Thursday, 24 December 2009

6 months until the start

It is now 6 months today until I start my tour.

The preparations are on track; the route is set, shipping of the bike is being sorted, dates all known, packing lists being developed, the hotel for Sturgis is booked.
There is snow here at home in London and my bikes are put away for winter. The tour seems a long way away, but the 6 months will go by fast.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

To Cover or Not to Cover?

I am not sure about whether I should take a bike cover with me. Opinion seems to be divided on this with security of your bike being compared to the amount of space a bike cover takes to carry when touring.

Essentially it comes down to this – where are you going to park your precious and maybe beloved bike overnight when on the road? Will it be safe where you leave it? If you think it will be safe, then go without the cover. However, my guess is that you will never really know if your bike will be ok – even parking in what seems like a very safe area doesn’t mean the bad guys don’t go there.

I have bought a lightweight bike cover for my tour ( As can be seen from the photo below, it does a great job of covering the bike. This cover is made of the same material they make parachutes from – it seemed to me that parachutes get packed really tightly so a cover made from the same material should roll and pack into a similarly small space. The first photo below shows the cover packed ready for carrying on the bike – hmmm, this is small, but even this takes quite a lot of space, so I am not sure if I will have room for it. I guess I will make my mind up when I have packed everything else and see what room I have left.

This photo shows the cover on the bike.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Which Sat Nav?

Using a Sat Nav on a bike has benefits and disadvantages. Some say it takes away some of the freedom of the road that we all adore so much. Some say it simply helps us from getting lost! I am somewhere in the middle – I use one when I really need to, but leave it off the bike most of the time.

When I do use one is normally when I am on a long trip to somewhere I have never been before. For a few years I have been using a Tom Tom Rider and I have found it OK, but only just. Sure, it is clear with a good screen, the route it finds are normally very good, the speed camera warnings are excellent and it is very easy to use. It is only let down by the longer route planning with many waypoints (places you want to go via on the way). In short, I don’t like its longer route planning capabilities and there is no way to save anything but your currently planned journey. Also, I have never really been happy with the way you connect the unit to speakers / earpieces so you can hear the verbal directions.

For my 13,500 mile tour of the USA I definitely needed a Sat Nav, but I wanted something better than the Tom Tom.

I did some research, checked out what each could do, asked a few buddies (thanks Derek), compared features and prices and decided to go for the Garmin Zumo 660.

Christmas is coming and guess what is going on my list...... Jackie....... ?

Assuming my wife takes the hint, I will let you know how I get on with it during the tour preparations.