We took a successful test drive in town and on freeway to see how the bike handled with the two of us and all of our gear loaded up on it, and discovered that we would have to continue to pare down our meager belongings to reduce the weight as the bike was quite unwieldy to maneuver. We also needed more air in the tires as we were sitting pretty low. At one point, with a little too much throttle after stopping at a light, we almost popped a wheelie! So we made the final kinks and tweaks to setting up the bike fully loaded for two.
We only have 2 pairs of pants each and aside from our riding shoes, 1 pair of flip-flops each. This is not a fashion tour to say the least! And in practicing the art of minimalization, we follow the adages that “what’s mine is yours,” as well as “sharing is caring” as we not only share deodorant and toothpaste but toothbrush as well. For those interested, the following is what made our short list of actual belongings that we could fit on the bike.
- 2 sleeping bags and 2 sleeping pads
- 1 four-season mountaineering tent and tarp
- 2 seven pound bags of clothing for both of us
- 2 pairs of riding gloves, 2 helmets, 2 pairs of cold weather gloves, 2 riding gear sets (jackets/pants), sunglasses and riding glasses
- 1 skillet, 2 camping pots, 1 hatchet, 1 multi-fuel stove, 2 plates, 1 cup, 2 spoons & forks, P31 can opener, fire flint, washing sponge, Zip-lock bags, lighters
- 1 box mixed spices, 1 small bottle olive oil
- Video camera, photo camera, batteries, 10 in Netbook, chargers, 2 cell phones
- 2 boxes of tools, 2 microfiber towels, 1 can of Pledge, fishing pole and reel, assorted fishing tackles, can of Neverdull, oil filter, flat iron
- Medicine and first aid kit, 1 toiletry bag, 1 very small camp towel
- 1 book each, 1 journal each, 2 headlamps, 1 small flashlight, sunscreen, bug spray, and a shit shovel, toilet paper, 2 pens, maps, compass, GPS
We made our maiden voyage today under a sunny sky and warm breeze. The road from Bakersfield to Barstow was windy as usual and trying to get the beast under control in the wind made for a good challenge. Cynthia is a great passenger, and we sync perfectly on the bike. We left a little late in the afternoon and by the time we got to Barstow, the sun was already setting. We were both exhausted fighting the wind so called it good for the day and settled down. The closest store was the 99 cent store and luckily the grocery section was quite accommodating. Writing some emails and dosing off to a movie capped off the night. Next stop: Arizona.
I’m confused, I thought Cynthia wasn’t going with you. Did you two have a change of heart?
I thought this was a solo trip? To sum up my thoughts in one word OVERLOADED!!!
Yeah…when did she decide to tag along? Is she going the whole trip w/you?
Bike should handle it half decent. Might take a bit to get used to the new handling with all that weight. Only thing will be tires will wear out quicker, and could wear kinda funny. What’s your plan for the off-roading part of it? The weight of just a plain GS850 would be more than a handful off road trying to go any decent speed, but with all the extras, and if you’re doing it 2 up, it will definitely be challenging at best. Take er easy, it’s not a race. In the words of Zooks, don’t become a leather bag full of ketchup laying at the side of the road, or the bottom of a cliff.
What made you choose a 3/4 helmet over a full face? I know in some situations it’s nicer, but I like the protection of a full face a lot better.
Bakersfield to Barstow can get very windy, but Barstow to Bakersfield is twice as bad. That’s definately a load for that bike. I don’t understand the flatiron. Wash&Wear (Permapress) is good enough for me.
Well, she is along for the fundraising tour of US, maybe another 30 days. After that, we’ll decide if she’s coming along. The flatiron is a contraption to straighten hair which belongs to Cynthia which is the only girly concession she has along on the trip. She is doing great on the bike, her back is holding up well and she’s loving it.
I would have to agree.. Over-loaded… You have a great cause, but safety is more of a factor.
We shaved off a few more pounds and adjusted the weight lower (Also it helps to skip meals and take dumps more regularly:P). It rides really well, no more wheelies or sudden jerks. After 7 days of riding it with Cynthia, I’m very comfortable with the set up and the way it handles. Even in the most heavy winds, it is very responsive and predictable.