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Bikes and kit

Bikes and kit

We both started riding with Thorn Nomad bikes until Tim’s was stolen. Sharon’s Nomad was brilliant and had no issues.They have steel frames which are most suited to our trip as we will be riding over different and sometimes challenging terrain.  Thorn cycles are based in Bridgwater, Somerset. If you want to find out more about Thorn’s bike range you can visit

Here’s a full list of our kit and more details about our bikes.

Tim’s bike and kit:

Bike and bike related kit:

•Surly Troll   frame and forks  (nice strong frame although did snap in south America but was re-welded and continues to me a strong, comfy ride and much lighter then thorn nomad, bit of a pain with horizontal dropouts and would work better with rohloff chain tensioner)

•Ritchy adjustable stem

•Rohloff hub nutted

•schmidt dynamo hub (great hub)

•Ridgida andra 30 rims

•Deore V brakes with replaceable pads

•standard riser bars and bar ends with ergo grips and foam on barends

•Sks mudguards  ( could do with a bit more clearance)

•Thorn front rack  (super strong)

•Tubus rear rack (good racks)

•Busch and muller cyclo front dynamo light (very good light, cheap but a bit plasticy )

•Surly chain tensioner (It would be better to have rohloff tensioner as the Surly reduces chain contact with rear cog increasing wear and shorting chain and cog life)

•Hebie (home made one from kitchen brackets, spring and jubilee clip)

•compass bell ( handy little thing)

•2 large mirrors (Riding with mirrors may not look great but it makes cycle touring much more relaxing, especially on busy roads)

•Tires  Schwable marathon 2″ ( very good tire but had a couple that crack inside causing punctures and a couple where the side wall bulged)

•standard inner tubes

•FSA orbit XL 11 head set

•3 profile design cages  ( as there was no mounts under frame I melted 2 jubilee clips through the plastic and works a treat)

•E-werk USB charger  ( amazing piece of kit apart from the USB port rusts which in surprising as it should be designed to used outside in the elements)

•Cateye rear light.

•Thorn crank with 42 tooth front 17 rear, kmc x1/kmc 830 chain ,

•MKS pedals with straps ( very disappointed as the first set the bearings failed and the second snapped. So replaced them with Shimano A530 SPD’s ( I can’t fault these at all. They have an open gate that allows mud to clear so don’t get blocked, They are strong and light and they grip will on the flat side)

•Easton ea50 monkey bars with ergo grips

•T bar not really needed but did support bar bag

•Deore front and rear V brakes.

•Standard seat post, (remember to grease)

• Brooks b17 saddle. ( the best saddle ever)

•Carridice rear panniers for front just for extra space

•1 litre extra pockets for each pannier( great for stove and odds and ends)

• Rear rollerplus panniers ( The bracket start to spread after a while and the inserts start to fall out which is a real pain, over time the rail popped off and would leave the pannier on the ground leaving me to have to keep refining the rails. This was solved by an aluminium insert I made to attach on the inside to strengthen the rail)

• 7.5ltr plus barbag.

•2 x Camelbak 700ml water bottles

•Tilley hat (This was disappointing as they give the impression the hat will last forever and backed up by their free replacement if it ever wears out. After just 2 years of sitting my my head it fell apart and when I approached tilley I had to pay $11/£6 for the FREE replacement.

•3 x profile design bottle cages (one lost in transite to Egypt and replaced with another because they are very good)

•medium size back pack   ( for thermarests and tent poles)


•2 pairs of Assos cycle shorts  .  (the most comfortable shorts ever)

•1 club cycle tops with full zip,

•3 Coolmax cycle socks (only have one pair left great socks)

•buff neck gaiter (don’t use mine but sharon used hers a lot)

•merrell hiking shoes (great for hiking but due to the flat peddles they wore out just as fast as a pair of cycle shoes so replaced them for Shimano MT 34 (A good strong shoe that is great for touring. Was a nightmare for the first few days as the hard tread was like wearing ice-skates, once they had worn a little this was much better and also became very comfy)

•running trainers

•1 pair flip-flops small light

•Pair of Ronhill bikesters    (look silly but we both live in them 5 stars good back up in cold weather)

•2 Helly Henson stripe long sleeve thermal top (tim lives in them)

•2 t-shirts

•1 shelterbox T shirt

•1 woolen jumper (bulky but warm and cheap, Later change for a down jacket)

•mountain equipment down jacket (got for Bolivia and have used in training in the andes and well worth the weight, although I hope to send it home by the time i get out of peru)

•Berghaus fleece   (also used as a pillow)

