Sunday, 12 June 2011

The mimimalist approach to touring - reviewing progress

I was a little concerned that my decision to travel minimalist-style might prove to be unworkable, given the significant anticipated variation in climate over the tour. However, so far most things have worked out pretty well.

Despite is small size compared to most other touring bikes I've seen on the roads, the Honda CB500 has been absolutely fine. It has coped admirably with mountains, motorways and town riding. It's economic and quick and comfortable to sit on for long periods. One noticeable limitation, however, has been the effects of wind; this is because my bike has only a small flyscreen. I find I get buffeted a lot when the wind gets up.

Bike clothing
There have been no problems here despite some really wet weather. The cheap rain suit purchased in Lidl has proved its worth on several occasions. However, I do need to be careful to velcro up the zip properly otherwise the water can seep in.   
The waterproof socks I bought have been a winner. The trainers I wear are for canoeing and are made of a mesh material. They keep the feet cool in hot weather but of course they let water in easily. The waterproof socks act as a barrier and my feet have been dry and warm, even in the worst weather I've encountered.

Other clothing
I carry two cycle tops and a safari type shirt. These wash easily and - importantly - dry quickly. This means I can wash them of an evening and they will be ready to use the next morning. To date, they have not disappointed. One cycle top is often not enough to keep me warm on the bike but the addition of the safari shirt provides sufficient insulation for most riding conditions.

I carry a mobile phone, a digital camera and an MP3 player. All have proved to be eminently useful. A netbook or tablet might also have been helpful since not all hostels have good PC access, so my blog has sometimes had to wait a day or two before being updated. But I don't see this as a major problem. Better to carry less and live with any delays.

I carry basic utensils, a plate and some olive oil and salt. These have served me well for lunchtime picnics.

Again, the basics have served well. If only, I could remember to put my comb and shampoo in the toilet bag. Fogot both of these at the hostel at Florence.

The Knox backpack has coped with all my stuff and kept dry in some very wet conditions. I recommend it. I lash it to the bike rack with two nylon ties (from Wilkinson). These have behaved well and the pack is stable at all times.

So, by and large my minimlist approach is working well. But there's some way to go yet so shall need to review this equipment again - towards the end of the trip.


  1. I note somebody called Stavros posting comments John - a Greek admirer you've picked up along the way I'm wondering.......LAWRY

  2. Come out Stavros -reveal yourself!

  3. I just happen to be one of the lucky postgraduate students at Roehampton, taking ICT classes with Mr Lodge !It's been a pleasure to have such an inspiring and adventurous teacher ! Keep riding Mr Lodge. What's next on the list? some African Safari?

    PS: I've already sent you my essay. Send me some feedback as soon as you've read it :)