The Bit In The Middle

012 ADV50 Part Twelve - The Bit In The Middle

Between Christmas and New Year

Today starts with a coffee outside of Damien’s artesian patisserie, there is a Damien’s opposite the hotel were I work but this one is at the other side of town. I’m here to meet up with my Mum who has flown out for the Christmas holidays. The weather is, clear blue skies but windy, after all they call the town I live in breezy Teguise, the wind seems to be blowing in from the sea creating large foaming waves, no doubt a great day for surfing. I have different plans and will save surfing for another, warmer day.

Sunset Rock

There’s a #microadventure on the horizon as I’m planning to cycle into the volcanic wilderness on New Years Eve and sleep on top of a volcano, what a way to bring in the New Year by reflecting on the old one whilst rebooting my training for the next long distance trip. I’ve been researching my gear recently, as the last trip must have entered me for the “The Wrong Gear” awards, I took far too much and most of it was wrong. It is important that you ensure you have the right gear for your own trip, the biggest lesson I learnt is a gear list is different for everyone and every journey. I will take the advice from all the blogs I have read and would like to thank all those people who took the effort to record their journeys and how they prepared. I have learnt more about bikes, tents, hammocks and clothing at every price point and will use the information to select the right gear for me.

So where’s this blog going, well there are a few directions. First I’m going to open comments on each blog post, that way you can leave comments, obviously. I am also looking forward to questions and advice as I prepare for my next trip. Next up is that I really need to get back into writing as I’ve always struggled with concentration, poor grammar and spelling. The website itself needs a bit of maintenance and a few pages adding. I also will be training and will need some serious motivation. My motivation will be provided by lots of other cyclists especially Robbie Ferri who cycles for various charities.  Getting myself motivated to both train and write is difficult, I normally wake at 06:00 but potter around the apartment until it’s time to head off to the hotel. I wanted to use the time to train however it’s dark and I have no lights for the bike, I’m pretty sure the days are going to get longer so I’ll be able to get out for an hour or so.

Bike Wheel

This morning 27th December I was up and about early, instead of doing nothing I did a 30 minute workout. Nothing too strenuous mainly stretch and toning, I didn’t realise how 2 months of basically being lazy affected my muscles. I’ve planned a daily routine which involves training and writing. I arrived at the hotel at 7:45 this morning, checked my emails, mainly spam and had a light breakfast consisting of scrambled egg on dry toast with apple juice and a coffee, no sugar. I had a very nice surprise too as several people gave me a donation to the charity I will be supporting, so 6 months before launch day and off to a great start. A huge thank you, it’s a great motivator and a worthy cause. I’ll be writing a blog post soon about the charity and the journey.

Today involves going to Teguise market, I haven’t been in a couple of months due to the flights arriving throughout the day but now the winter programme is in place the majority of the flights are early evening and night. Lanzarote is a great airport to work in as the last flight is 20:50 so home by 22:00.

I’m in Loris tapas bar having a coffee and writing this blog, Loris and Maria are great people and Loris has offered for me to stay with his parents in Italy when I eventually arrive. Italy of course is the country of Love, History and amazing scenery all my memories of Italy are fantastic. Davide, Daniela and Matteo showed me how hospitable Italy is, my new route will unfortunately be further west and this time I will be unable to visit the Belotti family.

The Belotti family My pre-departure list is getting longer and longer, I have a lot to do and only 6 months left on the clock before I set off, I considered cycling from Lanzarote but there were a few problems, one being I have all my worldly possessions here and two there’s no ferry to Morocco. I would have to travel by ferry to the Spanish mainland and start there. I decided to fly back to the UK, drop off my gear and sell my belongings to raise the last £1000 I will need. I will then purchase all my cycling gear, service my bike, although still not sure which one to take. I also have to get my inoculations I had quite a few last time and most last for 10 years but the insurance stipulates I have all the jabs you can think of and carry a course of malaria tablets. The insurance is very reasonable and gives me 10 million for emergency cover. I have no intention of using it but It’ll give me piece of mind.

Ctc logoSpeaking of emergencies I’m looking into getting a Spot Gen 3, has anyone had any experience with these. Again it’s not cheap but I can’t see any alternatives that doesn’t rely on a mobile phone signal. The Spot Gen 3 will also allow me to give everyone a website address which will show my track as well as where I am every hour, not sure if I should have some sort of delay on this as it’s great to show you my route but from a safety point of view, do I really want everyone to see exactly where I am. It could make wild camping difficult, so I’ll check the Spot website to see the options.

I have considered turning the Spot Gen 3 off when I look for a wild camping site and turn it back on in the morning, that way people can see where I slept. The only issue would be if I had an emergency at night it would defeat the option of having the Spot Gen 3.

