The Mechanic is about to go on an overnight cycling trip to France with his mate the Geordie, it’s something he’s been wanting to do for some time now.
The Mechanic’s great grandfather had six brothers, three of them served in WW1, the grandfather remained in Scotland as he was in a reserved occupation. One brother was invalided out early during the war, a second died in a hospital in Rouen, and the third fought in the trenches until 1918, but was killed in September the year the war ended. He sadly has no grave, but he is commemorated at Vis-en-Artois Memorial to the missing. So the cycle tour will be the Mechanic’s pilgrimage to visit his great uncle.
The Mechanic and the Geordie, have been referring to the trip as the ‘Mini TdF’, I had to ask what this meant, I have now learnt it’s Mini Tour de France. During the last few weeks the arrangements have been made, they’ve booked their ferry, reserved a hotel room and researched their route. Their plan is to get an early crossing from Dover to Calais, they will then do the 130kms cycle to Arras, where they will stay the night. The war memorial is a further 10kms away, so at this point they do not know if they will visit that afternoon, or go first thing the following morning before they set off on their return ride to Calais, to catch an early evening boat back to Dover.
This week the Mechanic has been thinking about his overnight bag, he’s somewhat a purist when it comes to cycling, so the thought of having luggage/panniers, and being a ‘tourer’ does not come naturally to him. Having dismissed the idea of sending a change of clothes and a toothbrush ahead to the hotel, he has invested in a saddlebag to transport his minimalist wardrobe and the bare essentials. The Geordie mentioned the word rucksack, which was a definite no with the Mechanic.
I’ve been rather intrigued by the packing for the Mini TdF, as I think there is something romantic about throwing a few essentials into a bag and setting of on a cycling adventure.
The Mechanic has purchased a 4ltr Bridge Street saddlebag and yesterday he gave it a test run packed with everything he thinks he will need for the forthcoming trip.
Clothes :1 x Toms loafers, 1 x shorts, 1 x pants, 1 x t-shirt, 1 x waterproof jacket
Washbag : (a ziplock bag) toothbrush (handle sawn off ), 2 x toothpaste sachets, a razor, 2/3 x sachets of moisturiser with SPF protection and 2 x contact lenses
Mini firstaid kit: anti-septic wipes and asprin
Other items: Passport, Garmin charger, adaptor plug, Swiss army knife
His new saddle bag happily contained the above, although not much room for anything more. In addition he will take his usual cycling items, phone, money, snacks, most of which will go in his jersey pockets. He has a spare inner tube and repair kit, which neatly fit into a tool bottle that sits in one of his bottle cages. Finally a Garmin, which will obviously be mounted on the bike.
I’ve been inspired by how much he can fit in the bag, and how little really is needed for an overnight trip. I noticed that the Mechanic has bought size small, I reckon I’d manage with the medium, as I also noticed that the Mechanic had no deodorant on his packing list and I would also want a hairbrush, a lipstick, sunscreen, and no doubt would find a few more things I absolutely had to have. Time to plan my own cycling tour adventure.
I’m new to blogging so not sure about the etiquette for reviewing items, but just to say, that the Bridge Street saddlebag looks great, and on its test run at the weekend functioned just as the Mechanic had hoped, lightweight, stable and no creaks.