then preparation…

pannier attachment system mark 2

pannier attachment system mark 2

So having made the decision to do it, I needed someone crazy enough to join me… And lo, there where even two of them!  Thanks Tom and Tiff!!   Then I needed to make sure I actually had the cycle touring equipment to get there, and carry all my field gear as well.  The bike was not a problem, (a FELT Q800), but it needed some work, and after a bit of a search, I found a local bike shop willing to help me out with some cost price parts and free labour, thanks BNG sports! Next I needed some front racks and panniers.  At first I was concerned that front shocks would limit my options, but this item at VELOGEAR installed hassle free, with a little help from a friend at “bentspoke racing” (thanks Rene!).   Now for the panniers…

A quick look online didn’t find anything too inspiring within my modest price range, and nothing particularly carbon-neutral.  I have a great pair of trusty old rear panniers, handmade by a chap in Canberra, which have survived almost 10 years of continuous abuse commuting and touring… and their simple design and construction, non-synthetic materials and local provenance inspired me to have a go at making up my own….  All I needed was the canvas, some fittings, and a lot of patience.  I mocked up a version in paper, then cut and stitched a prototype to test the hardest part: the attachment system.  After bit of modification I had a system that I thought could tolerate the task ahead.  10 broken needles, a lot of sweatshop labour later, I had a passable pair of panniers fitted… and still 12 hours to go before my bus left for Mackay… too easy (!)

Then it was a matter of deciding what I could bring, and somehow fitting it all onto the bike…  The final weigh-in (before provisions) was 34kg… pretty substantial.  I was hoping Tom and tiff where travelling light.

too much stuff...

too much stuff...

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