A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Monday, 27 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Summary

Just a sum up here, mainly for anyone else planning a similar trip.

Route and Statistics


Route / Distance / Elevation Gain (map links on http://bikeroutetoaster.com )

Day 1 route map / Distance: 153 km / 852 meters / Blog post
Day 2 route map / Distance: 156 km / 99 meters / Blog post
Day 3 route map / Distance: 137 km / 114 meters / Blog post
Day 4 route map / Distance: 156 km / 438 meters / Blog post
Day 5 route map / Distance: 110 km / 176 meters / Blog post
Day 6 route map / Distance: 111 km / 867 meters / Blog post
Day 7 route map / Distance: 112 km / 931 meters / Blog post
Day 8 route map / Distance: 105 km / 315 meters / Blog post

Total Distance: 1040 km
Total Elevation Gain: 3792 meters
Nights Camping: 5
Nights in Motels: 2

This was a much easier tour in terms of distance, length of days, and hills than my last. But this was also my first with a fully weighted bike, so it was a good learning experience. I enjoyed having shorter days on the last 4 days which had good scenery, and there were plenty of side trip options available, or if it was summer...the beaches would get more of a visit!

My gear all performed really well , especially the bike with no major breakdowns and just the 1 puncture. My only gripe was the rear rack, I don't think I'd trust the Topeak rear rack again, the fitting looks and feels too flimsy for serious touring. I'll look into fitting a Tubus rack next time to match the front. One addition that would have been super useful is a dynamo to generate my own power for charging gadgets, I'll be looking into that more in the future for sure!

So that's it for now. I had an amazing time, was suitably challenged, and got to see plenty of this beautiful country! I'm sure it wont be long before I start planned another interstate ride...

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 8

I quite enjoyed the last night in the tent, and some wind meant it was dry and dew free in the morning. Breakfast featured a mish - mash of whatever was left from the food bag, and I was on my way nice and early. The road out of Aireys Inlet soon heads back in land and over a few small hills before hitting Torquay. Surf was up here, and it was a good place to sit and have a breather.

From here it was time for busy roads. I'd tried in vain to plan a decent low traffic entry route into Geelong but couldn't find and good information on easy to navigate options...so just stayed on the A10! By this time, I'd done 50km and also passed a trip milestone of 1000km, so stopped for some food to celebrate and to get ready for the last stretch.

To get to Melbourne from here, you either have the option of a zig-zagging series of back roads going through Lara and Little river...or heading straight down the M1 motorway, on which bikes are allowed. I've ridden those back roads a lot and it was too indirect for me today, so opted for the M1.

This turned out to be awesome...the shoulder is wide and fast and not too full of glass and gravel...I was flying down this stretch, usually between 33 - 42 km/h...helped along by that Westerly at last, and got to my turn off for home in no time! Home by lunch!

I'll do one more post later on, with trip data. Thanks for reading, and your words of support on Facebook all! Especially Carla! What a beautiful country, and seeing it from the seat of a bike makes it all the sweeter.

Day 8 stats

Distance: 105 km
Average Speed: 26 km/h
Soreness of bum: 10/10

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 7

Looking out the window at dawn, revealed pretty much nothing. Well, nothing but fog...and this:

Which turned out to be an Alpaca, and just about the last thing I expected to see first thing in the morning. (A small fib. The last thing I expected to see, would have been Darth Vadar riding a unicycle playing the bagpipes...but an Alpaca would be a close second, I promise!) It was very cold and wet, and the day started with a suitably cautious descent down the other side of Lavers Hill, with bike lights all on. The road undulated but was mostly 'down', dropping all the way to see level again at a tiny village called Glenaire. On a bike, this is a little bit of a shame...only because the road then goes back inland and back up a similar sized hill again!

It was beautiful riding however. A mixture of thick rain forest, with just the odd outpost of farmland every now and then. Some of the gum trees were huge, and they then gave way to a massive beech forest at one point. The summit of this second big hill is less obvious, but about 12 km out of Apollo bay, its pretty much aaaall downhill to the town, and this time, for good. Apollo Bay was bustling considering its the off season, and it was no trouble finding a wifi enabled cafe to post the last couple of days worth of blog entries...and of course, drink some coffee!

