Motivation, Plan and Equipment

If you moved around in university circles and have read or even written a couple of university papers in the days of publish-or-perish craze, than you know that a strange new-age phenomenon appeared in late eighties and followed up to mid nineties. The papers at that time liked to start with a paragraph on "Motivation", a somewhat hippie concept which was totally inappropriate for a serious scientific content. The motivation for the "Motivation" was probably to add a softer, user friendly element to the cold and dry scientific lingo, making the papers more suitable for broader, lay public.
This practice however was not well accepted by all scientists: the ones who were more then happy to dig themselves right from the start in solving systems of equations with complex boundary conditions, were now smashing their heads against the table, trying to find the words to explain why are they doing it. As if the broader, lay public really cared! And besides, it is well known that those who ask too many "Why?"s will not understand the explanation anyway.

As late comers to the Motivation movement, bicyclists still find appropriate to include the reasons "why". So, here it goes.


It is easy to explain Mr. Iik's motivation. It is:
(a) to reduce the fat belt (popularly called "michelins" in his country) that accumulated around his belly during one year of unhealthy way of living, and
(b) to break the unhealthy way of living that resulted in the formation of the michelins, at least for a month.
OK, now that we sorted the motivation problem, let's move to the:


As said in the introduction the plan was to cross the continent of North America from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Vancouver and New York City were chosen as terminal points because they were far apart enough to call it a continent crossing (unlike, for example, Santa Barbara and Corpus Christi), because the ride covers more than one country and because of the anticipation of the thrill on the dangerous NYC streets. The planned route runs mostly west to east through Canada: from Vancouver to Calgary to Winnipeg to North Bay to Ottawa and then swerving south to USA through Adirondack mountains to Albany, Poughkeepsie and NYC. Time available was fixed to 37 days, which ment riding 150 km per day on average to cover the estimated distance of 5500 km.


Mr. Iik and his bike. Featuring special edition bear deterrent
"Yellow submarine" cycling shorts.
And matching color ultra-light "Liquigas helmet".
 It was an easy decision what to take. Mr. Iik has been advocating ultralight cycling for a number of years now and it would be foolish to think he was going to change. Since the bike and the stuff from the last trip performed quite good, there was little reason to make a substantial change.
The bike got a new stem which raised the bars for 1 inch. As good paved roads were expected all of the way, Mr. Iik put on the original 25x622 tyres which already had about 4000 km on them. "If they wore down before the end of the trip", he thought, "it would be an easy matter to get a replacement in a country like Canada or USA". The old rear rack was replaced by a new one of the same brand, just a bit shorter and 100 g lighter. A small change with big weight saving (105 g) worth noting is the omission of the second bottle cage and bottle - Iik correctly predicted that he shouldn't have problems finding water in North America. The bike got a rear view mirror too - a novelty so far.
There were some changes in non-bike stuff. Warm sleeping bag was replaced with 300 g lighter summer one. Also a rain jacket was replaced with a combination of a light wind-breaker and very light rain-shell, saving almost 100 g. However, being a bit worried about the performance of his rain gear, and also as an experiment, Iik took a 170 g light protective suit made of tyvec. This suit covers the body from the head to the feet and it might provide good protection in serious rain conditions.
All his stuff weighed 5600 g, including the bike it was around 15700 g, the base weight was 5 kg. "Base weight" is somewhat unclear UL cycling term which includes the total weight minus: (a) standalone bike (bike without carriers like racks, bottle cages), (b) water and food and (c) clothes worn on an average day (in Iik's case: cap, glasses, gloves, shorts, jersey, arm warmers, socks, shoes). For the sake of comleteness, we will list the equipment once again here.

ITEM                                          WEIGHT   POSITION
Bicycle alone.                                 9500    bike        
1 bottle cage with bolts.                        72    bike        
Rear rack with bolts.                           454    bike        
Computer with holder, magnet and reciever.       36    bike
Lock.                                            48    bike
Mirror.                                          34    bike

Underseat bag used as handlebar bag.             92    bike
Main stuff sack (30 L).                         158    rear rack
Stuff sack for medical kit, spare glasses, etc.   6    stuff sack       
Bungee cord for the main stuff sack.             52    rear rack        
Plastic bags.                                    50    stuff sack
1 l plastic bottle.                              44    bottle cage

Flat screwdriver                                 30    tool sack       
Spoke key, allen keys                            42    tool sack 
Razor blades (instead of a knife)                 2    tool sack
Pump                                             26    tool sack        
Patch kit                                        20    tool sack        
15 mm pedal wrench (cut in half)                 50    tool sack        
2 tyre levers                                    10    tool sack
Oil                                               8    bike             
Duct tape                                        16    seatpost        
1 spare emergency spoke                           4    rear rack        
1 spare tube                                     98    bike

Tent.                                           888    rear rack       
Sleeping bag with compression bag.              592    stuff sack       
Strip of bubble wrap (sleeping pad).             72    stuff sack        
Mini flash light (= bike taillight).             18    stuff sack

Water in plastic bottle.                       1000    bike
Emergency food.                                   0    stuff sack

Cycling cap.                                     28    cyclist
Glasses.                                         40    cyclist
Merino cycling jersey.                          230    cyclist           
Arm warmers.                                     62    cyclist
Cycling shorts.                                 152    cyclist          
Cycling gloves                                   28    cyclist
Socks.                                           20    cyclist
Shoes.                                          616    cyclist
Wind jacket.                                    168    rear rack
Rain shell.                                     114    stuff sack
Tyvec suit (for rain).                          172    stuff sack
Polar fleece top.                               200    stuff sack        
Long trousers.                                  292    stuff sack        
Rain pants.                                     136    stuff sack
Underwear.                                       34    stuff sack       
Rain shell gloves.                               10    handlebar bag       
Light fleece gloves.                             48    wind jacket
Overshoes.                                       76    handlebar bag
2 pair spare socks (ligh + woolen).              78    stuff sack
Nylon stockings as leg/arm warmers.              10    jersey pocket

Digital camera with battery.                    336    handlebar bag     
Battery charger.                                 86    stuff sack
Bubble-wrap protection.                           4    handlebar bag

Passport, air tickets.                           70    cyclist
Notebook, calendar and a pencil.                 28    jersey pocket
Distance card.                                    2    jersey pocket

Tooth brush.                                     12    handlebar bag        
Skin cream.                                      10    handlebar bag     
Razor.                                            6    handlebar bag
Dish washing cloth used as a towel.              12    handlebar bag
Pen water filter.                                20    stuff sack        
Spare glasses in soft case.                      40    stuff sack       
Medical kit & sewing kit.                        26    stuff sack
Mosqito net.                                     14    stuff sack
"Monocular" for watching birds.                  80    bike
Cell phone.                                      70    stuff sack
Reflective vecro straps.                          8    cyclist
TOTAL                                         16770 g (36.97 lb)
TOTAL without bicycle, water and food          5616 g (12.38 lb)
BASE WEIGHT                                    5000 g (11.02 lb)

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