For my first trip I drew up the spec for the bike after reading other tourers’ blogs and what became my bible: Stephen Lord’s – Adventure Cycle Touring Handbook. The second edition of the book was edited by Neil and Harriet Pike. I then visited Richard at Oxford Bike Works to explore further what the bike could look like. He was extremely generous with his time and I came away knowing what I wanted. After some thought, I decided to go to my local shop in Woolwich, Harry Perry Cycles, although I have no hesitation in recommending Richard.
Paul, at Harry Perry, has been building bikes for the last 43 years. He specialises in hand build wheels. I can’t be grateful enough for all the support he has given me. Before my first trip weekly visits to the shop became part of my routine and he always had time and good advice for me. He even taught me bike maintenance from adjusting the breaks to changing spokes. Thanks a million Paul!!
The experience of my first long distance trip from London to Far East Asia lead me to make some small changes for my second Africa trip and this is reflected in the information below.
The spec goes on over the next couple of page – happy reading!
|London to Far East Asia||Africa||Notes|
|Frame||Surly Long Haul Trucker 50"||No changes||A great bike I really enjoyed making friends with Foxtrot. She is strong reliable and responsive. I fell in love with her!|
|Rear Racks||Tubus Logo rear||No changes||Good strong racks – To start with I didn't tighten the top bolts until the rack collapsed onto my wheel. I learnt my lesson!|
|Front Racks||Tubus Tara front carrier||Same racks|
|Bottle cages||BikeBuddy MK3 bottle cage||No changes||Clever piece of kit I used this one for my fuel bottle. Just remember to tighten the bolts every now and again|
|Decathlon – plastic||1.5 lt XL bottle cage||I'm changing it for a bigger cage to fit ordinary 1.5lt water bottles|
|Giant bottle cage|
|Kickstand||Click-stand||No changes||After reading the Surly website I settled for this click stand small and light. It didn't always work and the bike collapsed many times (the front wheel swung around.) The rubber feet break quickly and I've replaced them with walking poles and the brakes don't last long so now I just use a ring cut out from an old inner tube. The top section broke but the customer care service provided by Click stand is amazing. Having it is it is much better than having nothing so I'm sticking with it.|