In my post bike purchase enthusiasm phase, I bought lots of stuff from Ellis Briggs under their 10% discount scheme for EB bike owners. This included a car bike rack, helmet, pump, panniers, bell, front rack, cages (free bottles) and lights.

I spent a very pleasurable few days with allen key in hand, fitting, adjusting and generally poking around until I felt the bike was ready for the open road. It looked very handsome indeed, every inch a touring machine.

Since then I've made a few changes buying bits and pieces from Ebay and direct from OEMs plus foreign stuff from a particularly excellent bike shop near Lippstadt in Germany. The best changes were Arkel panniers and a Brooks B17 saddle. Brooks have just launched a touring website Enjoy Every Mile and I kind of know what they mean!

photograph by Mya Fawcett

I was fortunate to have a tow bar on the car as this made fitting a bike rack relatively simple. Driving 300 miles with a bike strapped to the back of the car was in itself a daunting prospect.

2007 kit list: (click to download)

  • Bike
  • Spare parts, tube, pump and tools
  • Water bottles
  • Vango Spirit 200 Lite tent
  • Sleeping bag and Thermarest prolite
  • MSR Windpro stove and gas cylinder
  • Pans, cutlery set, lighters, can opener
  • Food, British and US army rations
  • 'Look What We Found' - gourmet meals
  • Clothing, waterproofs, Rab down top
  • Towel, soap, tooth brush and paste
  • Emergency survival gear, first aid kit
  • Maps, compass and whistle
  • Casio digital camera
  • Solar powered radio
  • Mobile phone and solar charger
  • Pen and notebook
  • Wallet, cash and credit cards
  • iPod and book "Life of Pi"
  • 2008 changes:

  • Tubus front rack
  • A530 SPD single sided touring pedals
  • Brooks B17 titanium saddle
  • New pump
  • Terra Nova Laser Competition tent
  • Arkel XM panniers front and rear
  • Topeak handlebar bag
  • Fewer clothes
  • Cut down OS maps
  • Book "Cloud Atlas"
  • 2010 changes:

  • Garmin Edge 705 bike computer
  • New OS maps, just in case
  • Lumix G1 digital camera
  • 2011 changes:

  • New 48 chain ring - old one bent
  • New cassette sprocket 11-34 - those hills!
  • New chain
  • Arkel bar bag
  • 2013 changes:

  • Terra Nova Laser Competition tent large
  • Powermonkey Extreme Solar Charger
  • 2015 changes:

  • Alpkit PipeDream 400 down sleeping bag
  • Alpkit Koro remote canister stove
  • Alpkit BruPot cooking pot with heat exchanger
  • Alpkit Kelvin insulated titanium mug

  • The bike was ready, so I began planning for the first of my cycle tours.