For those interested, this is the kit I will be using….
Now I have returned, I thought I could review the equipment that I took. (in blue)
Cube SL Cross Comp
This was a gift from my family for my 34th Birthday this year. It is much lighter and runs much smoother than my last one.
I have added spd pedals, two water bottles, front and rear pannier racks.
I had no problems whatsoever! (Apart from me over-inflating a tyre!)
Regular lubrication and a bit of tightening as I went was all it needed. Great bike.
Revolution Adventure Welded Panniers
Good, spacious, waterproof. What more do you need?
They did everything they were meant to do. Kept everything dry (and it rained a lot), and fitted a lot of stuff in them. I had one accident with a gate closing on me and ripping one off the back. I had to superglue and cable tie it back onto the rack, but even then it was fine. Highly Recommended.
Allez drop over panniers
These are the panniers I used for my first long distance trips when I was 15/16 yrs old. They are not water-proof, but still in good condition, so will do for carrying less sensitive stuff.
These are old, but durable. A bit too big for the front too, but they did well, carried all I put in them and didn’t promise to keep it dry!!
Altura Dryline Bar Bag
Possibly a bit too big, but water-proof and ideal for keeping the important things to hand whilst cycling; chocolate, music, sandwiches…
Once again, it did everything required of it. Plenty of room to carry all that was needed, and it kept everything dry; even in some major downpours. Although it seems like the map case isn’t very substantial, it was fine.
Exped Dry Bags
Either these will go inside my front drop panniers for things that need to be kept dry, or they can be strapped on top!
I had the large blue, and medium yellow one, and they were invaluable. I kept my travel documents in one, and clothes in the other and they were in my front panniers (which were not waterproof). These are definitely one of my essential items.
Tent: Vango Superlite Helium 100
It is just big enough for me to fit inside, but is very warm and very light. It is also very easy to put up and take down, although I am not looking forward to doing it in the rain!
Also, a fantastic buy. It kept me and everything inside dry throughout the rain. It was easy to put up and take down quickly, it was light and fitted in my pannier easily.
I was advised that I would need 3 season for crossing the alps, and since I am not a small build I do not fit into a normal sized sleeping bag. This, however is just right!!
Frustratingly it is quite heavy and by far the biggest thing I will be taking.
By far my biggest and heaviest mistake. I didn’t need the three-season, and probably only slept with it closed up once or twice. It was heavy and bulky. A much lighter, less warm sleeping bag would’ve been plenty.
The second biggest item on my bike!
However, I do often suffer from lower back pain so a good night’s sleep is going to be important. The three nights I have used it so far it has proved to be valuable. It roll sup nice and tight and it only just fits in the tent!!
Quite bulky, but not that heavy, and making the ground very comfortable! It developed a small puncture around the valve, which I fixed with superglue, but to be honest even on the few nights it was deflating, I am glad I had it. I honestly found sleeping in the tent great, and I am sure it is due to this mat! I dumped it on the ferry because I didn’t have space to carry it back, but I will buy another one.
Specialized BG Primo SPD Shoes
it seems that cycling shoes only come in black or grey. So I have personalised with some red laces!!
Great, comfortable, will last a long time I am sure.
Big Man’s Tailored Jersey (from USA!!) – Great
Specialized Lycra Shorts – Essential!
Revolution Blades Sunglasses – Used all three lens types at various points, but after 3 weeks the arm broke off half way through, and I had to fix it with my medical tape. I will be sending them back and asking for a new pair. (I’ll give them another chance)
This will hold all my mp3, keep me in touch with blog and home, maps and gps, camera and probably something else I don’t even realise I need yet!
I used it all the time, almost got it stolen, I don’t know what I would have done with out it.
Solar energy to charge the above. The idea is that this will set open on the top of my stuff charging all day, and then dump that charge over night! Here’s hoping.
Eventually I got the sunshine, and it charged well, but after three charges, the plug that goes into the phone started to get loose and it stopped attaching properly so I couldn’t use it after that. Thankfully most campsites were happy to charge it overnight in the office.