While packing for a bicycle tour, I believe it is important to pack light while not forgetting to pack the essentials. It's no fun trying to cram all your belongings in overstuffed panniers every morning because you brought too many extra pull-over sweatshirts for a summer bicycle trip in the northeast.
Since bicycle touring involves spending most of your time outside, it is imperative to consider the climate of the area you will be visiting. For a summer trek in the northeast, I wear a t-shirt and shorts almost everyday except for those few days of rain or cooler evenings. Even though theTeen Treks packing checklist recommends bringing a fleece jacket, I'll just bring a light weight flannel or cotton long sleeve shirt for those few cooler nights since these will pack up much lighter. On Treks like the Pacific Northwest or European Grand Tour I would definitely bring a fleece jacket and maybe even rain pants for those cooler rainy days. As for pants, avoid bringing jeans on any Teen Trek. Light weight pants are a better option because they take up less space in your panniers and will still keep you warm or keep the mosquitoes away.
Tyler's bike mechanic tip
When packing your bicycle in a box, taking off the pedals may seem like a daunting task. How do you keep the pedals from moving about when you're trying to get them off? Use your U-lock! Wedge the U-lock through the wheel along the chain stay. This will stop the crank from turning and thus keep the pedals from spinning as you turn your wrench.
Biking shorts are an increasingly popular clothing item for bicycle tours. Personally I use athletic shorts or cargo shorts for my tours and I do just fine. However many cyclists prefer the extra padding provided by biking shorts or special padded biking underwear. If you are not a regular cyclist, padded biking shorts or underwear are probably better than regular shorts because you may not be used to spending long periods on the saddle.
Lastly a word on panniers and rain. Teen Treks avoids riding in heavy rain, however groups will often ride during a light rain. You should pack your bags with the eventuality of rain in mind. Completely waterproof panniers are a good option, their downsides being lack of small pockets and often higher price tag. Alternatively you can purchase rain covers to put over your bags during a downpour or pack your clothes in dry sacks/Ziploc bags.
If you haven't already, check out our Gear Guide for more comprehensive packing advice.
-Tyler, Teen Treks Program Manager
The First Sunrise in the United States
Every summer, Maine Coast trekkers round out their journey along the Maine Coast with a hike or bike ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain in time for the first rays of sun to hit the United States.
Twas a brisk Wednesday morning, 2:40 a.m. to be exact, as Ryan awoke to the alarming noise of Max's iPhone. It was 3:00 a.m., however, when Max came to awaken the rest of the campers. It only took 7 snoozes, I guess. This was finally the day during which the Teen Trek Titans would conquer the imposing heights of Cadillac Mountain. No one was even close to enthusiastic about waking up at three in the morning to traverse the Cadillac Trail, but the group knew the result when we emerged at the top would be incredibly fulfilling. Normally the group would not be characterized as early-birds, but this morning they were especially groggy. After nourishing themselves with a small meal of apples, bananas and granola bars, the Titans journeyed to the restroom and water spigot to prepare for the impending excursion. With filled water bottles and relieved restroom needs, the group set forth into the darkness to initiate the journey of a lifetime. The first third or so of the hike was rather daunting due to the dim atmosphere, unsure footing and fatigue of the group, but as they approached the first clearing of the hike and saw the first hint of light prior to the sunrise a feeling of rejuvenation cascaded over the group as they felt their second wind pushing them forward. The distant light on the horizon was quickly getting brighter and brighter and the Titans knew they had to pick up the pace in order to make it to sunrise. They huffed and puffed their way up the mountain and, after a heroic hike, successfully made it to the peak of the intimidating Cadillac Mountain. The sunrise was breathtaking and the view from atop the mountain was stunning. Shortly after the group took in the view, however, many members laid down on the rocks for a heavenly 2-3 hour nap, well deserved I might add. All of this had been completed but the entire day still lay ahead of the group, so they made haste down the mountain leading the way to the best breakfast of the trip at 2 Cats Café. They ate like royalty there with luxuries such as a private room, balcony, and bathroom with a complimentary shower and unlimited coffee with delicious pancakes. After concluding breakfast the Titans ventured towards the Bah Hahbah square to catch the bus to the famed Echo Lake. The bus ride was perfect for some essential rest that the group had been dying for, a thirty minute nap that felt like 30 hours. After chicken fights, chilling with CJ and resting in an anonymous man's hammock, the group concluded their day with shopping, ice cream, and the first clear night of their stay at Acadia.
Written by Trekker Ryan, an author and a poet
Space Still Available on These Amazing Treks! Trips are filling up fast! Sign up NOW to get a spot on your preferred trip! (all trips click here)
Travel the shorelines of Connecticut and Rhode Island with us this summer and enjoy sandy beaches, winding back roads, and charming New England towns. You’ll follow the coast through scenic Guilford and Madison, and bike through the miles of sandy beaches at Hammonasset State Park. Over the next few days, you’ll visit quaint Old Saybrook and New London, and get to know Mystic Seaport. In Rhode Island, you’ll catch a ferry to Block Island, featuring miles of pristine beaches and great bike paths. Another ferry will land you in Newport, where you’ll ride north for 2 days in historic Providence before catching a bus back to NYC.
Ride up through the Hudson Valley, taking dips in lakes and rivers and stopping off in picturesque small towns and New York’s capital, Albany, then cycle along the Adirondacks up to Lake George for boating, swimming, and time on the beach. A ferry will take you across the lake to Vermont, where you’ll check out Burlington, a laid-back town in a beautiful mountain setting famous for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and friendly locals. From Burlington, you’ll travel back into New York State for more swimming at Lake Champlain, on the Canadian border, then cross into Quebec. You’ll bike through French Canada to Montreal, where you’ll have three days to explore this lively, cosmopolitan city, visiting street markets, eating at great restaurants, and seeing stunning architecture.