You might remember early on we revealed all the details about our bikes, the specific customisations and our accessories. We’ve had almost 5000 km to evaluate them and here is the TOP TEN things we couldn’t do with on this bicycle trip across Australia
1. Our Bikes – SURLY Long Haul Truckers. It goes without saying that you need a bike for a bike tour but we can’t give these girls a better recommendation. They are totally perfect for this tour. They’re comfortable, tough and relatively light considering they have steel frames. The long wheel base means we can carry all our panniers with lots of clearance. They are a pleasure to ride fully loaded and the gearing has gotten us up all but the punchiest hills. We can’t talk about the ease of repair because nothing has broken (touch wood).
2.Rearview (Zefal Spy) Mirror – We reckon these little beauties have saved our lives more than once already on this trip. Having visibility of what’s coming from behind is a Godsend especially on narrow roads with headwinds that quite often mean you can’t hear what is coming, even massive, noisy road trains. We always take the cautious route and get off the road if there is any danger to us or others (eg. Having to pass us with oncoming traffic) The mirrors give us plenty of warning to make sensible decisions and in our experience the other drivers really appreciate it. They don’t want to injure us so we make it easy for them not to.
3.Flashing LED Rear Light – This one is right up there with the mirrors. You would not believe the number of drivers who actually think we’re police and slow down from a distance. We are obviously more visible with these little babies flashing away. The batteries last over 70 hours so that’s quite a bit of ride time.
4.Mud Guards – Extremely lightweight, these guys really protect our bikes, our luggage and us from crap on the roads when the weather is bad.
5.Good Tyres…Who wants to be fixing punctures every five minutes. We just got our first puncture in 4500 km. Unfortunately, it was due to a slash in my Continental Comfort contacts that meant a tyre change not just a tube. Tim’s Schwalbe, Marathon Plus are still going strong, touch wood. Both brands hold pressure well and only need a top up every couple of weeks. For the record I have now switched over to two Schwalbe Marathons and have my old Continental front tyre as our spare.
6.Ortlieb Panniers and Pack Rack – Totally waterproof and really robust, they are easy to pack and extremely easy to get on and off the racks. Tim doesn’t have the Pack Rack on the back and really wishes he did. Alternatives leak and are far more complicated to arrange on the bike.
7.Ortlieb (Ultimate 6M Classic) Handle Bar bag – the only drawback to these are they’re so roomy I tend to put far too many ABSOLLUTE NECESSITIES in it. Seriously though, they are strong, easy to snap on and off for taking with you and gives access to those things you need at short notice.
8.BHB – 30 Trekking MultiBar (Butterfly Bars)– These give you a whole heap more riding positions for those long days in the saddle with more than enough room for all the bits that are attached (mirrors, handlebar bar, computer, bell etc)
9.TurboMorph Pump with Gauge – small and light, these pumps easily get our tyres to 80 psi and the flexible hose prevents valve damage when you’re using that extra bit of oomph. The gauge is also handy and easy to read.
10.Extra long – Cable Lock – We actually use 2 x 1.5m cable locks threaded together. This allows us to lock both bikes together, secure front and back wheels and still have room to attach them to a tree or post.
In our next TOP TEN list we’ll be revealing the 10 things that have made this bicycle trip across Australia more comfortable and run smoother.
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