What we now know – before we go

What we now know – before we go

In truth, we can’t remember when we committed to cycling around South America, rather than it being just a ‘crazy idea’, but we’ve been saving and planning for about 18 months.

In that time we’ve undertaken an enormous amount of research. When I look at our equipment it amazes me that almost every item was analysed before we made the purchase.

We leave in just over a month and I’ve been reflecting on the things we’ve learnt about preparing for a trip such as this. Here are my top five lessons.

1. Stuff costs a lot

Kit explosion in loungeOverall, the trip will cost more than we originally thought, because stuff costs a lot and there’s quite a bit we needed. We admit we’ve bought best on items like the tent and sleeping bags, but there are some costs that we couldn’t escape, such as insurance and flights. The small things add up too.

Our plan is to be as economical as possible on the road, so we’ll be camping and eating lots of lentils. You can see a break down of our equipment under the Gear section.

2. There’s a world of cycle tourists out there

When we started we’d heard of people cycling LEJOG, to Paris and had read Dervla Murphy’s books, but quickly discovered a world of cycle tourists out there and a wealth of resources to help plan our trip.

The more we read about people’s crazy adventures cycling around the world, the more we thought our trip sounded tame. That’s how we have ended up with a plan to circumnavigate South America rather than sticking to the traditional West coast.

3. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal to us

We’ve been planning for so long that this seems a natural next step in life, whereas friends and family still think we’re mad. Our jitters will probably appear in the days before we leave, but we can’t imagine what we’d be doing if we weren’t doing this.

4. You get asked the same questions constantly

There are three main questions we get asked when we see friends. 1. How is the planning going? 2. Have you got the bikes yet? 3. Are you excited?

We end up saying the same thing over and over, but it’s important to remember that people are genuinely interested and don’t yet know the answer. We’ll have to get used to it, as I imagine we’ll answer lots of the same questions whilst we’re away.

Laura and Paddy with bikes5. Planning is fun…until it is time to go

We’ve had a great time planning and researching for the trip. Most of it has been done in the last six months and has been pretty time consuming. It’s been a lot of fun, but now we’re ready to go. I’ve had enough of online searches and list-making, I want to get on the bike and start pedalling.

Because, in the end being on the bike is what it’s all about.

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