I researched long and hard about the bicycle for the journey. My commuter racing bike would not be the one to go for.  A mountain bike would be stronger and heavier but not my idea of comfortable for long distance. Black Cadillac2So a touring bike it would be, strong and made of steel with a slightly longer wheelbase to accommodate the carriers and panniers to carry the gear I would need to be self-sufficient.

I wanted a Surly LHT, a good value bike – not as expensive as some but ticking the touring boxes. And with a very solid reputation for reliability. Eventually managed to find a 56″ frame for 28″ wheels at Hollingsworth Cycles in Templeogue. Andy in the workshop built the bike up – standard Shimano gears and chain set, wheels hand built with Ultegra hubs (top class sent by mistake!), hard core Chukker rims from Australia, stainless steel spokes, Marathon Plus tyres. Oh, and a Brooks B17 leather saddle. I had interruptor brakes added because I find them handy when riding more upright.

This link offers a persuasive case for the Surly LHT…

Carriers: Tubus, the Logo rear and Ergo lowrider front.

Panniers: Rear – Altura Orkneys. Front – second Ortliebs

Handlebar bag: Vaude

Tent: Really light and versatile MSR Hubba that came around Africa with me

Sleeping bag: 3 season (fairly light) Vango. Also been around. With really useful silk bag liner.

Three quarter length sleeping mat. Actually on the go fourteen years on all kinds of the earth’s surface.

Bivvy bag. Included as a, “You never know. And it’s lightweight…”

Stove: MSR Dragonfly also came on the jaunt around Africa. I use petrol in the fuel bottle, though it will burn others.

After that there’s a medical bag (which is too big. I need to consolidate it but it’s hard to leave stuff, “Yeah, could need that. And that…”), some spares incl a chain which is little heavy, tools, laptop (Macbook Air 11″), camera (Lumix TZ31), IPod and Sony h/phones (a little indulgence), rain gear, clothes (incl. togs, I wonder if they’ll be used), toiletries and various bits and pieces “that may come in handy”! And maps which tend to accumulate and add weight.


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