About the Bicycle I used, extras I brought and how it went !
After a few 'cheap as chips' bikes, upon deciding I would do my long awaited JOGLE, I went about looking for a suitable Bike.
The remit in my mind was that it had to be reasonably light, no drop handlebars (I was scared if I got on it, I couldn't get off!) and perfectly fine for other cycling I would be doing ie. just down the Shops and so on. The budget was the other thing, it had to be at the lower rather than the higher end.
Looking around, the Touring Bikes were mainly drop handlebars and being more specialized I thought they may be more open to theft. I finally came to a Bike I liked 'TREK FX700', a Hybrid Bike which seemed strong enough and had good reviews on various Websites.
I paid just about £300 for it and after some wheeling and dealing, got the Pannier Rack and Mudguards put on for £20 all in. With the changes I made below, the total cost pre-JOGLE was around £520 (excluding the Garmin). The little Tool Kit bag you see was a frugally adapted waist wallet
Pannier and Handlebar Bags
There are two options here, 1. Waterproof and 2. Non-waterproof but putting all your stuff into Plastic Bags just in case. With smell in mind, I went for the more expensive one and got waterproof - and glad I did.
On the front I have a Carradice and to the rear, a pair of Ortlieb Rollers.
This combination served me well, nothing got wet and with easy to attach / detach fittings, it was all good news. Each morning I would carefully pack the bags and feel for balance and I used the Handlebar Bag for Snacks, Cereal Bars, Camera, Mobile Phone etc. The Handlebar Bag has a shoulder strap attached, so should you have to pop into a Shop quickly, this is really useful.
The Brooks Saddle
I'd heard about Brooks, knew they are real quality but may take a few hundred miles to wear in, so brought the B17 sometime before the ride itself.
It's true, they took me (slight figure) about 400 miles to get into shape. The only problem I had was on certain parts of the B7078 in south west Scotland where to say it's bumpy is an understatement. I battled this with E40 Cream a couple of times a day!
I'd been wondering about tyres; would mine be OK, how often am I going to have to fix a puncture etc., so looked around and found the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. They're known to withstand one heck of a lot and indeed they did.
Having two punctures in my old tyres during the last week I had them confirmed it. They are slightly slower when coasting, but losing that 1mph or so for the sake of fiddling around with a puncture repair kit in the pouring rain is worth every penny.
I can't tell you how much this assisted me during training and the ride itself. You know what you're doing, how you're doing it and if you're eating enough as well.
Another joy is that you can upload to 'Connect Garmin' and from there follow your exact route for the day. The web page also gives you the opportunity of viewing your route at Street level using Google Earth.
I'm sure you will find the links embedded into the route pages really good. Mine's an old Model now but still obtainable.
Just one other thing. I highly recommend having a wing mirror, you find it extremely helpful and saves you that moment of lost balance when turning around. Cars are quieter than they used to be and it's good to just peep down and have a look at what's behind you.
How it all performed
In a nutshell, excellent. The only maintenance I had to carry out during the 970 miles of ups and downs were
1. I changed the rear Brake Pads in Taunton. I'd used them about 500 miles before leaving, so they were at around 1,200 mile stage. You find yourself slowing yourself up quite a bit on the downhill's.
2. Brought some Chain Lubricant in Launceston when it started to sound a wee bit tired!
3. I broke my wing mirror parking the bike against a gate 'when I was in a rush for something'!!!