Did I mention Corsica is hilly? It’s only 200-300km to the southern tip by bicycle, but our most likely route includes over 5000 meters of vertical climbing. Some small parts are rather steep at 20% or more as well. With our heavy bikes, it’s not going to be easy. But as Isabelle keeps reminding me, we’re not in a hurry, so it doesn’t matter. She's right, but I still prefer to make the task a little easier.
During our rest day on the beach we did another 'lightening the load' operation. We went through all our panniers to find items we could throw away or send home.
It was easy to lose a few minor things here and there. But the three main problems are:
- My photography gear is heavy. Including the computer everything adds up to about 7-9kg.
- The sheer length of the trip. I could bike a week or two without shaving, using contact lenses, cooking warm meals, using a computer, having extra clothes and warm layers, etc. But living on the road for five years kind of forces me to take everything with me.
- Solo detours. We don’t plan to stay together 24/7, so we still need to carry two tents, stoves, toothpastes and various other items that we could narrow down otherwise.
On the very next day, we got a surprise opportunity to temporarily eliminate the last two problems. We stayed at the house of a nice old couple from Paris. They had retired from being engineers in the water and energy industries. Presumably quite successful ones, considering the size of, and amazing view from, their Corsican summer villa. We had a chance to leave most of our belongings in their garage, and take only what was necessary, for a little 50km loop inland: From Algajole to Calvi, Montemaggiore, Sant’Antonino, then via Pigna and Corbara back to Algajole for our stuff.
Most people could ride that in a day despite a few hills. We’re clearly not most people, so as we left we said we’d return to fetch our bags in about five days.
I left behind three heavy panniers and Isabelle did about the same. The trailer was nearly empty except for the dog. It seemed crazy what a massive pile of stuff we could suddenly live without. And the difference while cycling was huge. Climbs that previously would’ve required pushing the bike for an hour or two, were suddenly relatively easy to pedal up with only a few rest breaks.
It felt great to lose all that weight. Like we were going on a mini-adventure from our bigger journey. I'm beginning to understand people with bikepacking and lightweight setups more now. I doubt I'll ever get to that point for as long as I'm a photographer, but some changes to my setup might be in order anyway.
This detour will probably teach us a lot about about what's necessary and what isn't. Afterwards we'll be going through everything once again, with new eyes.
The less possessions you have, the more freedom you gain.