Below is a list of some of the things I had to do to prepare for this trip, including all the kit that I will be taking.

For those that are interested I will  be reviewing the kit as I go along and giving feedback on this page.

The Bike

Probably the most important piece of kit. In another life where money was no object I would go out and purchase a Thorn Nomad Expedition Bike with full Rohloff hub gearing and all the trimmings for adventure touring. However as they start at £1800 that option is a non starter.

So my trusty, 13 year old, high mileage Orange P7 mountain bike has been  refurbished for the trip.

And here it is with all its new finery.

With the help of my friend Adrian in Milton Keynes and his exceedingly well equipped workshop it now has the following new parts: 

  • 27 Speed Gears.
  • Chainset, Crank and Bottom Bracket.
  • Head Set and Ergonomic Handlebar Grips.
  • Brake Pads and Cables.
  • Wheels, Hubs and Cassette.
  • Stainless Steel Pannier Racks.
  • Schwalbe Marathon XR  Expedition Tyres.
Total Cost £650. Hmm. Hopefully it is now bomb proof and puncture proof! How much was that Thorn Expedition bike again?


This will be my home for the best part of four months so I have decided to go for a 2 man tent for the extra space and comfort it will provide.

After much research and advice from previous TransAmerica cyclists I am going for the MSR Hubba Hubba HP. 

It comes in at under 2kg,  has two entrances, plenty of vestibule space for storage and takes minutes to erect and dismantle. But the clincher for me is the fact that it is freestanding and therefore can be erected without the fly sheet. This will be a Godsend when it is hot and humid (i.e the first 2500 miles) as camping has been described to me as a 'Boil in the Bag Experience' by a previous Trans America cyclist. Don't think it's bear proof though!


If it's not black and it's not Ortlieb it won't be on my bike!

High quality, rugged panniers 'Made in Germany' with one big advantage. They are 100% waterproof. And would appear to have glow in the daylight panels on them.

And on the bike.  Pantastic!

Kit List

First of all I do not want to look like a cyclist. What this means is

There will be no lycra worn on this trip!

Nothing against lycra clad cyclists of course. I just think it looks naff. Everything I take will have to double for usage both on and off the bike. It will need to be light, quick drying versatile and suitable for mainly hot and humid conditions and also cooler conditions at altitude in the Rockies. In other words a layered system.

So hopefully this lot will fit into the panniers.

1  Light Fleece
2  Icebreaker 150 Weight Merino Wool S/S Tee Shirts
2  Rab Aeon Silk Weight S/S Tee Shirts
1  Montane Smartwool L/S Tee Shirt
3  Pairs Cycling Shorts
1  Pair Mountain Equipment Long Bags
1  Rohan S/S Equatorial Casual Shirt
1  Pair of Endura Multi Purpose Leggings
3  Briefs
1  Boxer Shorts
4  Pairs Ankle Socks
1  Swimming Trunks
1  Montane Windproof Shell Smock
1  Berghaus Paclite Waterproof Jacket
1  Endura Waterproof Over Shorts
1  Cycling Shoes
1  Off Bike Sandals
1  Cycling Gloves


1 Down Sleeping bag
1 Silk Liner
1 Thermarest Travel Pillow
1 Thermarest Camping Mat


Toiletries, Travel Towel and First Aid Kit


Tool Kit consisting of

1 Multi Tool
1 Swiss Army Knife
2 Inner Tubes
1 Puncture Repair Kit
3 Tyre Levers
Spare Spokes and Chain Links
Bike Lube
Chain Tool
Spoke Tool
Spare Nuts and Bolts


Trangia Cook Kit
2 750 ml Water Bottles
1 Ortlieb Collapsible 2 Litre Water Belt


13 Maps of the TransAmerica Trail.


    Well hats off to STA Travel!. Visited their Leeds Branch this week and they have come up with return flights through Continental Airlines for £680 all in. And the bike goes for free as long as it's packed  in a box and weighs below 23kg.

    Reckoned this was a bit of a bargain so I booked it on the spot. Continental Airlines are also going to very kindly land the aeroplane 50 miles from the start of the ride. All I need now is one of my good friends to volunteer to take me and my baggage to Manchester Airport. And of course somebody to pick me up at the end of it::-)


    British citizens visiting America for Tourism can usually travel under the Visa Waiver program , unless  you have any criminal convictions against you, or as in my case the trip exceeds 90 days.

    I therefore have to apply for a B-2 Non-Immigrant visa which entails completing and submitting on line application form DS-160.

    Having successfully completed this process I now have to attend a personal interview at the U.S Embassy in London. This will take about 3 hours and will happen at 12 Noon on Friday 7th January 2011. So the adventure begins!

    Actually the U.S Embassy website is very interesting and worth a visit. Here is a snippet:

    The Roosevelt Memorial

    Britain's Memorial to Franklin Roosevelt

    The Roosevelt Memorial was funded in 1946 entirely through the sale of a souvenir brochure to the British public. This was the brain child of The Pilgrims, a society dedicated to the enhancement of friendship and understanding between Great Britain and America. So enthusiastic was the public response to the subscription that the total sum required was reached and exceeded in a mere six days from the day that British Prime Minister announced the opening of the appeal on the radio. More than 160,000 separate donations had been received.

    On April 12, 1948, the statue was ceremonially unveiled by Eleanor Roosevelt and dedicated by U.S. Ambassador Lewis W. Douglas in front of an audience including the Royal Family, the Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the Leader of the Opposition Sir Winston Churchill.


    Three times a week at my local gym, Nuffield Health keeps the fitness level ticking over during the winter months.

    But the best training for a ride like this is cycling, more cycling and even more cycling. I have discovered a local cycling group who ride out every Sunday:

    So thats my New Year Resolution sorted, although they do seem to wear a lot of lycra:)

    Internet Access

    I need to take something with me and at the moment the contenders are

    Dell Streak.

    Samsung Galaxy Tab.

    Finally gone for the Dell Streak 5 as it is a decent camera, has wifi and 3g and therefore can be used as a phone. I just need to buy a Sim  card in the States. But most of all because I picked it up for £174 at Tesco. Quite a bargain considering that it was £400 unlocked a few months ago.


    1. Daniel Bouwmeester19 January 2011 at 14:38

      I see you've put spare spokes on your list. Good choice!
      You wouldn't want any old fool crashing into your wheel and breaking your spokes! :-)

      Good luck with the trip. Wish I could join!

    2. I can see that you are still traumatised by that incident in 1997! Would love you to come along but with all that wacky Heineken beer you've been drinking at Delft University I doubt you could cycle 50 miles never mind 5000. :)

    3. Daniel Bouwmeester20 January 2011 at 14:20

      Ha ha. Back in 1997 you tried to slow me down with "wacky" Old peculiar Ale. Didn't work unfortunately. I hope you trained better this time. Wouldn't want some Heineken drinking student fly past you!!!

    4. Good Luck!

      Take a Buff - incredibly useful, weighs virtually nothing.

    5. Would love to join, maybe not for 5,000 but for 1,000. Will sort you out with a tenner at least next time i see you, you're doing the human race proud in a time in which self interest is far too apparent given what is going on throughout the globe.