The very same day we sat down to write a huge list of all the things that we needed to do before continuing our tour in April 2011, we received an email from a cyclist asking how our gear had performed in the first six months of the trip and if there were any choices we would make differently after being on the road.
While we feel like we had a pretty bad run of luck on the breakages front, we equally think that long term cycle touring is a pretty good test for outdoor kit. We use every item of our kit much more often than if we were living indoors for much of the year and the majority of our choices held up remarkably well under the harsh treatment we gave them.
The worst piece of kit we started with was the puncture prone Decathlon Prolite sleeping mats that we replaced in Italy with Thermarest Z-Lite mats, but we struggle to think of anything else that really didn’t work for us.
While in Istanbul we are spending some time updating our gear list to include notes on performance and customer service (where appropriate) for each item but here is the quick list of what we’ve needed to fix.
- Both Thorn Sherpas were looked over by the competent guys at Aktif Pedal just one of the many good quality Istanbul bike shops.
- The inner tube valve holes in all rims has been widened so we can fit the more common Schrader valves.
- Emma’s bottom bracket was worn and will be replaced shortly.
- We brought Marathon XR tyres to replace our Panaracer Pasela Tourguards. The Panaracers served us well but 12,000km is just a few thousand to many we think.
- Both bikes will be treated to new chainsets and chains, gear and brake cables and a batch of new inner tubes when Cat and Graham bring these over from London.
- Our worn out Topeak Road Morph bike pump was fixed and serviced by Delta Bikes who showed us how to take it apart and gave us some spare O-rings for luck.
- Ortlieb panniers have lost some spacers and at least one has a broken shoulder strap. We’ll try Ortlieb for the small replacement parts we need.
- Justin’s Giro helmet has a broken internal frame so will probably need to be replaced.
- Cheap (and now broken) drink bottle holders and sludge attracting see-through drink bottles will be replaced.
- Faulty Dakota 20 GPS (replaced by Garmin free of charge).
- Broken laptop screen (fixed in Istanbul by local computer repair shop).
- Broken Canon Ixsus camera display – we’ll replace with new camera over winter.
- Our Hilleberg Allak was irresistible to nylon eating bugs so we’ve contacted Hilleberg to ask what solutions they can offer us. Its a beautiful tent, just a bit holey.
- Its likely we’ll replace our homemade groundsheet as it only cost us a few quid to make.
- The soft metal of our cooking windshield is starting to rip a little on the edges where it rolls up. We’d like to find a metal worker in Istanbul to make us a replica.