We spent a considerable time researching for the ideal touring tent for our purposes and read many other cycle tourers equipment lists and they all varied from small tents for one person to fairly heavy large tents. We finally went for the Terra Nova Voyager XL http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/tents-and-spares/all-tents/voyager-xl-tent/. A tent which provides us with plenty of room internally and also enough room to store or sit under cover. It provided a free standing inner for those hotter climes but a rigid and tested tent overall. Expensive at £530 but we hope will last the test of time.
A Test Ride with front and rear panniers and also towing two Springer Spaniels, load was fine but the dogs weighed a ton!
After much discussion about which way shall we head out of the front door apart from South to Cardiff initially, we have finally agreed on what our route will be. This will no doubt be subject to potential change whilst on the road if we decide on visiting something or somewhere that may have not been our intention.
Welsh coast to East Coast and Harwich ferry terminal before the short trip across the sea to Holland and into Germany and Paderborn, Bunde and Berlin before crossing into Poland to visit Treblinka and Auschwitz. Cross back into Germany for a visit to Colditz castle before following the Danube into the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece and finally into Istanbul via the Gallipoli Peninsula. 14 countries in toal and we hope to be in Istanbul by late December 2015 before heading into Iran.
Routes may change along the way as we don’t feel we should stick rigidly to a set plan and we may just spend longer in some places than others if and when the body needs a rest.
We decided to give the bikes a good run and take advantage of the Brecon Beacons on our doorstep, we got dropped off in Brecon and hit the trail following Route 8 and the Taff Trail to home some 40 odd miles.
The wind was blowing and a strong headwind made things a little difficult but something we have to get used to!
The calm before the storm on Talybont Reservoir
The weather picked up and at one point it blew Jane off her bike
We are extremely lucky and thankful to have been provided with filtered NASA technology Water Bottles from Water-to-Go, http://www.watertogo.eu/ who have given us two water bottles and will provide us with free filters for our journey to New Zealand. We have no doubt that these will prove invaluable on our adventure. Check out their blog at: http://watertogo.blogspot.co.uk/
Whenever we tell somebody that we plan to cycle to the British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2017 but we are leaving two years before in 2015, their first reaction is of course “Are you Mad?”
Once we have reassured them that we are stable individuals with no previous record of doing something so ridiculous, we then proceed to give them the details…….We leave on July 15th 2015 and do not know which way we are going yet it tends to get even stranger looks.
We do know that we may not even get any tickets to any of the Lions games but we also know that pubs will do!, We intend contacting several rugby clubs on our route to New Zealand and spending some time with them, we will also do some voluntary work in orphanages and schools.
Almost 3 years in the planning and saving and now only 18 months to go!……
We returned to Germany for a few days after Christmas to pick up our new Expedition bikes and spend a few days with memories where we used to live for 4 years in Paderborn.
We laid flowers at the spot our daughter Danielle was killed in 2001 and spent some time visiting the places we remembered, a special place for us and one we will continue to visit.
We also had the chance to try out our favorite German food….. Currywurst mit Pommes……..mmmmmmmmm
And of course some German beer
On 01st January 2014 we took our new Fahrrad Manufaktur Expedition TX400 Bikes on a short test ride locally, the quality of the bike was great and we are more than confidant that these will take us around the world for two years and maybe more.
The bikes were totally comfortable with our old and trusted Brooks saddles fitted.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Thursday 27th December, leave Cardiff for Germany – Paderborn to pick up our new bikes, Hurrah – home on 30th – out to test bikes 31st on the streets and roads of Llantwit Fardre.
The problem we had in getting to UAE via Iran was Iraq……. After much deliberation and seeking advice we have found that we can actually get a boat/dhow from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Sharjah which will save us the problem off trying not to fly.
We will however have to fly from Sharjah after a month in the UAE to Delhi as even though boats do operate, human cargo cannot go via this route. Flight for both of us is a mere £235, slightly more than a return train trip from Cardiff to Edinburgh!…..rip off Britain.