Quick overview

For the impatient ones, here is a summary of my current cycling set-up.
  • I have an entry-level road bike (weighing a bit less than 10 kg), which has eyelets for rear rack. Tyres are rather narrow, 25-622 to 30-622.
  • I use ordinary pedals and light sport shoes (no clipless shoes/pedals nor clips&straps), no second footware.
  • I don't use cooking equipment.
  • I don't use panniers.
  • I carry my stuff in stuff bag on the rear rack and in a little bag (a converted saddle bag) on the handlebar.
  • I use light single-skin tent (900 g) and down sleeping bag (600g or 900g, depending on the trip).
  • My sleeping pad is a bubble-wrap strip, which I also use as wrapping material to make my stuff bag waterproof.
  • Tools: 4,5&6 mm allen keys, pedal spanner (cut in half), 8/10 mm spanner, screwdriver, chain tool, spoke key, pump, tyre levers, (sometimes hypercracker). Separate tools are lighter then multitools.
  • Spares: patch kit, 1 or 2 tubes, (sometimes spare tyre), oil, duct tape, (sometimes spare spokes).
  • I don't carry (guide)books.
  • I stopped using maps. I now navigate by a small distance/directions card which I make before the trip.
  • I have a compact ultrazoom digital camera, battery charger with shortened power cable and universal plug-ins.
  • I use ordinary 1L or 1.5L plastic water bottles instead of cycling bidons, using ordinary (now carbon-fiber) bottle cages.
  • I don't carry food, except some emergency food in extreme cases. I eat cold food bought in supermarkets (in western-type countries) or eat at cheap restaurants and markets in other countries.
  • Toiletries: tooth brush and plastic dispensable razor (cut in half). Sometimes even tooth paste.
  • I wear: cycling cap, gloves, jersey, shorts, arm warmers, light wind/rain shell, light sport shoes, light socks, (sometimes nylon stockings).
  • Additional clothes (in the stuff bag/handlebar bag): light hiking trousers, light fleece top, beanie, spare socks, warm gloves, rain shell gloves, underwear, rain pants, overshoes.
  • My touring weight (including everything except the bike, water and food, ie. also shoes, rack, ...) for a camping tour is from 5.5 kg to 7 kg, depending mostly on what kind of weather I expect. That can be reduced by about 300 g by using frame bags instead of rack, but for now I prefer the way I do it - it looks more elegant to me.
  • Once you reduce the weight below 8 kg it is the volume and elegance that matters, not the weight.
Kuiseb pass, Namibia, 2010.


  1. Hey iik, I'm planning a tour around western Europe, hopefully for a long period of time but would like to venture into eastern Europe and further but the only snag I have is my bike. I own a road bike and I'm not sure if going that far east is possible without getting punctures and bending my bike beyond repair. Is it worthwhile investing in a touring bike or do you not find it a massive issue using a road bike?

    Thanks in advance

  2. Well I tour on (kind of) a road bike, so I don't think it's an issue - well, unless you have much luggage. Maybe put just a bit wider tires, 25mm or even 28mm, and you should be ok.

  3. Re separate tools being lighter, maybe the Topeak cpr-9 (£7, link below) saves a bit of weight. It has the 2,3,4,5,6 allen keys, flat screwdriver, some sort of spoke wrench, bottle opener. Sure looks awkward to use but only 25g and very cheap, possibly a cheap way to drop 40g or so!

    I use (cheap, v light) mks mtft pedals which have a 5 or 6 mm allen keyhole in them, so hope to skip the pedal spanner too. On my novice-level distances, I'm hoping the pedals won't get too jammed on.

  4. Tom,
    The CPR-9 (Ritchey) tool looks great!
    What's the weight of those pedals?

  5. They're 127g each, without the front reflector and without the toe clip. They have proper bearings inside, I think, cost £9 and have stood up fine to general commuting use. The metal touring-style pedals that came with my bike were 200g each. I prefer the MTFT for the weight but also as it has quite a nice flat surface. If only I could drop 150g every time I spent £9!

  6. I can recommend using lightweight trekking sandals the kind that have velcro tops and and some front protection. Something like this:,nl_NL,pd.html?dwvar_6148_color=BNGC&start=2&cgid=men-sandals-light-hiking
    They keep my feet cool in hot weather, dont get mushy / slippery in the rain and paired with some cycling socks are comfortable for walking and day long cycling. Of course they generally weigh less than shoes.

  7. Leave the ultra-stiff cycling shoes at home and look for a pair that has some flex in the toe for greater comfort and ease of walking. A good mountain Bicycle tour always has some walking. I enjoy your posts! Thank you!

  8. Gregory,
    I have Giant OCR3. That is a 2005 model, I think it's now Defy range of Giant bikes. What I like most is that it has eyelets for the rear rack. Nowday's road bikes don't seem to have that any more.

  9. Yes. I dont see a bike have such eyelets any more.

  10. I find flexible shoes can be a problem. They tend to let the heel drop at the pedal and cause the tendon to be stretched resulting in soreness which can stop you cycling. Cycling shoes are stiff for a reason.

    1. I had some issues myself, my achilles tendons are bit shorter than usual and I experienced some pain if I wore them too often. In fact I have to be careful and warm up my tendons before I do any outdoor activity.

  11. Hello Iik, I wanna pay a ride in Eastern Europe. But i can't decide which one will be the best one for this area. will you please suggest?

  12. Hi iik,

    how do you get by in these developing countries with 700c wheels? How often do you get flats / need to replace parts for your bike?


    1. It's hard to make generalisations. Sometimes no flats in 3000 km, on one tour 8 flats in 2000 km. I'd say the thicker the tire casing, less flats. Quite logically.