13 Feb It’s Coming!
Today was a good day. After months of research, hundreds of phone calls, countless visits to bike shops and pestering friends with knowledge far greater than mine, I’ve ordered up all the components of the bike.
Building a bike for such a long and demanding trip hasn’t been easy. There have been a lot of different things to consider for each and every component of the bike. First, it had to be strong enough to withstand years of constant use over mixed and varied terrains. I’m under no illusion that things won’t get damaged over such a long trip but by equipping the bike with the best components within my budget from the start means I stand the best chance of minimising breakdowns.
It also had to be as lightweight as possible, the less weight, the easier the trip is going to be. This rule has also been applied to all of the kit I’m going to need for the trip, from my camping gear to my clothing. Combining lightweight with strength has been hard and compromises have had to be made in some areas but I think I’ve got the balance about right. Take the rear pannier rack, for example, I could have got one a lot lighter than I choose but whether it would have held up to the weight of the kit being placed on it was doubtful. Better to go slightly heavier and stand a better chance of avoiding breakages.
I also had to consider what would happen if things did break. I needed to know that, wherever I was on the trip, I stood a good chance of either being able to fix it or finding spare parts. The wheels I choose are a good example of this. Most off-the-shelf touring bikes in the UK come with a wheel size of 700cc but I would really struggle to find replacement tyres, wheels, or inner tubes to fit these outside of Europe and North America. For the most part, the rest of the world uses 26″ wheels so by fitting these, it’ll be far easier for me to find replacements anywhere on the trip. Same goes for the brakes. Disc brakes may give better performance and last longer than traditional v-brakes but just try finding a replacement set of discs in half of the countries I’ll be going through; you just won’t.
From the frame to the gear levers, every single component has taken hours of research until I’m confident that not only will everything fit together, but it will also be up to the abuse of long-distance touring. You can read more about each of the components and see exactly what I chose, along with the overall cost of the bike, by visiting the kit page above.
Now then, where has that postman got to?
Edited by – Emer Garry