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Will these bikes go 1700km?

We don’t own fancy touring bicycles. If we did, we’d pack them into a box and fly them from Australia to wherever we are touring. This is what quite a lot of other people do. Instead, we buy a reasonably cheap secondhand bike close to where we start our tour.

For our first tours we paid €50 for Cath’s bike and €30 for Cam’s bike.

Cath did a solo 2000km tour of France in 2015, then used the same bike to ride about 1200km with Cam in 2016, going through France, Spain and Andorra. Even though we used cheap secondhand bikes, we still managed to cycle over the Pyrenees.

This year (2017) we decided to spend a little more and get slightly better bikes. We paid £150 for Cath’s bike (a Trek), and £175 for Cam’s (a Marin).

We were going to buy the bikes in Switzerland, where our tour was starting, but our mate Tony advised that would be about the most expensive way to do it. We therefore decided to buy the bikes in London and transport them to Switzerland by bus. That turned out to be ‘a whole ‘nother story‘.

24 hours before we were due to board the bus we still didn’t own bicycles or all the gear we needed for our tour. We had allowed a day to get this sorted, which seems like we were cutting things fine when we look back on it. It all worked out okay though.

We got some good advice from a guy in a bike shop. He said, “If you spend £150 on a brand new bike you’re going to get something that’s poor quality – it will fall apart before you finish your tour. If you spend £150 on a secondhand bike that’s a few years old you can find a solid brand that’s much better built and will last the distance. You just have to find the right bike.”

We accepted the challenge.

We bought Cam’s bike, a Marin Hawk Hill, from Edwardes Cycles, 221-225 Camberwell Rd London.

We bought Cath’s bike, a Trek, from ReCycling, 110 Elephant Rd London.

Both places were really helpful and we were very happy with our purchases.

After buying the bikes we went to Decathlon to buy pannier bags, locks, drink bottle holders, bells, a pump, a gas canister and a handle bar phone holder thingy.

We rode back to Chris and Kate’s as happy as Larry, ready to depart the following day.


Thank you

To Chris and Kate for putting us up in London, and for taking us to your favourite bike shop!


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