As my thoughts turn to summer, when I will hopefully soon start off on another long distance cycle tour. This year my rough plan is trying to cycle across Asia to the edge of NW China. Just another quick bike ride then!
Based on that rough plan I was thinking about what items of kit I will need to update and which items are still doing a good job. More importantly I had to remember whereabouts and in what country all my touring stuff currently is.
This list describes what I used last year for cycle touring to Asia from France, I was impressed with pretty much all my choices but a few items I would change for this rougher challenge. Although a seful starting point this list will obviously vary depending on remoteness, temperatures and nature of the roads along the route, but hopefully in the list below there might be a few useful additions and if I am missing something you love and rely on then let me know!
The Bike from 2013’s Trip;
Kona – Jake The Snake, which is a Cyclocross bike – CX bikes are generally bit more robust with better brakes and larger tyre clearance than road bikes but with the same size wheels.
3×10 geared transmission, this means 3 at the front and 10 at the back, which is all Shimano – Tiagra. I like the 3 on the front as it helps on those killer steep hills!
Canti-lever Rim Brakes for extra power and more tyre clearance than standard road bike brakes
Wheels – Standard spokes on shimano Tiagra hubs with robust Alexia rims – Standard spokes are important as the can be replaced easily if snap! Click here to see the wheels we have used that are fast and light but not as practical.
Kona drop Bars (with gel padded tape) – They can be great when cycling into head winds but I know some people like wide more stable flat bars.
Rigid Forks but made from Carbon Fibre to soften the vibrations out! This is a good CX fork
Continental branded 4 season road tyres in 700c x 25 or 28 depending on roads/tracks encountered in Asia I will probably swap to a 700 by 32 tyre – Click here; I have always relied on these tyres without issue
SPD pedals and MTB shoes for easy walking about off the bike – I like these Shimano shoes for touring in
Panniers – Axiom Monsoon – Lightweight, waterproof and aerodynamic, these are only available in USA and Canada These are a reliable set from Altura/a>
Rack – Narrow Tubus design to reduce wind drag and save a bit of weight I love the strength and simplicity of the I Fly – If you don’t have rack eyelets on your frame then click here for a good solution
Tent – Terra Nova – Voyager – Light and strong – Click here for a similar if slightly cheaper version from Lightwave
Sleeping Mat – Karrimor X-Lite tubular inflatable mat – Light and comfy but packs up tiny. Blowing it up can hurt the lungs after riding all day!
Sleeping Bag – Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15f – Lightweight 850 fill super warm down, tiny and 900gm
Bar Bag – Cheap Quechua from Decathlon weighs nothing and fits camera etc
Stove – MSR Dragon Fly – Multi fuel and robust – Used ours for over a decade and with service kit still going strong – Click here for the best all round stove
Sporks – Titanium (custom engraved by Addy for us with Steep and Deep in reference to snow)
Pan – Titanium Snow Peak from Japan had this for almost a decade on too many adventures to count, it is worth the extra cash over aluminium
Katadyn Hiker water filter and some iodine tablets. I think I will upgrade this water filter for a smaller one and maybe use a UV pen to kill viruses for the next trip. For water bottles I usually try to pick up a couple of large 2 litre shop bought water bottles and cram them into bottle cages.
Solar panel – Goal Zero Nomad 7. This had good reviews and seems to work well in direct sunlight for me charging everything but my camera.
GPS unit is the Garmin etrex 30 that I just love, never lets me down, I try to load as many maps as possible to gather all info on water, camping etc
Two comfy padded cycling shorts I prefer bibshorts but depends on the temperature of tour as bibs get very hot. I like the idea of mesh liner shorts that breath much better but I have never found any comfortable enough.
Long sleeve (Merino) and a couple of short sleeve tops- mix of merino or polypropylene.
Leg warmers – fleece lined and water repellant.
Gore Tex Active Shell jacket
Light Down filled jacket/Sweater depending on tour this will vary in thickness!
Casual outfit – light trousers and shirt plus a fleece.
All rack bolts need spares they work loose however much you tighten them.
Chainring and chainset bolts x 2, 2 of each spoke length needed,
3 or 4 chain quick links, they weigh nothing so more the merrier,
Puncture patch kit with glue, self adhesive patches,
4 or 5 spare 700c tubes strapped to frame, less if using 26inch as these are more common,
1 or 2 x spare brake pads,
Spare gear and brake cable with ends cut off if need so ready to fit,
Multi tool with spoke eyes, chain tool, and allen keys for all sizes needed and crank bolts.
Swiss army knife with corkscrew,
Tyre levers if tight fitting rims or tyres, I normally don’t bother though
Spare P clips to attach rack if frame eyelets fail. I have aluminium rack eyelets on my frame and I have seen these just shear off so it is good to carry a backup option that will attach direct to the frame.
There we go that is all you need to cycle to China so what’s stopping you!