The folks at UK-based cycling adventure co. Pannier are doing great things. From before I ever started backpacking and touring, I’d had a romantic vision of touring around the English countryside – stopping into pubs when I needed food and rest, waving at sheep. The “usual stuff” had always prevented me from actually doing it – namely, the logistics of mapping a route and flying a bunch of gear across the pond. So it felt like divine intervention just a few weeks ago when I discovered the Route Beer Ramble – a 200km weekend group ride from London to Bristol, wrapping up with custom-brewed beers (and a brewery tour) at Cocksure Brewing Co.
I was told by Stef and Dave (Pannier head-honchos) that I’d only need to bring a helmet, pedals and cycling shoes – they’d essentially handle everything else. This removed my biggest obstacle – and as the sole international traveler, it made booking this trip last-minute infinitely do-able. Upon arrival, Stef had me fully setup with a beautiful Surly Straggler with fat gravel tires and Ortleib weatherproof bags. All the necessary camping gear (tent, pad and bag) would be ready and waiting for me upon arrival at our first checkpoint. This was really almost a bit too good to be true.