2 x Cannondale Touring Bikes (his and hers!)
Panniers – Ortlieb classic waterproof for the backs of our bikes. Christine’s also have shoulder straps, very useful when lugging them around when they are not on the bike.
Pete also has smaller Altura panniers on the front of his bike. We took these as we already owned them, but are considering replacing them with fully waterproof ones (these ones are only water-resistant, and we have already had one unfortunate episode involving a prolonged downpour and pete’s clothes which he had inadvertantly packed in these panniers rather than the rear ones).
Christine has an Altura handlebar bag. Really useful, hihgly recommended. Allows easy access to things like camera, wallet, snacks, suntan lotion etc. But is right in front of you and is easy to remove and use as a handbag, so you are not likely to let it leave your sight.
Several lightweight waterproof bags to go inside the panniers for clothes and electronics – particularly useful when camping, as you can take things out your panniers and put them on the ground without them getting wet.
Several lightweight but strong net bags for storing things which are ok to get damp, and which benefit from not ‘sweating’ in a waterproof bag (eg cooking stuff, dirty clothes).
We are truly children of the digital age, and are using all the digital help we can get to make sure we dont’ get lost, have entertainment etc. These are the main electronics we have with us:
- Garmin Dakota 20 GPS with City Navigator Maps. Turning out to be invaluable but is not infallible (we have been in circles a couple of times, common sense is also needed!) and does not take hills into account unfortunately!
- Amazon Kindle E-reader, so we have something to read without having to lug lots of books about. We have also put guidebooks on this.
- Dell Notebook and separate portable hard drive. We have movies etc on the hard drive for entertainment, and are also using it to download photos onto and to keep documents.
- Mobile phones, for emergencies. Nothing fancy, just our regular handsets.
- iPod, digital camera.
- AA and AAA battery recharger. We are not taking a solar charger with us as the smaller versions are not that effective, and we do not expect to be away from a source of electricity for more than a few days at a time.
- Tent! Montain equipment one that we have had for a while.
- Sleeping bags: Christine – Mountain Equipment -7c, Pete – Kathmandu -15c (toasty!).
- Silk inner sleeping bag liners
- Max thickness thermarests
- MSR Whisperlite stove (multifuel), 1 x 1 litre fuel bottle. The stove is good in that it is small, light and reliable, however it is not that great to cook with as there is no way to vary the heat, which is very high. We knew this beforehand, but it is proving to be somewhat more irritating than expected – very difficult to do anything other than boil water without burning it. We have even just swapped our lightweight titanium pot for a heavier enamel one to try to make cooking easier. If you want to do lots of cooking, we suggest taking a slightly larger stove with some heat control, such as MSR’s Dragonfly.
- We started off with a titanium 2l saucepan and 900ml mug/saucepan, sporks, plastic mug and plates. As I mentioned though we have swapped the saucepan for a 3l enamel one – heavier but hopefully worth it.
- Thermos flask – great to be able to have a hot drink in the middle of a bike ride without having to find a cafe etc.
- Perhaps the most amusing addition to our camping repetoire is a mini electric kettle, purchased in france after we realized that cheap hotels never provide a kettle in the room, also campsites usually have an electric socket you can use – definitely preferable to getting out the stove to heat water up, and saves a fortune by not having to buy hot drinks. Sounds like ‘glamping’ I know but trust me it is proving very useful!
- Zip-lock bags for keeping teabags, coffee, hot chocolate, washing powder etc. these have been very useful but unfortunately a few of them broke quite quickly – buy high quality ones or be prepared to replace en route.
- 1 spare Marathon Schwalbe Supreme tyre (2 more are with friends who will bring them out to Istanbul when they come out to meet us)
- 3 or so spare inner tubes
- Puncture repair kits (enough for 25 punctures)
- 16 spare brake pads
- 2 x brake and 2 x gear cables
- Loads of nuts and bolts in case any come out and get lost. Also we have used Loctite 243 on the bolts for our racks – this is a type of glue that reduces the chance of these bolts coming loose due to vibration etc.
- 6 wheel spokes (2 of each size)
- ‘Magic’ chain links.
- WD40, oil, and a small amount of lubricating grease.
- Alien tool kit including wheel truer and chain breaker.
- Spare set of allen keys (kept separately..you can’t have too many!)
- 6mm hex wrench (for removing pedals)
- 2 x spare jockey wheels
- Mini screwdriver (for gear limit screws)
- Duct tape (wrapped round a pen to save space!)
- Not much! 2 pairs of padded cycling shorts, 3 cycling tops each.
- Pete: 2 pairs of zip-off trousers, 2 t-shirts, long-sleeved cotton top, jumper, fleece coat, wind/waterproof cycling jacket, SPD shoes, merrell sandals.
- Christine: 1 pair cycling leggings, 1 pair of zip-off trousers, 1 skirt, 1 sarong, 2 vest tops, 2 t-shirt tops, fleece, down jacket, wind/waterproof cycling jacket, SPD shoes, merrell sandals, pair of lightweight trainers.
- Waterproof overshoes. Pete’s Trek ones are holding up well, however Christine’s Altura ones are starting to fall apart a bit already – the base is not very strong and the material is fraying around the cleats. Not great!
- Fingerless cycling gloves as well as a pair of warmer cycling gloves each.
- Paper maps
- Russian, Chinese phrasebooks.
- Suntan lotion
- Travel towels (1 each)
- Medical kit, including antibiotics (very helpful to have a GP and dentist as sisters/sister-in-laws!) and sterile equipment.
- Notebook, pen
- Mini pack of cards, throwy toy for beach games
- Lots of passport photos
- ‘Letter of introduction’ saying who we are and explainng what we are doing, translated into the language of every country we are passing through. The aim is mostly to act as an ice-breaker in countries where they are likely to be thoroughly bemused by what we are doing.
- Similarly, we have composed a list of useful questions that we have had translated into lots of languages. Questions range from ‘we are looking for a cheap hotel/restaurant etc’ to ‘is this road suitable for cycling’, get to ….’ ‘how do we ‘we need to get to the hospital/police’ etc. Many thanks to all those involved in translating these documents for us!