Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last Minute Preparations...

Only a few days until we leave! Well 4 to be exact! It seems as though everything has been left to the last minute we we are doing everything in the last week. There is a good reason for this, as we have both had a rather nasty chest infection for the past month. Lucky for us, we had already done a lot of research so know exactly what is left to be done and can do it quickly! This week we have; picked up cash cards, got my bike serviced, brought any bike spares we need, written packing lists, got some bike boxes from the local bike store, and FINALLY got the camino route description book and maps in the mail! just in time  :) This weekend the plan is to take the bikes fully loaded for a test ride to make sure nothing needs fixing/adjusting, and then to pack all our gear into the bike boxes ready to go. We are only going to check in the boxes, and then take one pannier on the plane as carry on.

This book is AMAZING! Such good quality! It has very good English descriptions of the entire route, breaking it up into 42 stages. As we will be on bikes, it will not take us 42 days  :-D but the level of information is fantastic. There are descriptions of each town you pass through as well as colour photos and of course, route maps. I managed to buy it online here:
Just be aware that it may not be in stock and that you will need to know Spanish (or someone who does) to organise with them to send it to you once it gets in stock. I only had to wait a week so it was fine. The book itself was not expensive, but the postage to Australia, plus the currency conversion meant it was about $100! expensive, but definitely worth it. Will make for a good souvenir on our return too  :-)

These are the bike boxes we managed to pick up from the bike shop. We plan to put most of our gear in here. Flying Qatar we are allowed 23kg in each box without any excess fees. The heaviest things like bike shoes, tools (as long as they are not sharp!), toiletries and electronics we are going to carry in one pannier each on the plane, and then the clothes and the rest of our gear can go in the boxes with the bikes to help protect them. I will post a photo of the packing when it happens on Sunday  :-)

My packing list. We are trying to travel light and only take the essentials. We are pretty good at this, having done a bit of backpacking before. The less we take, the less we will have to carry up the hills! I am hoping to stick to this list, and also hoping that I have not forgotten anything!  :-D I am not really that worried.... if we need anything we can buy it in Spain.

Thats all for now! Will post our packing experiences in a few days, and then off we go! Now we just have to cross all our fingers and toes that our health will let us complete this journey that has been two years in the making!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Electronic Gadgets

Since we are traveling light, we have to keep it pretty low key with gadgets


  • iPAD is coming along to allow research out on the trail, blogging, email and keeping in touch with the online world
  • Camera - picked up a compact point and shoot - Nikon coolpix 5100

  • Apple camera connection kit, means I can download straight from the camera onto the iPAD. Which is a great backup and I can then upload straight to the blog or photo sharing
  • Garmin Edge 500 GPS - only for logging data. Would have been nice to upgrade to a Edge 800, but I think it is probably overkill. Unfortunately still haven't found a way to connect the Garmin up to the iPAD, do its likely I will just be downloading the data once I get home
Internet access

  • iPhone will be connected up to a local prepaid SIM, still not 100% sure this will work. The phone should be compatible and we can pick up a local SIM card with just a passport. Data seems pretty expensive so we'll have to keep an eye on that
  • The iPhone can be setup as a hotspot for the iPAD

  • Blogsy - app for creating blogger posts. This app is quite good, it has a lot of built in formatting and links directly to the iPAD for photo uploading or to other photo websites like Flickr etc and will format all the embedding into the blog post
  • DirectU Europe maps - totally free app. Offline map resource for all over Europe, powered by openmap. Would probably be nice if you could specify regions, because the entire content for Europe is quite large and not required.
  • Various local regional travel apps for Spanish towns, there are quite a few local councils who have created apps which include local sights etc

Bikes and equipment - Part 1

Traveling light is the aim

We will be staying mostly in pensiones, and albergues. so only bare minimum cycle equipment, spare clothes, toiletries, sleeping bag etc are required.

Bike 1 - Bens Bike

Bike 1 - Voodoo Wanga
Voodoo Wanga - 631 Reynolds chromoly tubing

Built up with 3x9 XT group set, and xtr race wheels

Most of the parts I had lying around from an old bike, so just needed to buy a frame to build up.

Chromoly ridgid voodoo brand fork

Racks are freeload - sportdeck model

Teamed with 2x Ortlieb back roller classic packs on the back

And an Ortlieb handlebar bag, to stash the valuables and some food whilst riding.

All up the setup weighs in at around 14kg unloaded, still to fully load up, hopefully it comes in around 18kgs which is still pretty light, but wont be as quick up the hills as the carbon race hard-tail!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Route

The Details
Valencia to Santiago de Compestela following the Via de Levante route of the Camino de Santiago

Route map

Total Distance

September 2012

Approx 15 days on the bikes

Average 75k per day

Total climbing