Packing for the next tour has meant a lot of scrutinizing of all of our gear. The Bromptons are great and handle a load well, but they do impose a limit on how much you can (or, rather, should) carry. After riding out to the coast on our recent shake-down trip, I had two thoughts… First, I am impressed that we were able to whittle down our gear enough so that it fit in just the front Touring bag and a Carradice saddle bag… Second, I am still packing way too much stuff.

Yes, the irony of this statement is obvious to me. My entire life has been shrunk down to just two small bags, and yet it is still too much, too big, too heavy.

On our last trip, I was happy to have all sorts of miscellaneous little luxuries… a radio, an extra pair of pants, a frisbee, paperback books, etc. On this next trip, though, luxuries just seem ridiculous. My luxury for this trip is my Brompton, and the fact that I really get to do nothing but ride it around through stunning scenery. My luxury will be the ability to take everything off the bike and carry it all onto a train, without killing my arms and without having to make multiple trips. My luxury will be the ease with which I can pedal across the country, because I won’t have an enormous amount of weight holding me back.

So it’s back to the drawing board, back to scrutinizing everything. I will continue to shave off extra weight and bulk. And I will enjoy every moment of the strict culling of stuff, because I have come to realize how little I truly need to be happy on the road. Good food, a sweater that keeps me warm, laughter, the exhilaration of soaring past waterfalls and elk… these are my luxuries now, and they are so much more enjoyable than a bag of miscellaneous things.

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