Q. How much weight are you carrying?
A. 65 kilos when heavy duty touring solo – this includes bike but it varies depending on how wet my tent is (usually very) and how much food and water I’ve got on board (usually lots).
Q. Don’t you need an engine to move that lot?
A. No, I like travelling slowly – apart from those times that I wish I was travelling a bit faster.
Q. Isn’t it dangerous going downhill with such a load?
A. Not really, it’s more a fun feeling akin to freefalling off the edge of a cliff.
Q. That sounds dangerous.
A. Well, maybe a bit, in a dangerously safe sort of way. But I like to think I can stop if I have to.
Q. Have you got the kitchen sink in there as well?
A. Yes, I’ve got to do the washing up somehow.
Q. (Asked by normal looking person): You’re not alone are you?
Q. (Asked by psychopathic serial-killer sort of person): You’re not alone are you?
A. No, I have several armed bodyguards up my sleeve.
Q. Don’t you find it scary travelling alone?
A. Sometimes. But after 20-odd years of cycling in fits and starts around the world, I’ve found that most people don’t want to kill you, they want to help you.
Q. You must be very brave
A. No, I just like cycling.
Q. Don’t you get lonely?
A. No, there’s no time to get lonely as there’s always a hill to be climbing, or a wind to be fighting, or a map to be reading, or a bike to be oiling, or a banana to be eating, or a sock to be washing, or a letter to be writing, or a stranger with which to be chatting, or a tent to be pitching, or a night to be sleeping, or dreams to be dreaming.
Q. So where do you sleep?
A. Mostly in my tent on beaches, behind hedges, up mountains, in temples, in campsites, in forests, in floods. Sometimes I stay with friends or people I meet or treat myself to a hostel or B&B.
Q. How far do you cycle a day?
A. Anything from 10 miles to 100 miles.
Q. Do you get a lot of problems with your bike?
A. So far, no.
Q. What do you do when you get a puncture?
A. Mend it.
Q. What do you do when it rains?
A. Get wet.
Q. Where do you eat?
A. I buy food (mostly oats for porridge, fruit and veg and tins of sardines and tuna) and make my own (mostly unappetising-looking but very tasty) mixtures which I eat either in my tent or at the side of the road.
Q. I suppose you need to eat a lot with all that cycling?
A. Yes, I can eat continuously for an hour and still not be full.
Q. Doesn’t your mother have sleepless nights worrying about you?
A. She used to but she knows that I love what I do and, although it may be a little risky, she’d rather I was cycling and happy than doing something that was killing me with boredom and depression.
Q. Don’t you ever feel like it’s time to stop cycling and start settling down?
A. Not really as I’ve always felt very settled on my bike but I suppose I’m currently semi-settled as little Molly has put a happy spanner in the works.
Q. What are the details of your bike?
A. See below for full specifications:
FRAME: Columbus Nivacrom
HEADSET: Strongflite Headlite 1 1/8
CHAINSET: TA Zephyr 150 mm 20-34-40
BOTTOM BRACKET: UN 72 Shimano XT
HUBS: XT 36 H
SPOKES: DT Double-butted stainless steel
RIMS: Mavic D521 36H
RIM TAPE: Velox TUBES: Specialized (Schraeder)
TYRES: Continental Top Touring 26 X 2.79
CHAIN: Sachs (8 speed)
CASSETTE: Shimano XT 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34
FRONT MECH: Shimano RX 100
REAR MECH: Shimano XT
GEAR LEVERS: Dura-ace Shimano (down tube)
BRAKE LEAVERS: Campag Super Record with white Campag hoods
BRAKES: Shimano XT cantilever
SADDLE: Shimano Italia women’s trans
HANDLEBAR TAPE: Cinelli – black cork and marsas foam
BRAKE HANGER: alloy
STEM: alloy A-head uplift
BARS: 3TTT Forma
SEAT POST: Alloy micro adjust
MUDGUARDS: SKS chromoplastic
REAR RACK: Tubus-Cargo
LOW RIDER RACK: Tubus-Tara
PEDALS: TA 599 Quill Road leather protection
If you have a question, please mail us.