As far as navigation is concerned it is going to be a combination of paper maps and my LG G3 Phone. I thought about a Garmin touring plus but the cost to feature benefit, for me at least is not worth it, £200 is more than 20 days of food on the road. I am going to use the Navigator app and use it correctly this time. I learnt from the last tour to navigate in very short hops of about 15 miles, way points are a good idea but if there’s a place I want to see off route it won’t affect the overall plan. I will be buying local sim cards for as many countries as I can or searching for wi-fi and using Google Earth to find wild camping spots, again I learnt to avoid towns and cities at all cost as not only is sleeping rough difficult, I was nervous about being disturbed and got very little sleep. My favourite places of course will be roundabouts and traffic islands as well as heading to water, lakes especially are great places to find a secluded spot. Any tips on wild camping is appreciated and if you have any experience wild camping please share it. The LG G3 will also be used as a music player, camera, 2nd video camera and of course a mobile phone come hotspot.

My `Samsung Galaxy Tab A` will be encased in an otterbox to protect it and will replace a laptop, I’ll update my blog, use it for planning routes and detours and booking flights. I’ll also use tunnel bear vpn so my traffic is encrypted.

Tunnel Bear VPN

I’ve signed up for both Open street maps and Open cycle maps as I’ll be adding routes and poi’s along the way.

I will need a cheap but reliable cycle computer, so any advice here is greatly appreciated as I will need to record the 18000 miles plus.

Still unsure about taking my DSLR as it’s bulky but how many times do you cycle around the world?

Video will be captured on a GoPro Hero and backed up to Google Drive.

Sleeping Arrangements.

DD Hammock with bug net
Whoopi slings
DD Hammock tarp
Ground Sheet
Paracord
Ridge line
Luggage Elastics (attaching stuff to bike)
Bivi Bag
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bag Liner
Sleeping mat
6 x tent pegs (mainly for tarp)

Iˋm looking into a cheap 2 person tents which are light, the Gelert I had last time was good enough but I let it get mouldy, also the poles were fibreglass and split. I might just take one but try to only use the Bivi Bag, Sleeping Bag, Hammock and Tarp.

Kitchen

Still some decisions to be made here, as last time I had a solo cooking kit which was excellent but struggled to buy gas canisters. I might still go for it and the pocket rocket stove with gas canisters but carry alcohol to make a penny stove. Also I’ll take a fire steel and build my own camp fires when I can.

Food

I will carry 3 days provisions, mainly packet food. The usual noodles, porridge etc. Outside Europe street food will be available and cheap, water is heavy but again I’ll carry a continuous 3 day supply, topping up as and when. Through the deserts I will of course carry as much as possible and plan on leaving room in my panniers for my extra provisions.

Clothing

Again still undecided, I might go for the rule of 3, wear one, wash, one, dry one but unsure about whether to wear cycling gear. I will go for the zip off trousers, regatta jacket and muddy fox windproof jacket. I might add a poncho into the mix as long as I can ride with it on.

Tools and Spares

This will be the same as last time.
Multi tools
Puncture kit
Inner tubes

New
3 x spokes
1x fold away tyre

Just before I leave Europe I’ll add to this list as I’m pretty sure in Europe I won’t be too far away from a bike shop.

Odds and ends

Headlamp
Leatherman Wave
Camping survival knife.
Power Monkey Solar charger
10600mah rechargeable USB battery
Powerful LED bike lights
100ltr Garden Sack
Compass

All the above will be carried in Ortlieb Panniers, I learnt my lesson last time on the consequences of buying cheap panniers. The Aldi ones broke before Italy and the replacements were expensive and even worse. A huge feature of panniers is how easy are they to put on the bike and remove, as you always have to carry them somewhere. Having Ortlieb Panniers on my last trip would have made wild camping a lot easier as I could carry the bike and panniers separately up hills or into forests out of sight.

I would like to thank the following people and suggest you check out their blogs, websites and podcasts too.

Alastair Humphreys
Alastair is a great motivator, as well as creating the terminology #microadventure. He has actually been there and done it. Genius! This guy cycled for four years around our planet and it only cost him a total of £7000, yep total.

Tom Allen
If you have any interest in travelling by bike, you should look up Tom’s website and blog. If you haven’t already viewed Tom’s film Janapar I would recommend you watch it as soon as possible. Tom has a huge amount of tips regarding cycling and adventure in general, although I read recently that Tom doesn’t see himself as an adventurer.

Thomas Anderson
I’m pretty sure that Thomas Anderson is still on the road. Checkouthis website to keep up-to-date.

Graham Hughes
Graham holds the Guinness record for travelling to every sovereign nation by surface transport, that’s public transport and hitching a lift. Graham has been an inspiration for me to cycle solo. Check out Graham’s work here.

Jason Moore
Jason runs a website and podcast called Zero to Travel and it’s given me hundreds of ideas from reducing my travel costs to discovering what is really possible on the road. Location independence here I come

Mark Beaumont
After watching Marks documentary of him cycling solo around the world for the World Record I was hooked. Mark was racing around the world, I am not so I will be taking a lot longer than 195 Days.

There are many more Blogs and Websites that are out there that all helped me plan my journey. I will setup a links page on the site so anyone who is planning a long cycle journey can find information.

So enjoy your New Year festivities and I’ll see you in 2016. Thanks for following my blog.

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About John Holt

John Holt has worked in the travel industry for over 14 years and comes highly recommended by Trip Advisor for his practical and candid talks on travel destinations. Spending 18 months as a "Local Interest Specialist" for a leading tour operator John has become known as having more practical information than Google.

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