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
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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 /
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.......