CMG: It looked to me like you used Giant Loop’s luggage. Would you recommend soft luggage to other riders? Any brands, in particular?
KL: Giant Loop is very good. I am still using mine today from that ride almost four years ago. I have seen folks injured by hard luggage when falling. Soft luggage tends to be pliable, easier repaired, helps for a soft landing, and has no brackets that renders renders the system unusable in a fall.
Aside from luggage, how did you set up bikes: Just basic armour (skid plate, hand guards, rad guards), or did you make any other trick modifications?
As above, a good set up in the detail. Tire choice is also important (a knobby front at least). Other than ADV set up, our bikes were standard. Gel seat covers are a must.
CMG: Will riders develop the fitness needed on the trail, or should they put in some serious hours training their bodies before starting?
KL: Bryan and Mike both do a lot of physical stuff outside motorcycling, me, not so much, so yes I needed to train. I was on my rower and stationary bike religiously six days a week for some months prior to the ride. Some things cannot be trained for – like Monkey Butt. Looking after your feet and hands is crucial on those long rides.
How much money do you think a rider should budget for the trip?
Other than bike purchase/set-up etc. we spent about $120 per day on fuel, food, accommodation etc. We usually found some sort of accommodation where the three of us could share the cost.
How important were the rest days along the route?
We set out to have a rest day every five days, but we were having so much fun, we didn’t stop for three weeks! Five-six days is about time to stop for a day.
I believe attempting these big rides solo is perilous. Having said that, larger groups also can cause other issues. In my experience, what happens off the bike is as important as what happens on them. You just have to ride with others that have a common goal, and accept their differences. You need to keep moving to cover the distance, and someone who wants to photo shoot, check out the bars until late, visit the sites can be a problem. Bryan, Mike and I had one goal on the TAT and TCAT, and that was to ride the whole damn thing, so we encouraged each other forward.