Over the last few weeks I’ve been blogging about my biggest challenge yet. It has nothing to do with distance, speed, mileage, or any other kind of challenge we traditionally construct for ourselves. No; the challenge was to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats without any money whatsoever.
What I hoped to achieve was an insight into the world of free travel. People have been wandering pennilessly for as long as journeys have existed, but nowadays the perceived barriers to travelling — or doing anything — if you don’t have much money are bigger than ever. I wanted to see if those barriers were real or imagined, and how you might not just overcome them but enjoy yourself in the process too.
If you haven’t read the blog series and want to know what happened, start here and follow the journey from start to finish (or get on the mailing list for the forthcoming ebook version, which subscribers will get for free).
* * *
In the meantime, I want to give the bicycle I did it on and all of the gear to another adventurous soul — someone who’s up for taking the reins and heading off on an adventurous bicycle journey this summer.
The bike and gear cost less than the price of a round of drinks (that’s another story), and I’ve proven it’s capable of taking you across a country. And if it can cross one country, it can cross a great many more.
It’s a simple machine, a steel frame with basic parts you’ll be able to fix and replace anywhere very cheaply — which makes it a fantastic choice for taking off into the great unknown.
- Granny basket
- Panniers & rain covers
- 2‑man tent
- Camping mat
- Sleeping bag
- Beer-can stove and tin mug
- Basic tools & spares (inc. Gaffa Tape and cable ties)
- Various other useful bits and bobs
- As much help and advice from me (in person, phone, Skype, email, etc) as you like.
What’s not included
- Spirit of adventure (bring your own)
- Any guarantee about what will happen!
Because I have just the one bike, I’m obliged to run a competition of sorts to choose who gets it. The rules are very simple:
- Just tell me and the rest of the community here about the plans you’ve got for it. Anything at all.
- Do this by posting your ideas in the comments section of this post.
- Finally, share this article (social media buttons below) to spread the word and make things fair.
The terms and conditions are equally simple:
- You’ll send me a write-up and photos of your trip (to be published here),
- You’ll pass on all the gear to somebody else (for free) when you no longer need it,
- You’ll ideally collect the bike from me in either Bristol or London, but if you can’t, I’ll pay for it to be couriered anywhere in mainland Britain.
- Lastly, the bike will suit a bloke of average height, with a bit of room for adjustment. Don’t enter if you won’t be able to ride it!
Coolest plan submitted before midnight on Sunday 13th July 2014 wins everything. (Not sure what’s appropriate? Read the #freeLEJOG blog series — I’m looking for plans made in a similar spirit!)
And if you don’t win, remember that you’re still a winner — because you now know how to get a free touring bike and gear and then carry out your trip for free as well. No more excuses!
42 replies on “Coolest adventure plan gets a free touring bike & gear. One week to enter!”
[…] Phillips is a comic artist who first started drawing for a contest to win a touring bike and gear. Guess what – she won that bike and set off riding it around the world. Today, she is an avid […]
[…] Tom, having successfully completed his mission, then decided to set up a competition named “Coolest adventure plan gets a free touring bike and gear!“ […]
[…] Tom, having successfully completed his mission, then decided to set up a competition named “Coolest adventure plan gets a free touring bike and gear!“ […]
[…] the summer I won a bicycle called Charlie. I flew from Cape Town to Bristol to collect him and the two of us spent a few weeks making our way […]
Love Will’s RTW relay idea, and Simon’s coastguard trip, and Tiago’s beer bikery…who will win?!!
Hello Tom and everybody!
My entry is illustrated — please take a look at it using either this link (video):
Or this link (PDF):
I also like the travelling bicycle/community relay idea — wonderful!
After getting the touring bug, I’m planning to ride from London to Oslo this August, making portraits of all the people I meet on the way, and photographs of the beautiful landscapes and towns, as well as the not so nice stuff.
A big part of the journey will be documenting the fantastic facilities in the Netherlands. Especially looking forward to seeing Groningen!
All the stuff would help immensely!
