As biking nomads this summer, we need to carry our homes on our bikes. We need to be prepared for a diverse range of climatic conditions, from the bitter cold of the mountains to the searing heat of the desert. We also need machines capable of carrying us across some of the most rugged, demanding terrain on the planet.

"The pleasure of travel increases in direct proportion to the decrease of baggage."
-Richard Halliburton

Kate biking in Nevada, summer '05.

After our adventures cycling across the USA in the summer of 2005, we know that a bike trip succeeds or fails based on the integrity of the equipment you bring along. Based on the lessons learned on our relatively coddled USA bike trips, we're working to assemble all the gear we need to tackle the rugged Silk Road this summer.
If you want to follow in our bike tracks, we've included a rough tally of the equipment we're packing. Skip directly to the gear list, or read on for details on why we've chosen the gear we have.

The Cycling Silk crew has opted for cheap, simple, rugged, steel frame hybrid bikes. Cheap, because we're impecunious students working with a ramen-noodles-and-peanut-butter budget. Simple, because the fewer moving parts on a bike, the fewer opportunities for things to go awry. While a mountain bike with full suspension would provide a cozy ride, our limited capacity to repair the bike means simple takes priority over comfortable. Rugged, because we'll be riding washboard mountain roads and sandy desert trails. Steel frame, because while this material is heavy, it's also extremely strong, surprisingly flexible, and most importantly, easily weldable by even the most rural of Chinese village welding shops. With any other frame material, like aluminium, we'd be totally out of luck if our frames busted in the backcountry of Xinjiang. Hybrid, because we'll be splitting our time between paved roads (ideal for road bikes) and backcountry paths (ideal for mountain bikes). We wanted to strike a happy medium. Bike, because we want to explore the modern Silk Road with the greatest possible freedom, independence, and mobility.

With these stipulations on mind, we decided on the Jamis Coda Sport. But we're making some key modifications to render it suitably burly for expedition touring. We're going to switch out the gearing in favor of lower gears for those long, steep climbs in the mountains.We got rid of its thin road tires and added fatter, puncture-resistant tires with semi-slick treads for gripping gravel and ashphalt. We plugged in handlebar ends to relieve hand position monotony, and we switched out the normal pedals for campus pedals with both platforms and clip-ins. We stuck on sturdy steel racks and durable, roomy panniers, and tacked on a kick-stand. And in the end we hope we'll have a sturdy machine that will carry across Xinjiang and beyond.

Bike Clothing Camping & Cooking

-Jamis Coda Sport hybrid bike
-Continental Travel Contact tires
-kevlar tire liners
-Terry Liberator gel seat
-campus clipless pedals
-bar ends
-Serratus 56L rear panniers
-Serratus 40L front panniers
-Serratus 8L handlebar bag
-Axiom Tour de Monde front & rear steel racks
-cycling gloves

-GoreTex shell jacket & pants
-long underwear set
-fleece jacket & pants
-lycra bike shorts
-baggy overshorts
-trekking pants
-long-sleeve t-shirt
-1 short-sleeve t-shirts
-2 pairs of underwear
-2 pairs of cycling socks
-warm wool socks
-Shimano SPD shoes
-Teva sandals
-wool hat
-shell mittens

-Warmlite 2R tent
-7 tent pegs
-sleeping pad
-sleeping bag
-silk sleeping bag liner
-4L Drom water bags
-2L platypus bag
-Nalgene water bottles
-steel mug
-cooking pot
-Primus multi-fuel store
-stove repair kit
-stove fuel bottles
-waterproof stuff sacks
-fabric patch/repair kit

Spares and Tools
Health & Hygiene Miscellaneous

-Alien II multi-tool
-Leatherman Juice tool
-bike pump with gauge
-patch kit
- spare tubes
-Avocet Cross II folding spare tire
-spare chain
-spare rear derailleur
-brake pads
-brake and derailleur replacement cables

-all-purpose soap
-lots of sunscreen
-bug spray
-petroleum jelly
-baby powder
-first aid kit

-passport & visa
-photocopies of all documents
-journal & pens
-Chinese road atlas
-GPS unit
-video camera
-Nikon camera
-digital camera
-power adaptor

"Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters
and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from
all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality,
uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans,
safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of
struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."

-John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley