This week was "I'm even grateful for my commute" gorgeous in Chicago. I spent the first few days recovering from Wisconsin, sore on Sunday and Monday but nearly back to normal by Tuesday. The afternoons I spent on my bike along the lakeshore probably helped with recovery. I spent most of that time shaking my head and wondering how it is that these perfect spring days can exist in the same place that produced the coldest, longest winter of my life. To celebrate I planned to take a mini bike camping trip this weekend to see some parts of the state I've never been to before.
Just kidding! I took these photos yesterday when it was still Springlike. Today -- after eating a ton of pizza and gearing up at REI (kidding again -- I got one waterproof compression sack for my sleeping bag but the rest of my bike is a janky bungee cord mess of things strapped directly to it) I checked the weather and saw that it's going to be in the 30s tomorrow, with 20mph winds and a 70% chance of rain.
Our other friends (prescient and rational people) already bailed. I'm still pretty committed to going but I also acknowledge that riding a metric century, sleeping outside in 30 degree weather, and riding another metric century in the cold, wind, and rain might not end up being as fun as I hoped.
Since this is my first self-supported trip I wanted to do something short and local, so my plan is a simple 2 day, 1 night trip through a route that passes through a bunch of towns (so I can stop and buy food along the way). I'm going to take the train from Chicago to Joliet, IL and then bike the 60ish miles along the Illinois & Michigan Canal to Starved Rock State Park to camp for the night before biking back the next day.
Since my touring setup is, um, kind of primitive, I'm bringing just the basics:
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag
- The repair bag I always carry (2 extra tubes, tire levers, patch kit, pump)
- Change of clothes
- Water bottle and food
Has anyone ever bikepacked, S24O'd, or otherwise done a self-supported bike overnight? Am I missing anything critical from my list?