Posted by atparish on May 11, 2009
So I haven’t had a job in a year. I’ve been living off my savings, tax returns, charitable donations, and credit cards. It’s not so bad, once you get comfortable within the soul-crushing pit of despair that is Living With The Parents (maybe laying down a nice rug and throwing up a couple of Bob Marley posters). But, as I constantly reassure myself and my grandparents who persist in asking, “When the hell are you gonna get off your ass and get a job,” the amount of debt I’m going to incur is minimal considering my anticipated earning potential.
Or, if I allow myself to remove those rose-tinted glasses, hyperinflation and societal collapse will easily take care of my modest liabilities. In the meantime, I’m just stimulating the economy. Right?
Anyway. The point is I’m doing this on a budget, and have purchased less than “Expedition Grade” gear for this adventure. We’ll likely never be too far from the greasy tentacles of Civilization, so I don’t expect to have many unresolvable or catastrophic problems. If people did this kind of thing on crappy bikes from the 1980s, I figure I’ll be fine. I might as well use it as a way to see what’s really worth the money, and relay that information to you, the noble reader.
So, here’s my list of crap parts:
- 2008 Fuji Touring bike – $600 on sale at Performance.
- Stock wheels that have already broken a spoke.
- Stock rack, supposedly made by Blackburn. Feels pretty legit.
- Stock Shimano Tiagra integrated shifters with another set of in-line brakes levers. I’d prefer bar-end shifters to cut down on all the wires in the front, so I’d have room for a handlebar bag of some kind. But oh well.
- Stock crankset with an unnecessarily large gearing. I doubt I’ll ever need to use my largest chainring. I’ve gone into two bike shops totally intent on replacing the crankset and been talked down by salespeople.
- Stock tires, to start out. I’ve put about 2000 miles on the bike, and the rear tread is worn down a fair amount, so I’ll switch the front and rear tires before the trip.
- Cheap alluminum seat tube – $25
- Cheap Delta threaded stem – $16
- Nashbar front rack. It has a funny angle because it’s not adjustable at all, but I just couldn’t drop another hundo on a Nitto or something- $15
- Swobo short-sleeved wool jersey – $50 half price at chainlove.com
- Swobo wool t-shirt – $40 half price from Swobo
- Minus-33 wool long-sleeved shirt – $30 on ebay
- Target Cycling Boxer-briefs – $10 for 2 pair
- REI Adventure boxer-briefs – $12
- Canari bike shorts – $25 a year and a half ago
- Nike arm warmers – $10 a year ago
- Old BG gloves that are going to disintegrate entirely on this trip, and a new pair from Rivendell for $15.
- Sock guy socks – $10 for 3 pair at the SD bike swap meet.
- Columbia convertible pants/shorts – $40 at REI, my only pants for this trip.
- Wool beanie that my family had, which means it must have been found at a thrift store or on the ground.
Now, I did buy a new Brooks B-17 Special and a pair of new Ortlieb Bikepacker Plus panniers, but I only paid about $90 for each. The saddle is usually $130-150 and the bags are a solid $200. Sometimes, the internet is amazing.
Lance has some considerably nicer shit, including a quiality camping stove and tent. I’ll let him catalog all that if he feels like it.
So the big test is going to be to see who has a better time of it, yeah?
Still have to try to find a coat that is both warm and compact on the cheap. Craigslist ho!