Pack for the Ride
These are suggestions; feel free to bring what you feel is necessary, within the one bag, 65-pound limit, no exceptions. If you cannot lift a bag that heavy, there are plenty of people to help you. Please add something to your bag (tape, ribbon) so you never have to tell us, “it’s the black one.”
Weather on the Ride
September weather in the Pacific Northwest is usually beautiful, with average daily highs in the 70s and 80s and nightly lows from 30-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Bear in mind, however, that daytime temperatures could reach the upper 90s and plunge at night to the mid-20s. Be prepared for inclement weather — bring warm clothing and rain gear.
For the Bike
A helmet is required, and we recommend the use of a rearview mirror. You also must bring two 20-oz. water bottles, minimum (or an equivalent hydration pack). Bring some simple tools with you such as tubes, tire levers, patch kit, pump and rag.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, skin lotion, sunscreen, lip balm, chamois butter, soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, towels, washcloth, pain-killers such as aspirin or ibuprofen, antacids, band-aids, calamine lotion and insect repellant.
Cycling jerseys, shorts and tights, camp shorts, long pants, extra socks, short- and long-sleeve shirts, walking shoes, hat and gloves, swimwear, rain gear (water-repellant breathable fabric is best), warm jacket. Cotton is not recommended for cycling attire. Synthetics that “breathe” provide the greatest comfort and cooling or warmth. At night, you will appreciate a fleece or down jacket and long pants.
Tent, rain fly, ground cloth, sleeping bag, pad, pillow, clothesline and clothespins, flashlight, extra bulbs and batteries. Veterans suggest bringing something to identify your tent from the other tents around you.
The gear bag that you bring to store your belongings should be waterproof and made of a sturdy material so that it holds up through the week. You can only bring one bag, and it cannot exceed 65 pounds. Lashing bags together often causes problems because they become separated and are difficult to locate. Items that will not fit into the one bag, such as lawn chairs or golf bags, will not be transported.
To ensure clothing stays dry, many tour veterans suggest that you store clothes in large plastic bags, press them flat to remove excess air, then seal. Also, mark your bag in some manner (brightly colored ribbon or tape) to help distinguish it from the other 2,199.
Camera, regular glasses, sunglasses, earplugs (for sleeping), penknife, book, deck of cards, personal identification, cash, bank card, postage stamps, address book, journal and separate bag for dirty laundry.
A few years back, we asked a group of experienced CO riders for their advice on a wide variety of topics – one of which was packing for the ride. Here’s a short list of their packing highlights.
- Mark your duffel bag, and remember the truck: Even the smallest marking or flag placed on both ends of the duffel will make locating it much easier. There are 2,000 duffel bags at CO, 90% of which are the same one you and I purchased at REI.
- I like to send postcards and letters from the route, and I also collect odd postcards found in small towns, the “Cycle Oregonian” from breakfast, and other things that I can put in a scrapbook after the ride. To protect these items I have a heavy duty zip-up binder to hold postcards, pens, stamps, etc. This protects these items from being damaged during the trucking, camping, etc.
- Based on our experience and trying different methods of packing, we have found that compression sacks work very well for packing a majority of our cycling and camp clothes, especially for packing fleece items. We also take an extra compression sack for packing our laundry to keep it separate from our clean clothes. Other smaller items, such as socks, underwear, gloves, headbands, etc., are packed in sealable plastic bags and fit conveniently in between the compression bags in our roller duffel bag.
- Be sure to think “layers” for clothing, both on the bike and in camp, and pack accordingly (including a stocking cap and gloves for chilly mornings/evenings), as you could experience a wide range of temperatures. Buy a collapsible wash bucket (REI has them) if you plan to do any laundry; you won’t have to wait in line for one of the buckets provided at the laundry area.
- Do a “dry run” packing your bag, sooner than later, and don’t wait until the last minute to pack; you’ll quickly find out that your bag only holds so much and that you’ll have to make decisions as to which items have to stay home. Also, make sure your bag is not packed so much that it is very difficult to close before the tour; allow some spare room as it will be tricky to close it each morning with a wet tent and ground cloth, extra items you have purchased during the week, etc.
- Small plastic grocery bags or something to cover your bike seat and handlebars at night to protect bike from dew. A small chamois towel to wipe dew off bike handlebars and seat in the morning. A small backpack to use in the evening to carry warm clothes in. Many nights in the beer/music area start out warm and get cold very fast, and often it is too far to walk back to the tent. Finally, two words: ear plugs.