becoming a vagabond
There comes a point in every bike tour where your desire to keep things neat and orderly on the bike is superseded by the daily rhythms of life on the road. It happens slowly, a sensation that you are briefly aware of. Awareness means that you fight the beast, continually making order out of disorder, but in the end, order will lose out.
The days pass and the miles roll by and awareness fades to a distant past. Now, it is about survival and minimal effort. If a clean bike means stashing something (requiring a stop to get it out and put it away) versus lashing it in some form or fashion (requiring no effort to retrieve and store) then the latter begins to win out.
Effort, as defined by anything that requires stopping the forward progress of the bike, begins to take hold. Eventually the goal becomes minimizing effort, especially for those tasks that are repeated over and over again; snacks, drinks, insulation, and weather layers. All fall into the category of tasks where the goal is to minimize effort.
As the miles roll by, the brain is often in over-drive, concocting new ways to minimize effort. How can I get to my snacks easier? Can I lash my rain jacket to the handlebars? Where should my beacon be for easy access? How can I carry a thermos with hot liquid close at hand? Where do I store my camera to protect it and yet allow easy access? The list goes on and on, often with a merry go round effect. One day snacks are a priority, another day it is insulation. The process repeats, the miles roll by, one by one.
To me, this whole process is one of the joys of touring. It feeds the needs of my geek brain just like the visual scenery feeds my artistic side.
Here is an image of my makeshift handlebar bag as taken yesterday. This is a repurposed ArcTeryx fanny pack, more than 10 years old. At the beginning of the trip I figured out how to lash it to the handlebars, something that worked remarkably well. At this juncture of the trip the bag carried the following:
- DSLR in main compartment protected by turkey bag
- camera accessories
- Sony NEX in water bottle holder protected by bulk grocery item plastic bag
- package of Pay Day bars in water bottle holder, random plastic bag
- rain jacket lashed to front
- Delorme Beacon clipped to front
- thermos in a repurposed lens case lashed to handlebar bag, ala Revelate Feedbag