Departure day has arrived! It has been a frantic week and a manic Monday. Our ferry leaves at 11.15pm from Harwich and luckily it’s just a 2 hour ride across Suffolk, so there isn’t a great rush to leave early!
So back to Monday, 24 hours before kick off, we decided to fast track our final injections and got the last Rabies jab and the final Tick borne encephalitis. A hefty £185 bill! This was injection number 7&8 for the trip, my words of advise: start them at least 2 months in advance and try to get as much done on the NHS as possible as they’re not fun! Monday was also stressful due to Chain Reaction Cycles inability to deliver my seat post, tyres and shoe covers within 8 days. After calling them on Monday, they promised next day delivery before 12noon on Tuesday. Perfect.
Tuesday – departure day and the delivery from CRC was still due to be 24 hour but sadly they didn’t bother putting it in the post! So I had a mad dash to Ipswich and paid double but got the bike sorted out! I then visited HSBC to inform them I was travelling overseas. The lady asked which countries I was visiting, I mentioned that there’s about 15, so the inevitable ‘computer says no’ discussion ensued. After country number 4, AKA the ‘Check Rupublik’, the embarrassed lady handed me the paper and I did east towards Azerbaijan, hopefully my card doesn’t get blocked! The next stress was getting various technology to work, it’s fair to say I dislike android tablets! Then loading 15 countrywide maps onto my GPS finally worked after two days faffing about!
In the meantime my replacement Morvelo jerseys in large turned up, just as promised. The Mediums were a tad too small for me, despite the medium T-shirt and gillet being good. So now both Marion’s and my kit from Morvelo fits perfectly and looks fantastic, I just hope it’s comfy.
The bike is looking fantastic. This is it set up for bike packing.
A week before departure, I went for a long (ish) test ride, I stomped up Newlands pass in the lake district and the bike rode well, the only annoyance was that I got a puncture on the descent, so those WTB tyres are definitely coming off! I love the geometry it feels like the balance between racing and comfort is spot on.
The rear end design makes it so smooth on the rougher roads and you can understand just why this bike is perfect for covering long distances. It’s just a shame my first test with slicks and correct length seat post was when I set off!
The Apidura bags have been stress free, all look good and arrived with time to test. I decided to use the saddle bag, frame pack and top tube bags. The saddle pack will go via the post to Georgia and to Andy at Georiders, where I will need the extra capacity for the colder and more remote mountains! I also decided to fit my DSLR camera pack on the bar bag so I won’t be using the neat little accessory pocket.
So with the set up finally ready it was time to get out there and start riding! After same pre departure pictures at the Crowfield village sign we made the quick trip to Harwich as the sun started to set over the rolling Suffolk countryside. These were the first miles of what promises to be an exciting journey!