From Apollo Bay, the Great Ocean Road stays more true to its name, hugging a steep rocky coastline, and as a result, with few flat sections. None of the hills are too big however, and in most places there was just enough shoulder on the side of the road to make it feel reasonably safe, considering the windy road. There was the occasional scary driver, and I twice saw speeding convertables, complete with passangers probably wearing all the clothes they own - they looked cold! Also I saw the only other cycle tourist I'd seen since Mt Gambier. This was a couple in their late 50s/early 60s, with fully laden bikes like mine. You dont have to sit at home in anarmchair all the time when you get old! Love it. My own legs felt great today too, and I kept a good pace going all day. However I do have pretty bad saddle sores though...and could only get limited relief from "the magic red stuff" (Lucas Paw Paw cream. Very handy stuff for riders! I can just see Carla and Vicki nodding sagely if they are reading this...)

Originally I'd planned to stay at Lorne, but it seemed a bit too far away from Melbourne for tomorrows final day of the ride, so I decided to push on a little bit more up to Aireys Inlet where there is a camp ground. My tent was heavy and soaked with dew from 2 days ago so it was nice to arrive with just enough daylight left to dry off the worst of it.

Down on the beach next to town looked like a good place to catch some waves, so I warmed down with a walk and loved watching the surfers on their final runs for the day. It looked like a pretty righteous way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Last day tomorrow. All that's needed is a small stretch on the coast, then inland to Geelong and either down the M1 motorway (Cyclists are allowed as far as Weribee) or, a zig zag route inland which is quite a bit longer. In the meantime, it's time for me to tuck into the 'emergency' food...freeze dried Lamb Fettucine. Not sure what to expect here, but I'm sure it won't be as good as last nights pizza!

Stats for today

Distance: 112 km
Average Speed: 23.5 km/h
Beard Status: Not sure I will be let in the house tomorrow.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 6

It was a clear  morning when I set off, getting only few meters before realising the rear tyre was flat. Its always a little bit more of a mission to change a tube when the bike is loaded, but as I hadn't even started, worth taking the time to figure out the cause of the puncture - as well as fixing it. Running my fingers through the inside of the tyre revealed a tiny sliver of wire that had gone all the way through. The old tube already had 2 patches on it, so I just replaced the tube and then put everything back together. I carry 3 spare tubes and a patch kit when touring.

After that, I was rolling! No noticeable wind initially, and it was nice to leave the A1 after 5 km, and join the B100...The Great Ocean Road! Traffic was lovely and light and I was able to ride on the smoother tarmac in the middle of the lane. And it was pure bliss to not have to dodge trucks all day.

The really nice scenery started after Nirranda South where the road joins the coast. There are lots of places to stop here, and the coast is beautiful, wild and rugged.

Around lunchtime I got to the Apostles and was talking to a group who just finished a 100km coastal walk. They were weary and elated and it was nice to talk to some people in a similar mindset. We helped each other out with photos.

Incidentally there is not much good food available at The Apostles Cafe, for anyone planning their own trip in the area, Peterborough looked to have lots more choice.

After the Apostles, the Great Ocean Road heads inland, at first over small foothills before then winding its way up a grueling ill climb to the town of Lavers Hill.  Showers came through and the temperature went down...but this is no bad thing for climbing. I got a great rhythm going for a good while, staying on the seat in low gears and keeping a slow steady pace. But the hill kept going, and going...with loads of false summits! By the time I pulled in to Lavers hill, I'd been climbing hard for about an hour and a half and the legs were totally pumped with lactic acid. Despite it being a very cold and wet afternoon I was drenched from the effort.

So Lavers Hill seemed like a good spot to call it a day. I think tomorrow the road drops right down to the coast before another big climb...better eat up well tonight!

Day 6 Stats

Distance: 111km
Average Speed: 22km/h

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 5

Ah bliss...a sleep in this morning! So, it was a late start and I wasn't peddling out of Portland until 9.45am. The sun was out though, and the day was heading for a pleasant high of 18 degrees. Sadly the pesky easterly wind was still lurking about, not a strong wind, but there nonetheless. The plan for today was to have a short day but still cover at least some distance.

Today was also a day where there was no choice but to ride the A-Roads, so it wasn't all that interesting from a scenic point of view. I did however pull over at Tower Hill:

Which has another old volcanic crater nearby. The rock formations looked interesting, though I'd need some help from the more geologically inclined to explain it further...is that weathered sandstone?

