Getting Ready

Posted by: Rob on 07/05/2024
Getting ready

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Checking and Fettling

With regards to my camping gear. Everything is absolutely fine and I don't need anything new. I did however buy some new mess tins as my existing ones are getting a bit manky. I got some Dutch Army Stainless Steel tins which I absolutely love. They are so well made and should last forever. They are heavier than the Aluminium ones, but I can live with that.

I got my tent out to inspect it, but there was little point as I obviously cleaned it all up and packed it away after last year's tour. Worth doing though as I can attach the inner to the outer for ease of pitching. One thing I forgot last year was my little plastic mallet. That meant I was whacking tent pegs in with my shoes! Not ideal, so I have found the mallet and put it somewhere I won't forget!

My panniers are still going strong even though they are now in their 20th year! I noticed the hard rubber protective strips on the base were starting to come off - probably from being constantly kicked when getting on and off the bike. So I superglued them back on, which worked really well. I also swaped the lower clamp thing on each one so I can put them on the other way around. This means the glued on bits are facing the back now so hopefully I'll get another 19 years of kicking the other sides!

I thought I'd replace the little clip things where the bags attach to the rack as they're getting a bit rattly. I found some on eBay for not very much money. Good job really as it made next to no difference! Oh well...

For my trusty bike (also in its 20th year!) I wanted to replace as little as possible. Unfortunately a couple of major things needed doing. The rear wheel needed a new rim as the braking surface on the old one was getting dangerously thin! Fortunately, every Mid-Essex rider's favourite tame wheel builder, Ian sorted that for me for the price of a bunch of beer!

My trusty Campagnolo Ergo shifters were also getting close to the point of needing to be serviced. "They don't make them like they used to" really does apply here. Parts are still available, so I took them up to Malcolm at Cycle Clinic and he got them working as new again.

Annoyingly, I have two sets of tyres with just a little too much wear to be starting a tour on (they'll still do for day to day stuff) so I got some new rubber. My favourite touring tyres of all the time - the Schwalbe Marathon GT Tour have inexplicably been discontinued and replaced by a newer, not as good version. Fortunately, there are still some out there and I got a pair from some random eBay shop for a good price.

I had a bit of hassle with the rear derailleur. It's been periodically getting sticky for a while now. So I took it to bits, but it was so stuck, I had to use extreme force to get the p-tension spring out. Knackered it! New ones are a very small amount of money, but I decided to resurrect the original rear derailleur I had on the bike. I can't even remember why I changed it - probably becuase it kept sticking! But thinking about it, the original probably has fewer miles on it than the new one, so I stripped that down (without breaking it!) and got it set up perfectly. Oh - I had to get a new middle chainring too, as I'd chewed through yet another one of those. I'm sure TA are making them out of cheese these days as I don't seem to get many miles out of them.

Other than that, it was just things like brake pads and cables and a good clean. I also got a nice new bell! Nothing wrong with the old one, it just didn't fit that well once I had my handlebars crammed with all the stuff for touring. The new one is tiny, but gives a fantastically sonorous ping!

I've been out for several test rides to dial the bike in. Just need to do a quick fully loaded test and I'll be all set!

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