Oz Stats & Gear Review
Completing our first continent has been a big challenge because of many factors, but in the end did much better than expected. We arrived in Perth over a week earlier than planned and this includes the nine days we spend in Kimba when we waited for parts for my bicycle.
So… we crossed Australia on a bicycle and many people think how we did it, what gear did we take, what we used most, what will we change, how everything held up… and many more.
Here is an overview of what we took with us and how all of it planned out.
General overview of Australia:
– Bicycles Weight – 18kg
– Load on bicycles – 40kg to 52kg
– 4500km Cycled
– Sixteen 100’s cycled (15 was on the second half of Australia)
– Highest cycling distance
De Bruyn (138km)
– Lowest cycling distance (24km – headwinds of up to 75km/h)
– Average hours ON THE bicycle per day (between 6 and 8 hours)
– Avg Distance cycled from Kimba (halfway) to Perth (108km)
– Cramps – NONE (except for my toe one night in my tent!)
– Best Meal
De Bruyn – Braai!
– Worst Meal – One can of spaghetti was a bit off, but still had went into our stomachs!
– Camp setup time – 30 – 40 minutes
– Camp up before setting off in the mornings (40 – 60 minutes)
Accommodation was one of the subjects that were discussed on so many occasions before we arrived. Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world and paying for accommodation will screw up our budget! The end conclusion was that we gonna aim not to pay for accommodation once and just wing-it as we take on the first continents.
Breakdowns and Personal
Our bodies and bicycles are the two things that is working hard for about 8hours a day, so what happens with before, during and after each cycle is different than what we have been used to.
So here are some stats on what happened to our bicycles and our bodies during the first 4500km:
De Bruyn Bicycle:
– Broken Spokes (23 – 21 Back wheel and 2 front wheel)
– Flat Tyre’s (2 flats)
– Chain Broke on 2000km (Fixed with link)
– Chain Replaced on 3500km
– Bottom Bracket and Crankset broke just before Kimba – Halfway through Australia
– Mirror Broken Mirror
Books Read – 3
– Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
– The Hit by David Baldacci
– Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
– Before – 98kg
– Kimba – 87kg
– Perth – 89kg
The excitement and anticipation there high to see our bicycles after such a long time and all the planning really build up and finally got to see them after a few days after arriving in Sydney. Nor Ulrich or myself have cycled with this kind of bicycles before and doing our first few kilometer on the bicycles the night before our departure, loaded up, was quite an eye opener. The bicycles from LKLM held up good but we had problems with some the parts.
Cycling on touring bikes is a bit different that the normal, light and nippy bicycles most of us are used to. Climbing on these bicycles is like trading in our sports car for heavy duty truck. The journey is slower, acceleration happens in a lower gear, breaking takes longer, parking takes more space and parts on the bicycle reacts totally different when loaded up.
You quickly get use to cycle with the weight but when wind and hills come into the accusation, its a totally different scenario. Not gonna go much deeper into the cycling, so here is the details of the bicycles and some tools we use everyday:
Bicycles Manufacturers – LKLM
Racks – LKLM
Panniers – Kran Gear
Parts on the bicycle
– Hub – Nu Vinci 360
– Avid Brakes
– Brook Seat
– Shimano Zee Crankset
– LKLM Peddles
– LKLM Handlebars
Leatherman – I think that men that owns a Leatherman will understand when I say that it is the best tool anyone has ever created! Using it everyday for repairs, eating, clipping nails, trimming beard or just to smash weird things that is crawling up underneath the tent when you sleep… you will find an opportunity to use it… or wait… and opportunity will find you to use the Leatherman.
Other tools: Wise-grip, Shifting Spanner, Allen Keys, Spoke Wrench – These tools are used on a daily basis, wether it is for doing repairs, cleaning the bicycle or giving the bicycles services.
The tents looks good, lightish, very spacious, pitch easily.. but it was not as strong as we hoped it would have been. The poles snapped in strong winds and other ones bended. It was quite a disappointment and we have to replace the tents before getting to Europe.
The tents are maybe the most important part of our gear and Im really doing a lot of research to buy the correct tent, that will be able to take all conditions anf hopefully can be used for a few years. We have to consider all the factors when traveling on a bicycle and the following is critical: Weight, packing size, Waterproof (yes I know what you are thinking… and no… they are not all 100% waterproof), durable and it have to be big enough for you, all our bags ans still must be able to move around, make dinner etc.
I was shocked when I brought our first tent (because of the price), but looking deeper into what is available in the market that will be perfect for cycling, conditions, size and weight… my heart actually stopped when I saw the prices!! I keep telling myself that this is “my house” and I sleep in the tent 90% of the time. Getting the right tent is critical on an adventure like ours. If you were wondering…. YES 1 or 2 kg’s make a huge difference on the bicycles! Saying “its just one or two kg’s extra” accumulate very quickly when you say that about five things you are carrying.
Have I made up my mind on what Im gonna buy, make lighter or save some space…. NO…. and we leave to Dublin in 2 days.
3.2. Army Poncho
3.3. Sleeping Bag
Self inflating First Ascent Mattress has been working very good and I’m very happy. Its maybe a bit bulky, but that is because its self inflating. I might just go for another mattress in the future just because of the size I want to save.
