Most of the equipment I plan to take on this year’s Tour is the same as that I had last year. The main difference this year is that I will have a a new bike to haul Travoy. I also will be using a smaller tent instead of the tunnel tent I had last year. For 2017, I am also replacing the heavy rucksack with a big Dry-Sac to save 0.5 kg but will be adding a 10m electrical lead, a heavier lock and extra clothes so the total weight on Travoy will be slightly more than last year.
Giant AnyRoad 2 gravel bike. For this year’s Tour de Travoy, I am hoping to use cycle paths as much as possible. But many cycle paths in France are made of light gravel and not very suitable for a normal road bike. So I decided to invest in a gravel bike with much wider tyres. The tyres on the Giant AnyRoad are 32 mm thick and much wider than the 23 mm ones on my road bike. A bike with wider tyres is more comfortable to ride though it will be slightly slower. The lowest gear on the Giant AnyRoad is 32-34 which is slightly lower than the 30-28 on my road bike. I effectively will have 2 extra lower gears which will be badly needed in the mountains. The bike also has disc brakes and hopefully these will work better than rim brakes on the long descents especially if it is raining.
Topnaca 3 season tent. Apart from my new bike, most of my equipment is the same as last year except for a few items. New this year is a 3 season Topnaca dome style tent. Last year I had a Coleman Crestline tunnel tent but both fibreglass tent poles broke on me so this year, I invested in a tent with aluminium poles. The Topnaca tent is much smaller than the Coleman but that means it is lighter and packs away into a smaller bag.
Tent weighs 2.1 kg. Initial impressions about the tent are very good and it seems to have better materials and to be better quality than the Coleman. Hopefully, it will prove to be more robust than last year’s tent as it will be needed for at least 100 nights on this year’s tour.
Electrical extension lead and adapter. Last year, I had an 1m long converter lead which was very useful for charging my netbook and phones. However, as the lead was very short, I often had to set the tent up very close to the power point. By taking a 10 m extension lead, I will be able to set up the tent further away from a power point and in places where there is maximum shade. The extension lead weighs about 1.2 kg so it is a lot of extra weight but it is something I will use practically every day so it is well worth taking. Last year, I took two 15W solar panels with me but this year, I will only take one as I very rarely needed both panels.
Shimano MT34 SPD shoes. Also new this year is a pair of Shimano lace up shoes. These shoes look like a normal pair of trainers but have a recessed SPD cleat meaning they can be used with a set of Shimano mountain bike pedals. Although slightly heavier than the Shimano M088 shoes I used on previous tours, they are more comfortable and easier to walk around in when not cycling.
Kryponite Series 2 U-Lock. A new bike requires a new stronger lock. On previous tours, I just used coiled locks as they are light and pack away small. However, they are easily cut with a pair of boltcroppers so this year, I will also take a Kryptonite U-lock. The lock weighs about 1.2 kg but the extra security is worth it. I could have got an even more secure lock but they tend to be heavier and some gold standard locks weigh over 4 kg which is too much extra weight on a long tour.
Bike and accessories. The new bike weighs about 10 kg. Adding pedals, bottle cages, and a pump adds about 1 kg. Fitting a Bryton computer, a Quadlock phone mount and Garmin Virb camera to the handlebars adds another 500g. My Topeak saddlebag contains a multitool, a chantool and 3 spare tyres and some levers and weighs about 1 kg. Adding 2 bottles of water and the Kryptonite and coiled locks adds about 2.5 kg. So the total weight of the bike and accessories is about 15 kg.
Camping equipment. The weight of the tent is about 2.1 kg, my sleeping bag about 900g and Thermalite air mattress about 500g. A big towel also weighs 500g while a washbag with soap, shampoo, scissors, saddle cream, washing powder, suncream and toothpaste weighs about 1 kg. So the total weight of my camping and washing equipment is about 5 kg and total volume about 30 L.
Cycle clothing. Last year, I had 2 spare pair of shorts but this year I may take extra socks and shorts and wash my clothes every 5 days instead of every 3 days. I had 4 tops with me last year but will only take 3 tops (2 short sleeve and 1 Long sleeve) this year. My baggy cycle shorts turned brown from the sunshine despite me dying them jet black before I left. So this year I will eave them at home and take a different pair of baggy shorts. My new shorts have fewer pockets but I can put my keys and other bits and pieces in the back pockets of my cycle jersey for easy access. This year, I will have a pair of cycle leggings and a lightweight Northwave jacket for when it is raining. For casual wear, I will take 3 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve tops, underwear, a pair of leggings and a hooded jacket. All in all, my spare clothes weigh about 5 kg plus another 3 kg for the clothes, shoes, sunglasses and helmet I will be wearing. Volume wise my spare clothes will take up about 30 L of space on Travoy.
Electrical equipment. The heaviest electrical item is my 13″ notebook which along with the charger weighs about 1.5 kg. I will also be taking a 10m extension lead and an adapter lead which also weigh about 1.5 kg. 2 portable batteries, leads and UK/EU plugs weigh about 1 kg. I will have 2 phones, a Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation) and a Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. I will also have 2 Garmin Virb cameras for my bike. All these phones and cameras add up to about 1 kg in weight. The total weight of the electrical equipment is about 5 kg and volume wise amounts to about 20 L.
Total weight of equipment. Travoy itself weighs about 5 kg and the Burley bags and a 20 L Camelbak rucksack adds about another 2 kg. My Thermos coolbag holds about 3L of liquid so all these items add about 5 kg and take up about 10 L. At times, I will also have about 10 L of food with me which can weigh up to 5 kg. Adding the weight of my camping and washing equipment (5 kg), my clothes (5 kg), electrical equipment (5 kg) and water (3 kg), bags (2 kg) and food (3 kg) gives a total of 23 kg on Travoy. On the bike, there will be my own weight, accessories (3 kg), water (1 kg), clothes, helmet and shoes (3 kg) as well as Travoy (5 kg) and the load on Travoy (23 kg). I will end up hauling about 35 kg plus the 10 kg weight of the bike. On the flat, the weight is manageable but in the mountains, the extra weight will be no fun. On the Tour de France, the cyclists bikes weigh about 6.5 kg and their gear and water about 2.5 kg for a total of 9 kg. So the weight on Tour de Travoy will be the equivalent of 5 typical bikes and gear in the Tour de France. Of course, I could save weight by leaving some stuff at home. But the whole trip will take 15 weeks during which all my equipment will be needed at some stage and the heaviest items will be used every day.