Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

You can't take it with you

Having gotten well and truly fed up of researching, comparing equipment, speculating and seeking opinions I have now started buying things, much to the dismay of my bank manager and the delight of Southampton's cycling shop managers.

That's actually a bit misleading - I don't imagine my bank manager really knows or cares that I bought some padded shorts at the weekend, but you get the point.

I have also discovered that 'equipment for the trip' has it's own monetary denomination - £100. I'm spending £100 chunks of cash (well - virtual cash - thank you Mastercard) at quite an alarming rate. A few examples:

Lights and pump for bike = £100
Assorted cycling clothing = £100
Panniers and shoes = £200
Sleeping bag = £100
Multi-fuel stove = £100

In fact, those last two are things I haven't bought yet, which brings me rather unconvincingly to the next major development:

Despite sending out about 40 letters and just as many emails offering various companies the chance to donate to my cause I have received a nice round number of positive replies - none. I even wrote to ferry companies suggesting they might like to 'donate' a ferry ticket to get me to France, but no. Not interested.

It's funny because the thing that gets to me the most isn't the fact that they don't want to give me any money/equipment/donations - I started this thing not expecting anything and I will still go on to do it whether I get anything or not - it's more the fact that no-one is interested. That sounds really sad now I've written it, and again it's not because I'm doing this for recognition or anything like that, it just starts to wear me down after a while. Let me give you a few examples:

I wrote to a well know cycle luggage manufacturer, whos products I have actually ended up buying. It was a good letter - I even printed a colour route map on the back for them and said please and thank you. I didn't get a reply. I have just learnt that a guy who is doing a cycle tour of America (North, Central and South)got free luggage from them. Free! Me? Not even a reply.

Not that replies are worth getting. Example two:

Enclosed in a reply from another company was my original letter. Scribbled on the top right hand corner of the page were two words : 'Standard reply?'. Standard bloody reply?! You don't seem to have read my letter properly - THIRTY countries! ONE YEAR! ON MY OWN! Standard reply?! Jesus.

Anyway - where was I? Oh yes, the point of all this is as follows:

Despite sending out letters and generating a bit of publicity, I tend to shy away from banging on about my trip in order to generate any form of sponsorship/donation etc. People often say to me 'Have you asked so and so to sponsor you? Have you asked them for equipment?' to which I often reply 'No'. They must hear about thousands of trips, probably much more exciting/adventurous than mine. Besides, I don't really feel that comfotable just saying to people 'fancy giving me some free stuff?'.

I have, however, relented, and decided to work on the old theory of 'don't ask don't get'. My soon to be updated web page will now contain a detailed 'Equipment' section and a 'Sponsorship' page. The equipment section - here's the clever part - will give details of things I still need, and in the sonsorship I am asking directly for people to buy them for me!

Ok, so maybe not that clever, but like I said - if you don't ask you don't get.


  • At 5:10 pm, Blogger Roger said…

    Photos, Equipment and Sponsorship pages now updated.

    {slack web developer error!}


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