Kit – testing the bike with some DIY

Cyclists are always obsessed with kit, and everyone seems to think their way is the best way.  It goes with the territory I suppose – if we weren’t a bit techie, we’d give up cycling and be runners instead.  Don’t worry though, for the tech addicts among you I’ll produce a nice big kit page which lists all my stuff in minute detail … I just haven’t got round to it yet.

20 kg of lime mortar in the panniers: a load I definitely don’t intend to take with me

In the interim, here’s my bike.  It’s a collection of parts, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me.  It started as a frame swap with another bike, went on a dry run round Central Asia last year and since then has taken on a life of its own.  I sometimes feel like I should start from scratch with a brand new bike but  then again, I’d probably get an entirely different set of problems.   Here it is on its first big test: carrying 20 kg of lime mortar (plus work stuff, plus a bit of shopping) home in the evening, to point the walls before I leave – because contrary to appearances, I do have to do boring stuff like DIY to allow me to do exciting things like bike touring.  My rack was feeling a little flexy on the way home – if I have this much stuff on tour, something will definitely have gone wrong.

Anyway, just to put me at odds with most touring blogs out there:

  • I won’t be using any tyre that has “marathon” in its name
  • I won’t be running front panniers
  • I’ll probably be fitting tribars
  • I’ll definitely be wearing lycra
  • I’m not really a fan of bar end shifters

    In Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan, testing out kit for the real thing

In other words, I’m still a roadie at heart and though I’m riding a touring bike, I don’t just want to travel, I also want to enjoy the (very long) ride.  As I pack my panniers over the next few weeks, hopefully I’ll be able to resist the temptation to overfill them – there’s nothing to spoil a bike’s handling like kilos of extraneous junk.  To find out whether I manage it, you’ll have to wait for my first photos from the road.

Until then