This is the general route I took. In New York I followed county roads, back roads, and occasionally highways, but once in Québec I stuck pretty strictly to the Route Verte.
My bike is a Trek 520, which is a pretty tried-and-true touring bike. My previous bicycle was a Raleigh Detour 4.0, a hybrid which was pretty decent for short rides but not really suited to longer rides.
I didn’t do much to the Trek, other than to swap the saddle for a Brooks B17. I was pretty skeptical about these leather saddles. They can’t get wet, which is pretty lame, but I gave it the pepsi challenge and they are way more comfortable, honest.
I bought a front rack for the bike (Tubus Tara) which I got used on eBay for pretty cheap. And a set of Ortlieb panniers. The panniers were pretty pricey, but they’re waterproof, and that turned out to be pretty critical since I couldn’t fit anything in the tent but myself.
The goal was to keep it well under 30 lbs. The only time I approached 30 lbs was when I was fully loaded with food and water for the day. I’d estimate most of the time I was carrying around 25 lbs. I carried a one-person tent, a Eureka Solitaire. This is a pretty cheap tent and suited my needs completely – I saw no reason to drop a couple hundred on the pricier models. Add a compressible sleeping bag and a mattress pad and that’s it, I was golden.
I carried a few spare parts and tools to handle any breakdowns, but I was lucky… hardly any maintenance was required. The biggest challenge was keeping the gears clean given that I was mostly riding on packed gravel trails– every few days I’d have to clean and lube the chain and sprockets.
I only took a couple changes of clothes – one t-shirt, one pair of jeans, one long sleeve shirt, a couple pairs of cycling shorts and socks. I saw a lot of touring cyclists on the trip and I was lighter than almost all of them. Which, don’t get me wrong, I still had a hell of a time climbing some of the mountains, but I think I can be forgiven since it was my first tour.
I only carried enough food for one day at a time. I was rarely more than the 40 miles from a town at any one time, so a day’s worth of food was plenty. I mostly ate fruit, bread, and trail mix. Sometimes I’d get something at a restaurant, but most of the time I’d pick up a sandwhich from a gas station when I needed a real meal.
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