Its all starting to get a bit real

Its all starting to get a bit real

I have ordered the tent an MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 (more about this later)  at some point without thinking about it i had set in my mind that this is the point at which there is no turning back.

Once i have the tent, bike & bags i know i have the hardware to do the ride, everything else i buy (and there is a lot) is just making it more comfortable and not to do the ride would be just weakness on my part.
So all in all i have done the easy bit the most fatigue being on my fingertips as a keyboard warrior. So when does the hard work begin? the training and the preparation for my old body.

So when does the hard work begin?

I have zero idea of a training plan and actually its only 3 months away.  Partly the reason for the lack of preparation is that i do not want to turn this into a competitive event as everything else i seem to do does and partly its because i was never very good at taking my medicine.

I would really like to enjoy the trip not shackling myself to preset mileages and feed stops etc, i would like to stop and take a look around, perhaps also get into the Zen state of mind just enjoying the ride.

However i am not so naive as to believe i can just rock up and expect my arse and my body to know what to do.

So how do you prepare for an trip like this?

I have limited time to train as its through the nasty winter months for cycling and the first trip itself being the last week in March 2017.

What do i need to improve on?

I need to improve on my all day pace i have the tendency to race about Hampshire and West Sussex like a mad man this would be a mistake on a trip like this.

I need to improve on my solo ride disciplines.

I need to improve on my back to back milages.

To this end i propose the following


At least 1 solo plus 200K ride


1 Solo 200K +
1 back to back solo 200k + rides

February / March

2 back to back solo 200k + rides


2 back to back solo 200k + rides

Now its in writing lets see how much i stick to the plan.

My house to Mums house in Alicante

Hairpin turn hanging out in space
My first big trip is in the planning phase, the purpose of this trip is to test out my ability to plan and execute a long ride with as much “wild camping” as possible.

My Father lived near Nantes for years and i always regretted not riding down to see him before he died so here i am not wanting to regret riding to my Mums in Alicante.

I plan to take the last week of this years Holiday allowance and the first week of next years allowance which leaves me undertaking this folly in March with all that that means, rain, wind, snow (in Pyrenees) .

“Leaves me undertaking this folly in March with all that that means, rain, wind, snow”

As you can see the route planned itself with an almost straight line from StMalo to Alicante. I will be riding big chunks of the “Velodysee Atlantic” Cycle path which in itself should prove challenging into the Atlantic winds.

I then take the chickens route over the Pyrenees to skirt Pamplona. It is definitely going to be a ride of two halves with long flat windy Atlantic and Hilly Espagna.

“It is definitely going to be a ride of two halves with long flat windy Atlantic and Hilly Spain”
The long one 1600 KM


Picking up the Condor Heritage ……. and riding it home


“Today is the day to pick up my new Bike”

So today was the day to pick up my new Condor Heritage and the plan is to ride it home to Portsmouth.

I caught the train at sparrows fart and walked from Waterloo to Condor, the bike was sat there ready for me in all its glory all we had to do now was to stick a saddle on, pedals and my Apidura bags and i was off.

This was of course after i was tempted to buy a new multi tool, Multi tool case, tyre levers, bottle cage and 2 metal Flandrian riders.

“I nearly dropped a bollock, the bike was so heavy”

I had to lift the bike out of the shop and down the stairs to the pavement outside, i was expecting the bike to be heavy but this was taking the mick its so heavy that it creates its own gravitational force, this bike will survive a nuclear attack but will i survive riding home? This is a big depart from my Cervelo S5 which has only just been put away for the winter!

My plan was to test out the Dynamo charging the phone and use “Ride with GPS” turn by turn routes,  so bike loaded, cycling kit on off i went, 1 mile later i realised i was going the wrong way so not off to a good start.  My iphone kept going to sleep and RWGPS  was not at all helpful in pointing me in the correct direction…….. eventually i found the “Cycle Super highway” and i was on my way. Getting used to RWGPS getting better all the time.

The plan was to ride through Richmond Park and back through Surrey to home, almost immediately it started to shower but i was coping with this quite well as the weight of the Condor (now nicknamed Arti) was making me work so hard.

As i rode down the Cycle Superhighway i picked up a Rapha Clad rider in full race rig on a very nice Cervelo who was fascinated by Arti, we had a nice chat and he was encouraging me to “do” some of the posers as we went through Richmond Park ….. well it would be rude not to.


The weather had stayed kind to me with just the odd shower, but as i moved my way to the Surrey hills i could see clearly what was in store for me and it did not look dry!


