Saturday, 29 March 2014

My choice of stallion

In a few days (next Tuesday) I'm leaving New Zealand and heading over the ditch and into Australia. I'll arrive in Sydney airport in the afternoon, spend the evening/night there, before heading over to the domestic terminal and catching my 07:20 flight to Perth.

Am I prepared? Is everything in order? Of course not EVERYTHING is order, that'd be boring. But I'd like to think I managed to cover a lot so far. Check it out.

Stuff I've already got

Buying all the equipment prior to leaving would just be silly because of storage, luggage, financial reasons.... You get the picture. I have however bought a few key bits and found where in Perth I can get rest.

In danger of sounding somewhat pretentious; there are times I wonder if I was destined to do this.
I mean, when I came over to New Zealand I brought a few items a "normal" person wouldn't necessarily bring. I brought a multi-tool, a portable army-style hammock, a head-torch, three pairs of exercise gloves and heavy-duty straps (used when rigging a stage or filmset). I mean, what kind of person brings stuff like that on a holiday?? My uncle would say "A prepared person does".

Anyhoodle, so in addition to that I've gotten several items, but I'm not going to bore you with that now. When I've got all the gear sorted in Perth, I plan on doing a post on EVERYTHING I'm bringing. Now, I'm going to tell you about the key bits I've got.

Fuji Tourer 2014
I spent hours looking online for a good quality bike, good price AND that had a shop in Perth. Now you wouldn't normally think that'd be an issue, but I tell you it's more of a challenge than you think.
After looking at several options and talking to my mate Alex back in the UK, I decided on this bike.

This bike offer great quality, generic parts and good price. I looked at several reviews of both this model and previous models and all I could find rated this as a good or very good bike. After speaking to a local bike shop close to where I'll be staying, they were willing to order one for me if I put down a deposit on it. Spoke to them yesterday and it's arrived and awaiting my arrival next week.

You might have noticed the pedals. What? Are you not using cleats/cycling shoes? Over my dead body if I am. Don't get me wrong, when I was training on my roadbike here in NZ cycling shoes was amazing. The truly make a difference in performance. However, when you're bike touring, with up to 40kg of luggage, last thing you want to do when attempting a hill start is to click-in. Besides, it would mean I need more shoes. This way I can use the same trainers for cycling as for hiking. Also, if my shoes break, trainers are much cheaper (and easier) to buy than cycling shoes.

Trailer vs. panniers
When doing my research I debated whether to have four bags (two front + two back) or a trailer. I read several blog posts and looked on forums what other bikers were saying.

Panniers (bike bags) have it's advantages, like accesible, stuff can be grouped and organised and it can be used as a day-pack. But at the same time it requires you to have it all fairly balanced otherwise you'll lean more than the tower of Pisa. It also puts more strain on the spokes and wheels, have four panniers. So I've opted for only two back panniers. These arrived from the UK in early February from, arguably UK's best online bike shop. I'll show them when I go through all my equipment in Perth.

Though a trailer means one more component to potentially fix, I believe it's the best option for long term travelling. It will allow me to bring more food with me. Also, if I need to leave in a hurry due to for example a storm; with a travel I can, effectively, shove everything into it without being too worried about compressing as much as I would with only panniers.

So I bought this trailer online earlier this week and it is now being shipped to my good friend Dian in Perth, who's been a great support so far. We met in Oxford (England) when were there on a language trip back in 2007. We stayed in touch through Facebook and postcards, but haven't seen each other since. So I'm really excited.

What's next?
In addition to that I've already got some of my camping gear and most of the clothes I'll be needing, so all set. I fly out next Tuesday and arriving in Perth on Wednesday. So next week will be filled with new exciting adventures, visiting an old friend and getting all the gear sorted. If all goes to plan, I'll be on my way the 9th of April. So cross your fingers, toes and others limbs, because this is going to be a crazy ride. I'll also show you ALL the equipment I'm using some time next week, so stay tuned.

Source: Sykehusklovnene - Photo by Mai Linn Opseth Tronstad

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