bike: specialized sirrus 2007 hybrid, that i originally bought for commuting in london.
made of: aluminium frame, carbon forks. probably other things to note at this point, but as i said, i'm a girl.
new and exciting things that have pimped la bicicletta up to touring capability:
- 2 new wheels and some kevlar tyres (kevlar is bullet proof, so no need for a puncture repair kit (over-optimistic comment alert)).
- a 34-tooth back cassette, ie lots of low gears. how d'ya like them apples now, pyrennes?!
- a new mech (eek not sure that's the right terminology - back derailleur?).
- 2 ortlieb back roller panniers, and an ortlieb handlebar bag. ortlieb are guaranteed for life so that's exciting. i guess they mean your life rather than the life of the bike, presumably those could be the same. i bet they would last the life of the earth until the next ice age, they are made in deutschland after all. i can't put front panniers on the bike as the front forks are carbon and therefore not weight bearing. this is good as that would add a lot of weight and luggage space, and this way i have to be frugal with what i take.
- new brake and gear cables.
some other (non) interesting facts about me / my bike:
- i will be cycling in converse shoes as those clippy cycling shoes make my feet hurt, as i have a foot problem in both feet, and really should be having a foot operation (x2) instead of cycling 1000+ miles. if some blog posts just say 'ouch' then that'll be why.
- i have bought the first map i need - the yellow michelin local map, to the roskoff area in brittany. that is where the ferry lands. these maps mark cycle routes, and places of interest like caves, and windmills.
- i should have installed a dynamo to charge phone/ipod/camera batteries along the way. will do this for my alaska-patagonia bike ride at some undetermined point in the future (post lottery win?).
- whilst i am a bit of a luddite, i do wish i had a kindle with 3000 books on it. i am inherently a bit anti-kindle, as i am anti most new technology, as a knee jerk reaction. but kindles are pretty cool for this kind of thing. and in fact pretty cool in general, other than heralding the beginning of the end for books which are one of my favourite things. they have managed to make the text on the screen look just like a book and not like a screen, and apparently the battery lasts for a month.
- i have been reading 'it's all about the bike' by robert penn, which is a well interesting book about a man (robert penn) who builds his dream bike, and visits all the best frame builders, wheel builders, tyre factories etc etc in his quest. he explains a lot about the history of the bike, which is fascinating. turns out lots of things that were prototyped on bikes went on to be used in all other transport methods, ie cars, planes, rockets.
- via the medium of this book and my visits to cycle:recycle bike shop in hebden bridge (www.cyclerecycle.org.uk) i am now slightly better educated about bikes and bike maintenance in general than i was 2 weeks ago. cycle:recycle is, as they say themselves, 'a not for profit sustainable project... aiming to get more people out of their cars and into the saddle, by reducing the number of old bikes that end up on the scrap heap, when all they need is a bit of TLC'. ben who works there has taught me lots about my bike and what to do if various things go wrong with it. i have learnt, or at least tried to learn, the following - how to change a spoke, how to true a wheel, how to change a gear / brake cable, how to adjust your gears. if you are ever in the hebden bridge area and need a bike, or some work done on your bike, or to look at some cool old bikes, pay them a visit. there's a cafe, and a 2nd hand book shop. what more could you want. and it's on the canal towpath so you might see some ducks if you're lucky. i saw a mouse.