•Kissy anti-pollution mask

•Gore Goretex city overshoes  ( great in rain plus guard against mosquitos when they get really bad)

•Rohan zip off trousers (very comfortable look smart, had an outer pocket sewn on with zip and a bit heavy)

•Rohan expedition long sleeve shirt ( expensive looks good but melts when ironed if not careful)

•long sleeve shirt

•3  pairs of boxer shorts ( took 3 pairs due to popular demand)

•Saucony running/swim shorts (great but show my neapolitan tan lines)

•fluorescent vest (orange is the best colour to be seen)

•reading glass’s


•black mozzie headnet  (black is better then green didn’t use them as much as we thought we would and never in Africa)


•Thermarest large tough sleeping mat (di-laminated but was replaced)The customer service from this company was one of the best to deal with

•Alpkit pipedream 400 sleeping bag (really nice lite bag , very cosy and  great quality tried to get Sharon one but always seem to be out of stock)

• thermal sleeping bag liner (will add 5 degrees more warmth. also good on its own as a sleeping bag in hot countries.

• pillow (use clothes buz lightyear pillow case, now using a Sea to Summit inflatable pillow which is great)


•Wash kit

•packtowl microfibre towel (The best towel i have used but worth using a  flannel and wring it out, drys quicker and saves trying to dry large towel)

•Anti bac soap

•toothpaste and tooth brush

Other kit:

•MRS Hubba Hubba with gear shed.(A great light weight tent that is comfy strong although suffers a bit in high winds. I did end up sewing a silver fly over the four panels on the roof as the inner would touch the outer and as a result condensation would drip in. Having done this also means I can pitch the inner in the heat of the day and sit in the shade out of the bugs and the silver reflects the heat and sun and doesn’t degrade the fly. )

•Primus omnifuel stove (have been very impressed with this stove and have used petrol, gas and diesel, works well on all 3 but diesel is hard to get going smelly and makes everything black. The spreader plate is easily lost so you need to keep an eye on it and the hose could do with a bend in it to make folding easier on the hose) The costumer service form them has also been great.

•1 ltr Primus fuel bottle

•MSR wind shield for stove (excellant)

•MSR 2 pot set plus kettle and a Trangia frying pan that fits the pot perfectly. (I did ditch the MSR handle for a Trangia handle as it was easier to move between pots

•Ortlieb 5 ltr bowl (excellent for washing dishes, us and collecting water)

•2 Aladdin thermal mug ( great mug lite, keeps drinks hot and doesn’t spill)

•1 fire flint by light my fire ( great piece of kit and is still going strong after 2 years)

•Opinal no9 knifes (amazing knife)

•Victorinox peeler    (great peeler)

•2 x titanium sporks  (great pieces of kit)

•MSR bowl comes with pots ( bowl keeps food hot for longer)

•long handled wooden spoon (great bit of kit and cheap)

•various plastic food, tea, coffee and sugar containers

•Steripen classic water purifier ( works well)

•MSR miniworks water filter (carried from Egypt but is heavy)

•1 three legged walk stools (A little heavy but comfy, gives good posture very strong, and keeps you off the ground.perfect for the evening we also use it under our thermarest to lift our heads up, ended up sending it home due to weight but did miss it)

•Lumix tz27 camera + charger and spare battery (had TZ20 but replaced it due to dust brilliant camera)

•Pentax K511 twin lens kit (Never really got on with the Camera and despite weather seals it still let moisture and dirt in, I would go back to a Nikon)

•spare SD cards

•Gopro HD2 video camera and helmet mount,handlebar

•go pro extra bracket (first bracket broke plus had to replace battery)

•Ipod +leads

•2 pin USB charger (small ,perfect)

•mac air+charger protective case.

•1 Alpkit waterproof bags (1 for netbook)

•Seagate 2tb external hard drive (good backup)

•1 1TB external hard drive

•Garmin 64s GPS,  memory cards + bike mount

•gps SPOT tracker  (didn’t work in east Africa)

•kindle  (great piece of kit and saves on a lot of heavy books)

•2 sea to summit 20 ltr extra drybag for sleeping bags and cloths (works great and is very lite)

•drybag for tent inner

•small pots for herds and spices

•tennis ball (ideal  for massage)


•topeak hummvee allen key multi tool with chaintool ( great tool but stolen with bike replaced with another)

•parktool chain link remover

•Green Parktool spoke key ( don’t get anything else)

•selection of allen keys

•8 – 10mm sockets hex to 1/4 bit

•Torqs bits mini rachet bit holder

•19mm adjustable spanner

•Swiss army knife (lost during flight to Egypt but found another in Khartoum yey)

