Preparing for my cycling journey

Which pair of pants is the least bulky? Which bike seat is the lightest? Do I need a forth pair of socks? I’ve agonized over every piece of gear, hoping to strike the perfect balance between packing light and packing enough. I’m starting my three month cycling journey by riding down the remote Alaska Highway. I need to leave as much room as possible for the two weeks’ worth of food I must haul along, so packing has been even more of a hassle than normal.  I’d rather be cycling instead of wallowing through last minute trip preparations. I’d even accept riding accept riding up a steep mountain pass in the rain.

I packed 15 days’ worth of food into my back panniers, giving myself a two week culinary adventure to look forward to. I’ll start every morning with a mixture of granola and optimum power cereal. For lunch I’ll eat bread and cheese until the bread runs out, then I’ll switch to crackers and cheese. My dehydrated suppers are significantly more varied, a three meal rotation of rice and beans, rice and dhal and pasta and tomato sauce.

Finally I completed all my chores: packing –check, travel insurance –check, bank account –check, bike repairs –check. I received my bike from the repair shop and tested it on a hilly road outside Whitehorse, only to realize that a bent derailleur was causing my chain to skip. I returned to Cadence Cycle ten minutes before closing time, where the mechanics kindly offered to stay overtime to replace the derailleur.

Tomorrow I’ll start my journey in Skagway, Alaska. I’ll dip my bike in the Pacific Ocean, then cycle inland, following the Alaska Highway through the Yukon and northern British Columbia. I’ll cycle south through central Alberta, entering the states in Montana. There I’ll meet up with Katherine Ball and Alec Neal, two artists who will have cycled from Portland. Together we’ll cross the northern states. As we go we’ll film mini documentaries about the impacts of climate change and the steps individuals and communities are taking to reduce carbon emissions. We’ll arrive in Washington DC in mid November to pass our message along to politicians. From DC we’ll travel by train and boat to Cancun, where I’ll join with the rest of the Canadian Youth Delegation.

I can’t wait to begin my journey and to meet cool people with inspirational ways of dealing with climate change. If the trip prep is like laboriously climbing a hill, then starting out will be the liberating feeling of speeding downhill, with wind whipping your jersey and chilling your face.

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