Boundless Biker

A bicycle journey across the Americas

Gear

On long distance cycling trips, it is crucial to select the right gear. That refers to functionality, durability, reliability, as well as size and weight. After careful consideration with fellow bikers and with the help of other touring cyclists’ webpages, I started my ride with the following setup.

Bike

That setup is neither all purist nor 100% comfort or luxury. In the end, it depends on what is important to yourself, e.g. would you sleep comfortably under a tarp in a bivy sack or would you prefer to use a proper tent with sufficient space for your gear? Do you not mind wearing the same on alternating days or do you need more variety with extra casual clothes? Do you only cook simple food or can’t you do without a fully fledged kitchen? Eventually, it is a personal preference. Over time I did not only slash a few unnecessary items but also modified my entire setup from a classic 4-pannier system to a bike-packing arrangement with two small back panniers (previously used in the front) and various frame, saddle and handlebar bags. The following list can help you as a starting point for your own tour.

New Setup

CLOTHES

  • Endura – Humvee Bike Shorts w/ padded liner [Key piece of clothing on bike days]
  • Arcteryx – Commuter Pants [For off-bike days]
  • 3x Dryfit boxers [For off-bike days]
  • Helly Hansen – Dryfit Button Shirt [To look like a non-biker on off-bike days :)]
  • 3 pairs of SmartWool socks [All wool. Takes days before you can detect any odor]
  • Nike – SS+LS Dryfit [For warm weather on the bike or casual days]
  • Salomon – SS Dryfit [First layer when biking]
  • SmartWool – SS Base Layer [First layer when biking]
  • Icebreaker – Quantum LS Hoodie [Second layer when biking or off bike on any cool day]
  • Patagonia – Capilene Midweight Zip-Neck [Second layer when biking]
  • SmartWool – Leggings [Cosy after biking and in the sleeping bag]
  • 2XU – Compression Tights [For cold days under bike shorts]
  • The North Face – Cycling vest [Windbreaker on downhills]
  • OR – Beanie [For cold days under the helmet or at night]
  • Halo – Head Band [Prevents sweat from running into your eyes]
  • Sealskins – Allweather XP Gloves [For chilly and wet weather]
  • 2 sets of sunglasses (dark + clear) [Mostly to keep the mozzies and dust out of your eyes]
  • Buff [Versatile scarf, dust mask or headscarf]
  • Giro – Hex Helmet [Never without, perfect for sun protection]
  • Lippi – Bazpur Down Jacket (750 fill) [For cold days and nights]
  • Endura – MT500 Waterproof Jacket [Rain and wind protection]
  • Endura – Superlite Waterproof Shorts + Pants [Rain protection. I carry both, shorts and pants. If it is not too cold, rain shorts allow much better ventilation. The rain pants are rather used for wind and cold protection in alpine regions.]
  • Endura –  MT500 II Overshoes [Rain protection or when your feet get chilly which happens quite often on a cool day]
  • Mavic – Rush MTB Shoes [I love SPD pedals even when touring]
  • Salomon – Trail Running Shoes [You need comfy shoes on off-bike days or hikes]
  • Flip Flops [They feel awesome after a day of riding, practical when jumping in and out of the tent]

SLEEPING

  • Marmot – Hydrogen Down Sleeping Bag [Good compromise between weight/volume and temperature]
  • SeaToSummit – Silk/cotton Liner [Adds a bit of extra warmth and comfort]
  • SeaToSummit – Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad [One of the best items on this list. Very comfy compared to my super old Therm-a-rest years ago]
  • SeaToSummit – Aeros Pillow Premium [Another luxury I wouldn’t want to miss]
  • MSR – Hubba Hubba NX Tent [Lightweight but still a 2 person tent to have a bit of extra room for gear]
  • MSR – Tent Groundsheet [Protects the inner tent]

COOKING

  • MSR – Whisperlite International + Fuel Bottle [Multi-fuel stove runs on white gas, kerosene or unleaded gasoline]
  • MSR – Ignitor + Lighter
  • MSR – Maintenance/Spare Kit
  • GSI Outdoors – Pinnacle Soloist Cook Set w/ Cup [Since I have never been a passionate cook but rather a boiling water artist, a single pot + cup do their job]
  • GSI Outdoors – Ultralight Java Coffee Maker [I love this gizmo. Clips to the cup above and has a reusable filter to have a nice drip coffee at any time]
  • SeaToSummit – Titanium Cutlery Set [So light that you would think you break it any time, but damn durable]
  • ZipLock Bags [For food storage]
  • Steripen – Ultra Water Purifier + Charger [An essential UV filter to sterilize your water. I use a piece of fiber cloth to separate particles before filling bottles]
  • Sponge [For cleaning]
  • MSR – Dromedary Bag 4L [Hydration reservoir as back-up]
  • 3*1000ml Magnum Bike Bottles [That makes 7L water capacity on the road]
  • Food [Amount varies from location to location]

WASHING + FIRST AID

  • Toothbrush + Paste + Floss
  • Sunscreen + Lip Balm (SPF 50)
  • Moisturizing Lotion
  • Soap Bar + Shampoo [The soap bar lasts a lot longer than liquid body wash]
  • Razor + Nail Clipper
  • Toilet Paper
  • Small Mirror [Useful for shaving]
  • Pocket Towel [Ultra-fast drying]
  • SeaToSummit – Clothes Line [Very useful. You want your stuff to dry fast]
  • Adventure Medical Kit [Bandaids, gauze, antiseptic, and basic meds, etc]
  • SOL – Emergency Blanket
  • Japanese Bark Diarrhea Pills [You never know…]
  • Rehydration pack with electrolytes
  • Panadol + Ibuprofen
  • Mosquito Repellent (DEET)

