On the train on my way to the start of the ride I received a comment from a reader in the USA who invited me to put a link on the website to her own website which turned out to be a commercial site selling all things to do with cycling. I invited her to become a corporate sponsor in return for a link, and heard nothing back – it seems she was after some free advertising on the back of my fundraising! However, her angle was that a link to her site might be of interest to my readers since she provided the “complete biking resource”, and that got me thinking that some of you might be interested in what equipment I am using and where I got it from, so here goes:
Bicycle and accessories:
My Bike is a Tifosi CK7 Audax touring bike with Shimano gears upgraded with 105 levers to give a chainset of 50/40/30 and a 10-speed 11-24 cassette. It has Miche Excite wheels and Miche brakes, SKS mudguards and a Tortec pannier rack. It is fitted with Shimano SPD pedals. All this was supplied by Edwardes of Camberwell.
My panniers are Altura Orkney, I use Continental Gatorskin 700c x 25 Tyres, a VDO C4 cycle computer and two Elite Custom Race bottle cages, all supplied by Wiggle, from whom I get most of my cycle spares.
I use a Topeak TourGuide handlebar bag supplied by Chain Reaction cycles. My gloves and helmet were supplied by St John’s Cycles, my pump by Cycle Surgery, my waterproofs, lights and SRAM chain by Evans cycles, and puncture repair kit, spare tubes, water bottles and various other consumables from Halfords.
My tent is an Aspect One by Wild Country, and was supplied by Field and Trek along with other incidentals such as camping cutlery and Karrimor clothes. My sleeping bag (upgraded at Monmouth) is a Eurohike Adventurer 300 supplied by Milletts. I use a Mini Trangia camping stove with a kettle and fuel bottle supplied by BCH Camping of Bath along with a Lifeventure microfleece towel.
My camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 supplied by Jessops. I use a 16GB microSD card with an SD adapter. This enables me to swap the card to my phone to upload the pictures. I also have a lightweight tabletop tripod for self timer shots which I sourced from a pound shop.
My phone is an HTC Wildfire Andriod phone on a T-Mobile contract. On the trip I am making extensive use of the Facebook, WordPress and Gmail apps for keeping in touch, and Google Maps and OS Atlas Lite for navigational assistance (i.e. when I’m lost!)
I’m using a PowerMonkey Explorer portable charger with solar panel supplied by Stamford Components, with two further solar panels supplied directly from Powertraveller.com.
For route planning my main source was two books, both by Phil Horsley: “Land’s End to John O’Groats: The Great British Bike Adventure” for the route as far as Oban, and then “The Isles and Highlands of Western Scotland: Island Hopping Bike Adventures” for the rest. These provide routes that follow quiet back roads. Not for use if you want to get there as quickly as possible, but a really interesting route with some stunning scenery. I am also using a Collins compact (A5 sized) road atlas, a Dunlop bicycle bell/compass, Google maps, OS Atlas Lite, and if that lot fails, ask a local! With the books and road atlas I have only brought the pages I need which are stored in freezer bags to keep them dry.
I’m carrying five t-shirts plus the one I’m wearing, all bright colours to be seen on the bike and around two pounds each from Primark. Two pairs of Karrimor trousers with zip-off legs (in fact only one pair of legs). Seven days worth of underwear and socks, a rugby shirt (Roving Ringers) for warmth on the bike, a Berghaus micro fleece for evening wear, a pair of pyjama bottoms, and a pair of running leggings and winter gloves in case it gets cold. Oh, and just the one pair of shoes – Shimano SPDs.
I don’t do lycra!
Tools / Spares:
I’m carrying a Topeak multi tool, an adjustable spanner, Alan keys, screwdrivers (flat and crosshead), small pliers, cutting pliers, a puncture repair kit, a Swiss Army penknife, an assortment of cable ties, three spare tubes, a spare folding tyre, brake and gear cables, break blocks, assorted spare nuts and bolts and some 3-in-1 oil in a re-used dropper bottle.
Crockery, cutlery, washing up liquid, dish cloth, tea towel, laundry tabs, toiletries, drugs (pain killers, anti-inflamatories, hay fever and water purification tabs), chargers for phone and camera, small mp3 player and headphones, and a sheet with a list of emergency contacts.
So a lot of companies have just got a free mention / plug. If you are from one of those companies and would like to contribute to the appeal, please get in touch.