How little do I need for TAW?

Edinburgh-London bike

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I like gear and one of the great things about cycling is that involves lots of gear. Luckily across the various disciplines you need various bikes so more gear. The n+1 thing really is true. When you combine long unsupported rides with sleeping out the possibilities for kit choices and different approaches becomes vast. TAW promises to be a very interesting challenge because unlike the overnighter I did this year in France where I knew I’d have good/hot weather and plenty of opportunities to find food, TAW looks like it will be combine both difficult weather and remoteness, well things won’t be open when I roll through. That presents lots of challenges and makes the whole issue of taking very little and travelling very light quite tricky.

France was easy and was simply the saddle pack on my summer race bike and a few bits in my jersey pockets


Contrast that with a winter mountain bike trip over a few days in December, laden down like a pack horse with my version one home made bike bivi gear


I don’t know the TAW route intimately but I’m guessing that finding shelter when you need it may be difficult so if it doesn’t bring too much of a weight penalty I will try and bring some kind of tarp to keep the worst of the rain off. I’d really like to have a possibility of a hot drink so a tiny meths burner may be part of my kit. Alpkit do some very light kit and I’m hoping meths will be possible to find along the route, certainly easier that the specialised gas cannisters my other cooker needs. I know I don’t run too well on no fuel so having a little breakfast will get me kickstarted each day wherever I find myself.

I have an army surplus basha which weighs a little over a kilo. I’ve got that down to about 950g by cutting off some webbing handles I don’t need but I’m finding it hard to justify a kilo on that one item. A while ago I bought some lightweight waterproof ripstop nylon, 8 sq metres which weighs in at 370g. If I am clever with sewing and not adding weight with unnecessary attachment loops I should be able to get that down to about 420g, an acceptable weight. A good price to pay for a dryish night. Worst case I can use the bike to support the tarp if there are no convenient walls or posts. I have months to experiment with this. It may be that I ditch the idea of a tarp altogether as I learn more from the excellent blogs I have been reading written by TAW veterans

Basha Mk1

I have a ride to Wales in two weeks, an overnighter and about 220 miles. I’ll take the basha and see how that works out in practice, all well and good putting it up in the garden on a sunny day! If it survives a decent windy, wet night it will earn it’s place on the bike.

From the amount of climbing on this route a light bike means everything so I am becoming very weight conscious over every aspect of the kit list. It is very much about how little can I get by with. My bike for Edinburgh-London was 18.5kg, I’d really like to be under that if possible


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