Technical stuff

The Idea

I was lucky enough to have a sabbatical year in 2001-2002, and wanted during this unusual year to have an adventure which was challenging physically and spiritually. At first I had hoped to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa but this did not work out. While in Scotland in September, cycling and walking in the Western Highlands, I had the idea of doing the End to End challenge. The plan grew from there.

The Bicycle

I had an old Dawes Galaxy, bought new in 1988. It has been in need of a facelift for some years, and in November I rebuilt it from scratch. I stripped it down to the frame, touched up the paintwork, and then renewed most of the components. For those interested:

  • Chainset: Shimano Sora 170mm 52/42/30
  • Front Derailleur: Sora 3304 Triple Band on 28.6
  • Cassette: Shimano HG301 7 spd 11-28 nickel plated
  • Rear Derailleur: Sora 8 speed GS
  • Gear levers: Shimano STX RC 7 spd Rapidfire H616
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN52 BS 68mm shell 113mmm axle

I acquired a pair of cheap front panniers to complement my 14 year old Karrimor rear panniers, and also bought a bar bag.

Training

As a football referee, reffing once a week, and a frequent short-distance cyclist, I had a reasonable level of fitness. I did a few longer rides to increase my cycling stamina, and in April I cycled the Oxfordshire Cycleway (196 miles) in two days, fully laden. It was an interesting dummy run. Physically the only serious problem I had was pain in my knees which started the first day in the right knee and developed in the left on the second day. Fortunately the inflammation diminished quickly. I sought advice from an osteopath as well as cycling experts, and with attention to saddle height, posture, cadence, keeping the knee warm, etc, the problem did not re-occur.

Most advice is not to train too hard, and that the first couple of days of the E2E ride will be the training to carry you through the rest of the journey. That was my experience too.

Equipment

The following is what I took on the trip. Any comments in the light of the actual experience of the trip, are in brackets if appropriate.

Clothing for riding:

  • 2 cycling shorts
  • 1 cycling shirt
  • 1 pair of long jogging trousers (unnecessary!)
  • 1 pair Shimano cycling shoes
  • yellow cycling jacket
  • goretex jacket & hood
  • goretex trousers
  • cycling 'boots' (spats)
  • cycling gloves
  • ordinary thermal gloves
  • helmet

For leisure:

  • 4 pairs underpants (only needed 2)
  • 5 pairs socks
  • 4 handkerchiefs
  • 1 pair trousers
  • 2 T-shirts
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 pair shoes
  • 1 pyjamas
  • swimming pants (not used)

Toiletries:

  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, paste, floss
  • Vitamin tablets
  • Paracetemol (not used)
  • Sun cream
  • Insect repellent (not used)
  • Toilet roll (not used)
  • Soap (not used)
  • Shampoo
  • Towel (not used)
  • First Aid kit (not used)
  • Ibuprofen anti-inflammatory pills (not used)
  • Mitosyl cream
  • Washing powder

Bicycle tools:

  • Pump
  • 2 inner tubes
  • Tyre levers
  • Patches & adhesive
  • Multitool
  • Chain tool
  • Spare chain links
  • Tyre patches
  • Lube
  • Spokes
  • Lock
  • Water bottle
  • LED rear light (not used)

Other items:

  • Suunto watch (with altimeter)
  • Heart Rate monitor
  • Laptop, power cable, modem cable
  • Psion Revo and charger
  • Digital camera, with PCMCIA adaptor
  • Batteries
  • Small radio
  • Bin liners for panniers
  • Maps
  • Rail tickets
  • Wallet + plenty of cash
  • Cheque book
  • Mobile phone & charger
  • Sunglasses
  • Novel
  • Penknife