UTENSILS

  • Passport
  • Cash + Visa Cards
  • Vaccination Certs
  • Photocopies of docs plus digital pics saved in iCloud [It’s important to keep those separate from the originals]
  • Small Wallet [Quite handy for your daily cash and most frequently used cards]
  • Pen
  • ABUS – Combiflex Pro 202 [A major compromise between security and weight. Acts more as an immobilizer when you jump into a supermarket]
  • Junk Strap + 2 Compression straps [To fix extra stuff or a dry bag on your rack]
  • A few small stuff sacks [To keep all those loose items organized]

ELECTRONICS

  • MacBook Air 11″ + Charger [A luxury to carry a notebook but this long a trip you can’t only have your phone]
  • Iphone 6+ in Lifeproof Case plus Bike Mount + Charger [For daily communication, browsing, reading and navigation]
  • Extra Short USB Cable (15cm)
  • Power Bank for 3 full phone charge (15000 mAh)
  • iPod Shuffle + waterproof headset [Used for motivational boosts during long climbs or lonely moments]
  • USB Thumb Drive (128GB) for back-up of non-cloud files [See above. Keep it separate from your laptop]
  • Canon G7X + Charger [Lightweight and awesome bluetooth transfer to iPhone. I would recommend the G5X though since I often miss a viewfinder in sunny conditions]
  • Spot – Gen 3 Messenger [Satellite GPS Messenger with emergency responder call and for tracking GPS coordinates. Just in case…]
  • Sigma – 8.12 wireless [Simple bike computer. Saves a lot of battery compared to Iphone GPS measurement] [The Sigma broke after 7,500 km, Replaced by a cheap wired computer]
  • Spare CR2032 & AAAs
  • Black Diamond – Spot Headlamp [Convenient at night when searching stuff, reading in the tent, or finding the outhouse]

SPARES + TOOLS

  • Topeak – Mini 18 Multitool [Essential mini toolbox]
  • Swiss Army Knife [Complements with the multitool]
  • Topeak – Race Rocket MT Master Blaster MTB Pump [Very effective, good grip. Lacks a gauge though]
  • Park Tool – Patch Kit
  • Pedros – Tire Lever
  • Park Tool – Tire Boot
  • Pinion – Gear Box Oil [I ride a bike with a Pinion gear box which requires an oil change every 10,000 KM]
  • Small Tube of Grease
  • Small Bottle of Dry Lubricant
  • Chain Rag
  • Zip Ties / Duck Tape / Super Glue
  • 2 Spare Gear Shifter Cables
  • Multiple Spare Bolts
  • 2 Sets of Spare Brake Pads
  • 4 Spare Spokes
  • Freewheel remover
  • 2 Spare Tubes
  • 1 Foldable Spare Tire
  • 1 Spare Chain

BAGS

  • Revelate Designs – Gas Tank (Top Tube Bag) [Very useful for quick camera access and tools]
  • Topeak – Tri Dry Bag for Top Tube
  • Ortlieb Bikepacking – Handlebar Pack (15 L)
  • Ortlieb Bikepacking – Accessory Bag (3.5 L)
  • Ortlieb Bikepacking – Seat-Pack (16.5 L)
  • Ortlieb Bikepacking – Frame Bag (6 L)
  • Ortlieb – Sportroller Plus (25 L) [Used as Back Panniers]
  • 20 L Dry Bag [On top of my rack when I carry more food]
  • REI – Flash 18 Backpack [Super light backpack for extra food or off-bike days]

The Bike

Idworx oPinion Ti BLT [with minor modifications]

  • Frame: idworx triple butted Ti3Al2.5V titanium with idworx steering lock stop
  • Stem: Syntace F149 Force [added The Plug USB connector to charge electronics on the road]
  • Handle Bar: Syntace Duraflite
  • Fork: idworx alu travel for thru-axle 15/110mm and connector-less SON wide-body hub dynamo
  • Rear Hub: DT 240 single speed with hardened stainless steel idworx LongLife chainring 39t
  • Front Hub: idworx Son hub dynamo 15/110mm with thru-axle, connector-less
  • Rims: Alex MD40
  • Spokes: Sapim Race 2.0-1.8-2.0
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Smart Sam Plus 2.25” – 27.5+ [Good balance between rolling resistance, comfort, durability and puncture resistance] [Changed to Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 2.0” – 27.5+ in Vancouver, replaced again by Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB 2.25” – 27.5+ in Mexico City, because I had far too many flats with the Mondial. Besides that the Mondial demonstrated poor behaviour on unpaved and sandy roads.]
  • Brakes: Hope Tech Evo V2 with 203/3 idworx discs
  • Bottom Bracket: Pinion P1.18
  • Crankset: Pinion with hardened stainless steel idworx LongLife chainring 35t
  • Chain: Shimano HG71 [Selected a standard chain made of softer material than the chainring in order to minimise abrasion on the latter]
  • Seat Post: USE Sumo titanium (Ø 27,2)
  • Saddle: Brooks Cambium C17 Carved [I love that hole. No more numbness in that precious zone]
  • Pedals: Shimano XT M8020 Trail Wide Platform
  • Bar Ends: Ergon GP3 grips
  • Rear rack: Tubus Logo
  • Front rack: Tubus Duo with 3-point mount
  • Kick Stand: Esge [It is extra weight but also damn useful when you pack your bike or during short stops]
  • Weight: approx. 17 kg [Not a lightweight but a hell of a tank for an all-terrain touring bike]