A cheese-based strategy to travelling light…

This is my first blog post so I should probably introduce the idea – riding the Great Divide, Banff to the Mexican border, leaving Friday 25th July – and my bike, hereinafter known as Reggie. It’s an off-the-shelf Surly Troll which I haven’t changed at all, bar putting a pair of 2nd hand suspension forks on. I’m not that interested in bikes per se so haven’t gone down the route of building one out of separate parts – Reggie is pure breed and I’m hoping his pedigree will show on the trail.

Bit worried I should have invested in a better saddle though and 2,700 miles could see a somewhat fractious relationship with my bottom. Although if we keep the communication lines open and chamois cream to hand, hopefully we can work through the tough times together and come out stronger the other side. I also have a pair of eye-wateringly expensive cycling shorts – a motivational treat before RideLondon 100 last year – which may make up for any short-comings of the saddle.



As well as not being naturally that interested in bikes and liking the idea of (potentially) proving that you don’t have to be that into bikes and kit to do a long-distance ride, I was also keen to avoid doing too much research into it as, when I did take a brief jaunt down Kit Avenue, I realised that it’s a very time-consuming path to go down! Upon Googling ‘lightweight bike tools’ I got lost in cyber space, reading reviews and being about to buy something then stumbling upon one negative review at the last moment which put me right off and I ended up repeating that cycle with various different options, all tools weighing within about 10g of each other. When I ‘came to’, my face burning in front of a massively over-heating laptop, I learned that the world has gone bonkers and voted for UKIP, Andy Murray hadn’t got as far in Wimbledon as we would have liked and suddenly everyone wanted to be German.

This book http://gearforcycletouring.com/?from=13 proved a very useful tool to quickly dip into and see the range of options out there for various items, and generally get tips on how to make your trip a success.


My main tactic to traveling light has been cheese- rather than titanium-based. I figured it was easier and cheaper to shave 5Ibs off your cumulative load by shedding one’s winter coat of a few extra inches of body fat. Cutting out cheese and (momentarily) bread – didn’t last for long on that one – seemed to do the trick and I am now slightly lighter.  Didn’t actually last long on cheese either after a particularly strong craving one afternoon saw me making a special trip, at pace, to Planet Organic for some cheddar #middleclasstraumas.

Additional preparation has involved going on 2 bike maintenance courses, one at the London Bike Kitchen and one ‘somewhere else’. The LBK one was good but – and I see this as a fault of the pupil, not teacher – I’d forgotten most of what I’d learned about 3 weeks later. I signed up for a 2nd one where the, as advertised, “you’ll hear him before you see him” teacher contorted my arm into an ‘urban handshake’ at first meeting (awkward when you don’t know it’s coming), ranted about Margaret Thatcher and occasionally threw some words in about bikes.  I left the course £60 lighter and wondering whether I’d been too uptight during the initial greeting and could have relaxed into the novel handshake better but, alas, no better equipped to mend a bike. So I’m hoping, nay praying, that Reggie doesn’t suffer any damage and regular maintenance at the local bike shops along the route keeps him in premium shape!


11 thoughts on “A cheese-based strategy to travelling light…

  1. Reblogged this on (Un)Inspired Ramblings and commented:
    My friend Anna (of http://uninspiredramblings.com/2013/07/01/a-night-outside/ fame) is about to head off to ride teh Great Divide Mountain Bike Route – 2,700 miles along the Rocky Mountains from Banff, Canada, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

    She has very little mountain biking experience and, in her own words, little interest in bikes or gear… So this will be a learning experience in every sense. Her approach to trying to travel light is based on cheese rather than titanium, and she has just started posting on her new blog (www.confessionsofasmallgirl.com) about failed bike maintenance courses, bears, and the real risk of getting caught nipping out of the tent wearing only knickers.

    Here’s her first post…


  2. Giving up cheese for a few days and doing two bike mending courses sounds ok to me.

    You can always eat extra cheese as you go and if it’s a newish bike it should hold out for at least the first half of the route

    The expensive shorts won’t make any difference btw but baby arse cream is widely available.


  3. Sounds like a great trip look forward to reading your blog.
    I’ve just finished the Camino de Santiago – 500 miles, 2 wheels | A journey on the Camino Frances https://hazellodge2014.wordpress.com/

    Believe me good shorts are a must for girls, so is the chamois cream! You will come back toned, my trip was only 550 miles and only two weeks and I could visibly see the difference.

    Good luck, hope you don’t meet the bears !!


  4. Loving it so far Williamster, giggled out loud a couple of times – although disappointed you cracked your cheese fast for cheddar – not even parmesan or some linconshire poacher? Am currently watching John Bishop on the telly cycling from Sydney to Cairns – so hoping to see you on the TV shortly x


    • Ooooh, Lincolnshire Poacher, so that’s your poison? I’ve never heard of it but will have to check it out when I’m back! Yep, a TV programme is a given I reckon – channel 117, 3.30am just after repeats of The Rockford Files…


  5. Pingback: A Cheese-Based Strategy to Travelling Light… – (Un)Inspired Ramblings

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