Earlier in the trip a Caravaner had told me not to miss Port Fairy, so I made sure of it with a lunch stop there. It is a very pretty and sleepy tree lined town with lots of cute old buildings. Plenty of cafes, but they all seemed to be in the shade, so I brought a couple of rolls from a bakery and had a little picnic in the sunshine.

It was only a short hop from here to Warrnambool, but along a nasty stretch of dual carraigeway with only an intermitent cycle lane. Warnambool is a big town/small city, and I didnt feel like negotiating it, so I stayed on the main drag and headed directly out the other side of the city, opting for a camp ground on the far edge of town.

The next few days will be much more interesting. The Great Ocean Road starts just 5 km from here and "The Apostles" are not much further on...I'll stop there for lunch! After that, there are 2 really big hill climbs one after the other... totaling 1340 meters in ascent. I'll have to decide tomorrow whether to try and tackle both , or stay at the top of the first hill which is about 120km from here. The hill on day 1 was about the same size, but I had fresh legs so I'll be treating these with respect!

As the sun went down while I'm typing this, the sky was lit up with streaky cirrus clouds, perhaps that westerly change is on its way?

Stats for Day 5

Distance: 110 km
Average Speed: 22km/h
Beard Status: Crusty Traveller

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 4

Overnight it was pretty wet and windy but I was perfectly snug in my little tent! I was up at 6 and after a quick and light breakfast, the usual faff packing with trying to balance weight...eventually on my way peddling by 8am. The busy road was full of speeding trucks and you definitely have to be paying attention when one is coming. It felt like a sluggish start but then I never really have been a morning person!

Mount Gambier was the destination of choice, and a much needed second breakfast after a 45km morning peddling session. Amazing breakfast...nice big Spanish omelette and 2 coffees...that seemed to sort me out.

Next to the town lies an extinct volcano at Blue Lake. Rumored to be the last one on the Aussie mainland to blow...

The crater is beautiful, and its water supplies the whole town

Carla I saw this and thought of you ;)

Well worth a side trip and the crater is practically IN town anyway.

The weather today was again, none to flash...pesky easterly winds, well under 10 degrees most of the day. Sorry to any non-Australians reading this, its not always like "Home and Away" here ;)

Leaving Mount Gambier with 50km on the legs, I had a decision to make. Option 1, was to get to the small town of Nelson and have a really short day. Option 2 was to get as far as I can and camp...as this was another day with a long stretch with no services. Option 3: go for Portland and have big day. Better keep my options open.

After that breakfast I felt good, and soon was at the border between South Australia and Victoria...and cycled across my first time zone!

Before hitting the last town for a while...a little place called Nelson. I brought loads of water, drank as much as I possibly could, and had a quick bite before moving on. At this point I decided I was going to go for Portland, but have enough water to camp if I got caught short.

The road travels through a mix of state forest and National Parks.

However the serenity is definitely spoiled by the constant speeding trucks. I really had to stay sharp and was always looking over one shoulder. Bad enough for me to say: Don't cycle this road (C192 Mt Gambier - Portland).

On the plus side, the legs were pumping again. I made a good steady pace and ate and drank the perfect amount to keep going. Portland looked more and more likely and I promised myself an indoor sleep if I could get there before sundown.

Finally, the forest gave way to truck depots, and then the town itself. Big day! Am past halfway now however and only 1 more day of headwinds before a big westerly system is due to kick in....and that means...TAILWINDS. Fingers crossed.

Stats for today:

Distance:  156.48 km
Average speed: 22.4 km/h
Kangeroo's spotted: 15
Live Kangeroo's spotted: 0  !!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 3

After a good chat with my wife ( and support crew) last night, and a good nights sleep, I woke up with a plan for the day. The first problem to address was the broken rear rack. I started on that at as the sun was coming up. The spare screw fitted nicely and and felt a lot more sturdy, but the other side of the rack that isn't broken, is bent from taking the extra weight. It looks like it should hold a while but will keep an eye on it.

As I was packing up my very wet tent in the morning, a guy staying opposite came over with a hot cup of coffee for me. Such a nice gesture and very well received! After a bit of faff trying to update this blog on a flaky internet connection I got on my way.

The plan today was to try and ride "recovery" style and recharge a bit. I kept the pace down and planned to stop a bit more along the way. Unfortunately yesterdays headwind was still around so there wasn't any way of making it genuinely easy but there wasn't much I could do about that. The ride down to Robe was very nice and traffic was quite light so wind aside it was happy cruising. Robe is a pretty harbor town about 40km away...so I called in there to have a look...and for 2nd breakfast (after my rather light first breakfast).

