Handlebar Bag, Panniers, Saddlebag
- easy access, for food, phone, money
- some have map pocket on top
- can get clip off ones, with strap
Get one of these. Seriously. They're an absolute lifesaver (if chain breaks...), and include (amongst other things):
- some spanners
- spoke key
- chain tool
- alan keys
Suggest small one for on the road use, track pump for home use
- Carhartt Store has a GREAT mini track pump for £15
- 15-17 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9LL
- Tel: 020 7836 1551
- This is a full size track pump for home use
Pedals - STRONGLY suggest SPD ('Spuds') clip in pedals + shoes
- 20% more power!!! Best thing since sliced bread!
- Clip in like a ski boot, and just push your heel outward to unclip
- Start off with them adjusted as loose as possible (little alan key from rear of pedal), to avoid falling off if forget, when you start using them. After a while you don't think about it
- Shoes have slightly stiffer soles, and the clip on the sole is recessed, so just like a normal shoe for walking. Racing versions have solid sole and the cleat sticks out, not good for walking, slippy...
- Merlin uses and suggests the pedals with a clip on one side and normal pedal on the other, then can use with any shoe, lend to a friend… Try some of THESE.
- There are also clip in sandles (Shimano do them), for Africa or summer...
- Merlin's Mum’s saddle www.comfortsaddle.com which is wide and tips on the downward pushing leg. She's done long tours with it and says “Can't praise it too highly, never had any sore 'parts' unlike with the standard saddles”. They say "The Comfort Saddle is best suited for cyclists who prefer to sit upright"
- Leather saddlles mold to your own shape over time
- Sheldon Brown has an incredibly detailed guide HERE.
- Some saddles have cut outs to reduce pressure on your perenium
- Slicks are recommended for various reasons. Merlin's used 'combination' with a ridge running round the middle, but having been doing research for you found this http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html - (very good site I trust) - I will now stop this!
- Tyre pressure
- Good pressure will make for less rolling resistance
- Also less 'snake bite' puncture and rim denting going over bumps
- Bit less pressure in front tyre, as centre of gravity is back
From our Lands End Masterplan:
Keep it as light as you possibly can; now is the time for those clichés about cutting your tooth-brush in half to save weight! As you cycle up long hills you will curse every superfluous item in your bags. One change of shorts and tops should be fine, so that you wash and dry one each evening (before dinner!) and wear the other while it dries. You might take a pair of those lightweight trekking trousers to wear in the evenings. Water-proofs are essential; it’s not a quick dash home in the rain – you might have to persist for a few hours in rain, and you will be sorry if you don’t have them. When you pack make sure you leave spare capacity in the bags for carrying each day’s food and drink.
More essential items – simple first aid kit and medicines (paracetamol, plasters, stuff for bad tummies etc); minimal tools if you’re not an ace mechanic (pump, puncture repair kit, oil, spanners, spare spokes which can be tied to your rack); TISSUES – these are essential, not least for when you need to answer a call of nature and it’s still 10 miles to the next village!
Mechanical failures – this is the main worry most people have before launching on a major expedition – what if the whole bike frame collapses, or the chain breaks, or I lose a wheel? First of all, it is unlikely (three of us didn’t even have a puncture during the whole trip – remember you’re generally not cycling on urban roads so there’s much less rubbish around to get in your tires). If you do, it’s a telephone and a friendly taxi to a bike shop. Britain has many bike shops, you will always be able to find one. At the worst it’s an unplanned overnight until you can get it fixed.
Many will have a mobile phone and/or MP3 player.
Some mobiles have a memory card, can get a big one and put music on there.
Charging on the road is also something you may want to consider. Something like solar charging or a dynamo solution may be in order.
SMS from web - Money Saving Expert have a good guide on their website.
Mobile roaming - Money Saving Expert have another good guide for mobile phone roaming
Free Int'l Mobile Calls - Money Saving Expert has more info on getting free international Mobile calls.