Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Talking of side orders

Besides the time on the bike, there is the issue of equipment and tailoring the bike to the changes in this years ride and also to take into account improvements needed after last year.

With 40 miles of mountain track/off-road as we transit the French/Italian Alps, I will be changing from road shoes and pedals to SPDs and a new pair of MTB shoes. I have a pair that I used when I cycled Lands End to John O'Groats in 2010, but they have not been looked after and will not do. A change in pedal configuration, might also reverse the neuropathy issues that I still have with my little toe on my left foot.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Despite the obvious light weight configuration that I travelled with last year, I did not have enough room to carry all that I now feel that I need. So it is that I shall be looking at what should be known as the 'Transcontinental' saddlepack, below. Produced by Apidura, they come in a number a volumes and I have yet to decide how big to go.

I shall be taking my bivibag instead of the survival bag. Though half a pound heavier, it will provide infinitely better protection without the sweat problems of the non-breathable silver pouch. I might yet afford myself a very light-weight sleeping bag, since I was also cold at night and good sleep, however short, is pretty valuable.

Beyond that, tyre choice will be important too. A compromise between rolling resistance and durability given the off-road section makes this an interesting conundrum. Either that or take two spare foldable tyres. At the moment I'm considering the Schwalbe Marathon Plus.

Currently running on Continental 4 season tyres, it will be interesting to compare the two.


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