The discovery of a vague cycle route which runs all the way from Dover in Kent to St Austell in Cornwall and suddenly this became a real possibility. So the route isn't that hard - the only real decision is whether I go though Portsmouth and check south of Southampton to the New forest or add a few more miles on by jumping on a ferry across to the Isle of Wight, cycle from Ryde to Yarmouth and then back on the ferry to Lymmington in the New Forest. The latter route is the more interesting. Either way, that's probably a decision for once on the road, weather and muscle wear dependent.
The next questions are one's of practicality. So what exactly am a I going to need to do this? And how do I carry it all??
- So first up, I need a bike. Sounds obvious right? but seriously I had to consider if the bike which I already own is up to the job or not. Having not ridden any long distances for over 20 years, I am so far behind on bike technology. But I reckon yes, it is. I spent about £400 on a Dawes hybrid about 7 years ago. I reckon it has probably only about 100 miles on the clock, so it's badly underused. However I did some research at the time of purchase and Dawes came out top as building some of the best bikes around at an even vaguely affordable price. So I'm going to go with this one. The one change I am going to make is to have it fitted with the best saddle I can afford. Lets face it, I'm going to spend the best part of two weeks glued to it and I'd like to be able to sit down at the end of my journey.
- The next thing to consider is how to carry stuff. I have no idea at this point how much "stuff" I need to carry, but it makes sense to get the containers first and then make whatever compromises I need in order to get said "stuff" into those containers. So panniers and a decent rucksack are essential.
- I guess that "stuff" is going to consist of the following;
- Clothing for wet, cold and warm weather. The weather can be a little unpredictable mid September.
- Tent and camping gear
- Tools and spares for the bike
- Electronics - Bike GPS, mobile phone, batteries, chargers, MP3 player, camera.
- Basic food and water.
- First aid kit
- Paper maps in case the electronics fail.
I'm pretty sure I will have missed something vital in that list, but that seems to be about it. I shall be discussing each section of "stuff" in further detail as I come to purchase it.