Here’s a brief description of our gear. We’ll each add a proper gear list and review anything we find particularly awesome (or not) as we go.

The bikes

We splashed out on the bikes with two new 26″ Surly disc truckers. The benefit of both riding the same tyre size outweighed the hassle of getting a 58cm frame with this wheel size for James (we say this now, but it’s a month till we leave and James’ bike hasn’t actually got here yet). The components on the bike are all factory, but Bryony has changed her bars to a set of Jones H bars with a second stem/short bars to get a handle bar bag attached. She’s gone with mountain bike shifters for the cassette and down tube shifters for the chain ring. We’ve both swapped out the seats for the mountain bike version of our road saddles (Phenom for James, Myth for Bryony).

Most of the other bike stuff we’ve acquired second hand – A Surly front rack and Tubus logo rear rack for Bryony came from trademe. James managed to pick up some Ortlieb front rollers from trademe and Bryony found a set of Axion panniers that she’d unwittingly owned for years. For the rear panniers we bought a set of Arkel Orca 45s each, which ended up costing even more than we expected because of the customs charges into NZ (no one here stocks them!). On the handle bars James has another trademe bargain while Bryony bought a Phillips cheaply from our local bike shop. Having spent most of the last few years riding with cleats, we wanted some kind of attachment to our pedals (it’s really hard to go back to riding flats once your used to them!) so we’ve got mountain bike pedals and some Shimano mountain touring shoes. These seem flexible enough to be good for walking shoes off the bike, but we’ll put that to the test.


Our clothing is a bit of a mash together of gear. For on the bike we’re planning on wearing our regular cycling clothes, although Bryony picked up a pair of Ground Effect Martini’s to go over lycra for places where it might be less appropriate to wear very tight, revealing shorts. The cycling tops come from the lab Bryony studied and worked in, which is part of the Centre for Translational Cancer Research.

Bryony’s gear

The bike and bits

  • Surly long haul trucker, 52cm
  • Shimano spd pedals
  • Jones H-bars
  • Ergo GC1 grips
  • Mountain bike shifters for casette, downtube shifters for chainrings
  • Specialized myth saddle
  • Surly front rack (second hand from trademe)
  • Tubus logo rear rack (second hand from trademe)
  • Axiom journey front panniers (owned for years)
  • Arkel orka 45L rear panniers
  • Philips large handlebar bag
  • Osprey 24/7 backback (had for years)
  • Mudguards
  • Zero bottle cages
  • Two avanti 750mL drink bottles
  • Front and rear Lenzyne USB rechargeable lights
  • 1× spare tyre (Schwalbe marathon)
  • 2× spare tubes

The clothes

  • 2× road bib shorts
  • Ground effect dovetails
  • Ground effect Martini’s
  • 3× cycling tops
  • 5× socks
  • 2x sports bras
  • Lightweight longsleeve cycling top
  • Buff
  • Shimano MT44 shoes
  • Marmot minimalist raincoat
  • Merino long johns
  • Mons royal merino hoodie
  • Black Diamond cold forge jacket
  • Gray scarf/skirt/dress/beach towel/head scarf
  • Knee length linen skirt with elastic waste (made this, it was cheaper than a “travel skirt”)
  • Rayon shift dress (also made this, rayon is super light for travel)
  • 4x cotton t-shirts
  • Long sleeve rayon top
  • Light nylon long pants
  • 5x undies
  • 2x bras
  • Black tights
  • Bikini
  • Sunhat
  • Jandals

The toiletries

  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss
  • Facecloth and moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Chamois cream
  • Travel hairbrush, hairties
  • Nail clippers, tweezers, scissors
  • Glasses, contacts, contact lense solution
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent, talcum powder
  • Medical supplies (my doctor was pretty thorough but main things are pain killers, various antibiotic pills and creams, eye drops, thrush cream, basic wound dressing, betadine…)
  • Iodine (good for wounds, water if we need and sterilising the drink bottle lids)

The extras

  • Electronics (6 usb charger with detachable plugs for each country, multi country adaptor, rechargable AA batteries and charger, cords in a roll up case I made, small solar battery pack)
  • Steripen water purification
  • Bananagrams
  • Waterproof playing cards
  • Duct tape and tenacious tape
  • Climbing shoes
  • Small thiamine soft toy
  • Broken wind up dinosaur
  • Samsung galaxy 3 phone
  • Samsung galaxy note 10 tablet
  • Panasonic lumix tough camera
  • Ipod
  • Various novels and notebooks
  • Pocket knife

Ground effect Martini 3/4 pants + dovetail padded shorts, 6 week review: As a road cyclist it was pretty hard to give up my crisp lycra tan lines, but since the stares I got walking into the bank of Islam in my full lycra kit on our first day in Malaysia I’ve embraced the Martini’s. They have heaps of movement so I never feel restricted, cover my knees so I feel a bit more appropriate and protect me from the raging sun without overheating. As an added bonus they make pretty good shorts for a few days climbing at Ao Tonsai, or hiking up waterfalls on Langkawi. The dovetails are mesh chamois shorts so add the padding, without making it any hotter. I’ve always preffered bibs over just shorts, but these don’t cut into my waist at all and make toilet stops easier so they get the tick from me. The only thing I worry about is if the mesh will hold up with heaps of washing, it’s starting to ladder in a couple of places so I’m being careful with them. I’m also going to get another pair sent over so that I only have to wash them every second day. An awesome feature of these shorts is that they are made in New Zealand!

James’ gear