Wednesday, July 08, 2015

What's in a Backpack?

Wednesday morning, 10.30am. The second cappuccino of the day, and a moment out of time. I find myself casually dressed in a cycling jersey, underpants, and bed hair. After a delightfully busy couple of days entertaining a friend from Colombia, Mara, she has taken herself to the Van Gogh Museum this morning. Emily is at work, which leaves me home alone, and laying everything we might need for the next few weeks on the apartment floor. 

Shit. We're really planning to cycle 2000km through Scotland and England in 4 days time.

Our prep has been just as we envisage the cycling; slow, steady, and fuelled by generous and frequent food and drink stops. Hospitality conquers all. Having managed to service the bikes last week, this week sees a delicate level of attention fall upon what we plan carry with us for the 2-3 weeks. After consulting the scarily attentive and detailed world of bike touring internet forums, there seems to be 2 polar opposite schools of thought regarding bicycle travel. On the one end of the spectrum are the beautiful and liberated hippy throwbacks. They cycle on old mountain bikes found in waste dumps a short walk from home. They scorn anyone traveling with gadgets which require re-charging, and go with the wind. Wearing hemp t-shirts and swimwear, these people wild camp along the roadside, pick berries and leaves for fuel, wash in streams and lakes, and have no pressing 'must finish by' timeline. Bastards.  On the opposite end of the scale, there are the people with high-end and expensive touring bicycles. They travel with GPS, wi-fi, a mobile photography studio, luxury 4-man tents, designer cycling clothes, and an 'off the bike' wardrobe to match. These items are carried in waterproof bags, and carefully attached to their bikes. They have the option of camping or paying for the nicer hotels.

We like to think of ourselves as swinging gently towards the hippy end of the scale, with a liking of Apple products, and a discerning taste in mid-range B&B's.

On all the LEJOG or JOGLE travel blogs it seems the done thing to post your packing list, so without further ado, please find ours detailed below...

For the Bike:
Puncture repair kit
2 x spare inner tubes
Tyre levers
Water bottles
1 rear rack and bag (for Emily)
1 backpack (for Glenn)

For the Riders:
2 x cycle jerseys
2 x padded cycle shorts
Cycling shoes
Sports bra (Emily only)
Waterproof jacket
Base layer
2 pairs of cycle socks
Toiletries etc
Washing powder
Sporks (to aid supermarket lunch stops)
Laminated maps & direction notes

For the Pubs:
Casual shoes
T-shirts & jumpers

For the National Grid:
2 x iPhones
Macbook Pro
Selfie-Stick (don't hate, it's just for this trip)
UK-EU adaptor

For the Soul:
2 x pens
NYC Bike Snob journal

Wednesday afternoon, 13.30. Mara's done with the Van Gogh, and Emily's finished early. Time for lunch.

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