Craigslist special, but it just won’t cut it for a trip of this nature.  The advantage of custom building a bike would be that all components are exactly as he wants them, and he would also learn likely everything needed to repair a bike on the road.  The downside to this is the potential added costs – especially since all parts have to be shipped to Canada, which always adds to the bottom line.

We will have to organize things at home – take my diabetic cat to my parents, find a home for my plants, and potentially find a friend or family member to sublet the apartment.

Looking into phone plans ahead of time would be beneficial, having access to a data plan will be a near-essential for Jesse and his work. We expect to follow Adventure Cycling’s Pacific Coast route for the first leg of the trip – the remainder we have roughly planned but we don’t expect to plan too extensively until the moment arises.

More or less I do think we are adequately prepared.  Anything we realize we need can be purchased along the way, we will also likely leave some things behind or mail them home as we realize we aren’t using them at all.