Eating time (but without plastics)

During the trip, we balance between cooking by our own means and small roadside restaurants.

On a daily basis

In general: tea, oatmeal (or biscuit if you can’t find it) and bananas for breakfasts. Sylvain loves these little red fruit-scented milk bricks to go with it all. Lunch and dinner in local “boui boui” are cheaper than shopping in supermarkets. Almost everything is cooked there the same day and sometimes directly in front of our eyes. Furthermore, we discover flavors and tolerances that we didn’t know each other.

Taro doughnut after a local soup

We sometimes trust “guides” or websites (like TripAdvisor), with some nice finds!

Spring rolls in Siem Reap in a restaurant supporting local projects

Another solution is to use our gas stove. Not easy for preparing dishes with local ingredients (and not having the utensils for), we find ourselves buying ingredients known in Europe, which is more expensive, not local and has a bad carbon impact. We therefore reserve these meals for exceptional situations and mainly for pasta dishes. On the other hand, we find local vegetables at the markets, because in small towns and villages they are unaccustomed to selling vegetables and fruit outside the production season. It’s pretty convenient and it avoids having to hang around the market with our seasonal fruit and vegetable calendar 😉

Market vegetables

The third solution is the on-the-go meal in the market. The problem of meals in night markets and floating markets is plastic. Everything is pre-packaged and then over-packaged (plastic bags), often individually. It is difficult to make the seller understand that you do not want to be served in disposable packaging. Their reflexes are very fast, more than ours at first.
So we get into the habit of watching every move to avoid ending up with a useless plastic bag.

Dried fish and packaged spices, Vientiane market

Zero waste solutions

Buy bulk, bring our containers (in plastic for a bicycle weight issue).
But in the markets, few stalls still sell in bulk. And there are almost no bulk stores except in the shopping malls of the capitals crossed, which does not allow us to make regular “refills” but just a one-time purchase of a reasonable weight.

Drinks issue

We no longer buy plastic bottles and fill our bottles at the water fountains available in some guesthouses or at the tap after passing through our filter pump. It’s tedious (2 minutes per bottle) but it seems to us the best alternative, much better even than hygienic solutions like Micropur. We stop from time to time to drink an iced tea served in a large plastic glass of course….

Iced green tea, ready for a bike ride!

So I insist that we take care of them in order to reuse them almost infinitely. My glass has already crossed two countries and we have acquired bamboo straws!

However, even when we drink iced tea in a real restaurant, we are sometimes served in plastic glasses again.
Never let your guard down!!

Plastic Lobby 1 – Cycloclock 0

Hard to convince

I defend my point of view on the drastic reduction of our plastic consumption with maximum reuse of containers or utensils collected inadvertently. It is important to clearly separate your needs and desires throughout the trip to determine what margin of error we are willing to accept in our waste production.
My arguments sometimes seem futile because plastic packaging is embedded in the daily lives of the inhabitants looking for everything practical, ready, all consumable. But I think it’s important to be vigilant about our consumption of plastic, cans and glass bottles and pay attention to our wastes. In particular, we try not to throw anythinh in the garbage cans of isolated areas, but in more crowded areas where the garbage will be picked up by trucks and transported, we hope, to a collection centre or even sorting.

Wall painting promoting waste collection in Vientiane

On our bikes there are…

Since the beginning of the bike trip, all our equipment is hyper functional except… our crutches. 
Sylvain’s bike under the pedal does not allow you to maintain the bike without any other support. The bag at the front of the bike carries the handlebars inwards and knocks it over. In short, the anchor is too far back… A few height adjustments can compensate a little for the imbalance. Another trick found over the water: block the rotation of the handlebars by clipping the helmet between the wheel and the frame! Nevertheless a double crutch or a front luggage carrier would have been appreciable to use, despite being overweight … 

The crutch that teams Matcha, The Bike of Clea (yes it has a small name) requires a regular tightening every two days or so in the absence of a counter nut. Nothing serious but the risk of losing it in the middle of a path on a day of travel too hectic.

