1000-mile cycle

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by elmack, 2 Sep 2019.

  1. elmack

    elmack New Member

    Hi!
    I'm in the (very) early planning phase for a solo cycle from Essex, UK to Kandersteg, Switzerland. This is just over 1000 miles for charity.

    I'm a complete sub-beginner and haven't bought a suitable bike yet. I'm reasonably fit, as an avid hiker, climber and jogger, and am completely clueless when it comes to cycling.

    Can anyone please advise what my priorities should be in planning this? What kit/bike would you recommend? I'm hoping to complete it in May/June next year.

    Thanks!

    Luke
     
  2. Priority one is to learn what you can about touring cycling. Look at some touring bicycles and see what they look like, what they cost, etc. Realize that the cost for accessories is also quite high, because quality goods make a better trip. Touring bicycles have longer chainstays (From pedals to back wheel axle), relaxed(sloping) geometry, the ability to take wider tires, and attachment points for racks, water bottles, spare spokes, etc.. You might also read about the experiences of others here, and on Crazy Guy on a Bike, to get a feel for what the cycle touring lifestyle is like. A thousand miles can be challenging, I'd give myself a couple of weeks or more to do it. Think about your style of touring. Some people camp, some stealth camp, and some do credit card touring, which involves staying in hotels and eating at food courts and restaurants, assuming you will have accommodation wherever you stop(good luck with that). You have time to slowly and deliberately gather your needs, just also figure for time to learn how to ride a bicycle over many miles, and then ride that bicycle with a load. Get used to riding your bike up and down mountains. Should be a truly fun trip, and quite a challenge. Your fitness should stand you in good stead.
     
    classic33 and Dogtrousers like this.
  3. Dogtrousers

    Dogtrousers Kilometre nibbler

    First of all get a bike. Any bike (within reason). Start riding it. Then you'll learn what you do and don't like about it and your decisions will be driven by your own opinions and not by those of others. Don't spend too much on this bike, use it as a learning exercise/testbed before choosing your expedition bike. (Or maybe you'll decide you love it and stick with it.)

    Sounds like a fantastic adventure.
     
    Last edited: 4 Sep 2019
  4. HMS_Dave

    HMS_Dave Active Member

    Location:
    Midlands
    I would highly advise against a unicycle. I wish you well and success for a good cause.
     
  5. contadino

    contadino Über Member

    Location:
    Chesterfield
    What dogtrousers said, re bike. Build your confidence, get used to being in the saddle. Toughen up your arse and build stamina.

    Don't think of it as 1000miles. It's an adventure that you'll cherish/laugh about in years to come. I've done a couple of long tours and for me, arrival at the destination has always been a disappointment, and other than having a long soak in the tub I've always wanted to just carry on. Don't plan more than a few days ahead. Enjoy the ride. Embrace the experience.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    elmack

    elmack New Member

    Thanks for your responses, all very helpful advice! I visited Cycles UK today and I think I'll be investing in a Cannondale Topstone Sora - This one seems to be the most reasonably-priced without being a 'disposable' starter bike! It also seems like it would handle the diverse terrain I'll be encountering quite well!
    I'll definitely be spending a lot of time on this forum in the next year and learning as much as possible.

    As a recent graduate, I think camping will be my style of travel. I'm not quite financially ready for credit card touring just yet!

    After some research and preliminary planning, I've decided to push this route back to August/September 2020. Being realistic, I don't think I can go from a non-cyclist to safely and successfully covering this kind of distance between now and May/June 2020!

    I'm incredibly excited! ^_^ I'd love to post updates to help others who will be in my situation in the future to prepare.
     
    Gravity Aided and HMS_Dave like this.
  7. classic33

    classic33 Legendary Member

    Not much room for panniers & no room for a saddle bag?
     
    elmack, Gravity Aided and HMS_Dave like this.
  8. YukonBoy

    YukonBoy The Monch

    Location:
    Inside my skull
    Your priority is to get bike fit. Find out what road climb figures mean in reality. Learn which roads are good to ride on and which not. Work out what a reasonable daily distance and climb figure is for you, once bike fit, Everything else will flow from that.
     
    elmack and Dogtrousers like this.
  9. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    Location:
    London
    If you are looking for tents and stuff that timing should allow you to pick up a good one at a very healthy price.

    Have the impression that the best prices might fall around the christmas period, just before, just after - not a lot of call for camping gear then :smile:
     
    elmack and Gravity Aided like this.
  10. lazybloke

    lazybloke Über Member

    Location:
    Surrey Hills
    Interested to hear more as you prepare and eventually embark on this challenge.

    Why Kandersteg, is there a scouts connection?
     
  11. contadino

    contadino Über Member

    Location:
    Chesterfield
    I toured from Italy through Switzerland to England in August with a tarp/bivi setup and I think I only put the tarp up a couple of times in the whole trip. Most nights the bivi stayed on the bike. I doubt you'll need a tent.

    My route was slightly further east (Ticino, Zurich) but I'd be surprised if the weather was much different.
     
    uphillstruggler and Blue Hills like this.
  12. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    Location:
    London
    Any write up or pics to share?
     
  13. contadino

    contadino Über Member

    Location:
    Chesterfield
    It was August 2013 or 2014. God only knows where the photos are now.
     
    Blue Hills likes this.
  14. OP
    OP
    elmack

    elmack New Member

    I'd love to post updates! I'll do that on this thread, or a more suitable forum sub-section. I've been trawling the sub-Reddit r/bikepacking and a couple of Facebook groups for further research, it's been really helpful.

    That's correct about your Kandersteg guess! I've been staff in various roles at the world scout centre there several times over the past 8 years and my fiancee has just started a 3-year post there, so it made sense to aim for there!
     
  15. OP
    OP
    elmack

    elmack New Member

    On further research, I've decided to go for an Outdoor Research helium bivvy! It seems super lightweight and will fit easily in a handlebar bag with a small sleeping bag and sleeping mat.
     
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