The Hour Approacheth...
Right. Time to get back in the saddle. I'm finally home in not-so-sunny Saffron Walden, and have been trying to rack up the miles in training before I fly out to the USA in just under a month.
Although I considered the Dawes Galaxy AL for my trip, after having considered the amount of touring I hope to be doing on this bike, I opted instead for the steel-framed (and sadly mor expensive) standard Dawes Galaxy. Getting used to a new bike in such a short space of time has been rather tough, especially after having done almost no riding for a full 2 weeks, but after changing the saddle, getting the handlebars converted from drops to bullhorns, and figuring out that the guys at the shop who assembled my bike put the rear brake blocks on backwards, I am getting a good number of miles under my belt and will keep hard at it until just before I go.
I also thought that at this point, some of you might find it interesting to see my kit list, to give you an idea of what (except food and water) I'll be needing to a) get me across the country and b) record my experiences for the documentary I'm hoping to produce of my experiences. This list is, of course, subject to change, and I'll post a review at the end of this journey and revise exactly what I think is and isn't necessary for a trip of this nature.
BIKE KIT AND SPARES:
Multi tool (Lezyne, 20-function)
Victorionox Swiss Army Knife (Huntsman model)
Allen key set (long handles with greater leverege for dis-/assembling the bike)
SRAM powerlinks (x2, for 9-speed chain)
Universal brake cable
Universal gear cable
Spokes (x7) and spoke key
Skabs (x3 packs)
Tyre boots (x3)
Cateye Strada 8 cycle computer
Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ-35 digital camera (for stills and HD video) and case
GoPro Hero 3 (with pole, frame, head and tripod mounts and waterproof casing)
Alcatel One-Touch T-Pop (complete with MapsWithMe Pro - my main navigation tool)
16GB iPod Nano (6th generation)
Amazon Kindle e-reader
64GB SanDisk micro SD cards (x6)
All these appliances (except the battery-powered Cateye) I have USB chargers for, so I can use with just 2 universal USB chargers and their respective US adaptor plugs)
Cycling shorts (x2)
Off-bike shorts (x1)
Off-bike t-shirt (x1, although I plan to get some as souvenirs on the way)
Cycling jersey (x1)
Northwave Touring Shoes with cleats
Tifosi cycle glasses and case (with interchangeable lenses)
Diabetic gear (insulins (Novorapid and Levemir), needles, lancets, testing strips, spare glucometer)
First aid kit - I opted for the Lifesystems Light and Dry Pro
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Disposable razor head
Silk sleeping bag liner
Klymit Inertia X-Lite sleeping mat
Snake bit kit
Sudacrem and chamois cream
SIS 1-litre water bottles (x3)
Gelert 15-litre water holder
IT Luggage folding rucksack
I must admit, the closer I get to this trip, and the more the kit list builds up, the more nervous I get. But then, when I compare that to the burning desire to get out of Saffron Walden, such doubts seem positively non-sensical. Besides, after a highly successful test ride I managed a reasonably respectable average of 16.6 mph, not too far below my unladen average speed. All this planning is finally coming together, and the purposes I gave myself for undertaking this endeavour seem even more crystalline than ever.
Again, thanks to all who have supported me so far in raising money for Amnesty International: after the Tour de France ripped fleetingly through the town on July 7th, I hoped to capitalise on the cycle-mania to gain some attention and sponsorship for my trip, and I'm now well on my way to raising £1000 for Amnesty! I'll leave another link just in case I can tempt those who haven't already donated. In the meantime, you'll hear from me again before I leave.