Our bikes were in good condition at the beginning, so we had few repairs to do during the first two months. Only regular maintenance, tire re-inflating, cleaning and mechanical oiling are required. Until then the brakes hold up well and use normally (the V-breaks gum is reduced and The Clea’s discs take the rust slightly). 

In terms of weight, we left with about 30kg each. 
Between 13 and 15kg for each bike and 15kg of luggage
per cyclist. Sometimes we have a larger load because of the food we sometimes carry. We avoid stocking too much anyway! The
combination of Cléa’s front and rear bags is more balanced, so the races of the day often end up on the sides of Matcha. For Sylvain, the handlebar bag has to compensate a little for the load of the rear luggage rack, the tools are stored there while some rather light but bulky elements occupy the rear bags (tent, pharmacy, camera, backpack, etc. ).

Here is a snapshot of our bikes with the general distribution of the material:

It is also an opportunity to thank Cyclable stores for their sponsorship through the supply of 2 pretty red Ortlieb rear bags. Thank you again!

Below is a Boris Vian-like list of carried away items:

  • Bicycle accessories:

2 helmets

2 pairs of mudguards (easily removable)

Carriers (adapted to the frame structure)

2 simple crutches

2 anti-theft (1 U light, 1 foldable and 1 reinforced cable)

2 mirrors (not forgetting to change sides: to the right of the handlebars to Thailand, left from Cambodia)

2 doorbells and 1 compressed air horn

  • Toolkit:

2 Flexible Replacement Tires 700x35c

2 Air Chambers (1 per valve type: Schrader and Presta)

1 anti-cracking kit

1 Multi tool with chain drift included

2 English Keys

1 Key

1 Small hand pump

2 Brake cables

2 Speed cables

1 Disc brake

2 pads

2 V-brake brake pads

Oil and cleaning toothbrush

1 Chatterton

2 roll tendors (already 1 misplaced!)

  • Camping equipment:

1 Gas burner (no hose)

1 Threaded valve gas cartridge (purchased in Bangkok)

1 Ultra-light PVC-free tent (cons: non-freestanding)

1 Compact inflatable mattress

2 independent seats

2 silk sheets

2 downs 3 seasons

1 Mosquito net double

1 Popote / 2 folding plates

Cove red / eco cup

1 glasses

Hammac two seats

2 Gourdes per person

1 filter water pump

1 waterproof bag

  • Clothing per person:

1 Short

1 bike short (used only by Sylvain)

2 Tee shirts (1 synthetic and 1 me
rino)

1 Light fabric pants (in case of m
osquito alert)

Socks /under clothing Sandals (daily, pretty tan)

Low shoes Closed Walking

1 Shawl (used by Cléa for some temple visits)

Cap

1 pair of emergency bezel

K way and waterproof pants (little used at the moment)

Doudoune and cap (used at altitude in Indonesia)

Tote bags (for clothing and food shopping, useful for fighting plastic bags)

Bags compartments  

  • Toilet Kit :

Dentifrice Toothbrushes,

Soda bicarbonate (to brush teeth)

Coconut oil (for skin hydration, sunburn and hair untangling)

Homemade Solid Shampoo

Soap Homemade (thanks Lu) and those of the hostels occasionally

For laundry, ditto (we probably should have brought a Marseille soap)

Oriculis

Coupe nail

BrushHair

Sunscreen

Anti-mosquito (organic but suddenly without DEET)

Travel and rescue pharmacy

  • Other accessories:

2 watches

2 phone holders

2 smartphones

1 compass

2 headlamps (1 usb and 1 batt
ery)

1 hybrid camera

1 Go-Pro
2 e-readers

1 solar external battery

Chargers and cables micro-mini-
usb

1 electrical socket adapter ( used only in Thailand at the moment) 

Well done you’ve come to the end 🙂

Our Bicycles

We’re embarking on our travel bikes!

Clea will ride with a brand new iron frame bike and Sylvain with a SPECIALIZED men’s SIRRUS 2017 aluminium frame bike.

We will be equipped with luggage doors, saddlebags, mudguards, crutches, etc. !