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M:Part Mavic rims
on Shimano hubs
Pannier bags
Ortlieb Rollers

Arthur says: “Taking on this challenge again was all the excuse I needed to order some Ortlieb panniers. I’ve always hankered after a set and, even thought they’re pricey, you get your money’s worth due to their five-year warranty, complete waterproofing and very secure attachment to bike racks. The map case for the handlebar bag could be a little better thought-through, though.”

Matt says: “These M:Part wheels are a cheap but very, very strong option. Having suffered multiple spoke breakages in 1994 and being a fulsome 16 stone in bodyweight — not to mention the extra mass of my bike and kit — I needed ultra-reliable wheels. These rolled without complaint the whole way. They might not be very exciting but they are probably the bit of kit that impressed me the most.”

Matt says: “Not the most hi-tech tent in the world, this little three-person dome tent had two things going for it: it was very lightweight at less then 4kg and I found it online for £61. It did us proud, although it suffered from condensation and — having left it to mould in its bag for a week — had to be thrown away when we got home. Truly disposable living.

Arthur says: “Matt has always raved about his Lusso Carbon bib-shorts and very thoughtfully bought me two pairs for our ride. I have to say, he’s quite right — I felt no discomfort at all over the 11 days, even after switching to Matt’s new Brooks saddle from day four onwards. Really great shorts, and made in England.”

Vango Jazz 300
Cycling shorts
Lusso Carbon





Other clothing
Underlayers and Uniqlo AIRism T-shirts

Arthur says: “Matt is a big fan of wearing underlayer vests to regulate his temperature, however, on my torso I was happy to wear only ultra-lightweight AIRism T-shirts from Uniqlo. They were easy to wash, quick to dry, and far cheaper than buying dedicated cycling jerseys.”


Matt says: “I needed something to recharge my phone, so the guys at CycleWiz very kindly gave me a hub-mounted Tigra BikeCharge. It certainly did well, replenishing my phone’s battery by about 40% each day. But it’s not without faults: it’s large and heavy; you can’t mount a front rack on the same side; and the incessant clicking and ticking had me wanting to throw it in the Med by the end. Without it, though, we would have been stuffed."


Tigra BikeCharge
Brooks Team Pro (Arf)
Brooks B17 Special (Matt)

Arthur says: “Brooks is the obvious choice for anybody wanting a long-lasting and comfortable saddle. However, there is a caveat. A Brooks saddle takes hundreds of miles to soften up and shape. As Matt found out, you can’t just buy one and expect to cycle 11 days consecutively without experiencing a great deal of pain.” 



The following is a list of the most important kit that Matt and Arthur used on their 2015 cycle tour. Proving that they are either the most virtuous or possibly the most stupid cycle journalists around, they chose what they thought would be the best equipment and then offered to (and in most cases, actually did) pay for everything they used. Which means their comments below have not been in any way coerced.

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