When investigating the practicalities behind cycling to Oz we were eternally grateful to people like Josie Dew, who listed her belongings in the back of her book. Hopefully this list will help anyone else thinking of cycling somewhere a long way away, and is wondering what on earth they should take with them.......

We wanted to take bikes that were handmade, comfortable and sturdy - yet light. We also wanted to work with a manufacturer that was small enough to work with us (and treat the bikes) as individuals, yet large enough to have support available around the world.
After much searching we settled on the Dawes Super Galaxy.

Tents and Sleeping Bags:
Almost everyone would agree that after a long day cycling in the rain all you want is to curl up in your warm dry sleeping bag. We found the perfect bag that is lightweight, strong, and packs up very small: The Snugpak Travelpak 1000. For those extra chilly nights we added to the list the very comfortable Snugpak TS1 Thermal Liner (also it is much easier to throw the liner in with the rest of the laundry than it is to hand wash the sleeping bag once a month).

And the other essential to ensuring a dry, warm nights sleep - the tent. We are taking our trusted North Face Coriolis. It hasn't let us down yet, and has two doors - no more climbing over each other in the middle of the night!

Perhaps just as important as our sleeping bags is the need to keep all our photographic gear protected from the elements. After much research we settled on waterproof carriers made by Agu (4 x front) and Ortlieb (4 x rear and 2 x bar bags).

We are writing for a number of publications whilst on the road, and needed a large number of facts and figures at our fingertips. We also needed to be able to edit small sections of video film together for broadcast in Australia. After many months of searching, weighing and sizing we settled on the Sony VAIO.

The video camera needed to be light enough to carry and small enough to fit in a pannier. It also needed to be able to film broadcast quality images and sound. After discussion with our Australian production company we settled on the Sony DCR TRV 900E. To this we added two Sennheiser microphone systems - the Evolution 100 radio mic set and the K6 / ME66 on-camera set. We will be filming on Sony DVM60EXM mini DV tapes.

The stills camera needed to be lightweight yet able to take high quality photographs. It also needed to work as a happy-snappy when the situation demanded, and as a fully manual creative piece of kit when the time allowed. One camera seemed to combine all attributes: The Canon EOS 300. We are also taking 28 - 80mm and 75 - 300mm USM lenses. We will record the images on Fuji Provia (100 ASA) and Fuji Velvia (50 ASA) slide film.

We will also be taking UV and polarizing filters for both cameras.

Survival Stuff:

We wanted to cook our own food as much as possible. And clean water is another essential for every cyclist. We therefore wanted to take gear we could trust. After much investigation we realized that MSR was the only way to go! We have therefore packed a Whisperlite Shaker Jet stove (it burns just about every fuel!), a Backlight Gourmet Cookset and a Waterworks II water filter. If you want to get hold of more information call First Ascent on 01629 580484.

To keep us happy, healthy and full of energy (and to confuse the Customs in every country we visit) we have managed to find 18 months supply of Lifestream Spirulina. It looks weird, tastes weirder, yet fills you with life, energy and the joys of spring - even on a winter evening! Find it in health stores. Or contact Healthy Sales and Marketing on 01798 812 122.

And if things do go wrong we will complement the conventional first aid equipment and our armful of vaccinations with the extremely useful Neal's Yard Survival 2000 kit.

Everything else. This is a fairly complete list of everything else we will be setting off with. We thought about listing the manufacturer and model for each item, but quickly realized during our research that everyone will suggest something different. What is right for us might be very wrong for you!

If the experience of others is anything to go by, some of it will not make it any further than the first hill... But in the meantime and in no particular order:

Baseball cap / sandals / Combined walking and cycling shoes / cycle gloves (fingerless / thermal / waterproof) / cycle trousers (waterproof / normal) / flip flops / reflective ankle bands / short liners / sunglasses / spare glasses / swimming gear / thermal vest and leggings / base, mid and top layers / waterproof coats / warm hat / and of the course the multi-purpose sarong (scarf, towel, dustmask, skirt and pillow case all rolled into one).

Useful equipment:
Torch / water bottles / bike pump / water bags (totaling 16 litres) / tripod / compass / credit card size solar calculator / cycle computer / cycle helmet / dictaphone / dog Dazer / extra strong 100% polyester thread / ground sheet / maps / matches / lighter / money belt / mosquito net / rear view mirror / short wave radio / small padlocks / rechargeable batteries / solar panel, charger and battery / swiss army knife / tent / waterproof stuff sack for film gear.

Food stuff:
2 plastic bowls / 2 plastic mugs / 5 zip lock plastic bags / 2 x aluminium spoon & knife / half pot scourer / plastic containers / salt and spices / sharp knife / tin opener / veggie peeler

Medical / hygiene:
2 * washable foam earplugs / 2 cards clearly stating blood groups / diarrhea medicine / DIY insect headache tablets / lip block sun cream / mini tube Savlon / nappy rash cream / pack plasters / rescue remedy / safety pins / needles / small bandage / small scissors / syringes / toilet roll / toothbrush / toothpaste / water purification tablets / dental floss / mini nail clippers / dry shampoo / tiny bottle conditioner / small towel / soap / citronella to repel mosquitoes.

Money / paperwork:
Travellers Cheques / credit cards / local currency / money belt / US dollars / Camping Carnet / E111 / insurance docs / journal / passport / passport photos / student card / UK Driving License / YHA card / address book / airmail paper / envelopes / pencils / pens / permanent marker / reading book / rubber bands / sellotape

spare tyres / spare inner tubes / bearing grease / lube / chainlink tool / cleaning brush / few spare chainlinks / Topeak Alien (wonderful multi-purpose tool) / oil / puncture repair kits / replacement cables / spare nuts and bolts.......