Testing equipment

During my training in Spain, I trialled essential equipment that I am planning to use on my around the world ride:

Garmin Edge 810

Before leaving for Spain, I purchased a Garmin Edge 810 based on its reputation for having an excellent navigation interface and good battery life. On all my rides, the Edge 810 performed incredibly well. I never felt lost or worried about the batteries running out. A great purchase! The Edge 810 has routable navigation, just like a car GPS does. It’s worth noting that the device did not come with a map for Spain or any country, but that you can either purchase a map from Garmin or download one for free from Open Street Maps. For super easy instructions to get the maps have a look as DCrainmakers review!

Apidura Saddle Pack

On the longer days, I had my Apidura saddle pack with me for warmer clothes, tools and food. This saddle pack never disappoints! A super piece of kit.

Exposure Diablo
light& garmin set up

My new Exposure Diablo front light impressed beyond my expectations! It enabled me to set off at 7am in complete darkness. Even on the lowest setting I was able to clearly see the road in front of me, and the battery life was great too.

Castelli Bib Shorts


Bibshorts matching my nails is obviously an essential 😉


Stitching coming away











I tested my new pair of Castelli bib shorts and decided that they were not up to the task. The chamois is super comfortable for long rides, but unfortunately the stitching of the chamois came away after a week of riding. I also decided that bibs, in general, are simply impractical on long rides. Having to take off your tops and jackets every time you need a comfort break is a massive time waster.

Btwin Road Shoes
btwinshoes and dhb toe covers

After 2 consecutive long rides (~220km), my Btwin road shoes, which I thought fitted me well, became very uncomfortable. Some of my toes started swelling due to constant pressure being applied to them, so new shoes are needed! I’m thinking of getting some cyclo-cross shoes with laces. Laces can be easily replaced and I’d be able to walk short, unridable sections in them, if I have to. Anyone got any they’d recommend?

Louis Garneau Course Helmet

My semi-aero Louis Garneau Course helmet was great overall. Unfortunately, I can see the weight (300g) becoming a problem when riding 10 hours a day – day in, day out – and the plastic strap adjusters on my current helmet gave out after 3 months. So, I’m also looking for a new, lighter helmet. Any recommendations?

Castelli headband

The Castelli headband is probably the best wee piece of Lycra I’ve ever owned. Being out on the bike all day means that I need to be prepared for quite a range in temperatures.  The headband protects my ears from the wind-chill on early mornings and long descents and is small enough to easily put in my jersey pocket when it gets too warm.

Sunnies/contact lenses

I am short sighted and on sunny days I was riding with contact lenses and sunglasses, with the sunglasses not only protecting my eyes from the sun, but also from the wind. This combination works fine on short rides, but on long rides, with either a start or a finish in the dark, my eyes got really dry from the wind. So, for my around the world ride I will get prescription sunglasses as well as a sporty set of clear glasses, to keep the wind out when it’s darker.


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17 Responses to Testing equipment

  1. fertuffo says:

    Great to read from you! Very intersting posts, Paula

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tedde says:

    Nice blogpost Paula!
    – I use Shimano mtb shoes (google images) on my racebike. They are quite easy to walk with actually.
    – You should look for sportglasses with inserts, they come with dark, orange and clear lenses you can switch.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris campbell says:

    B twin shoes are not really of the quality you need. Please consider mtb shoes and clips. Much easier to walk in. More versitile. Mtb shoes come in a greater verity of styles from hiking boots to running shoes, walking shoes and racing shoes. If you have sore toes it would also suggest your cleats are too far forward on your shoes and you are flexing your toes. Bikepackers and audex riders tend to push them back a bit behind the ball of the foot. Just a cm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dylan Fernley says:

      I use shimano sandals which work great, wet weather is no issue unless its real cold when overshoes would sort that – helmet is a thing I never use,since I’m not racing or taking unacceptable risks! Good luck with your trip and e joy the experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Paula,

    Firstly; good luck with your endeavours!

    In respect of the kit that you’re testing:
    – Garmin 810’s are great, until they go wrong. You should make sure that you can do a factory reset in the dark and in the rain (you might have to one day!)… and carry a backup SD Card for all data. Also, the charge cover is no particularly durable. Consider an Etrex 30 (2 x AA batteries) as a safe backup.
    – Think about carrying spare lenses for your glasses.
    – I find the Giro Synthe comfortable and very light. It’s ‘only’ 2 quid/week if you use it for 2 years!
    – It seems that Castelli are manufactured in 2 factories (?)… always very comfortable, but either they fall apart immediately, or go for many 1,000’s of km. Seems that yours came from Factory b 😦
    – As a bloke, comfort breaks are less of a problem with (low-cut) bibs. But I wouldn’t want to spend days and days in shorts. I have heard positive feedback on the ‘funnel’ devices – which would also give you more options? I understand that there is a (fairly short) ‘get used to it’ period (they’re quite cheap).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paula says:

      Hi, great comments on navigation- thank you!
      I heard loads about having to be able to make a factory reset on the 810. I’ll look up how to do that and practice it before I leave. The Etrex 30 looks like a great option for a back up device!
      I have never used shorts before so I’m not sure how much of a compromise they’ll be but I can see myself in countries where roadside calls of nature have to happen discretely and quickly. Not sure I like the idea of using a funnel! :/
      Thanks for your comments!


  5. Ivan Puja says:

    Great blog. In one breath all I read this morning. Excellent text and brilliant comments are recommendations. Great post about cycling equipment. Greetings to the author and readers. Ivan-randonneur

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ian king says:

    Batteries will weigh you down and die when you need them most. A dynamo is worth the extra expense.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Darren says:

    You may find halter-neck bib shorts a comfortable solution. They’d make comfort breaks much easier and you can still avoid having a waistband digging in. Giro have some, as well as Wiggle’s dhb brand.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. the shoes my wife and I found to be the best on our round the world ride were Sidi – the Dominator 5. Mountain bike used with Crank Brothers Candy 2 pedals – lots of float and a robust combination that you can walk in. As for shorts – Rapha lasted over 14,000 miles and still look great.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. the funnel is called shewee – get in contact my female tri pals use this system.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Andrew Flaherty says:

    Second on the dynamo – brilliant for powering lights and also for charging everything up.
    Also have a look at the tracer 360 – superb bit of kit if you are riding at night https://www.noxgear.com/tracer360


  11. Mike Henley says:

    dhb do a range of bib shorts specifically aimed at women. No idea whether they are any good.



  12. Colin Mackintosh says:

    Hi Paula,

    I have dhb aeron pro bibs which have done about 4/5000km with no wear issues and are pretty comfy, I also have a giro sythne helmet which is nice and light and well vented to keep my head cool. For shoes I use lace up giro empires which I think are great, though I did get slightly numb big toes when doing LEJOG, though I think that was more my fault than the shoes.


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