Most useful things we toured with:
1. Smartphone It pains me to admit it but this has been vital. In particular, the routing app 'Scout'. Although we moaned about the occasional quirks of 'Sally' sending us literally up the garden path, it has given me a whole new taste to touring. I love paper maps, but carrying them and going 20km in the wrong direction before realizing, has led me to see that technology is probably the way forward for planning and navigating. This device was of course great for staying in contact with my family, much to their delight. Also good for general mindless browsing, hotel booking at very short notice, and games. I would however advise to use caution when checking news headlines, as it may have the affect of making you not want to leave your room due to the horrendous things that are going on in our world. Thankfully though, I think touring is one of the best things in life, so enjoying ourselves and not worrying should be our priority.
2. Cargo net Exciting this one. It may look like an inanimate bunch of string, but spreading this over the rear panniers, camping gear and rack, provided convenient access to and attachment of all bits and pieces gathered, or drying during the day.
3. Chamois cream I won't go into detail, but suffice to say; its made a whole world of difference. A bit similar to that Head and Shoulders shampoo advertisement... "but I don't have dandruff"...replace dandruff with...nevermind. If you really want to find out then Google it.
4. Kindle and ipod Another tech recommdation, who'd have thought it. These two mini things probably saved kilos when compared to their old skool equivalents. Having cycled most of Australia's east coast with a CD case the size of a family photo album in my Bob trailer, plus a few books stuffed in for good measure.... well don't even think about being nostalgic.
5. My Brooks saddle and Niamh's gel saddle. See number 3 on this list. But specific respect must also be given to these.
Also noteworthy- Flashing red rear light for tunnels. Sweets- lots and various. Industrial strength sun cream, especially for the Irish.
NB: If I had labelled this post as the 'most important' things for touring with, then I would say that Niamh is quite clearly number one (though she does indeed have her uses). Companionship, shared challenges, laughs, reality when things or people around us were insane, her spirited motivation and determination which drove me on too. She really made this tour my favorite ever. If you are planning a tour yourself, then get yourself a Niamh- not mine though.
Next post- least useful...things I need to improve....what I have learned.
Link to interactive route map for here.