I was treated to a superb Eggs Florentine. I was also able to update the blog again there, and left fueled and refreshed. Moving on along the southern ports highway there were plenty more friendly waves the whole way from passing cars.

Common reactions from passing cars:

1. The Hero Pose: Honks horn and frantically waves. Gestures may include fist pumps or clasping hands together out the window in "champion" pose. Passengers either include kids, or, one of them has cycled before and has some idea of the effort involved
2. The Hornblower: Same as above but no waving. "Double Tap" of the horn = friendly.
3. The lazy sod: Lifts fingers off steering wheel. Driver is not quite sure why any sane person would get of a car, but acknowledges something different to break the monotony of driving. Driver may have drool in the corner of their mouth, but its hard to see.
4. The Bogan: Approaches at high speed and passes within only inches of right panniers. May also shout something out the window, throw something at your, or make howling noises.
5. The Truckee  These guys you need to watch out for. They drive well but sometimes the road just isn't wide enough for everyone. If two are coming from opposite directions at once, you just need to get the hell off the road.

Today I had all of these, thankfully only one dog howler.

Anyway, the next town was another pretty coast town : Beachport

Where I had a nice chat with some travelers who had gone past me a couple of times while they toured. The highlight for the day was heading through this forested area...

...there was a super cute Wombat standing there at the road side. The good thing about being on the bike is you are often less likely to freak out the wildlife.  Gliding to a halt, we had a good look at one another. Sadly the moment was ruined when a heavy truck came utterly roaring up the road - the wombat panicked and started to run into the middle of the road, right in front of the truck, which half swerved freaking out everyone but sending the wombat thankfully scampering off back into the bushes.

Entering the town of Rendelsham, they had a visitor info panel set up to try and lure passers by into stopping an learning something. It was actually quite well done and more informative than most...but I just think they need to work on the visitor attractions


No .1 attraction: Drive past a shed?!

By now it was late afternoon and I gratefully arrived at Millicent, resupplied, and found a camp ground. Sadly there was less than an hours light left but did my best to dry out my gear and clean up. Not much of a recovery day in the end with 136 km done, but am slightly ahead of target.

Stuffing myself with pasta now, then its time to look at route options for tomorrow.

Distance: 136. 79
Average Speed: 22.9
Number of  "I passed you all the way back at blah de blah" chats : 3

Monday, 20 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 2

I was up early this morning and sat down by the lake eating my fruit and watching the sun come up over the water...just beautiful.

The tent was wet with dew and heavy, but got packed up nonetheless along with all my other gear and I was peddling out of town by 8.30. The wind was pretty much on my nose unfortunately, but as I got closer to the National Park, a brilliant thunderstorm welcomed me from a distance with a fork lightening display. I got the tail end of a shower behind it but no serious heavy rain thankfully.

Today's ride follows the edge of the Coorong National Park for the whole day. In terms of civilization  there is NOTHING on this stretch...just 1 roadhouse at Salt Creek. Lovely views however of the estuary and sand dunes.

The area is notorious for being windswept so I should probably count myself lucky it was a mild headwind relatively speaking, but it still gradually wore me down more and more as the day progressed. Feeling dead on the peddles, I was grateful to wheel into Salt Creek.

This was a funny place...it looked pretty run down but the friendly services was awesome and a creamy coffee, toasted sandwich and a chat cheered me up a bit. Some local farm workers then poured in and it was amusing following their 'colourful' banter. One of them very much reminded me of a character from Game Of Thrones and he must have been a bit of a hard man to be a laborer and put up with all the stick his mates probably give him! He was strutting around like he owned the place. Maybe he did?

Getting back in the saddle, it was a case of just ploughing along as best as possible....my pace right down today. I'd debated a detour to check out 42 mile crossing and as I got there, it seemed crazy not to go have a look. The side road was unsealed - reasonably smooth but quite muddy and heads 3km into the park before turning into a 4wd track. I dismounted from here and walking along a beautiful footpath through the dunes...spotting a Wild Emu and Kangaroo on the way. The park was also teeming with birds but I have no idea what they were!

At the end of the track the path topped out over one last set of dunes, revealing a stunning panorama of the southern ocean, coming crashing into the beach. There was not a soul to be seen and the turquoise waters, golden sand a brilliant rainbow were a sight to behold. I don't think my Camera phone will do it justice but here we go anyway:

I looked at the time and reluctantly headed back to the bike, conscious I still had 65 km + to cover before dark.

