“Minimalism” might seem like a redundant concept to three men who can already hold their entire lives inside the panniers a bicycle. Simplicity in how we pack, purchase, ride, and live is a guiding force. What we carry will go with us through all of our days and over all of our mountain climbs. When you must carry everything, the non-essentials weigh on you both mentally and physically. An unused ball cap is hardly a boat anchor, but throwing it all away proves to be good for mind, body, and machine. Minimalism is a fitting philosophy for a trio of bicycle cowboys, so we make a habit of constantly reevaluating our needs. Last week in Bend, we did just that.
Realizing that we were all carrying some excess baggage, we attempted to rearrange our necessities into three rather than five bags each, and succeeded largely because we share so many essential items, i.e. tent, camp stove, spare parts. So, after purging the expendables, we are now riding without front panniers. Now, it may not seem that exciting to some, but it was a liberating experience for the three of us.
Stripping oneself of all decadence and nonessentials and being content with basic clothing, shelter, and food are humbling, but extremely rewarding. It’s an idea that will go with me on the road ahead, especially now that I’m lighter and faster.