My Bike Is Ready!

So we’re 15 days away from leaving… I’m beginning to get the first real notions of nervousness and thoughts of… ‘seriously, what am I doing?’ roaming around my head. I recon that once I’m standing at the airport waiting for my flight is when it’s going to really hit hard. But generally, we’re a long way away from panic stations at the moment and we’re all good.

I’m hoping that the first week or so is going to really ease me in nicely. My hotel is approximately 3 miles from the airport. It’s a nice little place that only costs £50 or so (excluding tax). It’s a bog standard motel, but has a bed, free wifi and a free breakfast, so I’m happy. I’ll have to get some kind of SUV type of taxi to get everything there but I’m not worried about that. The first 400 miles or so up to Jacksonville is purely along one road and because it’s a coastal route, as well a Trans America ‘Adventure cycling route’ in itself, there’ll be a tonnes of amenities and places to stop. We’ll see how the going is when we get out there but I’m hoping It’ll nicely drop me into the whole living on the road thing during the first week or so.

I still have a few things left to obtain. But everything on the bike front is now good. Or at least I certainly hope so!! I can’t actually pick up the order until the 14th, since I’m waiting on a Marathon tyre and the cycle computer but everything else is there, apparently.

After a lot of deliberation, I’ve settled on a Trek 8.6 Dual sport.

It’s a hybrid. I test rode some specific touring bikes (Specialized AWOL elite being the most expensive of these) and felt the same about all of them. Generally clunky, uncomfortable and I didn’t feel particularly stable whilst riding them. I also felt that I couldn’t relax for a days riding in the dropped bars position so I’ve gone for flats as well to try to keep this as… leisurely I guess, as possible. It also means that if there’s a nice wooded passage I’d like to explore, then I can and that I’m not bound entirely to roads. I had a really good feel when testing an 8.5 Dual sport at a local dealer. The vibe I got from it was one I was looking for so I’ve shelled out on the upgraded version. It’s quick on the road, and just flip on the suspension shifter and you’re good for the woods! Comfortable, smooth and pretty quick.

With it I have bought mudguards (or fenders, depending on what side of the pond you’re from) and just a rear rack. 2 Otlieb panniers and a 3rd back bag to stick on top and a handlebar bag. I’m ‘hoping’ I can get away without needing a front rack, but we’ll see when I load up. Worst case scenario is another trip to Evans…

I also have a full kit of accessories such as lights and reflectors as well as other things like padded shorts, bottle cages and bottles, inner tubes and other repairy things. Trying to keep big and bulky things I can buy easily enough whilst I’m there to a minimum. Overall, after the guy from the store spent 45 minutes price matching, I got my gear for a shade under £1,300 which was a good £200 or so less than I was expecting. I’m also able to pay through retail finance, so I’ll be back earning money again long before I’ve paid that figure off.

I’ve now spent 2 grand on this trip and I’m still 2 weeks away from leaving.

I just need to pick up the essential items now.

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