By Rachel Kuiper-Corbett
As a first timer on a long distance e-bike cycle tour it is no understatement to say that I became a bit “frantic” when Gary, my husband told me I couldn’t pack my hair drier!
How can I tame my “frizz” without a hair dryer I thought? This, clearly, was one of the first dilemmas I had to overcome. The simple answer was to go natural. Of course, being the female I am, my first worry was my hair, then clothes, toiletries and shoes in that order. It is not the same for everyone of course, but most women would understand!!
Well now 10 months later and after cycling more than 17,000km – and with the World Record for Long Distance E-Bike Cycle Touring now ours – I have learnt that it is not that bad living as a minimalist after all, in fact it is very liberating.
Clearly the weight of the load you are carrying when you are cycle touring is a big consideration because it is YOU that has to carry it on your bicycle. I have come to live with my curly hair (pushed under a hat daily) as well as my new 24/7 cycling attire.
I have never been a Lycra girl and always preferred cottons or natural fibres, but when you are on the road you have to wear quick-dry clothing.
What about after five wear you might ask? Well I left my dresses behind and took a pair of jeans, one cotton lace summer top and one long sleeve cotton shirt and a couple of colourful scarves.
These, I have found, can really go a long way to make you feel a little dressed up if you go out after cycling or on a rest day. But as a general rule our experience has been that after a day’s cycling we are just happy have a hot shower, cook dinner, enjoy a glass of wine, a little social media catch up and then go to sleep in our comfortable feather duck-down sleeping bags!
Prior to setting off on our amazing adventure in April we arrived in London with normal suitcases and used two of our pannier bags as our hand luggage on the flight from Australia.
Our Haibike e-bikes were collected in London from our sponsor e-bikeshop.co.uk so this was the starting point of our journey. We have two large Ortleib bags that are filled to overflowing with all of our gear – most of which was purchased online in Australia because it was much cheaper than in the UK – with everything fitting nicely into our Tout Terrain Mule trailers.
Prior to leaving Australia I had trouble finding the right size stuff bags so I made them myself.
The stuff bags have made it much easier to find things given that they are clearly labelled. I carry three large stuff bags in my Ortleib bag along with all the other soft equipment in my trailer, while Gary carries two smaller bags in his panniers on his e-bike. Gary also carries all the other heavier equipment such as the tent, gas cookers, spare batteries for the bikes etc. My bag always looks bigger, but his is much heavier!!!!
The following is a list of the clothing I currently have after giving away quite a few things along the way. Gary’s clothing was similar in the male version except, obviously, the bras, but I did sneak in a couple of extra things …
Stuff Bags x 3
1 bag each, 1 bag shared that contains cycling pants/rain coats/pants/gloves etc
5 x Colourful lycra cycling shirts
3 x Long sleeve polar fleece jumpers
1 x Polar fleece vest
3 x Pairs cycling shorts
1 x Pair tights
1 x Cycling long pants
2 x Sports bras
1 x Beanie
1 x Sun cap
3 x Neck scarves
1 x Head band
2 x Sunglasses
4 x Pairs cycling gloves – fingerless/long /warm/waterproof
1 x Gortex Rain Jacket/Pants/Waterproof socks
1 x Pair Jeans
1 x Mountain Hiking Long Leg Pants/Zip off shorts
3 x Shorts
1 x Short sleeve top
1 x Long sleeve top
2 x Cotton singlets
1 x Yoga shorts
3 x Large scarves
1 x Pair swimmers
3 x Pairs shoes/thongs
1 x Bra
5 x Socks and undies
All plastic bottles and small quantities that fit into one bag! (see image)
2 x Laptop Computers/charger cords
1 x 4 point Multi powerboard
1 x Camera
1 x Small tripod
1 x Garman trip computer
1 x Portable hard drive
3 x Memory sticks
1 x Mobile phone
1 x Camping Plug for power board– not in image
General Equipment for both of us:
2 x Haibike XDuro RX Trekking E-Bikes.
4 x Haibike Batteries & 2 chargers.
2 x Tout Terrain Mule Trailers.
2 x Helinox camp chairs – one of the best purchases we made (not in image).
4 x Panniers for the back of the e-bikes.
2 x Handle Bar Bags.
2 x Large Ortleib Trailer Bags.
1 x Tent Vango Omega 350 3 man- 3 season
1 x Moonwalker cooker with 2 pots/pan and 2 x small gas bottles
2 x Bowls/knives/forks/spoons/plastic bbq utensils
2 x Duck down 3 season sleeping bags.
2 x Thermarest Self-Inflating Mattresses.
1 x Yoga mat /elastic strap/ tennis massage balls
2 x Torches
2 x Small back packs for use when walking
2 x Small light weight camping bath towels
Life on the road is so amazing, at every turn there is a new adventure. Each day brings a new experience and I must admit that after cycling through 13 countries there has not been a day when we have not enjoyed sensory overload!
Long distance cycle touring is not for everyone, shorter trips can be much more up-market if you stay in B & B’s instead of camping. But if you want your money to stretch as far as possible – as we do – your money goes a lot further on a long distance tour when you economize by camping.
Don’t forget that there are many cycle touring companies that can do all the hard work for you if you prefer the easier lifestyle.
If you are interested to see what our daily life consists of have a look at this video. It will help you decide if a long distance, camping tour is for you. It is the best way to stay fit and healthy as well and enjoy travelling while leaving a small eco footprint on our planet!