The most important factor in bicycle touring is making sure you eat and drink enough. Not doing so insures a constant feeling of low energy and you run the risk of getting sick. Plan ahead: get the General Delivery addresses for cities you are sure to pass through and send yourself (and have friends send) a care package with items that are difficult to get on the road.

Fueled by Dairy Queen!The basic necessities used in backpacking come in handy here: stove, cooking pots, and some kind of water purification system (frisbee people: those discs can double as plates! or is that a sin?). Hot food is always welcome after a hard day's riding and travel through remote mountain ranges almost always requires a water filter or iodine tablets.

Weight and space are the limiting factors when considering how much food and water to carry. Stock up on bulk and freezedried foods, these will be your staples and do not weigh that much. Take packaged items out of their boxes and pack in plastic bags to save space and weight. If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables (and you should) you can probably carry about two to three days worth. These items will be heavier and the amount you carry will depend on personal preference and how far away the next sizable town is. Most small towns have a market with decent produce, but be aware that many do not.

Carrying water is very important, so the rule of thumb is carry more than you think you will ever need because even that is probably not enough. Taking into account all of the uses for water (bathing, cleaning dishes, drinking), it is easy to justify carrying so much. When traveling through remote, dry areas, you really find out how difficult it is to get water. You should carry at least four water bottles and possibly a Camelbak. Here is a method of having plenty of water that requires you to make some automotive friends on the road: have them leave half-gallon jugs a certain distance up the road for you. All the water, none of the weight! (Props go to Mr. Graham for that tip, Route 99.org). That trick is really only necessary when traveling in super remote areas.

The restrooms in markets of small towns are good places to stock up on water and clean yourself up too. As a last resort, go door to door and ask to use a hose; most people will invite you in to learn about your journey.

 

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