In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Friday, 14 June 2013

It Begins.

I don’t know why, but I feel a bit nervous. Its four days to go and then we are off to cycle across Canada. I’m not sure whether I’m worried that I might forget something or possible nervous about leaving the house for 10 weeks.

I do know what brought it on though, and that was the process of getting all the gear together, going down to the bike shed and sorting all the tools, putting the racks and touring wheels on the Mercian and then trying to cover all possible mechanical problems in my head.

I’m always very proud of the vast selection of tools and mechanical bits that I take. Unlike a lot of younger cycle tourists I not only take tools and spares but I know how to use them! Generally this is a complete waste of time as nothing mechanically serious has ever occurred to test me. I am ready though and on previous tours I have coped with mechanicals that would have left other cyclists reaching for their cell phone and credit card. The other thing about most of our tours is that we don’t have enough spare time to bus to the nearest bike shop and then wait around for spare parts and service. This is not a Charley Borman motorbike trip where you have a service vehicle following you and a direct link to the experts back home.

The one thing that never makes me nervous is the ride itself. I know that once I’m on the bike everything concerned with getting to my destination is usually straight forward. The big weigh-in at the airport is always stressful and that is probably the prime reason for my nerves. But once I have packed the bikes in touring mode to check that all fits I will dismantle both bikes and gear, pack it all in bikes bags and then weigh it all with the bike shop scales so that I know we are not over our individual limits of 23kg check in and 7kg hand luggage. I can probably increase the hand luggage by a couple kgs and the check in also by 2kgs.

What I don’t want is to be overweight so much that I have to do naughty things like lift the bike bag discretely while it’s being weighed. And to struggle onto the plane carrying 10 plus kgs of hand luggage. Trying to carry it, as if it weighs nothing. Then of course you can’t get it in the overhead lockers!

Today I’m working in the bike shop again. Felix’s wife Cushla has just had a baby boy so Niel the wheel is covering.  Adi has everything under control at our end. Tonight I have to pack the Mercian away in its bag. Last night Adi’s bike was wrapped up.  You can tell the bosses are away. Normally I wouldn’t be able to sneak the Vespa into the workshop. In fact it’s a rare day that I’m not cycling. The Mercian is all clean and so I won’t risk it getting caught in a shower.

The Cyclists Companion. (Note Bike Attach on Rear Guard)

“Cane Creek headset bearings sir, .. Now, where would they be kept?”

A quiet day now finished at the bike shop but near the end of the shift we sold a quality bike. It’s always nice selling a decent bike to someone.  It’s 11pm and with the help of the work scales and a couple old foam sleeping mats the bike is packed and everything is regulation weight, give or take a couple of kgs.

Vancouver here we come. I want to see bears and prairie dogs. I particularly want to see my Mercian once I get to Vancouver and in an undamaged state would be nice. That bike will click over the 100 000km mark near the end of this trip.

I’m going to miss our cats and chicken…… here we go, next post from British Columbia.



  1. Hi there Niel.
    I'm looking forward to "following" you on your trip across this HUGE country. I did it a couple of years ago and will never forget it.
    Of course you should bring all those tools. That way nothing will go wrong. When you forget the tools is when all sorts of trouble happens! Murphy's Law.
    Best of luck to you.

  2. Thanks Chris,

    After weighing everything we were 1 or 2 kgs under and Adi suggested maybe she could take a couple of other things. Women aye! It just means that we can take a few more spares. As you say you can't be too careful. I'm sure there are bike shops in Canada. But never when you need one.

  3. Good luck Niel and Adi, enjoy the ride.


  4. I personally feel that a castors wheel always very useful in any vehicle .