This weekend’s leaving drinks really forced the fact home that we don’t have long left in London. After years of attending other peoples leaving drinks Emma and I agreed it felt strange to be saying goodbye to people when its us that are leaving. Thank you very much to everybody that came along to the drinks and wished us all the best for the trip ahead. As I forgot to take any photos at our drinks here is a nice photo of London instead.
The remainder of our weekend was taken up with some bike maintenance including:
- Changing our brakes over to our new Koolstop V Brakes
- Rotating a new chain onto my bike, my chain onto Emma’s bike and her chain into the spares kit
- Getting our commuting bikes into a fit state to hand over to Mark and Andi so they can enjoy a summer of London cycling fun
- Carrying out our first full gear pack!
Packing our Gear
Over the last few weeks we have been slowly selling our belongings, giving them to charity, agonising over if we should store them or add them to the pile of gear we plan to take with us. When we went winter camping a few weeks back we took most of our cooking and camping gear in two rear panniers without a problem but this still left a lot of gear that we hadn’t tested packing at all. The boxes holding our gear have been sitting ominously in our room waiting for us to go through them for our first test pack.
Sunday saw us lay out all our gear and then pack it into what suddenly seemed like eight very small panniers. After an hour or so of careful packing, rolling, re-packing, discovering our laptop dry-bag was a tad to small and general organisation we had all our gear packed. Pleased with our work so far and also needing to test our brakes and chains from the day before we decided to go for a quick test ride. Living up three flights of stairs means “quick” is not a word we normally associate with our bikes, so after another half hour of carrying panniers and bikes we were fully loaded for the first time.
The test ride around the block a few times proved our maintenance from the day before was worth it with our brakes performing really well with the additional load. Getting on my bike for the first time I thought “What am I doing? This thing is way too heavy, I’m never going to make it to the end of the street let alone Turkey!”, but once the bike was rolling my confidence returned and after no time I was leading the way on some additional circuits of the block. In summary the bikes felt good with the extra load.
To get an idea of all the gear we are taking check out our gear section which has a new roll-over navigation image I added today.
Gathering of Adventurers
Earlier in the week we had attended an evening organised by Alastair Humphreys for a bunch of people interested in cycle touring and general adventuring to get together. The evening was great giving us a chance to catch-up with a few cycling folk we hadn’t seen for a while, meet some new helpful contacts (thanks Lander!) and take comfort in the fact we aren’t the only people crazy enough to think strapping our belongings to our bikes and heading into the sunset.
When deciding to leave the UK one of the hardest things for us has been figuring out what we want to do when our trip is over. We both know that cycling will present us with new opportunities and fill our heads with unexpected ideas but quite how that translates into things like where we live, what we do for work, what we plan for after this trip is hard to figure out. At a more basic level this also means that we weren’t quite sure whether to store our belongings in the UK or ship them back to New Zealand. Luckily for us our good friends Laurie and Anita offered to store our couple of boxes in their garage. This gives us the freedom to decide at a later date where we want our belongings to end up. Just last weekend we piled all our worldly goods into the back of a car and deposited them into Laurie’s garage. I cant believe that after six years in the UK most of our stuff still fit in the back of a car.