40 years ago today, Man first walked on the Moon. I walked home from Reading earlier this afternoon counting the number of people I passed who I thought were likely candidates for an adventure cycling to southern Italy. I counted zero. So on a day that we celebrate the achievements of Neil, Buzz and Michael, Reading (the bit that I walked through anyway) couldn’t supply any adventurers anywhere near their calibre. Except me of course. 🙂
Back to the planning: more window shopping today. Well, more than window shopping as it has involved entering the shops and actually having discussions with shop assistants. Who I have to say, knew their stuff. It’s nice to get the chance to shop during the week. At the weekend, shops tend to be staffed by kids who know very little about anything. So that is good.
Two shops visited today, well three actually but one was shut: Carters of Reading (boo). Blacks in the town centre is a cracking store (and doesn’t shut on any day of the week – Carters take note!) and has an excellent selection of camping gear. Remember that I am after a tent which is light and compact when rolled up. The Blacks Octane 1 fits the bill… but it is £149.99. My budget for a tent had been £100. 1.75kg, wraps up in a pack 12 x 45 cm. TGO – the magazine (“The Great Outdoors”) – is quoted “The inner porch is spacious with good head room and the interior is quite roomy”. Need to go back to Cotswold Leisure before I decide which one to go for (see previous post). The second shop was my bike shop of choice: AW Cycles in Caversham. Had a good chat with a guy in there about panniers and front bar bags.We both agreed that my current set of panniers were not suitable for anything other than a commute to Henley with kids’ exercise books. They can get over their books being ruined due to rain. I would not be a happy camper if that were to happen to my belongings en route to Yorkshire. A set of better replacements was identified – Altura Orkney Panniers. I suppose the choice of a group of islands not known for being particularly dry is a good indication that they will put up with what the Peak District can throw at me. Size wise they are almost identical to the current panniers. Question: is that enough? 34 litres. The tent would sit on the rack rather than in the bad itself which would then be used for everything else. I have half an eye on cycling to Italy next year on this one: I don’t want to have to buy even more panniers next year, although if I did, I could opt for some for the front wheels. I wonder what litre-age Mark Beaumont has? Time for an Internet search! The following is from an Edinburgh shop’s website about one of their bags: “…on the principle that 28 litres is enough to carry on any bike”. Elsewhere, somebody actually refers to the Altura Orkney panniers by name noting that they are “…handily sized at 34 litres the pair for taking Far Too Much Stuff on tour”. That cryptic bit at the end using capitalisation escapes me. Searching under the name of the product I find a whole host of places selling the panniers significantly cheaper than AW Cycles (whose price is £89.99). CycleStore.co.uk for example sell them at £66.54. I seem to have found some good panniers but not where to buy them!