Saturday, 5 November 2011

Alan's Boring Bits - The Kit

Comments on the Equipment- For those planning a similar journey

A great part of the fun in preparing for any big trip is researching the kit and convincing yourself that you really must have all the gizmos and latest gear that you’ve secretly been longing for. Listed below is the heavy load that we dragged  from one end of Europe to the other. Most did the job. Where it was particularly good or bad, I’ve made comment.

Specialized Vita Sport
Specialized Sirrus Elite  (Both bikes not necessarily designed for the pounding that we gave them but they stood up well to the test)
Shimano A530 Pedals (spd one side and flat on the other)
Schwalbe marathon plus 700 x28   (No punctures in 7000Km!!!)
2 Crud Race Guards mudguards
2 Smart Lunar 35 Lux Front Light  
2 Blackburn Mars 3.0 Rear 7 LED-3 Mode
Trailer rear lights
2 Sigma Cycle computers
1 Garmin 750. (told us exactly where we were lost)
1  bottle cage and bottle. 
Trailer flags (required guy ropes fixed to the trailer to stop them taking a swipe a passing cars. Snapped in 1st week and held together with Gaffa tape for rest of journey)

Trailers and bags
2 Carry Freedom - Freedom City Trailers (excellent kit which we gave a real hammering with a heavy load sometimes over difficult terrain. 1 polymer hitch failed after 4000km and the second showed wear. No big worry but need to check daily and carry  a spare. They are easy to replace)
2 x Palm River Trek 50 dry bags  (Robust but heavy. Also right size for hand luggage on plane)
Plastic sheeting and elastics to hold it all together (cheapest bit of kit -worked well, keeping kit clean, dry and protected from abrasion)
4 x Exped Fold Dry Bag XL (22l)
2 x Exped Fold Dry Bag M (8l)
1 x Ortlieb A3 map case (Useless – sticks to itself and tore easily -  changed to a clear document wallet at 1/10 of price))
1 x Lowe Alpine Mesa Runner bumbag. (In constant use – on and off the bike)

Total Personal Kit (for both of us)
2 Cycle helmets
2 prs Padded cycling - shorts / longs .
2 x2 Helly Hansen Stripe Crew base layer
Marmot driclime windshirt
2 xRab Vapour-Rise Lite Jacket
Rab women's microlight vest
2 xBuffalo fibre pile shirts (Used  buffalo kit for 20 years: sailing, mountaineering skiing, canoeing and now cycling. Best winter kit ever.)
2 Rab goosedown duvet jackets
1 Montane Velo H2O Jacket  (Useless – wet through in 10 minutes)
1 Montane Quattro DT Womens Jacket
2 x Buff s (very versatile protecting neck, ears or head)
2 pr Endura Gridlock waterproof over trousers.( heavy but very functional)
2pr Waterproof cycling enduro overshoes. (Mary wore hers, I preferred wet feet)
1 Pertex top (Callange).
1 x Seal Skinz Mountain Bike Gloves - pair Small
1 x SealSkinz Ultra Grip High Viz Winter Gloves
1 pair fingerless sailing gloves
2 karrimoor  reflective jackets
2 welsh cycling jerseys
4 prs Cycling socks and 2 pairs of thick wooly socks
2 pr Cycling shoes. Shimano & MTB SPD (MTB stank like cat’s pee, very little traction on steep ramps and soles wore through. Shimanos just stank)
Trainers & sandals
 Rab Downpour shell jacket (This long mountain jacket with full wired hood proved invaluable on and off the bike)
1 Endura FS260 Pro Womens Shorts  
1 Endura Firefly SS Ladies Jersey
1 Endura Hummvee Baggy Shorts inc Liner
2 x short sleeve shirts.
Rohan Expedition shirt (built in anti midge!)
2 prs expedition long trousers
Wooly Hats
1 pr Cycling sun glasses. (lost and replaced!)
Underwear (Guess you know what works for you)
Swimming costume
Wash kit
Aids /batteries/glasses/sun glasses
1 x Life Systems Expedition 50 100ml Deet Spray (Dissolves plastic and leaks)
2 x Life Systems Mosquito Head Net
1 x Life Venture All Purpose Soap 200ml
2 x Life Venture Soft Fibre Trek Towel Large (Brilliant)
1 x Life Venture Soft Fibre Trek Towel Small
1 Deuter Compact EXP 6 SL Backpack

Bike Repair & Maintenance Kit
Schwalbe durano folding tyre
2 Spare inner tubes.
Puncture repair kit
2 Rubena Angled Valve Tube – for trailer
2 Schwalbe city freedom tyres  for trailer
Topeak Alin 3 Multi (Excellent kit)
Gerber suspension multi tool (Essential and excellent))
Adjustable spanner
Spanner to fit trailer wheel and pedals
Topeak Morph turbo mini pump with gauge  (good kit although fold down plastic bits are fragile)
Small plastic bottle of general lube.
Selection of cable ties .
A 3m length of thin strong cord.
1 Clarks Pre-Lube Universal Brake Kit (Remember you need wire cutters)
1 Clarks Gold Pre-Lube Universal Gear Kit
A small selection of nuts and bolts
Gaffa tape

Other kit carried
Kindles loaded with manuals, country guides and good fiction (one of our best buys)
Sony Netbook
Smartphone with skype (rarely used outside Fr –cost!)
cheap mobile phone payg on UK card with Europe travel option activated (Not cheapest option but saved messing about buying sim cards)
Digital Cameras + memory cards and battery charger.
A bag of wires for above (Why can’t we have 1 universal charging wire and 1 connecting wire?)
Small "hotel" type sewing kit.
Notepad and pen.
Passport, travel insurance documents, E111, ATM and credit cards
2 bike cables and locks.
1 First aid kit (plasters, paracetamol, etc.).
 Sudacrem  bum cream (soothes, smooths and ……..)
Panty Liners (I used them for extra padding on the really sore bits)
1 Large lightweight nylon bike cover. (never used)
2 CamelBak Unbottle 2009 - 1.5L (Too fiddly to fill on the road)
1 Stainless Steel 0.5 litre vacuum flask

Camping Equipment
1 x Wild Country Duolite Tourer tent (Fit for purpose and it took the trailers)
1 x Grounsheet protector (footprint ) for above
1 x Primus EtaPower EF (heavy but v efficient)
2 x Petzl Tikka Plus 2 head torches
1 x Snugpak Travelpak Xtreme SB (I hate nylon bags and this one also has a built in self strangulation net.)
1 xRab Ascent SB
1 xExped SynMat Pump 7cm DLX
1 x Exped SynMat Pump 7cm standard (v comfortable but you work up a good sweat pumping them up)
Exped chair kits to fit the Exped Synmat  (innovative and surprisingly comfortable)
1 x Ortlieb Waterbag 4L
2 Plastic plates.
2 Plastic mugs.
1 Small sharp knife.
Washing up liquid and sponge.
Matches and gas lighter. 
1 x McNett Tenacious Tape

Total weight between two trailers (with food liquid and fuel) was around 55 - 60kilos.


  1. Thanks for the write up, I always think it is good to have a look and see what others have used on their adventures. I am surprised by your dislike for the Ortlieb Map Case I've had one for a couple of years and never had a problem, though I do have a much smaller one so perhaps that is why?

  2. Hi Jeff
    Thanks for the comments. For our Eurovelo 6 trip in 2012, we bought Ortlieb Ultimate 5 handlebar bags with the attached Ortlieb Map case. They worked perfectly and withstood some aggressive handling in wet conditions. Hard to believe the two cases were from the same manufacturer!
    Best Wishes