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August 26, 2014 2 comments

It Takes Two

Friends Saddles, Bags, Etc. Travel & Adventure Cycling
It Takes Two
Two wheels, two bags apiece. Add a pair of chopsticks and two people and you’re rocking. Keep it light, keep it modest; if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go and if you haven’t got it, you won’t need it. Though we were in Japan, we’d stuck with the Chinese philosophy ‘good things come in pairs,’ and as Japanese written numerals are entirely based on the Chinese system, we weren’t too far off the mark. According to Wikipedia, Cantonese people ‘like the number two because it sounds the same as the word ‘easy’ (易) in Cantonese.' And easy is what you want when cycle touring; uncluttered, uncomplicated living where all you truly need is a bike, food, water and shelter. My husband, Dave Noakes, and myself enjoyed just shy of a month’s cycle touring in Japan with merely a pair of Brooks’ Lands End Panniers each, and even those weren’t full. Far from feeling hard done by, jettisoning all frivolous extras lightened the load both physically and mentally. When you’re gazing dreamily at Mt. Fuji’s shimmering height, who wants to waste time packing and unpacking, or choosing what to wear? So just what is all that stuff in other people’s bags? I really wanted to ask, but stuck to dreaming up my own elaborate theories. A litter of kittens? A spare wheel? Port decanter and cut crystal? It was baffling the how much paraphernalia some carted around. We took it right back to basics, which as any backpacker, adventurer or hiker knows, essentially means not having enough pants. And whilst the theory goes that you wear one top whilst the other dries, in reality it means you have two dirty shirts to rotate. It makes dressing a cinch. As a pair, on the road, Dave and I took totally different approaches, an about-turn from both of us. I’m a meticulous planner and neat freak at heart but took great pleasure in scattering belongings all around the camp and bunging them back in the bag willy nilly on departure. Dave became almost obsessed with the ‘ultimate pack,’ and making sure the clips on his panniers lined up immaculately every time. I made sure to do mine up wonky just to annoy him. But our dual natures converged when we pedaled together, a brace of riders shuffling in and out of each other’s slipstreams, taking turns to shield each other from the wind blowing over the Seto Island Sea. And when it came to sundown, two in a tent was always more fun than one. Until the snoring began. www.bikes-n-stuff.com www.ride-everything.com
Wow, sounds like you're on an epic adventure 'petunia! Where are you exploring?
Juliet Elliott May 23, 2016 at 4:57 PM
"So just what is all that stuff in other people’s bags? I really wanted to ask". Asking you would have found out that a lot of us travel for long periods and through all the seasons. So first we pack our hobbies: the binoculars to see all those fantastic birds all around the world, the rucksack were to pack everything to get off the bike and go trekking for few days, music instruments, climbing shoes for those boulders in every corner, the crochet and wool to make that new hat,... And second, we are prepared for all weather, just the -5 sleeping bag taking a whole front pannier. And yes, not sure if a whole wheel but for sure few spares for those places far away even for messengers. But most of us are no in a hurry, so slowly slowly...
petunia May 23, 2016 at 4:57 PM