Tuesday, 3 April 2012

UK Circumnavigation by bike - Not left yet!

I made a sensible decision yesterday and decided I needed a few more days to recover and sort myself out. I was having a conversation with my mother and out of the conversation came a great idea, that my grandmother's house in South Devon, which we are visiting for Easter and is on the sea would be a great start and end point! So instead of riding down there - starting the route at Southampton - I am going to go in the car with mum and start at the end of our Easter family gathering. Much happier with this, because then I can actually say goodbye to my younger bro as well!

I am very glad I made this decision in the end, because on going for a test ride yesterday evening, my packing solution failed within 100 metres of leaving home! Not great! I realised that I needed a wider base for the top of the rack, for my Alpkit Gourdon to sit on.

So where do you find an appropriate base?
Well in the shed of course! An old Skool 'seen better days' waterski.

Initially I just cut it to the size in the photo above, but it was half a kilo and it was a bit disappointing that after so much work and expense acquiring lightweight equipment, I'd be adding this lump to the bike. So I began 4 hours of what can only be described as ultralight bodging!

Great fun and great success! Sawing, drilling, sanding - All my hard work culminating in an under 250 gram base, satisfactorily secured and after testing, totally capable of supporting my pack.

I decided that I'd better go for a dress rehearsal, so having worked out a better means of securing the Gourdon with bungees, I set off with all weight and equipment. 

Three hours later, having covered some good miles, some steep ups, steep downs, tight turns, bumpy roads and four torrential downpours at 4 degrees above zero, I can safely say it was a pretty thorough test! 

My touring set up passed with flying colours, so I can actually leave now! I feel far better prepared now!


  1. Hi,
    You might find Ben's brother's website useful if this is your first venture into long distance cycling. Check out www.tomsbiketrip.com
    By the way he is cycling with Ben at the moment.
    Kind regards,
    Their Mum!!!

    1. Ben and Tom's mum,:-)

      thanks for the info.

      I came across the website earlier though haven't checked it out fully. Truly inspiring stuff!!! And eager to see the film!

      I have done a lot of general cycling and a few long distance jaunts, but nothing like on the scale of what Tom has done or what they are both doing now. Soon to experience as I'm sure you've gathered from the above. When you speak to them, please pass on my best. Ben should know who I am if you mention 'Jonesy' from University.

      I must say you are most understanding, two sons adventuring like this. I am very lucky to have an exceedingly easy going mother also, but even for her, she has asked me to contact her often and is particularly worried about the wilderness in the far North of Scotland. Have to remind her it isn't the Australian Outback or anything quite so inhospitable.

      All the best


  2. Jonesy! Just saw your comment on my blog, and in turn found your website. You are doing something truly awesome as well! I am glad to see you're having a great time, cycling is indeed where it's at. I shall be following this blog with interest!

    Currently enjoying a week off with some family in Portland, Oregon. Love this city - don't actually want to leave, but at some point the bike will await again!

    Hopefully see you this year or next!

    Much love,