Nordkapp – Preparing to Leave…

Things are getting near now to the start. Lancet (my bike) left KMB Towers on Thursday and was expected to take 4 business days to arrive in northern Norway. With Norway not being fully in the EU (it has its own odd arrangement), it means anything that I send over has to have a pile of paperwork attached as a customs declaration even though it is my own kit, bought and paid for, and for me to use. A whole lot of rigmarole that frankly, I could have done without!

When your pride and joy is being handled by strange courier fellows I must admit I do tend to hover over the tracking info to see where it is and any estimates or problems it is having…it has an ETA of Friday 3rd May! So much for 4-day delivery, that’s 6 business days! 8 proper days! Am I worried, a little! They do have until the end of Friday to deliver everything which would be a huge problem as I need to re-assemble everything and that would make for a huge fight to make it to the ferry to get up to Nordapp. It’s not impossible though, worst off I guess I could run down the street with it and assemble it on the ship (if I was allowed) but that’s something I really don’t want to occur. But this is a courier company, surely they will want to make business deliveries as soon as possible?! Fingers crossed anyhow so I get plenty of time to assemble everything and get a test ride in first. I have to admit, this is making me rather nervous but I do think everything will work out from all the information I’ve seen so far, so deep breaths and see what happens.

Communications have been part of the issue to arrange while I’m away. How much data am I going to need? 5GB? 10GB? Less? More? All my maps have been downloaded to my Bontrager Edge 1030 and a backup copy on my phone, and a printed copy just in case! So that’s not going to use anything. In the end, I went for a nice round 30GB so that I have a bit over 1GB a day. I can’t see me using anything close to that, but to upload pictures and keep the blog current it was probably a safe bet. I dropped into Carlisle EE shop this week and sorted out a data only international SIM which will go into the secondary SIM slot on my phone (it has two) which will give me a month of use for £32. Best to be safe on this!

To make things even more “interesting”, the airline I’m using to get from Manchester to Oslo, and then to Tromsø is having a pilots strike this weekend with few flights going anywhere! According to the news sites, this should all be sorted and things returned to normal for Monday-Tuesday. Fingers crossed this possible problem sorts itself out as well.

The roads around the start, which has by far the highest chance of snow and harsh conditions seem to be clearing now. Although there is a cold snap sending temperatures down to -5C a few days before I set off which could make the road conditions change. Tyre choice is already made so that can’t be changed now. It’s solely an issue of riding it no matter and making sure the clothing is right for the conditions.

I’m leaving my final clothing choice packing to the last moment of the final day. I have it set out though, all set depending on how the weather looks to be turning. Do I need to serious cold weather kit? the reasonably cold weather kit? the lightweight kit? So many choices and such limited space to take it all. That will be my final task on Wednesday before I fly out on Thursday as I’m taking this one pannier as my hand luggage…

Nordkapp – A 4000+km Ride Home

Starting on Saturday 4th May, Allan is going on his latest adventure. Setting off from Nordkapp, the North Cape, the furthest point north on mainland Europe he’ll be riding home back to Keswick, Cumbria via Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and returning home via Newcastle and the coast to coast route. I route totalling over 4000km he has until the end of May to do this (as he better be back at work for June!).

This ride is completely solo, not an event, not a race, just one lone rider with a bike and whatever kit he’s taking. No backup whatsoever! Just a lunatic on a bike taking in the sights and seeing what the world throws at him.

You might be wondering what bike he’s using for this escapade? He’s using the home-made, lugged Columbus steel classic tourer he made himself with the tutoring of classic frame maker Geoff Roberts (of Roberts Cycles, the makers of the Dogs Bolx classic mountain bike)…named Lancet of course! (it’s steel, you only use one, it lasts forever!) But as ever with Allan, this itself has a few tweaks including fully integrated Di2 cabling and hydraulics giving it a very modern twist. A good sprinkling of Hope bling including the ever popular Hope 20five wheels, along with a Raspberry Pi integrated inside the stem!

Medical Supplies

As you can see, forgot about lightweight touring here, Allan is going for every back and gadget under the sun and it all running off the sun via the solar panels attached to the racks. Again you are probably wondering why so much kit? Surely going nice and light with a few inframe bags would be easier?! Yes and no. To throw another spanner in the works Allan is also a type-one diabetic and has been for the last 40 years which brings with it a few medical issues which need to be dealt with, and thus a fair bit of extra supplies of equipment and also plenty of backup food supplies in case he can’t find any for the days out in the wilds. This also all ties into the Raspberry Pi mentioned above which he uses to communicate his blood sugar, insulin levels, carbohydrate intake to his phone and to the bikes Bontrager Garmin 1030 computer.

Allan will be using this trip to raise awareness of type-one diabetes and raising funds for a collection of charities which mean something to him. The JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) which aims to develop a cure and better technology to make life easier to manage, the Team Type-One Foundation which is a type-one diabetes advocacy through sports organisation, and T1 International which aims for a world where everyone with type-one diabetes has everything they need to survive and achieve their dreams. The links to each of these go to their donations pages, so it would be great if you could please support them, thank you.

The “plan” is he’ll be posting daily blogs on here, although with communication issues we can but see how that all pans out. We can but hope to get a running blog throughout the trip for you all to read and also have a live tracking map operational in the next few days so you can track his progress real-time through this site.

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