After having cycle a few tours or trips on my touring bicycle, I now totally do understand why some (cycle tourers) never stop once they have started. If you get the right bicycle e.g. a touring bike like Dawes, Thorn or the Surly which we went for in the end it is hard not to just wanting to keep on going. The best way to describe it is four wheels and a sofa when you have the right bicycle. My 80’s road frame which I converted into a fixed bicycle, is very comfortable I truly enjoy riding it as a commuter and even dragged a trailer around Denmark with it. But it is no way near as suited for touring, the way the Surly Long Hall Trucker is, it just takes the weight, sits on the road, rolls the miles in it simply a joy.
I’m not a long distance cycle tourer, though a 136 mile over right ride is not unheard of, I’m quite happy to cycle 35-45 miles in a day and then kick back and relax.
We both have done plenty of camping over the years either as scouts, on holidays or rock climbing trips and have really enjoyed the outdoors. Also we are both keen cyclist and have cycled a lot though mostly commuting and the odd day trip. So we were thinking why the heck not combine these two together and go cycle touring.
And then we did some serious research, just have a look at the links page, which is just half of it. We talked to many of our friends who have either cycled, cycled toured or just enjoyed the odd camping trip.
After a lot of mmm’ing and arrr’ing we started to get our gear together. A Surly Long Hall Trucker with Ortlied panniers which are full with Exped DownMats 7Pump DLX and Alpkit SkyeHigh 800 Sleeping bags and a Black Octane 3 tent, well you gotta sleep well don’t you.
Yes you can go total weight weenie, and pretty much only carry your credit card. I read somewhere that “an infinite numbers of super light things will weigh a lot”. But that is not what we wanted, we still wanted some comfort. Which meant that we had to carry a bit more, but just knowing that we will have a good comfortable bed and a good night sleep is well worth the extra weight for us. Ok that probably mean that we are not going to make some serious distances, but hey its all about being out there and enjoying yourself.
We do like our food, there have to be time for stopping to eat or shop an therefore room in our panniers for the food. Having your own cooking system, means you can stop have a cup of tea/soup to warm you up, get some breakfast when you are miles away from a shop/cafe. There is surprisingly a lot of food that can be cooked in a put with a just a bit of water, which will taste just as good as something you knocked up at home. It is easy and fast and most corner shops/super markets will sell it even in a foreign country.