When it comes to packing for a long bike ride, I know exactly what to bring. Camping, on the other hand, is a whole new scary world for me. I'm a born and raised NYC girl—I don't know the first thing about spending the night in the great outdoors, let alone seven straight nights under the starry skies of California, which in June has temps from 70s to 90s during the day and as low as 50s at night.
Luckily I'm told that the AIDS/Lifecycle ride's camp life will be a "glamping" experience, complete with fancy shower trailers, fully catered food, and provided tents. Plus, we'll have sherpas (trucks) and wonderful volunteers who will lug our stuff from camp to camp. The amazing folks who run this 545-mile ride are such pros at this that it's no wonder the camp sites have been dubbed “moving cities” in the past. This city girl is looking forward to it!
It was a breeze to pack seven cycling outfits—including some super cute numbers from Sugoi and Lululemon—in seven labeled Ziploc baggies to help make my mornings easier since we start rolling out as early as 7 a.m. Having already shipped my handsome Cannondale bike out to CA last week, all I had left to worry about were my hours not in the saddle.
After doing my homework and asking my happy-camper friends for advice, I pulled together a dream team of cool gear to make stepping into the wild a little less jarring for this urbanite.
RELATED: On the go? Learn how to pack like a pro so that you can fly through security stress-free.
1. Eddie Bauer Karakoram +20° Down Sleeping Bag: Nothing can replace my warm, cozy bed, but after lying in this plush sleeping bag in my living room, I'll tell you, this comes close. Made with goose down, this fluffy, ultra lightweight, mummy-shaped bag wraps around me in a snugly, safe-feeling way. Since its been tested in subzero temps, I can rest assured that a cool 50-degree night won't keep me up and ruin my next day's ride.
2. REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad: The reason you need one is simple—it's the box spring to every sleeping bag's mattress. It's the only way to help cushion the blow of dozing off on solid dirt. What makes this one ideal is that it reaches almost three inches in thickness when inflated (reviews say it takes 10 breaths) and it packs down to 4-by-5 inches, plus it weighs just more than a pound.
3. Brunton Resync: Because outlets are hard to come by in the woods, this 10-ounce, USB-optimized power pack will help keep my GoPro cameras (mounted on my bike to capture all the action) and iPhone (follow my on-the-road tweets at @CDGoyanes #BikeSF2LA) charged for seven days (and beyond that, if needed). I also grabbed the smaller, stashable version of this, the Brunton Inspire, as a back-up plan. I love how it's small enough to store in my bike pouch if I need to juice up during the ride too.
RELATED: Get in a workout no matter where you travels take you with these workout tools that fit in your carry-on suitcase.
4. Trigger Point Grid Mini: I can't dream of taking on this kind mileage without having a smart recovery plan in place to help me work out the unavoidable kinks that I'll pick up along the way. This totally-portable mini foam roller, which stands 5 inches tall with a 5.5-inch diameter, will be my lifesaver, I already know it.
5. SportRx Prescription Sunglasses: For the longest time, I thought of myself as a glasses girl in a contact lens cycling world. It always sucked because my eyes seemed to dry out so fast, especially on the windiest days. And then when dirt gets in your eye, sometimes you accidentally rub out your contact, which is why I always carry a spare lens or two. Everything changed when I discovered SportRx. This prescription eyewear company works with the best and coolest frames in the sport, including Oakley, Smith, Spy, or Rudy. It's so nice to have the option to give my precious eyes a little break.