18 months ago I received a gift of a book written by a chap who accomplished a global cycle tour. After reading the book I soon realized that such an endeavour wasn't for me, especially the plan to go cycle touring for that long. Christmas came and went and an idea was forming to do something on a smaller scale. Around that time I watched a BBC program on a guy who raced around the world doing it in under 200 days to gain a Guinness world record. I'd say this promotes the extremes of endurance cycling but not travelling.
My tour is expected to last roughly five months taking me from France to Switzerland then south via an unplanned route though Spain to Morocco. Currently living in Hampshire I thought it only right to take the ferry from Portsmouth to caen. I'll try to share some of my experiences and knowledge gained along the way and offer inspiration for anyone planning their own adventure.
The aim for me is to learn to live on the road this way and engage with the places I pass through. I love cycling and the freedom in employs. I had a load of jabs to cope with the variations. My possessions went into storage and I literally traded one life for another. Like many, I'll be travelling on a budget meaning hotels and restaurants will rarely be frequented. It will be wild camping and self-catering for me with a campsite every so often to clean up. I love the landscapes, the changing colours and light that come with the turn of days. I believe a lot can be learned by observing how others live; this journey will hopefully lend some perspective on a better life in England in the future. I'm also a keen artist, having sold many pieces; I'll aim to draw and paint as I go and who knows maybe wander into the realm of street artist.
The bike I'll be cruising on is an old school 2006 Kona Explosif. It's been in my possession for 4 years and changed continuously, it now comes with a set of rigid p2 forks and geometry wise it's in a more upright position for touring. After running it singlespeed for a while the gears are now back on. I'm only 11st which goes in my favour as the bike weighs in at around 14.5kg without the bags attached. With all my gear attached I'd estimate the bike will weigh in the region of 40kg. Gearing up for this trip has been an adventure in itself.
Some suppliers for Wiggle kindly sorted me out with some fundamental bits of kit. I'll aim to give a honest account of their performance alongside my own throughout. Supplied items included:
- exposure reflex mk2 lights
- Exposure blaze lights mk1 rear light
- 2x schwalbe marathon tour plus wired 26x1.75/
- schwalbe marathon supreme folding tyre 26x2.0 (spare)/
- ortlieb roller back panniers/
- ortlieb roller front panniers
- ortlieb ultimate 6m handlebar bag
- tubus ergo front rack
- Tubus logo rear pannier racks
- dhb omnicrom freeride jerseys long sleeve
- dhb extreme winter gloves ( for the mountains; I get cold hands).