Magic. Some believe, some don’t. I knew it was real when I met A. She caught my eye across a crowded room and things were never the same again. A is a cyclist and a damned good one. She has the engine of a 787 Dreamliner which never runs out of fuel. At the time I was injured and it would be some months before I could get it going again. So when it came to cycling I just couldn’t keep up. Then there is another challenge; I don’t have my own bike.
A is continually telling me her travel stories, the people she meets, the scenes she encounters and the magic of the adventure, especially the not knowing.
To begin my own adventure I am planning a simple cycle from Newcastle to Edinburgh and a trip through the outer Hebrides with A. She doesn’t know.
With this wondrous bike I will be able to keep up as she slows down!
So my story is about a journey, but not necessarily the journey from A to B, the journey from Lands End to John O’Groats or travelling across Europe. It is a journey about self discovery and sharing an adventure with the one I love and care about the most. She even sent me the link to this blog!
Our team would take the bike to capture photos and narratives of folks across the country who are willing to share their reason for voting. Our website is nonpartisan, so we need to visit many places to capture the widest range of voter portraits and opinion.
In May this year my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer which spread to her bones and lymph glands. She’s since had two rounds of chemotherapy and was responding well for the first few weeks but sadly a series of infections have left her too unwell for the chemo to continue and on Monday she will be moving into a nursing home for palliative care. Over the hours and weeks I’ve been visiting her in hospital a germ of an idea has been formulating in my mind.
Here in Brixham, where my mum also lives, I’m a volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officer with the Berry Head team. On call 24 hours we respond to emergencies and are trained in cliff rescue and search and rescue techniques – one of 360 similar teams all round the UK coast. My plan is to raise money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation by cycling around the South West peninsula visiting all 52 Coastguard stations en route, nearly 800 miles in total through the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Avon and Dorset – some of the toughest cycling terrain in the country. Following coast roads as near as possible the ride will take me from Brixham to Lands End and then up as far as Portishead before turning south to Portland Bill and hence home to Brixham. I’m thinking that the first two weeks in September would the ideal time for this ride. I’d like to think my mum would still be around when I roll back into Brixham but sadly it’s unlikely.
I was originally thinking of using my road-bike for the ride but realised I would need support doing it this way and have been unable to find anyone able to help. A self-supported trip is the only hope I have of completing this ride and with no funds available to purchase a touring bike I was very intrigued to discover your blog post and hope you might find this worthy of consideration. I’m envisaging the ride to take just over 2 weeks after which I would be happy to hand the bike and gear over to the next person, Thanks for listening and a great site btw.
I will be working in Milan soon. I believe I have found a fantastic straight forward route and I cannot wait to start the wheels spinning. I will cycle from Milan, through the Alps and along the south cost of France, following it round to Barcelona. I will then get the ferry across to Mallorca where I will do a few days/weeks of Deep Water Soloing and exploring. (Climbing is my second passion and Mallorca has the worlds best DWS). I will not use a method of navigation other than my own “Sense of direction”. I hope I get lost.
Hello everyone from Italy!
My plan is simple, take a bike, around early October, and leave from Rome, where I live, toward the south. I will use NO MONEY, but I will be carrying with me equipment to make a web series with interviews with people, asking them what their best memory with money is. The journey will be called INTO THE CRISIS, and I purposely want to do it in a part of Italy that has always lived some sort of crisis. I want to take the most rural roads, find semi abandoned towns, and connect the dots I have been collecting. What are these dots? The people I heard about who carry out great projects, just like all of you guys. All the best to us =) If you like me to win this bike, please keep in touch and follow the adventure, all the videos and multimedia material will be in Italian, but with English subtitles, and they will lead you to know about unknown parts of this beautiful, messed up country that is Italy.
I’m well up for an adventure, and a laugh too. And I really want to save the world. Help definitely required, and everyone is SO welcome to join. This is part of it (the bike-relevant bit). Happening regardless, somehow, but a friend showed me your blog a while ago and it’s in my favourites so I spotted this. Yay!
1. Cycle everywhere. Maybe not oceans. We’ll see.
2. Find somewhere to live, permaculture style (some people refer to me as an ape or a hermit when I mention this… could be right. But that’s ok. About 5 people seriously want to join me so far).
