The countdown to NZ begins!

In the final throes of preparations for a two month cycle trip (I will also be cycling from Sydney to Melbourne as a kind of ‘dessert’ after the ‘main course’ in New Zealand), my focus has been almost entirely on the kit I take with me. After every trip, I analyse the stuff I have been carrying for several weeks, and I ruthlessly deal with the superfluous. Without camping equipment, I can cycle for months with just 5 kilos of kit (including spares and tools).  You just have CIMG6959to get very proficient at doing laundry, or live in squalor! However, on this trip, I will be taking camping equipment as well………a different ball-game altogether.

Kitchen and bathroom scales serve much more than the purpose stated by the manufacturers. In our house, they have been used to weigh absolutely everything. I can tell you the weight in kilos and grams of just about everything I will be carrying. My bike is a given: it weighs in at a sturdy 15kg. I have ridden this bike on long journeys for nearly 20 years. It’s made of steel, it has 40mm tyres, and it’s built for rough terrain. It’s like a tank! I could opt for a much lighter alloy bike with narrower profile tyres, but I would be sacrificing comfort and stability. These two latter assets are the most vital when you are spending 8-10 hours per day awheel.

With the rest of my kit, I have a twofold focus:

1. How to beat the airlines at their game: ie. have the bike go as my check-in luggage and avoid excess charges. WithCIMG6992 Qantas, my check-in luggage is limited to 23kgs, and hand luggage is limited to 7kgs. Mmnn, a tall order you might think.

2. How not only to keep the luggage on the bike to a minimum for riding, but to fit it all into a saddlebag and barbag, with tent strapped on the back. For some reason (which I can’t rationally explain) I have an issue with taking  panniers.

To achieve both purposes, I use just two principles: a) decide what I can minimally and safely survive on, and b) find the smallest and lightest versions of everything, without compromise. Both these principles are goals that can never be finally achieved, but then that forms part of the excitement of discovery. Somebody, somewhere will have found a better solution than you to a certain issue, and it’s up to you to seek them out and find out what they know.

In the next post, I will show you how I will travel for two months (but bearing in mind that it will be summer in the Antipodes) on 8.5kgs of luggage (including 3kgs of camping equipment). Stay tuned……

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For more cycling-related topics, visit: Love Cycling

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 15, 2013, in New Zealand End-to-End 3000kms and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. All tips for losing weight are very welcome at this time of year Frank!


  2. you must have thought about buying camp equipment in NZ and so being lighter to travel with….on the plane. Interesting how you manage to travel with no panniers and so light…all the best anyway Frank.


  3. Bob, I suspect you are alluding to body weight……;0( No, I have no tips in that quarter!


  4. Sam, wait for the next post… will explain how ;0)


  5. When I clicked on “Just giving” there was no item found.
    I am interested to find out what route you are taking from Sydney to Melbourne for dessert.


  6. Suth2, thanks for spotting that glitch. It should now be corrected.
    My route from Sydney to Melbourne is very simple: it follows the Princes Highway all the way, along the coast. The inland route is a little shorter, but I quite fancied having the sea (and beaches) constantly in view.


  7. Do you know where you will be staying or do you play it by ear? My husband and I live in Metung and we have plenty of beds if you would like to have a night in a bed in a house rather than in a tent. We would be happy to offer some hospitality to you. Metung is just off the Princes Highway, near Lakes Entrance. It is a pretty little village.


  8. That is astonishingly kind of you both. I will be delighted to take up your offer. Will send a PM.
    PS. And thank you for the very kind donation to the Syrian cause. That is the biggest hand of welcome you could proffer.


  9. Our Adventure in Croatia

    OMG good luck to you! and all the measurements above sound like the ingredients for a cookery programme (how many grams this, how many pounds that!!) hope you achieve your goals Frank


  10. Thanks for the good wishes. I have to admit that, when I cook, the scales never see the light of day. I like the splash of this, the handful of that approach. But when it comes to loading the bike……….well, that’s another story.


  11. We look forward to meeting you and hearing of your travels in New Zealand and from Sydney on towards Melbourne.


  12. If you are riding from Sydney to Melbourne, drop me a line and I will bring some riders out to join you leading out from Sydney. We ride down the Princes Highway all the time and it is spectacular.


  13. I don’t believe it! That would be very special for me…….. I’ve always wanted a lead-out team, just like Mark Cavendish, or your more locally famous Robbie McEwen! But if they are all coming out on their finest carbon machines, they’ll have me hanging onto their tails 😦 To be on a level playing field, they must all ride solid steel and carry 8.5 kilos of kit!


  14. I look forward to seeing the updates! I’m especially interested in focus #2, as I don’t like panniers either. A friend of mine did an 8-week trip, camping, and used a trailer for her gear. But having only the small bags sounds like heaven to me.


  15. The beauty of cycling is that there are few rules when it comes to packing and how much you take with you. Some are like motor home owners….they like to take their home with them. At the other extreme, some are like hobos, sleeping in bus shelters and on beaches. We all have our different comfort zones. Mine happens to be a feeling that comes from taking only what is absolutely necessary, and riding a bike that is easy to handle….especially uphill!


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