There are those of us who like to read about the ‘spec’ of the bike and all the gear on a cycle tour, so if you belong to that particular group, here goes…
Bike: Dawes Sardar 2 tandem (don’t normally give names to bikes but this one was known as ‘Florence‘).
The tandem was fitted with Deore levers, shifters and front and rear mech. Butterfly bars at the front. Tandem specific aluminium frame, beefed up with gussets and very thick round the bottom brackets. Six sets of bottle cage bosses.
I didn’t much like the bike initially, but I warmed to it as the tour progressed. Something very cosy about cycling in unison, plus it carried a lot of weight and did it very well. We had lots of interest from people wanting to buy it, for some reason, mainly in England and Germany.
on the beach in the south of France
Wheels: Rigida Sputnik rims (40 hole), 14 broken spokes on rear wheel in the first 8 days, re-tensioned by a mechanic who knew what he was doing, instead of by me. Update:- turns out the mechanic didn’t really know what he was doing after all. Three popped spokes 1 day later, so I dished and retensioned the wheel and it performed a lot better.
Front Loaders – Life Line cheapies from Wiggle, consistent loosening problems on one side, now resolved with an extra home made bracket.
Rear Rack – Topeak (snapped in Germany), replaced by a Tubus steel rack (payload 40kg) which saw us through the rest of the tour.
Panniers: Ortlieb Back Roller Classics (x4) – 40 ltrs per pair. Very good at keeping the rain out. Generally just excellent.
Bar Bag: Karrimor old school classic, not waterproof but very sturdy – been with me for about 8 years.
Tent: Wild Country Burrian (2 porches and two entrances – how bourgeois). This tent was outstanding through pouring rain lasting up to 14 hours at a time. Didn’t let a drop in during the whole tour.
Self Inflating mats: Thermarest – the only ones we’d buy. However, mine developed it’s own inbuilt (and ever expanding) pillow – see pic below… I contacted Cascade designs (the distributor of Thermarest) and they replaced the mat free of charge, despite it being 4 years old. Excellent customer service. They also replaced the MSR fuel pump from my Whisperlite (mentioned below) at the same time.
Sleeping bags: Ajungilak Kompakt 3 (woke up to frost in France but warm all night) and Lite Hiker (unknown comfort rating)
Stove: MSR Whisperlite with Bike Buddy MK3 bottle cage holder for MSR fuel bottle. Whisperlite pressure pump bust in the south of France.
Pans: bit of titanium and a bit of aluminium
Solar Panel: Solar Gorilla 10 watt. It struggled to charge the laptop even in bright sunshine, but good for small usb 5v items like the phone and the camera
Netbook: Samsung N120
Camera: Samsung 10mp with USB charging option (good for solar panel).
Music: Baylis ‘Eco Media Player’
And that’s about it I think. In case there are any thieves out there reading this, I lied about the expensive stuff – it’s all cheap tat.