One week to go
My bike's not quite ready, I haven't thought about packing. I have no insurance, no way to access money overseas. But my ticket is booked, I have my visa, I have a velocipede, and enough will power to force me onto a plane and into the abyss.
Details on my bike and gear. Having decided on the bike tour less than two months before leaving, it was a bit of a rush scraping all my gear together, considering some people spend years planning such trips. My road bike I used for commuting had no brazens for racks, which I thought would have been necessary for any kind of serious touring. So I bought a Vivente World Randonneur, made in Taiwan and put together in Sydney. It's a steel frame with 100% Cr-Mo tubing, with drop bars and STI lever. It was quick to set up, because it already came with a lot of the gear - mud guards, rear rack, front dynamo hub (Shimano Deore XT dynamo) and lights powered by the dynamo (Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ Fly RT w/standlight and sensor and Toplight line plus for day night running).
I set up my bike further with:
- 4 x Ortlieb Panniers (2 x front, 2 x rear)
- Altura handlebar bag
- Tubus Duo Lowrider front rack
- Brooks leather saddle
- E-werk and cache battery for phone charging
- Pedals and SPD mountain bike cleats and shoes
- Mini foot pump
- Kryptonite D-lock
It was a large upfront cost, but I saw it as an investment I would get a lot out of in future days - better to have reliable bike. I was a little worried about bike maintenance - I knew the basic fixes: repairing a puncture, adjusting and replacing brake pads (but I'd never had disc brakes before as on the front wheel), changing brake and gear cables, truing a wheel, breaking a chain etc. But I was scared of being stuck in a remote area and not having the knowledge to be able to fix it myself.