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Pack light. Each cyclist on the 6-Day and 8-Day Tour is permitted to bring two duffle bags weighing up to 40lbs each. Generally, one is for your tent, bedroll and pillow, the other for your clothing and personal items. We provide trucks for you to load your gear onto each morning. Our drivers will proceed to the next camp, unload all of the duffles and you just find your bags and set up your camp after the day's journey. When you arrive back from the day's ride, find your bag and set up your tent.
Keep your bag light (under 40lbs) to ensure you are able to carry it back and forth between the truck and your campsite each day and then again the following morning.
2-Day Weekend Riders may also want to travel light as you may be camped quite a distance from your vehicle. We cannot permit people to drive on the fields due to sprinkers and due to wear and tear. We will have loaner carts to move your gear, but there are just a few. Make it easy on yourselves and travel light or bring a burley or a little wagon with you to move your gear most effectively.
If you and your things are dry, you will have a successful and comfortable Michigander. To achieve a nice dry duffle bag and a happy you, we recommend purchasing a water proof bag. These can be purchased anywhere from $25 to $35 dollars at REI, or a similar hiking/outdoor shop. We recommend packing an extra waterproof bag that you can roll up and place in the bottom of your first bag; this is for your dirty clothes as the week progresses, so you can separate them from your clean clothes. This will keep them fresh and clean and dry as it’s very nice to have clean clothes after a long day of riding. If you don't want the expense of waterproof bags, gallon ziplocks can be super handy in a pinch.
Handy things to bring if you have room: extra sunglasses, earbuds to listen to music as you fall asleep and an extra smart phone charging cable and plug.
Getting a good night’s sleep is another aspect of comfort on the Michigander. We recommend a light, inflatable sleeping pad. This is a great way to be comfortable and they’re easy to transport along with being lightweight. In terms of toiletries, small travel sized amenities help save space. If you need absolute darkness, bring an eye mask.
If you use a CPAP device, be sure to mark this on your registration so we can ensure we get you in the CPAP section of camp so that you can operate your device.
If you snore and snore loudly, camp on the outer edges of camp so as to not disturb the other campers.
Sunblock, moisturizer, great sunglasses and bug spray is a must. When it comes to a washcloth and towel, try not to pack your giant, fluffy beach towel. Bring a smaller, lighter sized towel for less hassle and to save on space in your duffle. We recommend buying a chamois towel, they are lightweight and dry fast.
Hydration is Everything. Stay hydrated throughout the day and plan accordingly. There will be designated rest stops approximately every 10-15 miles with fresh water to fill your water bottle or Camelbak. Always have enough water and food appropriate to your body's needs.
We have hot showers throughout the ride. We do supplement with modern shower trucks on the 6-Day and 8-Day Tour, they type you would see firefighters using to combat brush fires. They are fantastic and private. The trick to using one well is to make sure you flip it to cold water at the end to clear out on the steam in the room, which makes drying off easier.
Most schools have community showers, there is usually a private shower stall or two in addition to the community showers, but the majority of schools still have the open shower rooms. If you are more modest, you are encouraged to use the private showers, though you may need to wait in line.
Pack a small tool kit and disposable gloves for small repairs on the trails. *Tip: good old fashioned sunblock with an SPF 30 or 40 rating also helps remove grease!
Our Michigander veterans like Camelbak backpacks as they are light and allow storage for everything you might needs during the day. Using a backpack keeps extra things from hanging off of your bike. We recommend packing water bottles or a Camelbak water system, a portable, lightweight pump for flat tires, your bike toolkit, gloves (potentially more than one pair in case they get wet or dirty throughout the day), bike headlights/tail-lights as it’s Michigan law to have lights on your bike while riding at night (in case you don’t make it to camp before sun sets). Be sure to pack a whistle or a bell or some kind of signaling device so other riders and cars know where you are if you plan on passing them. If you have specific riding shoes, pack a pair of sandals/shower shoes or another pair of shoes to wear off the bike.
Get your bike tuned up before the ride. We recommend May at the latest as the bike shops get steadily busier as summer takes shape.
We do have a Mobile Bike Repair Service operated by Diane Ruggles on the ride should you need repairs. Diane is the best in the tour business. She keeps regular hours on the ride to tend to bicycles for a fee. She is also out on the road with us in the event of breakdowns and repair emergencies. So, don't worry.