•0-19mm mini adjustable spanner

•Crank puller cut off end to make lighter

•Rohloff sprocket tool

•Tyre levers

•Saddle wax, cloth, protective gloves

•mountain Morph pump spare seals

•Bull nose pliers

•Kryptonite combination lock


•3 inner tubes

•Schwable folding tyre

•Puncture repair kit extra patches

•pot of vulcanising glue

•Brake pads

•Spare nuts and bolts

•Rohloff oil change kit and grubscrews


•brake cable

•Gear cable ends

•4xPannier brackets, (brought extra as they look like they may break)

•Duct tape

•Gardening wire 10 mtrs (never used)

•Zip ties (Well worth carrying)

•10 mtrs para cord ( great for tarp washing line and fixing things)

• Travel plug

•AA battery charger  + lots of Rechargeable AA battreys and lightweight tester

•Busch and Muller e-werk dynamo charger (a must have if you need to charge on the go, don’t bother with battery)

•First aid kit


•bottom bracket

kit we had but not now;

•Hilleberg Nallo gt2 tent and groundsheet protector  (loads of room in porch a few bad design problem ,really bad for condensation not enough vents ) don’t buy this model … sent home

•hilleberg keron3 gt (tent is ok, but ours leaks like a sive on every stitched joint and everypeg has to be in if really windy, which is a nightmare if the ground is hard plus the pegs surplyed bend really easy,still gets alot of condensation as vent seem to low, unless in woodland and takes ages to dry ) don’t buy this model either…sent homeS & S frame tool (shame you need such a big tool for something you don’t need very often)

•S&S frame tool very bulky

•Shimano pd-m324  duel sided (good when dry clog easy when muddy and seize in dry dusty areas)

•1 thermarest chair (good but sent home)

•5 plastic sporks       (rubbish all have snapped)

•Opinal no7 home   (no9  was enough sent home)

•1 sixty cap muter for stove ( gives an even and better flame to cook on but since Sudan it doesn’t work so don”t use it)

•1 dd hammock   (not used it yet and heavy sent home)

•Rainlegs          (ok but sent home)

•Altura thermal gloves (sent home)

•1 pair of endura cycling shorts (fell apart)

•2 kites 1 of which has a shark on it ( great for climbs with tailwinds +fun gave one away lost the second ;(

•Sealskin socks (great in cold + rain Tim never used his so sent home)

•Altura thermal gloves  (great if dry a bit pointless if wet so sent home )

•Rainlegs   (work well , but legs sweat and they keep catching on saddle sent home)

•1 Icebreaker 260 long-sleeved  (sent home)

•Pair of Polaris Merino socks (tim hasn’t warn his yet)

•Fingerless gloves   (never used them .sent home

•Thorn Nomad mk1 frame and forks with S & S couplings (stolen)

•Ortleib front roller plus only because I needed more space

•Thorn rear pannier rack (not as good as tubus)

•Thorn front pannier rack (super strong)

•Rohloff speedhub 500/14 with external change box with a Sun Rhyno rim

•Schmidt klassic Dynamo 32 hole hub with Ridgida Andra 30 css rim

•Schmidt edeux front Dynamo light

•Specialzed cycling shoes (very comfy and great in all weathers but started to break after 7 months and although fixed many times they did just about last 11 months)

•Berghaus packlite jacket, (great jacket for cold days as it’s wind proof but condensates inside a bit when it rains) left at home as it was almost done

•Berghaus waterproof trousers (same as jacket, ok but we get damp from condensation very comfy though) same as jacket and was investing in a new pair

•Lifeventure rectangle silk liner (a must have, keeps your bag clean, increases the warmth of your bag and can be used on its own when its hot) expensive but worth it fell apart in the end

•Alpkit Zhota tent with ground sheet  ( Brilliant tent, lots of poles and a bit fiddly to put up, loads of pockets which is really great and very good in rain. we caught 6 litres of water off the door and only had a couple drops in side. good price) Left at home only because I now don’t need such a large tent, It was our home and i will still use it in the future.

•1 dd  Tarp    (great tarp good for hiding bikes shelter in sun and catching rain water) left at home as i won’t need it in the country’s i’ll be travelling to. Would like a smaller lighter version

•nikon d3100 and tamron 100-300mm len+spare battery and charger (great camera only used big lens a few times) Only left at home because it was battered from a lot of use and dust. still produced great pics and was light.

recommended places we have brought from.

