Monday, 4 October 2010

On YOUR bike?

We hope this blog has shown you what a fantastic experience cycle touring can be. We didn't have much (or any...) experience to go on when we first started planning our trip, and advice from various experienced friends and Internet sources was invaluable. We've put up some things ourselves for anyone who is interested in planning their first trip... Just go for it, you'll love it :-)

Packing list

Toolkit and spares
-Pen knife
-Eurohike multi tool
-Adjustable spanner
-Allen keys
-Electrical tape
-Spare brake cable
-4 sets of M5 bolts, washers, and nuts.
-1 spare inner-tube (we took four, and never used one of them)
-Tyre leavers
-Puncture repair kit
-Screwdriver (if not attached to penknife or multitool)

Bikes and attachments
-Bikes- cycling similar models, and same diameter tyres, minimizes repairs equipment you need in the group.
-Drinks holders x2 per bike
-Rear rack. We were advised to minimize our packing to what can fit on a rear rack. This is great advice… Be brutal with restrictions, as extra weight is costly.
-Panniers (either connected with 3rd compartment, or separate)
-Map bag (that hangs off handle bars) [ours was made by mum, and was excellent for easy referencing]
-Compass- you’ll need it LOTS. Ours hung off the break cables for easy reference. -Suitable handlebars, well-taped for padding. You need at least three obvious different hand positions, or you’ll get tendonitis. Standard cross bars are no good! (Butterfly handlebars are a simple solution to fitting variable position handlebars onto your bike without replacing v-brakes. See Anna’s bike…)

-Tent (Vango banshee 200/300)
-sleeping mat x3
-cups x3
-sporks x4
-Bowls x3
-Sleeping bags (£25 Quecha 680g) [great though could have done with a sleeping bag liner to use on hot nights.]

Cooking and toiletries
-Saucepan x1 with lid
-Washing powder for clothes
-Toothbrush x3
-Nail clippers
-Trek towels- we were going to go without towels, but small, quick-drying towels are a good solution. -Cigarette lighter
-Fold up stove frame. Twigs, and cardboard packaging boxes used for fuel.

-Cycling gloves- essential.
-Light pyjamas
-Underwear x3
-Socks x3 pairs
-Cycling shorts x2 (divided opinion as to which is best, padded or unpadded. Fear not; after day 2, saddle pain really isn’t an issue!)
-Sunglasses (essential for blocking sun, wind, and flies, and for looking pro…)
-Yellow cycling jersey, and one other
-Jogging bottoms/leggings for evening
-Mary’s meals shirt- turned out to be too hot to cycle in, so became our Sunday mass gear!
-Old trainers for on bike. Hard soled, proper bike shoes would be good if you’ve got the budget.
-Flip flops for off bike

-Camera and batteries
-Paper copy of address list and useful telephone numbers
-Pilgrim passports. Got these stamped in places along the way. Obtainable from
-USB SD card reader-uploading photos to blog
-Phone per person. With charger
-Clothes pegs (pegging wet washing to bikes every day whilst on the road looked ridiculous, but dried everything.)
-Phrase book. We definitely could have done with an Italian dictionary though
-Travel insurance details
-Flight home details
-Shorter morning and evening prayer book
-Cycling computer (Sigma) (for recording mileage etc)
-Plastic carrier bags/sandwich bags for putting sleeping bags, essential papers etc that need to stay dry

First aid and medical
-Antiseptic cream
-Antiseptic wipes
-Bandages x2
-Antihistamines- sedating and non-sedating. For hay fever and mosquito overload, and getting some sleep in dire campsites...
-Sports re-hydration tablets
-Cocodamol (for more heavy duty!)
-Penicillin, loperamide and doperidone- took these but didn’t need them.
-Insect repellent
-Sunscreen factor 30+ (sports sunscreen- creamy ones just melt off everywhere.)
-Lip sunscreen

Road cycling confidence- being tired blurs your judgement!
Good sense of humour
Will power- be prepared for the daily grind…