Friday, February 24, 2006 

What's it all about?

Welcome to ‘ajourneybybike’ over the coming year this weblog will follow our fundraising trip through the South American Andes.

The aim of these pre trip postings is to give potential sponsors, equipment suppliers and other interested parties an idea of what to expect over the next year and 9906 KM (ish).

We will be posting to this site whenever we can, sometimes several times a week at other times there may be a month between posts. Either way this site will follow our ups and downs. There’ll be some great photos of the places we’ve passed and we’ll also use the blog to let other travellers know about places not to be missed and where to avoid!

We’ve spent an awful lot of time researching and money buying the kit we need for the journey. We’ve had some great support and advice from manufacturers, distributors and other nice people so we’d love to let everyone know how YOUR kit is doing. We’d really like this to be an online resource for others planning a similar trip. We hope manufacturers will see it as an extended field trial. Any criticism will be constructive and we hope it’ll be welcomed with open arms.

To get this working to it’s full potential ‘links’ to and from other sites are essential, we hope in the future we can cross link with manufacturers, suppliers and other blogs to create an in depth and interesting resource and online diary



Hopefully this trip will capture people's imagination and has some potential for publicity. Whilst we hope it's going to be something we'll enjoy, we hope to use the trip to raise £10,000 for the YMCA and her sister organisation Y Care International. These are two organisations that make a real difference to the lives of young people, both at home and abroad.

Sarah has worked for the YMCA's Steps Forward project for a number of years. The project trains and supports mentors who in turn provide a network of support for young, often disadvantaged young people in the Newcastle area.

Y Care International is a relief and development agency funding and supporting projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middel East. The primary aim of which is to empower young people and their communities to find alternatives to a future of poverty and disadvantage, and to build lives and communities marked by hope and positive change.

If you would like to make a donation to ajourneybybike and to these two worthwhile organisations please contact us for a donation form. Alternatively, if we have gone you can contact Stuart Wroe at Y Care quoting 'ajourneybybike'.

Contact Us:

Contact Stuart:


Equipment Providers.

We've already had some great help from people.

Please take a moment to check out our links, these are the people who have helped make this possible.

Steve at Cowley Cycles has not only supplied us with two fully equiped touring bikes but has fully trained us in mending puctures, although we still haven't figured how we're going to carry a bowl of water to find the bubbles!

Lyon equipment have provided us with all sorts of kit. Our favorite so far are the Exped downmats which I'm sure will prove to be invaluable bit of kit once we get out there.

ALPKIT have provided a PipeDream 600 sleeping bag, filled with 700+ fill goosedown and weighing only 1.0kg. This should be enough to keep even Sarah warm on the Altiplano.

Thanks very much.



Obviously a journey like this cannot be entered into lightly, almost a month of preparation is involved.

Physical fitness and mental attitude are all important.

After a couple of pints of ale with Sunday lunch Sarah demonstrates how important it is to digest food properly and conserve energy for any hills that may be encountered later that day


Scotland. Training & Gear testing.


Four days and 162 miles through NW Scotland...the most remote place we could find has left us wondering what we've got ourselves into?

South America in miniature, very long roads, endless hills and rivers. Beautiful.

Setting off from Ullapool our first day took us about 45 miles to Clachtol via the coast road in glorious sunshine.

One of the Koga's fully loaded and admiring the view over Inverpolly.

Sarah cycling towards Stac on the first day.

The descent out of Inverpolly towards the coast.

Old Salmon nets at Clachtol and a perfect white beach.

Sunset at Red Angus's campsite, Scourie.

Oh and it was my birthday.

The long and winding road to Lochinver and some proper Scottish weather.

No Gore-Tex mittens for Sarah but a couple of bin liners seemed to work ok.

Four days of sunshine would have been nice but we couldn't have asked for better kit testing conditions. One day of hot sunshine, one day of rain and two days of 25mph + headwinds.

All the kit worked extremely well apart from the tent which fell apart at the seams. However both Venturesport and TNF have been more than helpful and have even offered to double stitch a new tent for us to ensure it's robust enough for the trip.

The exped down mats were particuarly comfortable and warm, as was Sarah's AlpKit sleeping bag.

The bike were faultless and seemed even more at home when fully loaded with the 5 panniers.