These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things;
By: Terry Connellan
847 words,  plus photographs, December10, 1997

And These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I've been wandering the main roads and backroads on a bicycle, self-
sustained, for the better part of each summer, for The past 17 years.

In that time my bikes and I have covered more than 80,000 kilometers 
in Canada's ten Provinces, two Territories, and the more interesting 
parts of the USA.

A variety of manufacturers have supplied, bikes, tents, panniers etc.,
of varying degrees of quality, over a wide price range. I've given these
products rigorous use, and to this point I will admit to having made every non-
fatal bike-touring mistake there is.

Like a cowboy loves that favorite horse that has never let him down, bike
tourers develop an abiding fondness for their favorite bikes and other
equipment, for the same reasons.

This year I replaced my venerable 15 year-old Jansport Trailwedge tent, with a 

Walrus Windshear. It has the same footprint, approximately 4' X 8', and
interior height 42", but it has a vestibule to shelter my gear.

A good tent, for bike touring, packs small, is easy to set up in rain and
wind, and keeps you dry. The Windshear kept me dry in some heavy East-coast
storms, and at a modest price met the test.

Touring is a photograph intensive exercise. It is not uncommon to return from a 
tour with over 600 pictures. Landscapes and seascapes beg to be captured. 
New friends are made just by the click of a shutter, or in this case the beep.

The Epson PC500 Digital Camera became a favorite from the very first. 
It will do anything a regular film camera can do. No fuss, no developing, no
problem. Just beep and it's done. Download into a computer, save to a 
3 1/2" floppy disk, or e-mail it wherever you wish. Magic.

The photographs you see here, for the most part, were taken with this camera, 
the others are the old-fashioned kind scanned into the computer and reproduced 
on this page.

Like an army, bike tourers travel on their stomachs. I've never been one for
freeze dried food, so I exist on pastas, whole grain cereals, and whatever fresh
vegetables and fruit I can find. It's cooking it that can be a challenge.

A few years ago I discovered the Outback Oven, and it is wonderful. I have the
mid-sized 10'' model. As you can see in the picture it's basically an aluminum
Teflon-coated frying pan, with a lid. Over that the cook fits a metal-coated
cloth hood. This thing is so efficient I swear I could bake bread over a candle.

I don't of course, for years my stove was a Coleman Peak-1. It was replaced this
year and well -- let's just say the replacement is not one of my favorite things.

From the very beginning I've slept on a Therm-A-Rest Standard Long mattress. 
Now after 17 years, and probably 2,000 nights of comfortable sleep, it won't
hold air. I've patched it with Shoe-Goo etc., but I'm afraid it's done. Will I
replace it with another one? Ha! --Do you know of a better mattress?

Another new favorite is the Load Llama. Available either as a replacement 
rear bike rack that is longer than the regular ones, or as an add-on to the 
top of any rack.

When modified for the rear beam of the BikeE, it provided a rock-solid base
for an unwieldy pack. It's the best new bike product I've seen in a long time.

Over the years I've been blessed with some excellent panniers. I even had a
set that went together as a backpack. They didn't succeed as panniers, but
are probably a good backpack.
In 1996 I acquired a full set of six Ortlieb Panniers. I've died and gone to
pannier heaven. Durable, waterproof, with bombproof mountings, they are as
good as all other panniers would like to be, and they are expensive, but worth
every penny. And they are RED.

I like Red. I especially like red bikes. My love affair with red all started with
the "Wonderbike,"one of the early crossover bikes, a 1986 BRC Megatour that 
carried me for 47,000 kilometers, including to the shores of three oceans;
Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic (Beaufort Sea).

Today, adorned with photographs, original equipment and the panniers made
by them, the "Wonderbike" is retired to a new life as a travelling display in
Canada's largest chain of outdoor equipment stores; The Mountain Equipment

Now there is a new Wonderbike in my life. Also red, it's a BikeE recumbent
on which I've just completed 4 months, 6 Provinces, and 7,000 kilometers of

After years on orthodox bikes what a relief to have a tour with no sore feet,
tingly hands, neck and shoulder stiffness, or terminal crotch death. Boy
do I like this one!

Heads and feet are important to cyclists. I've never worn any other

helmet but a Bell. I'm on my third one.

With only one exception, I have always worn 

Nike shoes. The pair that are travelling with the "Wonderbike" were repaired 
by an Inuvialuit lady in Tuktoyaktuk. The present ones are Poobahs. I know 
they are intended for fall-off-the-mountain trail riding, but I haven't seen a 
better shoe for extended touring.

And these are a few of my favorite things.

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