First Ascent pillow… Working ok, but I prefer sleeping on my clothes. So will probably chuck it in Perth.
4.1. Jackets & Layers
K-Way Merak Tri-Lam Shell Jacket… Waterproof Jacket that helped us out in so many occasions. This jacket are not there to keep you warm, but if you wear a fleece to underneath, its perfect! It folds up small and you can basically stuff it in wherever there isa small space left.
Wearing it while cycling will work great in Europe, because you get so hot even when its cold because of the good isolation. It has the necessary zips if you want to open then to get some airflow. Great jacket and surprised me every time I wore it!
The one time I wore a shirt for over a week… 9days 🙂 Definitely worth the money!
4.3. Pants & Shorts
I have two First Ascent zip-off shorts and it worked great. They are not very warm, but will wear something underneath them in Europe. The one tore when climbing onto my bicycle, so just need to stitch it up here in Perth.
Buffs…. Buffs Buffs….. Yea what can I say about these absolutely great and amazing products. I have three of them and I just rotate them everyday. I wear one on my neck throughout the day to help with burning my neck… and I did not get burned once on my neck! Onother one I wear on my head that helps with sweat and my messy hair. Im wearing one about 18hours everyday!
5. Cooking & Accessories
Im not going into detail about these ones, but they all worked great.
Gas Stove, Cooking Pots, Cutlery, Plates, Clothesline, Kitchen sink, Micro Towel
Deciding on what electronics to take with on the bicycles was a long and hard decision. We had to take good cameras to take photos, video cameras, laptops (backups, editing working), iPad (reading, making notes, journal), iPod… etc
So in the end this is what we packed onto the bicycles:
6.1. Video Cameras
– Canon Legria HF G25
The video camera is maybe one of the things we had to get used to. Normally I would just take out the camera, snap a few photos and then continue on. Video take a bit of time and is definitely something to get use to.
The Canon Legria HF G25 is an excellent video camera and the quality is magnificent. Getting some of the moment on video is something special and makes this experience extra special. The video will also give everyone a better view of what we are going through and be able to experience a bit more that just photo’s.
– GoPro Hero 3
The GoPro is just an amazing little camera and the quality you get out of it is remarkable. You can forget to get good quality sound you will be able to use afterwards, but that is not what its made for. The action cam do what it should and catch moment when you don’t have your proper camera with you and on the bicycle
– Canon Powershot G1X
The Canon G1X is the camera that we are using most of the time as its size is perfect that you can keep it close to just pull out, take photos and quickly put it back and continue cycling. The quality of the photos on this camera is much better than I expected it would be. Great all around camera to use in different environments.
– Canon D40
Ulrich’s one camera broke early in the adventure.. Was an old camera
– Canon D400
Ulrich is currently using his other camera to get better quality photos of things and moments you are not able to catch on the G1X.
– Old SLR
I still had an old SLR camera that I brought with me. I love photography and always plays around with my camera whenever Im not cycling. Photo’s is the most important thing we have to have after the adventure and taking good photos is critical! Still want to replace it with a proper Canon camera in the future.
6.3. Other Electronics
Use the laptops for doing data backups, editing and working whenever we get the chance. It takes a bit of space, but it definitely worth it. There’s been a few times on where I thought I might be able to go without the laptop, but it is definitely worth dragging along. Im a huge Apple fan and is carrying a Apple MacBook Air.
– iPad Mini
My iPad Mini is one of the items I use the most. Each night I will write into my journal, start working on blogs and read until I fall asleep. Something you can’t travel without! Since my dad gave me his iPad a few years ago, I can’t go anywhere without it.
Listening to music is something I love and would not be able to go without. Listening to music some part of each day on the bicycle and when Im in my tent at night. The last two weeks I also started to use my portable speaker more and then I play a few songs as I eat and chill during the day.
I have a Garmin GPS, but have not used it as much as I thought I would. The maps are really expensive and it is currently tucked away. Will keep it for emergencies and have a good idea I’ll maybe use it more in Europe. and the cities.
We have lots of electronics and keeping all of them charged is a huge job! PowerGorilla and SolarGorilla from Powertraveller is also two of the items we use everyday.
The SolarGorilla is open and on the bicycles whenever the sun is out and keep most of our electronics charged.
The PowerGorilla is used whenever it is overcast and if more than one item needs to be charged.
Bicycle changes before next continents
– New Rims
– Extra grips
– Maybe V-Brakes
We have learned many lessons for the first few months on the road and believe we will get wiser as we continue with the next continents. Im pretty happy with our selections in gear and what we decided to take with us on the bicycles. I had, or still have, an obsession on making space by throwing away stuff I don’t need or repacking bags every 3 days! I woke up and remember dreams on how to better fold my tent or sleeping bag 🙂
There is always ways to improve and I think most of the focus will stay at getting the bicycle as light as possible and try to save space wherever we can… But lighter, smaller means … more expensive gear 🙂 I will replace some of the gear early on in Europe and will definitely invest in some other stuff along the way before we go into the Middle East. Every kilogram makes a huge difference, especially when there are head winds blowing in your face or have to get over a steep hill.
Any questions on the gear or adventure so far are welcome…
Remember… Every day is an adventure!