Following our article about the route of Cycling Romania with No Money, today I am presenting what powers the #CyclingRomaniaWithNoMoney mission. From my last long distance cycle (London to Romania) I had a lot of questions about my bike and the ‘investment’ that was necessary to undertake such a significant continent crossing.
First of all, cycling doesn’t have to be as expensive as most people make it. Cycling touring is also an incredibly healthy, fun and cheap way to travel! What I would advise when cycling in different countries is to always trust and ask the locals. Most of the experiences that made my trip incredible were recommended by the people I stayed with or interacted with. They would know where to direct you that is genuine and not touristy.
Soo… equipment: Why do I present you this list of nitty-gritty things? In case you want to take a cycling tour yourself and have no idea where to start! We got two ‘types’ of equipment here: The Man and the Machine. Will start with the more worthy to be mentioned of the two:
At shy over 13 kilograms, in the left corner we have the ‘Alpine Dancer’ – a black coated, mechanical masterpiece that carried me across Europe 3000 kilometers. Made by the company Ridgeback, it’s an entry-level touring bike called Meteor that has delivered tirelessly. It has a Shimano Tourney 3 x 8 transmission, V-breaks and an aluminum frame. For the people that don’t know the difference, a touring bike has a higher riding position so it will be comfortable on longer distances, a very solid frame and configuration so you have close to minimum maintenance along the way. I would strongly advise when purchasing such a bike or any bike for that matter to get it custom fitted to your size and pedaling position. It will make a world of difference when doing 100+ kilometers a day. All touring bikes come or should come with a baggage rack attached – perfect place to put panniers. And to reassure you that I have not made a bank loan for it, this bike was only around £400. Bargain!
Will continue with the odd 20 kilogram equipment that goes in, on under and in any cavity you can see. A double pannier that holds around 40 liters in total (20 each) completes the set-up. Unfortunately, it’s not waterproof so fingers crossed I won’t need to cover it with bin bags to keep my belongings water-less.
On top of the panniers comes the sleeping bag, suitable for -10 temperatures. Somebody should have told me that August in Romania means 30+ degrees Celsius. I guess I will be using it as a glorified pillow.
Further, we have the incredible one-person tent that weighs only 1200 grams and a yoga mat that should keep me comfy when I choose to use the tent.
Inside the panniers we have two pair of cycling-padded leggings, 3 cycling tops, one pair of comfortable walking shoes, 3 pairs of sox and pants a pair of casual shorts and sport shorts and a few casual shirts. Very important, I have packed a rain jacket for the off days that I am not looking forward to. There’s also an easy to access bag on the handlebars that will keep my electronics. Speaking of which…
Electronics are probably the heavier items that go on this trip: With a DSLR camera with two different lenses for short and long ranges, a tablet to post all the updates and write articles, a GoPro-like knock off sport camera and a 2000 miliamps battery to power all of these shenanigans. I am using the Bike Map app for all my tracks and directions on my phone. I have a special phone support on the handle bar. There’s also a front, back light and head light in case the sun is not covering my ass at the end of my days. What else? I got a tripod for the camera, a selfie stick and different spare parts for the bike: A multitool pack, spare inner tubes, spokes and tire patches for the unavoidable flat tires.
You see, in order to make 700 odd kilometers without spending money I need to be smart about it! Fortunately, all the enlisted items have already been purchased for the previous trip so 0 pounds spent so far. And finally we get to…
In the right corner, we have an 82-kilogram semi-vegetarian. He stretches towards the sky for 185 centimeters or 6 feet 1 if you use that incredibly useful Imperial system. He is the Managing Director of Velo Holidays and has little to no training in the last 12 months on long-distance cycling. Uh, this should be fun! That’s another thing that I am trying to convey: you don’t have to be the fittest, most trained human being to do long-distance cycling touring. You just need to take it in your body’s rhythm and the actual limits of your body are so far ahead of what you think, that you will be mesmerized. ‘The Man’ as referred in this article is known by the syllable Dan and will be the host of the next 10-day super-blogging-vlogging-photo session.
It’s getting closer to our adventure – only 3 more days till the virtual checker flag will set on Cycling Romania with No Money. If you have any question about the Man or the Machine, please address them in the comment section below! Also, if you got any friends or family that could host me along the way (Here’s the route and locations that I am taking), that will be greatly appreciate.