Although we were pretty happy with most things we had, there are some things that we would change if we were to do it again.
Steve and Isaac's Tandem
The Trek T900 was a fantastic bike and really the only one suitable at the time. Due to Isaac being so little the sloping bar with the lower back seat was a must…. for him. The set up of the mountain bike style did not suit Steve at all, with him being uncomfortable and achy for most of the trip.
As Isaac was doing very little, cruising along on the back of the tandem he felt the cold a lot. Sitting behind Steve, he was some what shielded from the wind but this also blocked his sun. When we were caught in snow through Utah, we had a very hard time keeping him warm. There was nowhere to buy more. clothes for him so he was layered in everything that we weren’t wearing.
In an effort to cut weight and space we decided that we could do without pillows and could just use stuff sacks filled with clothes. This was comfortable enough. Except for when it was really cold. As we had to wear all of our layers to sleep it left very little in our stuff sacks. These days with the numerous varieties of blow up or compact pillows we would certainly be adding them to our gear.
As we didn’t know what the towns ahead had to offer, we made sure that we carried enough food to see us through. It was not great food but it was light to carry and would survive on the bikes. One of the staples was instant mash. Nothing could compare in weight and calories. Even though they had 15 different flavours and they weren’t that bad, Isaac bored of them pretty quickly. In fact he will not eat mashed potato at all since that trip. When we did go through towns we were unprepared for the availability of fresh food in many places. While Randell, being a typical teenager, didn’t complain too much at the amount of rubbish we had to eat. The only thing we could rely on was the abundance of burgers and pizza across the nation.
I think next time we would carry more tinned food. Yes it is weighty but it would be a trade off that we would make.
Not so much the bike but the wheels/tyres….
The bike itself was super comfortable and handle the trip like a dream. The tyres, however, took a real beating. Even though we had taken the 23mm road tyres off and had replaced them with 28mm, they were just not hardy enough for the trip. We joke that I had about 437 punctures for the trip. It may have been more like 80, which was still too many.
The other hassle in the tyres was all of our bikes had different sizes. So that meant carrying triple the amount of stuff. Instead of a couple of extra tubes and tyres we had to carry one or two of each size.