By the time i hit the climb up to Newlands Corner View point it was raining sideways, its at this point that i realised that RWGPS had let me select an off road route, after a quick flick through the Iphone i managed to suss out a route to get me back on course, this involved me hurtling down a hill (dual carriageway) on the Artic  at break neck speeds in the pouring rain….. not what i planned however i was strangely enjoying this and i was thanking my lucky stars i had disc brakes.

“i was strangely enjoying this”

Making my way to Haslemere  (where i had earmarked a stop for food) my route took a left turn into a minor country road, this road went up vertical and for a long time, it the closest i had come to getting off the bike and walking for a very long time, note to self Surrey is V Hilly.

“Lesson 1, I should of ordered a triple”
After eating Haslemere Costa and having a coffee i pressed on homewards now in a battle with the light also.

Several concerned friends were texting offering lifts and cups of coffee but i must make it back otherwise i could be setting a new trend for packing.

I was now on V familiar roads, just as i made it onto Ditcham Park climb in the Southdowns when my Iphone ran out of juice DOH and my strava route ended.

I continued my journey home in what was definitely unsafe light conditions as my front light went out as well.

An enjoyable ride with unexpected difficulties riding a semi laden touring bike is quite different prospect from anything i had done before.

What worked well

1) Full Mudguards my bike was still immaculate
2) Very stable even at high speeds
3) Disc Brakes were fantastic on this fully laden Bike
4) Iphone fantastic resource for re routing much better than a garmin
5) The charger worked at really low speeds very impressive, the iphone less impressive as it was very fussy

Lessons learned

1) Just because RWGPS lets you route down a road does not mean its rideable on a touring bike, time spent on routing is paid back in full
2) Get great lights and make sure they are charged
3) Time spent on the route pays back in spades
4) On this bike dont be in a hurry ride “Tranquilo”
5) Learn how to use RWGPS
6) The iphone does not take kindly to on and off charging the perceived wisdom is to charge a power bank with the Dynamo

“On this bike dont be in a hurry ride Tranquilo”

Should of ordered a triple

Choosing the Touring Bike


“Choosing the Bike”

Many hours of research had been spent choosing the correct Bike for the job, only to end up realizing that i would in fact need 2 bikes for the job.

Transcontinental would require a lighter bike whereas a touring bike is a different beast altogether designed to be stable whilst heavily loaded  and basically bomb proof!

In the end the decision came down to the heart and not the head, i want a classic bike that i will love and that would last forever……….. drum roll please.

I chose a Condor Heritage which is a classic steel touring bike with bomb proof wheels and massive tyres.

Off i went to Condor to get a fitting and make my order. The salesman managed to up sell me on almost every item as i have the breaking strain of a kit kat.

I managed to persuade Wendy that we needed a day in London, she got quickly bored with Condor and buggered off for a coffee after the fitting (and the confession) i also managed to persuade Wendy that we should go to “look Mum no Hands” for lunch, by a strange coincidence the penultimate stage of the 2016 Vuelta was showing (which was an excellent stage).

Wendy got bored again and buggered off to Primark with some pocket money donated by me, there i was in a cycling cafe filled with Columbians watching the Vuelta.

I was suitably punished afterwards by being made to walk more than 1 mile to the South Bank.

You may notice the Son 28 Dynamo and the Tout Terrain Plug USB port, more about this later

Frame Condor Heritage Disc
Groupset SRAM Rival 11-speed
Brakes Avid BB7 Road SL Mechanical Disc Brake Set
Condor Handbuilt Disc Wheelset
Son 28 Dynamo
Tout Terrain The Plug
Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Inner Tubes
Continental Race 28 Light
Seat Post Condor Uno Retro Seat Pin
Stem Condor Strada Alloy
Handlebars Condor Strada
Handlebar Tape Condor Cork
SKS Chromoplastic Guards

Apidura Bags
Top tube pack regular
Handlebar Pack Dry (14L)
Accessory Pocket Dry (5L)
Saddle Pack Dry (14L)
Road Frame Pack (Small)

The Service i got from Condor was exceptional and to be recommended, the bike would be ready in 6 weeks where the plan was to Train up and ride the beast home to Portsmouth

Bike Adventure To Do list

This is my Bike adventure to do list, i will hopefully create a useful list of things to do prior to each trip:

+ 8 weeks out


Check Flights and Ferries can be booked on the dates you require.

