Time for another adventure! This May, I will be adding a fifth continent and ninth country to my sidebar, as my bike and I will be off to Morocco for some on-season (for once) riding through the Atlas mountains and along the edge of the Sahara. Collin Harkrader, a colleague of mine from the Illuminati Center for Monetary Policy will be joining me on this excursion. The trip will give us both a much needed two-week break from the endless 16-hour days we spend slaving over the money printing presses.
We’ll be starting in Fes or Meknes on May 5, depending on where we feel like getting off the train, and heading southwest through cedar forests and over the High Atlas. After topping out at around 9,000 feet, we’ll coast down the back of the Atlas to Ourzazate through tiny Berber villages and towering gorges. After that, it’s a race against time and the odometer, until we reach our goal of Agadir on the coast of the Atlantic. My personal goal is 1000km over two weeks, just shy of 600 miles. As always, this depends on our daily progress, conditions, and wind direction. The first week will be tough, the second less so.
As always, I leave these posts for other people planning to follow similar routes, and this will be no different. Road conditions, bike durability requirements, water and food availability. Morocco is quickly upgrading its infrastructure, but we should be able to find at least some lonely mountain roads.
I’ll be going on my Pugsley, like in Iceland, but on smaller, slicker tires, and without the large panniers on the back. My storage will consist of two front cages for my tent and sleeping bag, one frame bag which can comfortably hold 6L of water, my large 11L handlebar bag, a waterproof stuff sack attached to the rear rack, and a backpack. Collin will be on a steel frame touring bike with 40mm Surly Knard tires, with my front Ortlieb panniers. We’ll be going through small towns pretty much every day, not needing to pack food for extended periods of time. Quick and light is the name of the game.
For those of you who want to know more about running 2.4 inch tires on 65mm Marge Lite rims for the purpose of doing extended pavement touring on a fatbike (a niche setup, I guess) I refer you to GypsyByTrade’s extended ‘Pugsmorphology’ post here. I’m testing this approach out for my post-Center plans, as full fat tires will not be the best choice for the long, paved stretches of Central Asia, but will be perfect for the vast, unpaved steppes of Mongolia.
Not much other new gear for me. New hat, new sleeping bag, new trail running shoes, and a new odometer. Lightweight touring at its finest.