Preparation Preparation Preparation

Preparation preparation preparaion

There’s a saying: How do you get to the Albert Hall?

The answer is: Practice, practice, practice.

Tweaking it a bit, the question becomes: How do you do an epic trip successfully?

The answer is: Preparation, preparation, preparation.

The next obvious question is: What does that mean?

Fortunately I’ve done a L O T of trips. In Australia, by bike, car, 4WD, hiking and so on. In the rest of the World by motorbike, husky-dogs, 4WD, donkeys (I kid you not), hiking and the odd canoe trip.

Various trips over various years in various places.
Various trips over various years in various places.

So I have a basic idea of what ‘preparation’ means.

It means, simplistically, visualising every element of a trip and making sure I am, well, prepared for it. Whatever ‘it’ is.

The internet is wonderfully useful here. Websites, the ‘contact us’ options on travel and expedition shop websites, tourism departments, departments of meteorology, sites devoted to specific through regional to national interest areas, blogs, youtube, facebook … there’s a veritable endless source of information.

Preparation means trawling through these looking for that extra gem of info or hint or suggestion or method or whatever that I don’t possess or know. There are so many incredible journeys and stories and trips made by every kind of person all over the world that it’s not only informative to be witness to them but also extremely inspiring: if they can, I can!

Hose clamps. Essential. Apparently.
Hose clamps. Essential. Apparently.

A good example is the inclusion of hose-clamps. Why on earth would anyone need hose-clamps on a bike trip? Well, Cycle Touring Australia lists them on their list (, and under Bike Maintenance Catastrophe ( they explain why. If the/a frame brakes hose-clamps enable the hapless rider to stitch or at least clamp the frame together around a handy piece of mulga.

Lesson learnt. I’ll pack some hose-clamps and they are dutifully included in my list.

Lists are important though. And like all of ‘them’ I too possess a list. Mine is presented at the end of this entry. It is up to date (or the most up to date I currently possess) with absolutely no apology for the long length of it. Should anyone realise some obvious omission or perhaps a bizarre inclusion on the list, please do not hesitate to let me know.

An obvious one is of course the emergency kit: disinfectant, band-aids, that sort of thing. I will be getting that in Oz, don’t worry. Others are my ‘personal’ stuff, devices: phone, tablet, camera, and so on. These are sort of daily-cross-functional-lifestyle things that seem to be required regardless of what we are doing nowadays. I need them anyway so they’ll be included.

The overall philosophy behind my approach to preparation is to reduce the risk of something happening to within normal daily operating parameters. For example: a flat tire in the middle of the desert. Well, aside of needing a puncture repair kit and a pump, I may need to consider how much or how less water I’ll need to ‘waste’ on finding the hole. I may realise that perhaps I need to replace the damaged one with an undamaged one until I have enough water to spare.

Here, of course, we are straying into Risk Assessment, which shall be the subject of my next blog.

The point being though a flat is a fairly standard bike-trip thing. I can’t prevent it happening at the start of the trip. But perhaps I can minimise the likelihood of it happening often by choice of tire, inner-tube, tire liner, and so on.

I guess the most obvious ‘prepare’ in advance strategy is the bike itself. Santos’ Travelmaster with a Rohloff Hub and Gates Reim comes in around 4000 €. I sold my car to afford this.

I’ll repeat: I. Sold. My. Car. To afford this. A brilliant Beast, named Den Stora Blå Buss – The Big Blue Bus.

Den Stora Blå Bus at Porsangerfjorden, North Norway, Mar 2014.
Den Stora Blå Bus at Porsangerfjorden, North Norway, Mar 2014.

As mentioned in a previous post the choice of bike and its configuration is designed to (significantly) reduce wear, tear, maintenance and repairs.

Many of the other items on the list are good to high quality outdoor gear such as the Hilebergs tent, the Primus gas stove (multi-fuel, no less), and so on. Again, the objective is to ensure it’s fit for purpose and that they will last the distance. After all, cumulatively the equipment shall be my home for a good six months.

I, we, shall see if my preparation strategy pays off.

Till next time … M

Hannukainen, Finland.

Item # Description
tent 1 Hillebergs Solo
sleeping bag


Marmot Never Winter 1 C. check temp along route
sleeping mat 1 Thermarest
sleeping mat 1 neoprene. Buy in Oz
stove 1 Primus multi-fuel
fuel bottle 1 Primus 600 ml, with pump & valve
utensils 2xspork, wooden spoon, wooden spatuler, chopsticks, pot handler, plastic spoon & fork
Pot 1 Primus
Camping set 1 Aluminium multi-set
washing liquid 2 Pack soap
sponges 2
Bike 1 Santos travelmaster 29’
Stuur tas 1 Ortlieb Ultimate 6 M Plus stuurtas
Voor pannier 1 Ortlieb Sportpacker Plus Fietstassen (set)
Achter pannier 1 Ortlieb Backpacker Plus Fietstassen (set)
Aanhanger 1 Cyklorama
zadeltas 1 Lelzyne Zadeltas Caddy XL
cycling baggies 2
shorts 1 or 2
trousers 1 G1000 or other?
t-shirts 2 wool
shirt 1 long-sleeved with collar
thermals 1 set. Pants & top. If needed
mutts 2 or 1
micro-fleece 1 or 2 depending on weight, mass
down vest 1
rain jacket 1 Arc’teryx
socks 4 2 x cycling. 2 x normal, incl thick wool + thin wool
cycling gloves 2
gloves 2 fingerless +/- fingered. For camp use
helmet 1
sunnies 1 polarised
cycling shoes 1 SPD, suitable for walking.
Shimano: Fiets- en loopschoen SPD SH-MT44
activity shoes 1 like orienteering shoots or light hiking.
slippers 1 Keen waterproof
GPS 1 Montana 650t
GPS maps 1 Australia topo
GPS maps 1 Australia cities
GPS mount 1 for Montana
lamp-front 1
lamp-rear 1
Pump, high capacity 1 with volume & high pressure settings
spare tire-bike 1 or 2 full & folding?
spare tire-trailer 1
inner-tubes bike 2 thorn-proof
inner-tubes trailer 1 thorn-proof
puncture-repair kit 2 suitable for inner-tubes. Useable for air-matress?
riem 1
Rohlof oil 1 canister
cables ? Brakes, Rohlof.
tie-wraps selection, but not many
hose clamps # selection to clamp broken frame-tubes
straps elastic & firm
spokes 10 2 of each length?
brake pads 1 set of 2
duct tape 1 obviously
Leatherman 1
multi-tool Allan keys, etc. Seek advice from Bikers’
Camp knife 1 Schrade pocket knife?
Swiss army knife 1 Explorer
adjustable spanner 1 or 2 depending on what nuts the bike has. Discuss with Biker’s
water purifier 1 Platypus Gravity Works 2L Waterfilter
solar panels Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit Zonnepaneel Set
re-charges 4 AAA batteries which can be used in the GPS & the Led Lenser.
Not sure about the camera.

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