Three Years on the Road
Brett Davis

What We Carried

We each carried our own personal items, like our own sleeping bag, mat, clothes, water, camera, towel, torch, pump etc. We shared the single items. I carried the tent, spares, tools, metho, groundsheet, batteries, tyres, main photographic gear, batteries, diary, maps, and the food for lunches and dinners. Karen carried the first aid kit, the Trangia (2 pots, 1 frying pan, 1 kettle and the stove) and all of the food for breakfast, for morning and afternoon nibbles, and all the tea, coffee, sugar and milk powder. She also carried our crockery and cutlery (two plastic bowls, three plastic plates, two plastic mugs, two knives, forks and spoons, a sharp knife and a can opener. In addition, Karen had all the cleaning gear including washing powder, pegs, scourers, tea towel etc. She also carried all our toiletries (toilet paper, trowel, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, moisturiser, sun and lip cream, antiseptic etc.) and on occasions carried extra food when it would not fit on my bike. She also had the bird book.

In addition to the items above, we both wore helmets, sunglasses, long sleeved shirts, long lycra cycling nicks, gloves, socks, shoes and underwear. When we were riding, there was virtually no part of us exposed to the sun, except in the early morning and late afternoon when the sun could hit our faces.

If we had been blessed with an unlimited budget, we could have thrown away the stove, metho, food, crockery and cutlery, and eaten at roadhouses and restaurants for every meal. We could have ditched the sleeping bags, mats, tent and groundsheet, and stayed in a motel every night. Then we would have been able to toss out the soap and towels, and all the cleaning gear as well. All we would have needed was a credit card, a camera and a pair of binoculars, and a few personal items. But then again, if our budget was unlimited, we would not have been travelling around Australia by bicycle.

As it was, we could have gone a lot lighter if we had wanted to, or if it had become necessary. Some of the items we carried were definite luxuries, such as the extra pair of binoculars and the books. Some were things that were not totally necessary. Some touring cyclists go to extremes, not even carrying a tent, sleeping bag or mat, sleeping in their clothes on top of a folded groundsheet, the top fold providing protection from the elements.

But any decision on what gear to carry must be a compromise between kilos, cost and comfort. During our three years on the road, keeping the kilos low, the costs down and the comfort level high was a fascinating and constantly changing logistical exercise.

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