07.29.09

11 weeks in

Posted in Gear that We use, Hints at 10:37 am by Administrator

bikes
- the overall bikes are holding up well. I have had to change my front tyre to the back to avoid over wear but the frames are in good order, no broken spokes and the gears are still ok but in need of adjustment.
tent
- the tent broke a pole in slovenia in the middle of one night. Thankfully it comes with two repair peices but we were dissappointed to have to use one so early. Its also a little annoying that it isn’t free standing and is required to be pegged down. Thats not so great in some rocky areas or italian campgrounds that are all concrete. It did handle the wind really well and isn’t too hot at night if we leave it all open.
chairs
- we’re on our second set of cheap stools. Its great having them along and thats why we are persevering. Still what can you expect for $8 at big W.
mats
- the mats went flat after 2 weeks but they have some cushioning in them and are great insulaters from the ground. We haven’t found a patch kit that works on them and the holes are bloody hard to find anyway. I’d go a different brand next time.
brakes on the bike
- the set up of teh brake levers on the bikes is giving Nic some troubles. She’s the only person in history to need breaks going down hill. The reach is too far for her hands and so they are cramping. We’ll try some adjusting but we’ll have to see how that goes.
panniers
- the panniers are starting to deteriorate. Some of the less important seams are separating. We were warned that the clips that attach them to thte bike may be dodgy but they have been ok so far. Mine now have some cool holes where they hit the tarmac in the bulgarian tunnel so that one is now the bag for the wet gear. The size has proved to be good enough and now that Nic got rid of her front bags the weight is good for her. Any more weight and the bike would be too heavy for her.
cooking pots
- the cooking pots are now looking pretty battered. They have lost their nonstickyness but I don’t know if we’ll get anything better. They get some serious use. They are 3 l and 2l and that has proved a good size unless I do the shopping while really hungry.
stove
- This has been a little winner so far. The fact that it runs on unleaded or diesel is great. The only prob is that you need to warm the jet up before cooking and that creates about 2 minutes of large flame and black smoke. That often gives us away and got su kicked out of a campground in France. Doh! I’m getting better at limiting the amounts of smoke and so its not beena problem for a while. I’ve had to clean it twice now and that wasn’t too hard.
water filter
- has prooved quite useful in remote areas. The filter needs a fair amount of cleaning if the water is a little dirty but I’d rather clean the filter than have the runs a lot. It does leak a bit and the seals are hard to maintain so there is a fair bit of pumping inefficiency. That will need to be looked at.
tarp
- cheap tarp but great to have. Whether to cover teh bikes at night to hide them or for somewhere to stretch or have lunch on. A thin tarp is good to have with you.
bungie cords
- These are the way to go for tying things on. Dan used ratchet straps but the bungies came through as the better choice.
racks
- we’ve had no issues with the racks. they are holding up well.
bike seats
My seat that I stole off of my specialized racer is doing ok. I’m only just starting to get the beginings of a bumsore after 11 weeks. We had to get Nic another seat in Slovenia. This time we went for a much more upright position and lifted her handle bars to suit. It has proven as the way to go and it loads better than the more racve positioned mountainbike seat that she had done the previous 7 weeks on.

07.27.09

Tunnels… to love or to hate

Posted in Hints, Uncategorized at 10:14 am by Administrator

Tunnels pose such a problem for us. If there is a tunnel on the road then it is obviously helping you avoid large steep and nasty hills or long and arduous detours, which is awesome but they are so dodgy. It helps now that we are in greece and they have started using lights in teh tunnels again but we’ve been through tunnels upto 750m long that have ZERO lighting. That’s a little harsh for a bike. We don’t ride at night and so don’t really need the lights and I’m really lucky that I’d changed the batteries in my front light the day before teh long dark tunnel (at that there was no traffic at the time) or we would have been screwed. Also my little accident 2 days ago in Bulgaria happened in a tunnel where i got a front tyre flat and lost control and a bit of skin but more about that in the bulgaria sum up. Then there was the experience in Italy just before Cinque terra where we had 10 km of one way tunnels that we had to do at 40 plus km/h to avoid the on coming traffic entering the tunnels before we left them. Wow that was scary and exhausting but it did save 30 km of riding in some seriously steep terrain. I think that overall we will cope with tunnels but could quite easily live without them.
Tc