Category Archives: Cycle Touring England to New Zealand | 2012

Packing my touring bike – 24hs to go… [video]

What can I possibly say about the last few days?!… The last 48 hours have been spent in the vain pursuit of packing perfection – although my bike (Ramotswe; for those of you that don’t yet know) is holding everything I need in a, more or less, organised manner, she does weigh a ton. I’ve never had such a heavy bike to pedal and tomorrow I need to travel 100 miles to my dad’s house in reading! A feat I know I’ll find difficult because between uni, my old job and planning for this ride means I haven’t been able to cycle more than 40 miles a week for a very long time.

Here’s a video I put together earlier demonstrating how everything fits together. I know she looks heavy and you might think I’ve taken everything including the kitchen sink but I’m no weight weenie – I like light bikes, but I like my hammock, mask and snorkel even more, if you see what I mean?… and I’m also packing my laptop and associated electronics for the benefit of this site. So, with that defensive statement in place, I invite you to check out the video: (note: totally ripped off Ellie’s brilliant idea I’m afraid)

Aside from being a little out of shape for a 100 mile first day, and apart from harbouring a guilty consciousness about taking too many heavy luxuries on the bike, I’m really eager to get on the road and will pleased to ease myself into the simple, free and untethered life of cycle-touring again. Let the adventure begin!

Fixing up my Thorn Sherpa named Ramotswe

Thorn Sherpa Service
tinkering time with Ramotswe

After working on my last uni assignment in the morning and painfully dragging my essay to a state of roughly 90% completion I headed into the garage for a little tinkering time with my Thorn Sherpa, Ramotswe (aka Remmy). For those of you that don’t know Ramotswe is the ‘traditionally built’, dependable and lovable lady detective found in Alexander McCall Smiths’ book series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency set in Botswana, Africa. The books are a great read, the characters are fascinating and at times very funny, the descriptions of Botswana and Africa told through Ramotswe, as she sits drinking bush tea under the shade of an Acacia tree, by McCall Smith is beautiful and honest. The stories explore Continue reading Fixing up my Thorn Sherpa named Ramotswe

12 days and one assignment to go!

procrastination at it's best

It’s nearly time to start cycling to south-east Asia. I’ve got 12 days and one last uni assignment to go and I can finally begin my journey east. The plan has been massively revised in the last few weeks; the bad news is that Charlie, who I began planning this trip with over a year ago, has had an irrefusable offer from his uni to work through the summer with the opportunity to win a prestigous award, so he won’t be cycling any great distances this year, although he might fly out and join us for a small section in Europe. However the good news is that Joe, one of my oldest and most trusted friends, is now able to join us for ‘as long as money allows’ where as before he was only going to accompany us as far as Slovenia before making his way to a wedding in Africa.

The planning stage is almost complete, I’m only waiting on a few small items; some methylated spirits, malaria tablets, one last course of vaccinations and a filter for my camera. The only really pressing thing is getting this assignment done for next Tuesday so I’d better stop photographing chains get back to work!

If you really want to see how creative a person can be then you should watch them avoid a task they’ve become tired of; for me this is writing sociology assignments – I just don’t find it quite as interesting as my other modules.

de-mystifying visas one political territory at a time

China Visa Stamp
The Illusive China Visa Stamp

As a UK national obtaining foreign visas is probably easier for me than for most. I’m lucky to be a part of the EU and to be a member of a former global super power which, although I largely regret many aspects of Britain’s colonial past, has left me as a member of a country with strong political relationships all over the globe. So from the point of view of a British national the bureaucratic landscape and my political mobility looks as follows; Continue reading de-mystifying visas one political territory at a time

Fast Track Vaccinations


I’ve just got back from my local travel clinic where I spent almost an hour going through the locations I intend to ride through and assessing the various health risks I’m expected to encounter.

The nurse walking me through the process was really helpful and has put me on a fast track vaccination programme starting with Hepatitis A & B, which is combined, and  Continue reading Fast Track Vaccinations

England to Indonesia: approaching departure (5 weeks to go)

departure towards Santander
our departure towards Santander in 2009

I can confidently forecast that on the evening of the 16th of June I’ll be sitting in the middle of my room surrounded by bulging panniers, merino underwear and tent poles clasping my head in my hands. The reason for this is that the 17th of June, exactly 5 weeks from today, is now the official leaving date for my tour to south-east Asia. Within these next 5 weeks I need to get travel insurance, investigate the necessity for vaccinations, for which I’ve an appointment with a doctor tomorrow, procure a water filter, a few spare bike components and other odds and ends. Some of the more difficult challenges will be to decide which of my many cherished jackets I’m going to take with me but I’ll probably just have to Continue reading England to Indonesia: approaching departure (5 weeks to go)