During the couple of weeks before I left, I carefully considered what I needed to bring, and bought the new kit I needed. My previous, shorter cycle tours had always relied on youth hostels for accommodation, but with such a long distance to cover, it was hard to find a B&B or hostel in desired locations, and booking ahead would tie me down to reaching a particular place at a particular time. Camping would ultimately give me the freedom to cycle as far as I could or wanted to each day, before finding a campsite or wild camp pitch for the night. I therefore decided to buy a new lightweight tent that would pack down small – the Vango Helium 200. I also bought a lightweight sleeping mat, summer sleeping bag, inflatable pillow and sleeping bag liner.
My touring steed is a road bike and as such it isn’t really intended for long distance tours. However, I couldn’t afford the extravagance of a new touring bike, so I fitted my Specialized Allez Elite with Mavic touring wheels, and packed everything compactly into a Carradice saddlebag (Nelson longflap) and Avenir handlebar bag. My luggage weighed a total of roughly 13kg.