Monday, 13 April 2015

Just WHERE will it all fit?

I'm kicking my heels a little this afternoon and trying to take my mind off the cost of re-roofing our house, since that seemed to be the, almost inevitable conclusion after a roofer looked at our leak this morning.

Less than three weeks now 'til I set off on my epic bike ride. It's epic for me anyway; I've done nowt like it ever before. True, I've had a coupla cycle camping trips but really nothing on this scale. Over 1000 miles, on my own, camping all the way. I keep waking up at night contemplating silly little details, like coffee filters an' pee bottles. I'm not really worrying, it's just that it occupies a lot of my waking (and sleeping, it seems) thoughts.

A couple of weeks back I had a dry run packing, primarily cos my new Ortlieb panniers looked, nay ARE, somewhat smaller than my old Karrimors and there was a slight, nagging concern that all my stuff wouldn't fit in. Anyway, it did ... with room to spare once I'd worked out how to close the panniers prop'ly!

So, for my own amusement, and indeed, that of anyone else out in t'internet mush, I thought I'd detail; wot I'm takin' here.

Rohan merino long sleeve shirt              Food and drinks               
Rohan merino Union T shirts x 2           Pan & frying pan              
Humvee cycling shorts                           Alloy spork          
Endura cycling tights                              Scrubber              
Rohan Escapers trousers                         Multi-use detergent      
Rohan knickers x 3                                 Drying cloth        
Rohan socks x 3                                      Mug         
Hankies x 3                                             Plate        
Rohan Spark Top                                    Sea to Summit bowl/chopping board         
Berghaus Paclite waterproofs                 MSR coffee filter             
Neoprene overboots                                MSR Pocket Rocket stove              
Goretex shell mitts                                  Gas x 2   
Fleece gloves                                          Lighters + matches             
Fingerless cycling gloves                       Water filter          
Baseball cap                                            Emergency chlorine           
Buff                                                         Sea to Summit washing up bowl     
Bike shoes                                               2x2 litre Platypus + tops    
                                                                 2 x Petzl E-lite headtorch        
Helmet                                                    Toiletries  
Garmin Edge Touring satnav                 Baby wipes           
Cateye bike computer                             Mosiguard            
Bike repair kit                                         Loo roll etc              
First aid kit                                              Head net
Panniers                                                  Spare glasses         
3 x bike bottles                                        Kindle       
                                                                Tent & airbed repair kit       
                                                                Trash bags 
Compact digital camera                          Pee bottle             
Camera gorilla pod                                  Radio       
Camera batt charger                                2 x microfibre cloths         
Sunscreen                                               Terra Nova Superlite Voyager                 
Wallet                                                     Neoair XTherm max air bed              
Mobile                                                    S to S Aeros Premium pillow          
Notebook & pens                                    Rab Ascent 700 sleeping bag          
Powergen and charger                            Hayfever meds   
E-Werk charging device                         Helinox Ground chair  
Mains USB charger                                 Rear lamp batt 2xAAA      
                                                                Headtorch 2xCR2032           
                                                                Computer CR2032

(Sorry about the strange formatting with that list. Life's just too short to sort it out)

And, for completeness, here's how it fits in, complete with the scary bit ... what it all weighs.

Front left pannier: Clothes, sandals, baseball cap 
In pocket: spare glasses, headtorches
Weight: 3.2kg
Front right pannier: Paclite jacket & trousers (including elastic for cuffs), overshoes, duvet, kindle, wash kit, towel, toilet kit
In pocket: Buff, warm gloves, warm hat, overmitts
Weight: 3.2kg
Rear left pannier: Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow, pee bottle, FM radio,camera charger,mains usb charger,headnet, bike repair kit, 2 x cleaning cloths,Helinox chair 
In pocket: Powergen mains charger, spare spokes, long tie wraps
Weight: 5.8kg
Rear right pannier: Cooking kit, 2 x 2 litre water carriers, food, gas, sink, rubbish bags, water filter,
In pocket: Emergency food,Spork, gas holder, grater, 3xbag clips,spatula, frypan handle
Weight: 6.2kg
Bar bag: Route guide, snacks, notebook & pens, lock key, first-aid kit, camera, tripod, sunscreen, Mosiguard, Powergen, E-WERK  & leads, wallet, Swiss Army knife
Weight: 2.5kg
Rear luggage rack: Tent
Weight: 1.9kg
Total weight of luggage: 22.8kg plus 3 x 750ml of water (1.5l) equals 25.05kg
In clothes pockets: phone
NB Bike, with racks, lock, pump & computer weighs 15.6kg
Total load, bike & luggage = 40.7kg

No prizes for spotting if the two lists don't quite match; they're near enough. I actually have that second list reduced in text size and laminated. It comes out small enough to fit in the front of my bar bag so I can remind myself a.where stuff is in an emergency and to repack. Much of my camping experience comes from backpacking in the hills but you don't normally have five separate rucsacs plus a luggage rack to sort your gear into, so I see this as essential. Maybe I'll have memorised locations by the end of the trip?

Although my trip doesn't quite match up to most of those in the book, I've found Stephen Lord's, Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook invaluable for hints an' tips, especially re stuff to carry in my bike toolkit. It's also an inspiring read. It was on Stephen's recommendation that I bought a Leatherman Crunch, with it's superb, self-locking pliers (like a mini Mole wrench).

I've booked a rental car to get to Penzance and also a room at the Lands End Hotel for the night before my departure. A little pre-trip luxury won't do me any harm. And, simply cos it'll be May Day Bank Holiday weekend, I've booked campsites for the first two nights and, if all goes to plan, three weeks today I'll be spending my third night wild camping on Dartmoor, looking forward to a full, cooked breakfast at The Fox Tor Cafe in Princetown on Tuesday morning; bin there before - highly recommended.

Following several requests from friends I've decided I'll post brief updates on here along the journey so anyone interested can follow my progress. It won't be anything lengthy; just a sentence or two an' maybe a photo if I find free Wifi along the way. Hopefully, I'll expand that into a proper trip report once I'm home, which'll be a while away since Chrissie's meeting me in the camper at John O'Groats and she and I, an' Tilly our lab, plan on enjoying some hillwalking in the beautiful north west of Scotland for a while before returning home.

Finally, if you feel like supporting Cancer Research UK, please go to my Just Giving page here


  1. Have a great trip Geoff, having done similar trips..although in allegedly sunnier climes (I've had my share of wind and rain)'ll be hooked!
    Take it one day at a time, don't worry about the total! You'll have good days and bad days.
    Do the mileage that feels right on the day, would be my best bit of advice other than.....
    Enjoy yourself :-))

    1. Thanks Al. Thanks for visiting. Your advice makes good sense and is gratefully received.
      PS 'Like the look of your fat bike: enjoy!


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