My bags are packed. The Divide is ready to roll. Distant horizons of the burnt red sun of the Australian Outback call.
Setting up a bike and kit for a long journey is an ongoing ever evolving process of tweaking and changing, deleting this and adding that. For me, it’s just the nature of the beast.
Setting up my rig and kit for Australia was a pretty casual affair. In the Land Down Under, I’m rolling fairly light and not over thinking the gear. Other than protection from the elements, a few items to keep the bike rolling, and a camera and notebook to document the journey, not much more is needed.
Save for camping gear, a few more spare parts, such as a tire and a couple more inner tubes, and a small medical kit, I’m rolling out with pretty much what I ride with on local rides near Shanghai.
Bringing less makes for a purer travel experience by focusing you more in the moment and less fiddling with and hauling the gear.
A Dialed-In Divide
The Co-Motion Divide is tuned-up, adjusted, and purring like a kitten. The new Jones Gnarwal adds a little more riding comfort and the ability to get aero and under the wind a bit. The Tioga Spider saddle is impervious to rain and comfortable to ride on all day when paired with chamois lined undershorts.
The SON dynamo seems to be doing a fine job keeping the iPhone and Explorer charged on shorter rides this summer, so it shouldn’t have a problem over the next couple months tooling around the Outback. Plus, I’ve backed it up with a Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus solar panel for an added margin safety for crossing any protracted dead spots on the Stuart or Lasseter Highways.
Scaled Down Kit (Traveling Lighter)
The set up for Australia is just a scaled back version of the kit I put together for the Great Divide, less bear spray, cold weather, and a few other items thinned out the load out. When in doubt, leave it out.
The trusty InReach Explorer GPS tracker/communicator and Gaia and Earthlink apps on an iPhone 6 will provide the navigation and communications capabilities for the journey.
The Sony RX1R II sucks down batteries pretty fast, providing about 200 exposures per charge, so I’m brining a few spares and will charge them at caravan camps or roadhouses along the way.
Clothing consists of just two pairs, one worn and the other carried, and a few cooler weather items to take the bit out any frosty mornings or nippy nights at the beginning of the ride in southern Australia.
The Essentials Remain
As always, the essentials remain. Any component that could cause a catastrophic failure, a showstopper, such as a 29-inch tire, 29-inch inner tubes, a carbon drive belt, spokes, or lubricant for the Rohloff hub is coming along. Even if they are available in Australia, it would be a pain to source them in the Outback.
All of the kit fits in the two rear small panniers, the frame bag, handlebar bag, and accessory pouches. Top of the rear rack is free to haul food and water, and maybe a kangaroo or a dingo or two.
Running lighter means assuming a little more risk. Going with less gear means possibly not having things you may need, but it’s an acceptable risk. Traveling lighter means traveling more comfortably by not having the extra weight to deal with. Even on flat ground, more weight requires more effort on the pedals. In this instance, lighter is better.
If I need something, I’ll get it on the road or go without.
Pre-Journey Shakedown Rides
Coupled with a few days on our preempted Great Divide journey, I’ve gotten the Divide out on about a half a dozen local rides to shake her down and get her ready for Australia, which has been a great time to tweak the new components (wheels, brakes, aero bar, and saddle), and tighten up the required gear for the venture.
Once on the road, I’m into the experience of the journey and don’t want to be fiddling and messing with my kit all of the time. My bike and kit are there either adding value to the experience or being a thorn in my side. If it’s the later, I will cull it from my rig.
Equipment not used on the check rides, save for essential gear, dropped from the gear list for Australia.
When in doubt, leave it out. Get it on the road if you need it later on. Most of the time you won’t.
Nothing Left to Do But Ride
Listed below is one of my lightest long distance bike and gear set-ups to date. Check it out and let me know what you think. It’s a tight, clean rig that shouldn’t have any problems getting where I need to go biking through Australia if I can take the soul-searing Outback sun. I’ll keep you posted on how it works out.
Please post your comments and thoughts below. If you got any good ideas, I’d love to hear them.
Happy trails and I’ll be checking in from the Land Down Under.
Revelate Designs Sushi Roll
Revelate Designs Front Pocket (large)
Revelate Designs Ripo Frame Bag
Ortlieb Roller Plus (front bags)
Tubus Evo Cargo Rear Rack
Revelate Designs Jerry Can
Revenge Designs Gas Tank
Revelate Designs Feed Bag
Porcelain Rocket Mini Slinger Camera Bag
Bedrock Tapeats Stem Bag
Cable Combination Lock
Bern Carbon Macon Helmet
Jersey / Collared Shirt (x2)
Sunblock Arm Covers
Wrist Sweat Bands
Riding Shorts (x2)
Chamois Cycling Underwear (x2)
Wool Toe Socks (x4)
Inclement Weather Clothing
Ultralight Rain Shell
Rain/Cold Weather Gloves
Merino Wool Beanie
Patagonia Nano Synthetic Mid-Layer Pullover
MSR Hubba NX Tent
Western Mountaineering Summer Bag
Mesh Laundry Bag
Wood Stove, Coffee Kit
Alcohol Stove, Pot, Spoon
Sawyer Water Filter
Gaia GPS App
Map & Compass
Electronics and Gadgets
Kestrel 4500 NV Pocket Weather Tracker
Solar Panel, Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus
USB Wall Charger (2 slots)
Australian Type I Socket Adapter
USB micro and Lightning Cables
Collapsible Daypack (for valuables, cameras, jacket, etc. while off the bike)
Black Diamond Headlamp
Reading Glasses (2x)
Insect Repellant (DEET)
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Razor, Shaving Brush, Saving Soap
MSR Laundry Cord
Leatherman Charge, w/bit set
6” Adjustable Spanner Wrench
10mm / 8mm Open End Wrench
4mm Shortie Allen Key (for eccentric bottom bracket)
Spanner Wrench (for eccentric bottom bracket)
Tire Chalk Stick
Patch Burning Wheel
Schrader Valve Adapter
CO2 Cartridge Adapter
Cement (3x small tubes)
Schwalbe Mondial Spare Tire
Inner Tubes (3x)
Rohloff Oil Change Kit
Gates CDX Carbon Belt
Pins (for flat pedals)
Disc Brake Pads
Spokes & Nipples
Brake Cable Housing Section (for rear brake)
Brake Cable Section (rear)
Fender Hardware (nuts, caps, stay bolts)
Pannier Clip Spacers
Cord, 50 ft.
Shock Cord, 10 ft.
Zip Ties (assorted sizes)