2005 to Present - Reynolds 853 Custom Build

Custom 853

Based on a made to measure Reynolds 853 frame built by Lee Cooper cycles in Coventry who did a fantastic job in a short amount of time (which only became a factor thanks to Dawes complete inability to deliver the Ultra Galaxy I ordered and cancelled with insufficient time to order a Hewitt Cheviot instead.)

LA Cycles built the (fillet braised) frame within three weeks of measuring me and then my local shop Saddle Safari did a great job of building it and guiding me through the compatibility issues of fitting Ultegra kit to a touring frame with XT hubs and cantilever brakes.

The whole thing has been a useful education and, I have to say, I am really glad Dawes are giving such a pitiful service these days.

Considering how the Ultra Galaxy components have been cheapened, I reckon I have twice the bike for similar money.

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2004 to 2005 - Dawes Discovery 601

Dawes 601

With the JOGLE completed I started looking for a new bike and selected this one after reading some reviews recommending the build quality and a reasonable turn of speed, whilst being suited to casual use and touring. It also fell under the sub £500 limit I set myself in case the touring bug wore off.

The reviews were correct in most respects, but touring is not its strong point. Aluminium frames make for light bikes but you really feel every bump, so extended periods of use become uncomfortable. Possibly more of an issue is the lack of give in the frame makes the bike feel unstable with fully loaded panniers.

Whilst serving me well, the tours in Iceland and France convinced me of two things: I needed drop bars to get out of the wind and a steel frame for a smoother ride.

2003 - Peugeot Mountain Bike

Peugeot Mountain Bike

Selected because completing a JOGLE was all about achieving a life's ambition, rather than enjoying a bike tour, and using anything other than my cheap and cheerful ten year old mountain bike just did not occur to me.

Before 2003 I had not cycled more than 30 miles in a day, so 75 every day for two weeks was completely outside of my experience. I really never expected to get bitten by the touring bug.

The rack had to be attached using 'P' clips, but it held firm for the entire trip and is the only piece of equipment that has been used on every tour since.

Upon considering the effort that was going to be required I did manage two concessions to efficiency: slick tyres and clipless pedals.  However, I do look back and smile when think how much easier I could have made the trip on myself.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.