Fixed Across the UK

To me fixed gear bikes are not about fashion, but about DIYODW, pain, and of course that funny zen simplisity that everyone likes to rave on and on about. (DIYODW = Doing It Your Own Dam Way). I am sure many a fashionable hipster will tilt his/her head in wonderment, and to that I say,

FUCK fashion.

Okay now that my motivation is clearly laid out, lets get on to my next stupid adventure. If you have been reading this here mess of a blog for the past few years then you know that I have a penchant for doing things that most people will shake their head at, however, its been a while since I have been on any truly insane adventures on my fixed gear bike. Hmmm, clearly I need to rectify the situation.

Its Reckoning Time

As such I have decided to go on a rather ill-conceived adventure, inspired by the fact I have to attend two conferences this summer, one in St. Andrews, Scotland, the other one in Dublin, Ireland. Therefore I will land in London, make my way up to Scotland for conference number 1, then make my way to Dublin, followed by a riding across Ireland to Cork, taking the Ferry to England and riding back to London to complete the loop.

Oh yeah, and I have about 12 days riding time to do this loop.

So this is rather insane, yes? But not insane enough so lets up the anti a bit shall we?

Wease's 4 Step Plan for Insane Touring

Step 1. Tho shall ride at no less than 160 km (100 miles) per day on a fixed gear bike

Step 2. Tho shall attach NOTHING to thy bike (bags, fenders etc) as this only sullies the beautiful simplicity of fixed gear bikes

Step 3. Tho shall travel as light as humanly possible, yet camp.

Step 4. Tho shall ride a rather large gear ratio (80 inches), since steps 1-3 are far too easy.

The inspiration for this adventure arose over the fact that riding a proper touring bike was far too easy, I know I have one. They are quite lovely. You can put 4 panniers on, load up with all the gear you need (clothing, camping, food) and have a relaxing time crossing the countryside at your own pace.

See the problem? Too easy.

Since I wasn't racing this year (trying to finish the FUD, phonetics for PhD) I needed something rather difficult to do. So I decided on the minimalist approach to touring. Plus I was inspired to think about traveling as light as possible, so I decided I was allowed around 10 lbs of gear MAX.

The last requirement is the most interesting. You see in that 10 lbs I must have a back pack, camping gear, enough cloths to stay warm at night and clothing so that I look presentable at the conference since I am presenting.

Minimalist indeed

As far as clothing is concerned. One of everything, with a single change of cloths for night time, with enough clothing to cover cool nights and the odd rain storm, even though its summer it will rain. Next as far as camping is concerned, I will buy my food leaving me with only a shelter to worry about. At first I was going to take my Hammock (1.2 lbs) to sleep in, but I realized it was bulky and parts of England have no trees so I decided to go with a small tarp and a thermal bivouac.

Here is a picture of all 10.5 lbs (4.75 kg) of gear

Da Gear: All 10.5 lbs of kitDa Gear: All 10.5 lbs of kit

Items clockwise from top left include:

  • Deuter Adventure race
  • Cycling helmet and cap
  • Sunblock
  • Sandles (flip flop because of their light weight)
  • A thermal bivouac sac
  • A 5 foot x 8 foot micro tarp
  • Long underwear (top + bottom)
  • Cycling Jacket
  • Two cycling Jerseys (one wool, one poly)
  • Two pairs of cycling shorts with overpriced but with a very comfy chamois
  • Shorts, Pants, and dress shirt
  • skull cap, arm warmers and knee warmers
  • 3 pair of socks, one pair of gloves
  • White cycling shoes, because white is the new black
  • shoe covers
  • tri-key and 15 mm wrench

Missing from the photo

  • Pump
  • Guide book
  • Ordenance Map

When it is all packed and folded, we have this nice package:

Comments

hippy's picture

"even though its summer it will rain" hahaha you better believe it! :P

Hey! This is Mark - (one of) the Canadian(s) you met at the pub in South London. Found your blog! Anyway, nice meeting you the other night and good luck with the bike ;)

Hey, remember me ? i swapped a sprocket for you up in Carlisle ( i had my nice Spot singlespeed up in my workshop) did you get round the rest of your trip ok? i've Just been out to Alp'dHuez to catch the tour (its all on my blog! http://onlythepunkcansaveusnow.blogspot.com/) and i fancy doing a bit of light touring myself next year taking in a couple of Tour stages! Joe

Wease's picture

I am creating the series of posts as we speak right now!

Trip of a life time! Something no one can take away from you! I did the mountains in Chile best experience in my life! Keep cranking!

You are very right there my friend :)
I have been to mountains of chile as well and I must say that was the best day of my life.

No gears. You are clearly mad. Mad mad mad.