Today I pack, which means tomorrow I can go and buy anything I still need. (I wrote this post as I packed, so it is a bit of a running commentary…)

Riding gear and clothes

The challenge for this trip is going to be the climatic range – in the first couple of days it could be cool overnight, and it then it will get hot (mid-30s C) and humid. But at least I know it is definitely going to rain, so there is no decision about what wet weather gear I take (my full Klim suit, as daggy as it may be).

This means I need, for riding:

  • full waterproof suit (which has really good vents for hot days) (with cycling shorts under to pad my butt)
  • t-shirts (I have tons of old conference t-shirts)
  • kevlar jeans for hot days (and shorts for under as the kevlar in mine is really uncomfortable)
  • waterproof boots & bamboo socks
  • regular gloves & waterproof gloves
  • camelback
  • my SPOT
  • a thermal top, neck warmer & glove liners for cold mornings

I know it sounds like I really wouldn’t need cold weather gear but I got caught last weekend in jeans, t-shirt & jacket at 11C and was *really* cold.

None of that is hard – I always travel with at least one spare layer & have everything I need.

Off the bike, I just need some basics – t-shirts, shorts, dresses, sandals, thongs & something to sleep in. Plus a light cardigan. Plus running gear (ugh!). Washing powder so I can wash & re-wear t-shirts.

Sunscreen. Of course. And deodorant, which I always forget.


Phone, kindle & 2 tablets. I crossed out that sentence a bunch of times. I was thinking of bringing the laptop so I can write every night. But it’s heavy, and expensive if something happens to it.

My ipad has an external keyboard, which is good for writing. And my samsung tablet has connection to the internet and is good for maps (and games).

TODO: test the process of taking a photo and easily getting it into a post.

DONE:I can upload photos straight from the phone, and my external keyboard connects to the little tablet. So that means I don’t have to bring the (relatively heavy) ipad.

Chargers, cables and headphones. Maybe a small bluetooth speaker (I don’t watch TV, and my phone is rather tinny for listening to music).


I have a bunch of crazy food intolerances (including wheat), so need to prepare for not being able to find something I can eat, or leaving town earlier than anything opens. Muesli bars to the rescue. I also need chocolate, which I don’t usually eat but I know is handy if I’ve been riding too long and might not be likely to get food soon. Energy drink for the same reason. And I have nut muesli, yoghurt, ice bricks and a pink cooler to keep them all in.

Nearly forgot booze. Gin in a small bottle.

Camping bits

I’m not camping, but I have handy things in case I end up in not great accommodation – a sleeping bag liner and camping pillow. And a folding cup, because, tea (or gin).

I wonder if I can fit my knitting…

All the things

Here it all is before packing:

Everything I need to pack, all spread out on the bed

But, rain

And then I had to think about how I was going to pack it, when I know it will rain for at least some of the first 3 days. I have dry-bags, but they are really bulky & hard to pack.


I separated out the things that must stay dry, or that I might need during the day. These will go into the hard panniers. Everything else can go into the soft bags. I have one flat (extender) bag that my sandals, thongs, riding jeans and t-shirts went into. The big bag has everything else, in stuff sacks. I think that will be OK in the rain, but I’ve thrown drybags on top in case I need them.

Everything in bags

This is all fairly light. The heavy things, like the toolkit and electronics, are in the panniers. There is plenty of room if I need to store my riding pants, or to buy some things as I go.

Next: The Big North: Day 1


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