End to End: A guide – part 5. Equipment

Part 5 – Equipment

Last week in part 4 of my End to End guide we looked at which route you should take. We’ve also taken a look at bikes in part 3. But what else do you need?

This week I’ll go through my list of essential equipment and what I’d recommend. I’ve split it into 3 main areas – Clothing, Luggage, Navigation and Accessories

1) Clothing


Jerseys

A decent short-sleeved jersey is a must have for a summer E2E – look for a wicking material (to stop it getting damp with sweat) and decent pockets on the back to store small items such as food and a camera. Either have a look online or visit your local bike shop to see what’s best for you.

Shorts

Seeing as you’ll be spending quite literally days in them, a good pair of shorts is a real bonus. Bib shorts are the most comfortable for long days in the saddle – if you’re unsure look at Wiggle’s DHB range for some good value pairs:

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/dhb/shorts/?o=1

“Baggy” style shorts can also be found for those who want to avoid the lycra…

Waterproofs

Let’s face it – it’s Britain so you’re going to get wet. A decent waterproof will save you from the worst of the rain, and more importantly help to keep you warm as well. I’d recommend the Altura Pocket Rocket as it packs down really small and stays out of the way in your jersey pocket until the wet stuff arrives!

Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from the sun’s UV, but also from a multitude of airborne missiles such as flies, wasps and if you’re unlucky the odd pebble. You’ll be glad to have some either way. Oakley’s are great – I’d recommend the Flak Jacket XLJs, but don’t feel that cheaper glasses won’t do the job admirably. There are plenty that will. I’ve previously had a good experience with the DHB Triple Lens Sunglasses so maybe have a look at those

2) Luggage


Handlebar Bags

A handlebar is a convenient way to store the things you need to get at regularly during your ride. Most have enough room for maps, food, a camera and a few other useful items that you don’t want buried in your panniers

Rack Bags

Rack and bag combinations such as the range from Topeak give a useful amount of storage space with the added bonus that most of the racks used can be fitted to road bikes without eyelets

Pannier Bags

Obviously the best option if you can fit a full rack – Pannier Bags come in all shapes and sizes for how much you need to carry so it’s best to work out how big you need them to be first. They also vary in price from the great value but still excellent Deuter Rack Pack Unis (review coming soon) to the biggest name in panniers, the Ortlieb Back Rollers

3) Navigation and Accessories


Maps

A road atlas will be fine for most of the trip (see part 4) but make sure you get one with the smallest scale you can (more detail). OS Landranger Maps are brilliant, but you’d need too many for the whole trip – maybe buy a couple for the tricky areas.

Alternatively, you can now download the whole OS 250k road map (a great map for touring) from their website for free at http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/products/os-opendata.html. I used the old paper version of this map for my JOGLE and it was spot-on.

iPhone/Smartphones

Nowadays many of us have a great navigational device in our pockets. Many phones have built in GPS units, and with a maps application this can provide you with a great navigational aid.

For the iPhone I’d recommend downloading the free OS GB 250K Map from iTunes – it’s the same map as I mentioned above but in an extremely convenient format

You can even attach your iPhone to your bike’s handlebars with something like the Dahon Biologic iPhone mount – they’re quite hard to find so worth a quick google search – we’ll have a review up soon

Dedicated GPS

A dedicated GPS unit such as the excellent Garmin Edge 800 will not only display maps, speed, altitude and a whole host of other information, but can have routes loaded onto it for turn-by-turn directions. We’ll be posting a review in the next few days. There are a few good alternatives so have a look around on the internet – older Garmin models can also be found quite cheaply on eBay

Puncture Repair

Unfortunately you’ll probably have a few punctures, so you need to ensure you have the basic repair tools: a pump, puncture repair kit and spare inner tubes.

I’d recommend:

Lezyne Road Drive Pump (make sure you check your valve type:)

Topeak Rescue Box (see review)

Continental Inner Tubes

Hydration

Nothing much to say here, but make sure you carry two full water bottles with you – if it’s hot you’ll need them, and don’t count on being able to refill one, especially in the more rural parts of Scotland

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There’s obviously more, but these are the things worth most consideration – hope it helps with your kit decisions. Don’t forget to shop around for the best price.

About Matt

I'll admit to being a bit of a kit freak, but cycling is a great sport for that! I've ridden a bike since I can remember, and now mainly cycle on road and on tour. I completed JOGLE in 2010 and plan to tour Europe next year. This blog is my place for product reviews, guides and my opinions on cycling in the UK