Crush the Commonwealth – Logistics and Gear List

Rides are getting longer and I am deep in logistics mode. This year has spun up fast and the planning for Crush the Commonwealth is in full swing. Reservations are being made, transportation is being coordinated – and then along comes the Corona Virus – thanks Fucker…

With all of the events getting canceled, I guess there isn’t much I can do about it except to load up Zwift, hop on the trainer, spin out a bunch of miles with resistance, and continue planning what I am going carry with me.

Oh – you have GOT to be shitting me…

Historically, I am an over-packer for these types of events. The first time I did TNGA, I packed a set of slides to wear and let my feet dry out. Want to know how many times I used them? Zero.

So for Crush the Commonwealth I am trying to be smarter and go through my gear and actually assess if it is necessary or just a nice to have. I am amazed at the amount of time and detail you can put into planning for an event like this, but I think it is only going to make it easier in the long run.


In total I am planning for 5~ish days between getting up to Philly, meeting with the folks at Bilenky Cycle Works, riding across PA, and getting myself back down to DC. There is some padding in there so hopefully I will have time to hang out with a friend I have seen since the last shop I worked in 20 years ago, but I do not want to underestimate anything.

Transportation – DC to Philly

Living in the DC region is making it a little more difficult than if I was “back home”, but things are coming together pretty well. I spend a lot of time on the road, and as part of that I have a lot of rental car points. To get myself up to Philly I am going to use some of those points and get a one-way rental and not have to worry about inconveniencing any friends or worrying about my truck and the logistics to come back and get it.

Transportation – Pittsburgh to DC

For this leg I am going to be using Amtrak. There is one bike friendly train a day that runs from Pittsburgh to Washington DC and it leaves at crack of ass in the morning (5a). But that is my only option without running all over the place and taking buses, and trains, and who knows what else. So 5a gets me back to DC around 1p – in time to grab a late lunch with my wife at Union Market a few blocks from the train station.


I didn’t want to jam up to Philly for a 5a start and begin the ride already gassed. Not did I want to immediately hop on a train out of Pittsburgh, especially since I have no real clue as to when I will be getting out there. So I wanted to give myself some flexibility on both ends.

Philly – I couldn’t afford a place real close to the Liberty Bell, but I did find the Marriott Old City which is a few blocks from there.

Pittsburgh – Given the train leaves Pittsburgh @ 5a, I wanted to be as close to the train station as possible. I found the Drury Plaza Hotel which is across the street from the train station which is going to make it easier for me to get over there earlier and deal with the complications that I know I am going to run into with Amtrak and trying to get my bike and gear on board.

Gear & Equipment

You are probably at the point of getting annoyed and wondering where is the good stuff. So here you go – as it stands right now, this is what my bike build and gear list is looking like:

I love my Surly!

Bike Build

  • Surly Midnight Express
  • Shimano Ultegra Disc Build Kit
  • Sugar Wheel Works Front Wheel – Astral Wanderlust Rim laced up to a Schmidt Nabendynamo
  • Mavic Krysium Rear Wheel
  • Salsa Cowbell Carbon Handlebar
  • Salsa Guide Stem
  • Chris King Headset
  • Cinelli Cork Ribbon


  • Revelate Designs Tangle Frame Bag
  • Revelate Designs Gas Tank
  • Revelate Designs Feedbag (possibly two)
  • Salsa EXP Series Saddle Bag (not sure about this one yet)


  • Sinewave Cycles Beacon Light
  • Garmin eTrex20 GPS
  • Spot Tracker
  • iPhone (with back up navigation & map)
  • Apple Watch
  • USB Battery Block
  • AA Lithium Batteries (x 2)
  • AAA Lithium Batteries (x 4)
  • Cables – Phone, Watch, & Battery Block


  • Love the Pain – Sunflower Shorts
  • Love the Pain – Sunflower Jersey
  • Gore Knee Warmers
  • Pearl Izumi Arm Warmers
  • Ostroy Punk Rock Neck Warmer
  • Giro Ranger Shoes

I am still very much up in the air on these decisions and I think the final call is going to come down to what the weather is going to throw at me. I know I am going to need a jacket, but how heavy and waterproof is going to come down to a last minute decision.

Repair Gear & Miscellaneous

  • Pump
  • Two Tubes
  • Paul Multi-tool
  • Pedros Tire Irons
  • Gorilla Tape
  • Shimano Quick Links
  • FIBERFIX Emergency Spoke Replacement Kit
  • Two water bottles and cages
  • Voile Straps (varying lengths x 4)

Sleeping Gear

  • S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer – Escape Bivvy – I have used this multiple times with my other warm layers and have been very comfortable, even in the wet.

I don’t think that is complete yet and I will post a final list before heading out, but it is a good starting point.

What am I missing?

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