Sjscycles website/shop   

The bikeshed crediton      – United Kingdom

wiggle bike shop internet 

ribble bike shop internet  

spa cycles internet              

moorland rambler in Exeter

Alpkit website                        

Cascade Designs (MSR, Thermarest, Packtowl, Platypus)

Maps We recommend Reise Know how and National Giographic but if I was to chose a favourite National Geographic

Sharon’s bike and kit:

Bike  related kit:

•Thorn mk2 Nomad frame and forks   (perfect)

•Thorn front pannier rack                        (perfect)

•Rear Tubus rack ( great rack as the side rails are lower keeping the clips and panniers out the way, taking the pressure off the panniers when putting on a top bag)

•Rohloff speedhub 500/14  with exbox and  andra 30 css rim     ( works great but since entering South Africa Oil leak on cog side and now gears are mixed up? after service)

•Schmidt klassic son28 dynamo 32 hole  hub with andra 30css rim  ( great combo and works amazingly with E-werk charger)

•Thorn crank with 42 tooth front 15 tooth rear

•Kmc X1/ Sram 830  chain (last around 3000 miles)

•BB butterfly bars and foam grips and lower T bar

•XTR front V brakes, LX rear V brakes

•Thorn seat post and Brooks b17 saddle with springs ( the best saddle)

•Ortleib front roller plus panniers

•Carradice Super C rear panniers (great but clips unclip easyily if exposed although they now make an after market clip to stop this)

•Carridice Super C barbag ( sharon says its really good)

•Alpkit Goudon 25ltr rackbag (great bag but could do with being a little wider)

•1 hebie front wheel stabiliser which stops handlebars swinging round( Great idea but the spring isn’t strong enough and is expensive so I made my own  )

•1 stick with  yellow strip and fork end to alert driver, as a bike stand,dog deterrent and go pro mount  (plus its free !)

•Alpkit  small carabiners (to secure panniers in case of them coming off, handy to use different colours making it easier to remember whats in each bag whether on or off the bike)


•1 pairs Assos bib knickers    (cycling shorts that come down to ankle) very comfy

•1 pair of dhb  (not that comfy)

•1 pair of endura hummvie 3/4 over shorts (great shorts but to hot) 

•1Club cycle top  (great cycle club)

•1 generic cycle top

•1 long sleeve Helly Hanson stripe thermal top

•200 icebreaker merino top

•woolen jumper ( tims other one)sent home in germany as it got warmer

•Ronhill bikesters     ( one of the most useful bits of kit, don’t look great but cheap,warm easy to cyle in. Sharon whore hers almost everyday for a year and lasted that long before she ordered another pair)

•Addidas fleece

•northface  packlite waterproof jacket  (seems to get wet as soon as it rains rubbish)

•Berghaus waterproof trousers

•Gore Goretex overshoes  (again great for rain and mosquitos)

•Buff neck gaiter (handy as eye mask as well as all the other uses)

•Sealskin socks ( sharon loves these)

•1 long sleeve puma hoodie top

•1 long short sleeve cotton purple top

•1 standard short sleeve cooton black top

•1 pair of running shorts ( ideal for sleeping in)

•full body swim suit

•4 x ankle socks

•1 light weight gray cardigan

•1 black/white head/neck scarf ( handy in mosques or sensitive areas)

•Norwegian woolly hat (live in it when its cold) lost in Turkey now has one from Lesotho 

•1 stick with  yellow strip and fork end to alert driver, as a bike stand,dog deterrent and go pro mount  (plus its free !)

•black mozzie headnet  (black is better then green or white)

•sun glass’s

Sleeping and washing:

•Thermarest sleeping mat ( still going strong)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim Duffy permalink
    April 28, 2012 6:43 am

    Where is the chocolate ?

  2. Janx permalink
    May 3, 2012 6:25 pm

    My goodness I was going to add a suggestion that you take some pure lavender oil and arnica tablets. the other thing is like you said local knowledge is good so knowing things like flat coca cola has got elecrolytes for rehydrating etc. I have got a book you might want to photocopy some of called “Where there is no doctor”.it has alot of tips and stuff for travelling in remote places.

  3. Janx permalink
    May 3, 2012 6:26 pm

    And where is the chocolate!

  4. May 5, 2012 3:57 pm

    There is a pannier reserved especially for chocolate……can I borrow your book please?

  5. Janx permalink
    May 6, 2012 12:23 am

    Yes and I’ve got your book about back pain. I had better get my book back aboiut knitting with dog hair! unless you are planning to do some on your travels!

  6. Andrea Critchlow permalink
    May 31, 2012 10:54 am

    Oh my giddy Aunt (Wendy)!
    I am having a panic attack just looking at your kit list. No seriously, you are doing an amazing thing and our thoughts will be with you both.


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