After years of reading about other people’s fantastic and inspirational adventures and watching countless YouTube videos showing the beauty and freedom they bring, it is time to start one of our own. I want to use this blog to capture some of the moments, memories and to hopefully inspire somebody else to do the same.
I have been wanting to ‘have an adventure’ for a while now and having worked in ‘The City’ for the last 4 years and being a country boy at heart, the sense of claustrophobia and lack of freedom has become overwhelming. Aimee has come to a similar conclusion and the only solution we can think of is to do something ‘crazy’. Paraphrasing Julia Buhring in the docufilm ‘Inspired to Ride’ – she said ‘I think the crazy ones are those that sit on their arses in an office all day long, that’s crazy to me’. (She probably said ‘asses’ and not ‘arses’ but I can’t bring myself to write that).
I love cycling. Everything from watching the pros (accompanied by Carlton Kirby and Sean Kelly of course), fast (for me) rides with mates or challenging sportives to touring with my Condor and a couple of panniers to tackling the local bridleways and single track pretending I can ride CX. I believe that touring by bike will give us a real experience of a number of countries, their culture and allow us to interact more with local people away from the typical tourist hotspots. Living in a foreign country is a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone and touring by bike I hope will give us a little flavour of the more mundane and real sides to people’s lives in the many countries we hope to visit.
Aimee has a bike and does use it from time to time but she would probably not call herself a cyclist. I don’t think that will matter – we aren’t going for any average speed records here. We thought about getting a tandem but then that would just be one more thing to spend a lot of money on and I’m sure it would be a real pain in the arse to travel with!
She rides a Dawes Karakum which is a touring / adventure bike with a mountain bike groupset (3×9 Shimano of some variety), loads of tyre clearance, a steel frame and rack and mudguard mounts all round. It also features the distinctive ‘butterfly’ handebars. My touring bike is a Condor Heritage that I’ve had since October 2015. Again it has a steel frame and fork, rack and mudguard mounts and cantilever brake mounts. I’ve added some gorgeous Honjo hammered mudguards and a front rack (needed to support the mudgard). I’d like to change from the Tiagra triple groupset I originally specced (to keep the cost down) to the new 4700 series double which routes the cables under the bar tape and pair this to a 44/28 double crankset I have on a shelf somewhere. I’ll pair this with either a 32 or 34 tooth cassette at the back which will give a very low gear for when fully loaded (thought I intend to travel fairly light) and reduce a little weight and complexity from the ugly Tiagra triple crankset that is currently on there (an odd 50/39/30 combo).