Except for that time when I was a Girl Scout camp counselor, and took a whole crew of kids on a bike overnight (yes, I had NO CLUE what I was doing. Helmets? What were those? And so on.), I had never done any bike touring. This was to be a credit card tour; the goal was to get to New Jersey, with a bit of sightseeing on the route.
Earlier posts discuss the Banjo Brothers pannier rack bag, and I will say that it worked perfectly. The new rack (Racktime Fold-it) was also excellent, even if it wasn't silver.
What I carried with me:
- a single set of cycling clothes - shorts, knee warmers, wool sports bra, short sleeve wool jersey, wool arm warmers, socks, cap, shortfinger gloves, wool overgloves, booties, helmet cover, Showers Pass jacket, Gore Visibility vest, Rainlegs, reflective ankle bands.
- a single set of off-bike clothes - Mountain Hardwear pants which rolled up to capris, ls Smartwool half-zip shirt, underwear, socks, Timberland Radler camp shoes. If I needed a jacket, well, the cycling jacket would do.
- minimal set of toiletries. I was staying in motels; they'd have soap and towels!
- all the cue sheets for the entire ride, permanent cards, and addressed, stamped envelopes for the cards after I finished each of the three permanents.
- plus the usual stuff I carry on any brevet/perm - tools, spare parts, tubes, spare tire, etc.
- two water bottles
- big ziploc bags for the clothes, just in case it got very wet.
- phone and camera chargers.
I didn't need any of the cold weather gear except for the first perm pop - it was raining, but not cold, so I just added arm warmers, and the 200k perm, where I wore everything I had, and only removed the Rainlegs when it stopped raining.
Motels which feed you breakfast are the best kind. Even though I was staying at Sleep Inns, their breakfasts, while basic, were entirely adequate, by which I mean eggs, meat, cereal, yogurt, coffee, juice, and toast.
Lock - I bought a little Pacsafe lock, which means that if someone wanted to just grab the bike and go, it might hold them up for a little bit.
I should mention, that over the 6 days of riding through Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and that teeny bit of Pennsylvania, no one menaced me on the road. No honking, no crowding, no yelling, nothing thrown at me, no rolling coal. Not once.
What I'd do differently - bring more than one pair of cycling shorts :-) They were washed once, on the unplanned layover day, but still...
Motel reservations - don't make the kind that are unchangeable and nonrefundable, in case severe weather moves in and you need to wait it out. I got lucky.