The afternoon was a slog. I foolishly hadn't brought spare water at Salt Creek and was rationing the 2 bottles on my bike. I also hadn't eaten enough and just couldn't get any rhythm into that wind. Fearing falling short for the day, I tried to break the kms down into smaller targets. "Pedal to the next km marker, then you can have a swig of water. At 30km you can stop for a snack."

"At 10km out you can finish whatever's left of the water".... And so on. Its just a mind game but it got me there. I trundled into Kingston SE, pulled over at the first shop and downed a huge drink far too quickly.

Pulling into the campground there were a few friendly folks who welcomed me in. A couple of groups had passed me en-route and a couple were having bets about what time I'd pull in.

Pitched the tent, got my gadgets charging, then turned to Bianca. I'd heard a suspicious twang earlier in the afternoon but couldn't see anything wrong. First of all the mud had to come off and then I spotted the problem. The lower right rear rack mount was broken. This is not great news but I did bring spare screws for just this situation so I will attempt to fix it when it gets light again. The nearest bike shop is still 2 days ride away so even if I can do a temporary job it might be OK.

Desperate to lie down now...goodnight!

Today's Stats:

Distance: 156 km
Number of bottles of fluids consumed on arrival: 5

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 1

Well just how awesome was today! 

I couldn't find any decent breakfast at the motel I was staying at on the edge of town...although there was a really nice looking Organic Cafe right next door it was closed on Sundays much to my dismay! I had to settle for fruit and nut trail mix and instant coffee.

I was peddling eventually by 9 anyway, and the day started with a absolutely brutal hill climb at Belair road. Not used to peddling with cargo, I grunted and wheezed onward and upward, unable to get the  theme tune music of the 80s TV show "fresh prince of Bel Air" out of my head. The road  climbed sharply and with very little in the way of "rest" spots to take the heat off. It was a stunning ride however, beautiful gum tree forest and a fresh seal on the road - just amazing riding and my first big climb in quite a while. 

I moved on to upper Sturt road where the gradient eased in places and I remembered to take a few photos:

At least being so steep, it was over quickly, and I enjoyed the undulating other side, popping out from the hilly section at pretty village called  Mylor where a convey of club riders were hauled up for coffee on swish looking ulta light racing bikes. I got plenty of stares with my laden bus. Or, maybe they were just eyeing up Bianca...

After the town of Echunga it was then up and down the very pretty Angus road towards Strathabyn. I was feeling very weary at this point and long out of water so pulled in for an early lunch at 11:45. Plenty of cafes to choose from there and I enjoyed an amazing coffee and surprisingly healthy chicken fillet burger.

After Strathabyn I was in wine country. It was fast, and flat. The sun came out and I picked up a tailwind, just flying the 40km towards the Murray river crossing at Wellington. Now well and truly away from the city, the drivers all became super courteous and it was just a wonderful, blitzing ride.

At Wellington they have a free cable ferry set up...I gather it actually runs 24/7? Amazing. Originally, I'd earmarked Wellington for a possible camp for day 1, thinking I'd be done in after the hill and should ease into the tour with a shorter day. But after that tail wind, it was only 2pm when I got there so I decided to push on.

On the other side, I turned more south and the wind was on my front quarter but had eased off a bit. I was out of water again and hungry so made much slower time to Meninge. There was a super market at the town entrance so I had a big drink and picked up some fresh fruit and some pork steaks to have with my couscous for dinner. Stawberrys for dessert!

No snakes seen. Though I loved this sign:

Am sitting typing this watching the sun go down over lake Albert and unable to wipe the smile of my face...

Dist 153.36
Av speed 25.8
Max speed 60.2
Friendly 'honks' from motorists: 7

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 0

Its great to be underway! As always with these trips it seems, the last few days leading up to departure were manic, and I had a last minute repair needed to replace a cable on my trusted steed, Bianca, to top it all off. All set now however, and to my great relief its stopped apocolypticly raining. I was starting to think I'd need a pedalo not a bike!

I'm travelling to Adelaide by train and had a 5am start this morning, supported by my lovely wife seeing me off at Southern Cross. She's also going to be texting me daily weather forecasts which will be really useful when I can't pick up data reception. Other than that, I'll be on my own and I'm not expecting to see many other cyclists either, especially given its winter time.

