Awaiting the Bikes

We have finally decided to crack on with ordering the bikes. After a few emails back and forth and sending on the measurements, we got a disappointing reply. No frame for me. And not for another 2-3 months plus building time. Apparently my frame is quite a popular size!  With the summer coming and trip date closing in, I was really hoping to get our steeds in as quickly as possible to start getting used to them. Then a few days later, we received another setback. The 2-3 months delay is on an optimistic side, not allowing for shipment, customs or other possible delays.

What do we do?

We did not want to consider different bikes. These are THE bikes. But if we wait for the frames to arrive, our planned departure date might come and go and we still wouldn’t know when the  bikes would be with us. On top of that we’d have no idea when to end our apartment lease and hand in the notices at work. No good. But there is an option. It would hurt our pockets but take the burden of anxiety away – the store had an S&S couplings frame, in stock, in my size. These S&S couplings allow the bike to be broken in half and packed much smaller for transportation – but unfortunately also add a large chunk to the cost of the bike. But if we go with this option we should have the bikes by the end of May.

So the decision was made.

The specs were sent off, deposit paid and little label on our frames changed from reserved to being built. Both of them will be yellow, although originally Geoff wanted a black frame. I even have a name for my new bike. Since a cute yellow bear was the subject of my thesis (as weird as it might sound, that’s what philology students are up to) there could be no better name than Winnie for my new yellow friend. Geoff, as a big fan of Simpsons, decided to name his after the appropriately coloured character Homer. Hope this unlikely duo will get along just as well as we do!

So now we just have to wait…

Preparations

The last few weeks have felt a little bit like Christmas. Packages containing items for our trip are constantly arriving at our apartment. Virtually everyday, upon checking the postbox, I have been finding a little note, from the postman saying that there is a package to be collected at the concierge office. As soon as I get through the door I have to open them all, there and then.

 

Geoff always laughs at me because I have to open packages straight away – even if I know that the package contains something as exciting as spare batteries… I just do not like unopened boxes!

Unfortunately most of the stuff is just that boring – water bottles, batteries, bungee cords, socks etc.

But there are also fun things like our new tent, shoes, camera lens and Geoff’s favourites – tools! But the gear is a completely different topic and there will be lots more about it shortly. Maybe I’ll even get Geoff to contribute something on the subject.

Then there was the blog. Not too many people, I must say, include ‘starting a blog’ as a process on its own. There is an easy way and a hard(er) way to start blogging. With the simple option, you can jump straight into one of the templates, sign up for an account and start posting right away.

Since I’ve spent the last year or so reading other travellers blogs, I know what sort of features and layouts I like. I already had a pretty clear idea of how I wanted the blog to look. To achieve my ideal blog and layout, it turned out I needed many plugins! Plugins for the calendar, plugins for the map, plugins for just about everything you see on this blog! So instead of an easy ready-to-blog option, we went for a self hosted, highly customizable version on which we ended up spending hours and hours before it started to come together. As of now, it’s still very much a work in progress! All I can say is, hopefully I will feel like writing posts and updating the blog, after all the initial effort we invested in it.

First Chapter

They say writing the first words is always the hardest. I had been meaning to start blogging soon after we built our site, but for one reason or another, I’ve always found excuses. So, the only entries so far have been a page called Who’s on Saddles?, some pictures of previous travels, a half-built map of our planned route, but not too many words.

True, it’s meant to be a travelling blog and at the moment we are rather stationary, with still a few months left before we commence our journey. But since not a single day passes without us planning something and thinking about this trip, I figured I might as well share some of those thoughts with…ermm right, with whom? I am well aware that it will be a monologue for a good while, but I guess this is the paradox of blogging – nobody will read if you don’t write. So here I am. I used to love writing but somehow ended up working with spreadsheets and numbers. And now the words in my head are also in a different language…all very strange for me.

So what made me finally start blogging? A movie! I watched Julie & Julia over the weekend – in case you have never heard of it, it’s a film set over dual time periods, one is following Julia Child, in the 1950’s, trying to get her first cookery book published and the second time period follows a woman called Julie fed up with her career, in 2002, so she decides to write a daily blog sharing her experiences of cooking her way through Julia Child’s book – starting at Page One. It was during this film that I realised that writing this blog might actually be fun. (I probably wouldn’t mind doing a similar experiment to the one in the movie, although I’d rather concentrate on baking…)

Anyway…whether there will be someone following or not, I shall give it a try.