As we keep saying, we’re planning to do a lot of this adventure on bicycle rather than by boat. Chiefly this is because we want to be sure we can keep up with the book in terms of dates, and not be delayed by bad weather or tidal issues. Also, neither of us have suitable experience as sailors. It turns out, anyway, that cycling was quite the thing in the early 1900s, as we’ve noted in a previous post and a podcast.
Not long ago, I wrote a piece on the Brooks blog that outlined our plan and asked for some help.
So bike aficionados, what is your advice? What kind of bike should Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club members be using for this trip? And am I missing some very obvious accessories that I should be taking?
I’ve had no answer to those questions to date. But a couple of club members have been extremely helpful about planning which way to go on our bikes and – crucially – what to wear on our travels.
Sadly, a slight schism has occurred within the Adventure Club. Some members think we should be taking advantage of modern clothing technology, while others believe we should be sticking to period dress. Here’s club member Brian Lunn with a very helpful comment about modern cycling outfitters:
Cycling polo shirts from Velobici (http://www.velobici.cc/vici-polo-t-6082-p.asp) or Vulpine. Both companies also do longer sleeved jerseys which are suitable for off & on bike wear, as do Café du Cycliste.
Vulpine and Swrve do good cycling trousers that are weather resistant. As for jackets I would recommend either Vulpine or Swrve. Depending on the speed you intend to cycle, you may want to equip yourselves with Tour de France outfits (see http://bikeraceinfo.com/tdf/tdf1903.html), such as the winner’s trade mark white coat and flat cap, or his sporty striped number (doubling as matelot for the boating I think), with plus fours and dainty leather shoes.
But here’s club member Nick North with an email about the kind of clothes the winner of the first ever Tour de France in 1903 would be wearing.
Depending on the speed you intend to cycle, you may want to equip yourselves with Tour de France outfits –
http://bikeraceinfo.com/tdf/tdf1903.html – such as the winner’s trade mark white coat and flat cap, or his sporty striped number (doubling as matelot for the boating I think), with plus fours and dainty leather shoes.
The good news about going old school is that we’d also be encouraged to smoke and drink as much as we like, and also grow moustaches. On the downside, I suspect would end up being much less comfortable. Another Club member Jeff Quest suggests if we can’t be bothered with period dress, perhaps we should settle for a period bike:
Have you considered *Biking* like an Edwardian?
Exhibit A – The following link shows a variety of Edwardian bicycles. Surprisingly, modern bikes still look remarkably like bikes from over a 100 years ago. See here – http://www.obsessionistas.co.uk/collections/2011/10/24/edwardian-bicycles-0067.html
Exhibit B – I love this. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/gallery/2013/jun/13/edwardian-stunt-bikers-in-pictures Edwardian bike tricks. Here we can see the variety of ways bikes were rode back in Edwardian times. Pay particular attention to the clothes that they are wearing. Not only are they doing some extraordinary things on those bikes, they are doing them while dressed in suitjackets, ties, etc. I particularly would enjoy seeing you two do the “Changing Machines” maneuver while you are on your grand tour.
Lots to ponder here, not least the idea that Lloyd and I may well need to consider doing a bit of training if we’re going to be in any kind of physical shape to tackle the cycle routes of Schleswig Holstein & Friesland (more info on these supplied by Brian Lunn here), and perform a few of Jeff’s tricks.
It also raises the spectre of breakdowns & bike maintenance too. Are we prepared for punctures? Could we repair a chain on a rainy day in October on the Kiel Canal? Luckily, club members have even thought of the kind of tools we might need to take with us, notably this:
Appropriately enough, it’s called ‘The Nutter‘…