Bike Touring Gear

The quality of our equipment will constitute our minimum daily comfort. It’s in this light that we have chosen, after months of research, good-quality equipment, principally bought in the United States, for a better price than is to be found in France. The following is a brief description of our choices for which it was not always easy to find a good compromise between the weight, the comfort, the cost, the durability, etc.

The Bikes
Adapted for cyclo-tourism, they are “made-to-measure” by an artisan with many years of experience. They possess steel frames and parts which are able to be re-soldered or replaced anywhere in the world, 26-inch tires, and 24 speeds. There are luggage carriers on the front and back wheels which are ultra-resistant. Weight/Bike: 35 lbs.

Bike Bags
Based upon the advice of several manufacturers and cyclo-tourists, we opted for a German brand, Ortlieb, which offers resistant bags which are probably the most water-proof on the market. Total of 8 side bags and 2 handlebar bags. Total weight: 16.72 lbs.

The Tent
Free-standing (type: dome), it has two vestibules, with one that is large enough to store the two bikes or to do the cooking. It is a three-season tent that is relatively light and spacious, and has a discrete color (important detail). Weight: 8 lbs.

Our stove uses all types of fuel (gas or liquid). Important because once we have traversed Europe, gas becomes difficult, even impossible, to find. Our pots and pans are principally made from titanium, a metal which is ultra-light and resistant. Weight: 1 lb.

Self-inflating. Air provides the best thermal insulation. ¾ size, 1.77-in. thickness. Weight/mattress: 1.32 lbs.

Sleeping Bags
Attachable, they are efficient until temperatures of 0°F. We chose synthetic material because even though it is less efficient and heavier than down, it is more resistant to humidity and to prolonged folding. To date, the polarguard stuffing seems to be the best quality on the market. Weight/bag: 3.52 lbs.

We preferred synthetic material (nylon, polyester) over cotton because it breathes easier, dries quickly, and is practically wrinkle-free. We chose fleece for its power to keep in heat and Gore-Tex outer-garments for its effectiveness as a wind-breaker and a shield against the rain.

Lamps/ Batteries
In order to economize, we will be using rechargeable batteries and a solar charger. We will have regular batteries in reserve. A “dynamo” will be integrated into the front wheel of the bike to light the route. We will also use headlamps. Weight/dynamo: 1.1 lbs., Solar panel: .44 lbs.

Water Filter
Light, it is one of the only filters which eliminates almost all toxins (parasites, bacteria, viruses, pesticides…). Weight: 0.88 lbs.

Photo Equipment
We opted for a manual camera, which does not contain breakable electronic pieces. It uses only one small battery, for the light meter. It is a Nikon FM2 with one Nikon lens 24-85mm. f/2.8-4. It uses a polarizing filter. We will be taking a tripod, as well as a compact APS camera. Total weight: 3.2 lbs.

Handheld Computer
We will use a small and lightweight handheld computer to type, store, and transfer our writings. Model: Hewlett Packard Jornada 256 MHz, 32 MO, Microsoft Office. We will also carry an external memory card 252 MO and a supplementary battery + charger + international adapter. Total weight: 2.6 lbs.

In order to record music, conversation, or ambient sounds, we have chosen an Mp3 player + recorder. Model: Archos FM 20 GO + external microphone. This model stores the equivalent of up to 500 CDs and is able to record programs on the FM radio. It utilizes a USB2 connection.