Quick overview

For the impatient ones, here is a summary of my current cycling set-up.
  • I have an entry-level road bike (weighing a bit less than 10 kg), which has eyelets for rear rack. Tyres are rather narrow, 25-622 to 30-622.
  • I use ordinary pedals and light sport shoes (no clipless shoes/pedals nor clips&straps), no second footware.
  • I don't use cooking equipment.
  • I don't use panniers.
  • I carry my stuff in stuff bag on the rear rack and in a little bag (a converted saddle bag) on the handlebar.
  • I use light single-skin tent (900 g) and down sleeping bag (600g or 900g, depending on the trip).
  • My sleeping pad is a bubble-wrap strip, which I also use as wrapping material to make my stuff bag waterproof.
  • Tools: 4,5&6 mm allen keys, pedal spanner (cut in half), 8/10 mm spanner, screwdriver, chain tool, spoke key, pump, tyre levers, (sometimes hypercracker). Separate tools are lighter then multitools.
  • Spares: patch kit, 1 or 2 tubes, (sometimes spare tyre), oil, duct tape, (sometimes spare spokes).
  • I don't carry (guide)books.
  • I stopped using maps. I now navigate by a small distance/directions card which I make before the trip.
  • I have a compact ultrazoom digital camera, battery charger with shortened power cable and universal plug-ins.
  • I use ordinary 1L or 1.5L plastic water bottles instead of cycling bidons, using ordinary (now carbon-fiber) bottle cages.
  • I don't carry food, except some emergency food in extreme cases. I eat cold food bought in supermarkets (in western-type countries) or eat at cheap restaurants and markets in other countries.
  • Toiletries: tooth brush and plastic dispensable razor (cut in half). Sometimes even tooth paste.
  • I wear: cycling cap, gloves, jersey, shorts, arm warmers, light wind/rain shell, light sport shoes, light socks, (sometimes nylon stockings).
  • Additional clothes (in the stuff bag/handlebar bag): light hiking trousers, light fleece top, beanie, spare socks, warm gloves, rain shell gloves, underwear, rain pants, overshoes.
  • My touring weight (including everything except the bike, water and food, ie. also shoes, rack, ...) for a camping tour is from 5.5 kg to 7 kg, depending mostly on what kind of weather I expect. That can be reduced by about 300 g by using frame bags instead of rack, but for now I prefer the way I do it - it looks more elegant to me.
  • Once you reduce the weight below 8 kg it is the volume and elegance that matters, not the weight.
Kuiseb pass, Namibia, 2010.

10 comments:

  1. Hey iik, I'm planning a tour around western Europe, hopefully for a long period of time but would like to venture into eastern Europe and further but the only snag I have is my bike. I own a road bike and I'm not sure if going that far east is possible without getting punctures and bending my bike beyond repair. Is it worthwhile investing in a touring bike or do you not find it a massive issue using a road bike?

    Thanks in advance

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  2. Well I tour on (kind of) a road bike, so I don't think it's an issue - well, unless you have much luggage. Maybe put just a bit wider tires, 25mm or even 28mm, and you should be ok.

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  3. Re separate tools being lighter, maybe the Topeak cpr-9 (£7, link below) saves a bit of weight. It has the 2,3,4,5,6 allen keys, flat screwdriver, some sort of spoke wrench, bottle opener. Sure looks awkward to use but only 25g and very cheap, possibly a cheap way to drop 40g or so!

    I use (cheap, v light) mks mtft pedals which have a 5 or 6 mm allen keyhole in them, so hope to skip the pedal spanner too. On my novice-level distances, I'm hoping the pedals won't get too jammed on.

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=47606

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  4. Tom,
    The CPR-9 (Ritchey) tool looks great!
    What's the weight of those pedals?

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  5. They're 127g each, without the front reflector and without the toe clip. They have proper bearings inside, I think, cost £9 and have stood up fine to general commuting use. The metal touring-style pedals that came with my bike were 200g each. I prefer the MTFT for the weight but also as it has quite a nice flat surface. If only I could drop 150g every time I spent £9!

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mks-mt-ft-commuter-pedals/?&source=MaxiFeed&id=5360043862

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  6. I can recommend using lightweight trekking sandals the kind that have velcro tops and and some front protection. Something like this:
    http://www.teva-nl.com/mens-omnium-outdoor-water-sport-sandals-nl/6148,nl_NL,pd.html?dwvar_6148_color=BNGC&start=2&cgid=men-sandals-light-hiking
    They keep my feet cool in hot weather, dont get mushy / slippery in the rain and paired with some cycling socks are comfortable for walking and day long cycling. Of course they generally weigh less than shoes.

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  7. Leave the ultra-stiff cycling shoes at home and look for a pair that has some flex in the toe for greater comfort and ease of walking. A good mountain Bicycle tour always has some walking. I enjoy your posts! Thank you!

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  8. Gregory,
    I have Giant OCR3. That is a 2005 model, I think it's now Defy range of Giant bikes. What I like most is that it has eyelets for the rear rack. Nowday's road bikes don't seem to have that any more.

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  9. Yes. I dont see a bike have such eyelets any more.

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  10. I find flexible shoes can be a problem. They tend to let the heel drop at the pedal and cause the tendon to be stretched resulting in soreness which can stop you cycling. Cycling shoes are stiff for a reason.

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