Nice views on the train so far, even if it does feel like stepping back into 1970 onboard!

So the plan is to spend today getting to Adelaide, and I'll set off early tomorrow morning. The route starts with a big hill climb out of Adelaide and that will be something of a shock to start with...not really an easy first day with a 1000m hill climb first thing. Excluding water, my luggage weighs about 24kg which includes tent, cooking stuff, a couple of days food + snacks, sleeping gear and winter clothes. I have tried to pack light, and don't have much in the way of luxuries apart from my little netbook I use for writing this. Water will of course increase this weight greatly - so I'll be planning when to pick up enough for each day carefully.

Anyway after the hill climb I'll have a nice coast down the other side before crossing the Murray river by Ferry. Or possibly camping near the river depending on time. To get back to Melbourne in time to be back at work, I need average 137km a day over 8 days. This is less daily distance than my last tour where I pushed out 160 something a day, but I was sleeping indoors on that trip so travelling far lighter. This time round I wanted to do it properly, and am looking forward to the camping and hoping to see some wildlife - preferably of the non-poisonous kind! I'll still probably do a few indoor nights in order to recharge everything, or if there is another weather apocalypse.

Internet access en route will be infrequent...so the blog updates will have to happen a bit later on.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Outfitting For Touring

In less than 2 weeks I'll be on the road...I must admit the departure date has crept up on me somewhat, but Bianca at least, is ready and looking pretty damn sexy:

"Bianca" is a Specialized Cycle Cross bike that I've made a few modifications on for touring. I thought this info might be useful for someone considering the same thing one day, so I'll go into a bit more detail here...


Bianca is a disc brake model and because of that, has wider front forks than a lot of bikes. Here in Australia I had real trouble finding anywhere local that could provide a well fitting front rack. My local bike shop put me onto  a German company called http://www.tubus.com/ who specialise in producing these. I opted for the Ergo, found a stockist in the UK, and ordered online.

Fitting the rack was easier than expected (though you'll see the pic here I haven't quite got it level). Its a wonderfully adjustable system so I should be able to fix that. Tubus racks can take a max weight of 15kg.

On the back, I've got a Topeak Super Tourist rack fitted.

Once again, because of the disc brakes, the frame is wider and there is a lot less choice around for racks that will fit. The rack works by having this wider fit keep it well away from the braking mechanism:

And you'll need a bunch of washers to make it work. I'm a little nervous with it to be honest...having had it break once in the past. When I tour I'm making sure I've got some spare screws with me to fix it should it pop again. Though it should hold this time.


You cant beat Ortleib! These bag are just bomb (and water) proof. Once again, German made:


My rear set I've had for a few years and ridden through some pretty dire weather without the contents getting wet. They are also highly adjustable:

You can completely adjust all the touch points on the back, making the top clips wider or narrower as you require. Likewise the bottom clip can slide along the runner it fits in, and you rotate the slip itself as well. All done with an Alan key.


On the handlebar I've added a bar bag, which I found amazingly useful on my last tour for stuffing phone, gels & snacks and sun cream etc.  I was riding really long days at the time and eating while I rode sometimes! The photo here just shows the fitting, and you can clip the bag off and on for when you stop:

I would dearly love to fit a Garmin GPS but cant afford it at the moment, so have a much cheaper bike computer for now. I'll use that, Gmaps on my phone, and good old fashioned paper maps for a backup.

The rest...

The bike didn't come with SPD pedals which were a must have for me and make a massive difference to pedal power. I've also fitted very heavy Schwalbe tires which feel slow but will take the knocks. If you are going to spend your money on one thing only for your tour...think about investing in really good tires as the extra weight you'll be putting on your wheels will mean they need to be able to take a lot of punishment.

I would like to have fitted top quality wheels, but cost is again a factor. I had a very detailed servicing done at my local bike shop, who checked my spokes and wheel and advised the ones I've got should be up to the task, but it is a bit of a gamble. Wouldn't risk it touring remote areas.

One more addition I would have like but have run out time to sort out, is a 3rd bottle cage.


  • 3 Spare inner tubes
  • 1 Spare folding tire (may not take this on my next tour)
  • Spare spokes
  • Spoke key
  • Chain breaker
  • Multi tool
  • Tire levels
  • Oil
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Spare screws for racks
  • Duct tape

And that's about it!

I'll do a test pack this weekend and a test camp as well, as I've only ridden with a half load so far.