With the summer approaching and adventures beckoning, it’s about time we start planning our next two-wheeled expedition. Remember, this isn’t your average Sunday morning outing. An adventure into often unknown territory requires a few essential pieces of kit dedicated to the open road. Let’s have a look at the bikes and kit that will get you started.
The adventure rig
The type of adventure you have planned will dictate the kind of bike needed for the job. For a long venture on asphalt and the occasional gravel diversion, a true touring bike is a must, with relaxed geometry to keep you comfortable during long stints in the saddle. The Specialized Awol Comp is one of the flashier touring machines with a durable steel frame, more mounting points for bottle cages, racks and bags than you can count, and wide tyre clearance. This is a monster machine for the longest of bike adventures.
The toughest and most memorable adventures demand only the most robust, reliable and confidence-inspiring bike money can buy. The Trek 920 Disc Sandstorm is just that – a go-anywhere touring bike with a well-balanced alloy frame which is super stable, even when the included front and rear racks are heavily laden for endless adventuring. Drop handlebars, SRAM off-road-specific gearing, tubeless ready Bontrager Duster Elite wheels and hydraulic disc brakes wrap up a perfect partner for the open road.
For mixed terrain riding, the 2018 Diverge line from Specialized will take some beating. From the entry-level Diverge E5 to the top-end S-Works model, each comes with an elite spec with the intrepid adventurer in mind, not to mention their capability as a race-ready road bike if you so desire. Taking design cues from their Spring Classics-dominating Roubaix model, the Diverge takes off-road riding to the next level without sacrificing speed and handling on the fast and well-laid paved roads.
Kit that can take a beating
As is the case with most adventures, there are bound to be some unpredictable, potentially even sketchy moments on the journey ahead. Weather won’t conform to even the best laid plans, so you need to prepare for everything without occupying too much space in your panniers.
Available in both a long and short sleeved variant, the Specialized Rbx Comp 2018 jersey is a perfect base for any kind of riding thanks to its moisture-wicking Hydrofit finish. Combine with a lightweight and compact all-weather gilet such as the Altura Night Vision 2, and you’re well on your way to repelling any wind and rain that may come knocking.
A shoe for all occasions
Just as selecting the right bike is of utmost importance, so is selecting the right shoe. For a long foray into unknown lands, pedalling efficiency is a must but most important will be comfort for those long hard slogs.
If you’re a road cyclist, you might like to consider something similar to the stiff and efficient shoes you’re familiar with, only forgoing some of the typical composite rigidity in favour of all-day comfort. The Katan Mountain shoes from Bontrager are similar in shape and style to their road cousins – complete with the easily adjustable BOA fastening system and stiff arch – but provide a slightly more roomy fit and a full rubber sole.
For something even more versatile and comfortable on and off the bike, Specialized’s 2Fo Clip MTB shoes are closer to trainers than racing shoes and stylish enough to make any riding partners envious. However, if you’re keen to uphold good old-fashioned touring tradition, then look no further than the Specialized Audax Recons in all their rustic (synthetic) leather glory.
Ready to plan your own adventure? There are a wealth of routes and organised bicycle tours right on our doorstep in Chester. Adventure calls…