Thursday, January 15, 2009


There are a few items of gear that are necessary for bicycle touring...

1. A bicycle (no, really)
2. Brooks saddle or similar (for comfort)
3. Racks, Panniers and Bags (to carry stuff)
4. Fenders (to keep the mud off)
5. Lights (to see things)
6. Mirror (... to see things)
7. Camping gear (tent, bag, mat)
8. Cooking gear (stove, pots)

Some go for a trailer but I think I'll stick with the 4-pannier option, and if I change my mind I can probably purchase a trailer somewhere.

1. The Bicycle

My requirements:
  • Multiple riding positions (i.e. not flat bar, some kind of comfy handlebars)
  • Strong, steel frame
  • Lugs for racks, bottle holders, maybe gas cannister
  • Sturdy wheels and spokes
  • Wheel sized for stability

Looking around at the bikes others have taken bike touring, I've come up with the following list
  • Surly Long Haul Trucker
  • Vivente World Randonneur
  • Trek 520
  • Kona Sutra
  • Cannondale T2000
  • Cannondale T800
  • Koga Traveller
  • Koga Randonneur
  • Fuji Touring
  • Birdy Touring (folding)
  • Bike Friday New World Tourist (folding)
  • Bike Friday Pocket Llama (folding)

I haven't looked at all these bikes but so far my preference is towards
Vivente World Randonneur comes with racks front and rear, finders and lights. ($1750-$2400)

The Surly Long Haul Trucker can be purchased as bike only, or frame only, but either way it doesn't come with racks/fenders/lights already. ($1500)

Another bike to have a look at might be the Allegro Tour ($1000) which I believe is a locally made bike.

2. Brooks saddle (or similar)

Flyer S (womens) with springs. B18 Lady. $145

B17 Standard S (no springs). $99

3. Racks, Panniers and Bags

Ortlieb looks the go for panniers.

The waterproof travel-set looks interesting. $700

Otherwise, a pair of back-roller classic panniers, a pair of front-roller classic panniers, and a handlebar bag, minimum...

4. Fenders

... haven't investigated these yet...

5. Lights

... haven't investigated ...

6. Mirror

... haven't investigated ...

7. Camping gear

I already own the following camping gear:

Black Wolf Stealth Bivvy - waterproof, good for wild camping / free camping (weighs about 1 kg, flyscreen or waterproof zip up). Not so good in hot humid weather when it rains (condensation inside).

Outer Limits 'Backpacker' two person tent - waterproof (only weights about 1.8 kg, mesh inner (cool))

Thermarest foam mat 'seat' (can be used with sleeping mat to cover area below knees)

Mountain designs -3-7 degrees down 'mummy style' sleeping bag (791 g)

Black diamond winter bivvy - not waterproof, very lightweight (302 g), very compact, no set up time, might be handy for wild camping / quick and stealth camping (its basically a sleeping bag cover)

Lightweight waterproof tarp/poncho - emergency raincover / supplements bivvy / bike or gear or food preparation raincover.

Groundsheet - extra protection for tent/bivvy floor, also useful to sit on when ground is wet

Other things I might need to get:
  • rope for tying tarps
  • extra tent pegs for tarps, spares
  • extra poles for tarps?
How's this for luxuy? A Camp chair (about 1 kg)

8. Cooking gear

I already own the following cooking gear:
  • fuel tablet ultra-light stove
  • butane stove - not lightweight really, also bulky. Takes butane canisters.
  • 2 piece army style mess kit (two rectanguar 'pots', no lids, fold into each other, can fit fuel tablet stove inside too. Lightweight.
  • metal plate
  • metal mugs x 2
  • knife, fork, spoon
  • can openers

Possibly need:
  • lightweight gas / multifuel stove
  • fuel bottle
  • billy
9. Water bottles

Own a few plastic water bottles + one sigg style aluminium drink container (might not be suitable for drink cages?)

Maybe look into getting better water bottles (less nasty plastic?)

10. Tools and spare parts

Already own
  • Multi tool
  • Spoke key
  • Adjustable wrench small (for small bolts)
  • Adjustable wrench medium (for most bolts)
  • Hex key 8mm
  • Chain whip
  • Crank puller

Need to get (or get more of)
  • 14mm socket
  • 15mm socket / chainset socket spanner
  • chainring peg bolt spanner
  • block remover
  • bottom bracket tool (shimano?)
  • cassette remover (shimano?)
  • Spare spokes
  • Spare tubes
  • Tyre boot
  • Duct tape
  • Puncture repair patches
  • folding tyre as a spare?

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