Book Flights and Ferries

Research Hostels and Campsites

Create Routes and export GPX and KML files

Load KML files onto Phone and GPX onto Garmin.

Photocopy of Passport and Driving Licence.

Photo of Passport and Driving Licence on the Telephone.

Credit card for abroad Purchases

Physical telephone list and email addresses important numbers

Order and Medication Required

+ 4 weeks out

Order Currency

Look at accommodation

Bike Service

Order Currency


Blog Purpose

The purpose of this blog is…

The reason for write this blog is twofold:

1) Blogs have formed a large part of the resources that have helped me research my adventures so this is by way of paying that forward.

2) Writing a blog instills a kind of discipline on me to get on with what needs getting on with. In many respects it’s a kind of planning tool if I have written it down I must make it so.

if I have written it down I must make it so

My Adventure Bike Wish List

    Teguise in Lanzarote – Cyclists Paradise smooth roads, respectful drivers & Volcano’s

Once i had made my mind up conclusively that i wanted this madness, well nearly conclusively, well  not conclusively at all really and as the time of my first Expedition gets closer even less conclusively

I started researching and creating a list of kit that would be required for a cycling adventure.

Research carried out on really useful websites (see blog roll) and reading real world  blogs.

This is not an insignificant amount of kit required, i may use this as an excuse not to do it.

An asterix ** denotes that i have this already or have since made the purchase

The Expedition Kit Wish List

Touring Bike
(on Transcontinental i would maybe use lighter bike)


Steel Frame and Forks *

Dynamo Front wheel (son 128) *           £340

Tout Terrain the plug 111 USB  *           £120

Full mudguards (bluemel) *

Dynamo lights (No decided against)

Rack Tarbus rear *

Disc brakes * SRAM Cable

Steel frame & Forks *

Schwalbe marathon plus 32 *

£2000 total for bike

Tri bars  * (Decided against)

Gold secure lock & wire (Pit bull) or hip lock * £25

Maybe brooks Saddle  B17 Narrow           , Decided against it then decided for it, fantastic really comfortable and looks great

Minoura Space Mount SGS 400 Short Extension  * £17 (excellent bit of kit)


eTrex touch 35 * £200

Iphone ( & Ride with GPS) *    £0

Quad lock out Front (for Iphone) *        £28.00


Exposure Strada 1200 light   *                   £200

Exposure Flare £50 *                                   £40

light back ups Leyzene  *


Leather man “Wingman”

Multitool *


Tubes * 3 *

Tyre patch *

Spare tyre (*)

Frame Pump *

Tech & Gadgets

Iphone & Cable *

Spare phone

Garmin  Etrix ( battery powered) & Cables

Camera *

Head torch *


Power Pack (to charge from my dynamo) * £20

Plug adaptor  *


Instagram *                                                    £0 – offline mapping *                     £0

Ride with gps – turn by turn kml files *  £0

Audio books *                                               £0

I Tunes update *                                          £0

Blog app WordPress *                                 £0

Bags & Racks

Tubus carrier stretch belt £10

Tubus Bungy Straps

Rack Pack Ortlieb * £50

Ortlieb 40L Panniers * £60 (ebay bargain)

Apidura bags

Dry sack rear *                                             £90

Dry sack front *                                            £75

Dry accessories Pack *                                 £50

Dry Top tube *                                              £30

Frame pack *                                                £50

Osprey Dry sack 20L £14 *

Osprey Dry sack 12L * 2  £16


MSR Hubba Bubba NX 2                             £300

Alpkit PipeDream 400 sleeping bag          £200 *

Mattress-  * £25  Thermarest Z Lite Sol

Sleeping bag liner

Bivvy bag (maybe Later)

Quick dry towel *

Tent foot print

Cycling Clothing (cold)

Proviz Reflect 360 Gilet (for Night Riding) * £40

Rapha Hardsshell *


Sealskinz overshoes *

Sealskinz Socks *

Old Fashioned Cape *

Buff *

Hat *

Armwarmers *

Leg warmers *

3 shorts *

2 base layers Merino winter

Gloves deep winter *

Gloves medium *

Flip flops *

Balaclava *

Overshoes *

Velotoze *

Touring Mountain Bike style shoes *

Casual Clothing

Light joggers

T shirt


North face jacket Packable  *
Nutrition & Health

Cinelli Wet Wipes (my bath)

Zeros *

Glucose tabs



Insect repellent



Wet wipes

Washing liquid



Avon skin so soft (insect repellent)