3. Help everyone who could possibly need my help on the way. I get myself into weird situations asking if random strangers need a hand packing up their stall or renovating or selling Big Issues. I’m up for hugs, gardening, giving lessons, renovating, running a full scale project, or just doing someone’s washing. Whatever. Not fussed, if I can make someone, whoever they are and for however long (longer preferred), happy. Or help the environment, which is a biggie for me. Come on guys, help me out and stop buying everything. It’s sad.
4. Get out of Western ‘civilisation’ (note the right sarky tone I said that in) and get that gear to somebody awesome. Maybe even somebody I met in #3.
I’ve got a tent, reflectors and a wheel. And a handmade spoon. Just need the rest of a bike. And maybe something kiiind of similar to what you’re got pictured up there (except bike tools, got a couple of those actually. I could pass them on. But flipflops would be super useful, people are always telling me to wear shoes, when they’re not telling me to wear shoes that aren’t worn through the bottom with old inner tube glued on. Tough break). Just got to move my behind/wheels and keep giving owt for nowt as I go, on the lookout for a perfect permaculture spot. Just how it should be.
I’d just like to add that WILL YOUR IDEA IS AWESOME please let’s make that happen.
Why so many fellas, eh? Is it because the bike won’t fit a woman?
Anyway, I don’t need a bike, as I have my own tourer, but I thought I’d pass on what I’ve been up to in the spirit of adventure…a few years ago I chucked in the ole job, bought a cycle over the ‘phone and began cycling alone around Europe. The aspiration — still ‘in progress’ — was to explore the history of western civilisation. No route as such, just the good ole Stealth Bike and the willingness to stop by whatever bit of history came my way or what people told me about as I cycled. Basically, a kind of history exploration through mediaeval France (800‑1450), Renaissance Italy (1300–1550), Reformation Germany (1400–1750) and later Revolutionary Britain (1600–1914). I came back from Germany last year (Baltic in November…brrr!) and rather than Britain I’m heading off to do Spain and Reconquista (750‑1492) at some point…so much warmer! Then there’s that trip from northern Norway down through Scandiwegia and the Viking lands, through the highlands, Ireland and the Celtic west to Galicia to trace the story of the Dark Ages….(0–800 AD).
Adventure isn’t only about having a laugh, it can also be an intellectual exploration — though it’s so much more fun outside the confines of a library. I’ve become completely fascinated by the myths and legends which make ‘us’ who we are — not to mention learnt four languages in the process! I wouldn’t do it with no money — sorry, but I just wouldn’t feel very safe — but I’ve not always needed some, given the hospitality I’ve encountered. If I finish all my plans, there’ll be Byzantium some time, and the Wine Dark Sea was definitely calling when I got to the heel of the boot of Italy. 15,000 or so miles in. One puncture. No mechanicals. Marvellous!
I love the adventure you’re doing!
It must be so rewarding to learn history this way, being able to be immersed into the culture and right on the sites where history happened.
Do you have a blog or website? I would love to learn more about what your trip. Cycle touring, Europe, myths and history are all topics I am very interested in.
Ajab eradei dari pesar khili azat khosham omade harmoghe iran omadi drbast dar ekhtiaret hastam har jai az iran ro khasti bebini khodam mibaramet khili karet doroste
Why don’t we see if we can get this bike around the world as a huge community relay. Some one picks it up in London and cycles to Berlin, another from Berlin to Istanbul etc etc.
Each person blogs about their experiences and improves the bike in some fashion.
That would be really cool.
I’d be up to be part of that. Ace idea.
‘Community relay’ then starts to need plans and organising and deadlines to meet and surely then all becomes ‘about’ the bike rather than somebody’s personal adventure at their own pace which ‘includes’ the bike. I don’t know any of the contenders but personally would vote for Eliot. Simple straightforward adventure, no charity or support teams, little money and his personal growth and experiences blowing with the wind.……
Hi team, I hope everyone’s well? I don’t like the word plan, I have always found that as soon as you plan something, it means that you allow for something to go wrong, I prefer to refer to these things as dreams. I have many things amidst my dreams & bucket list I’d like to tick off over the next few years, so far this year I have ran the London Marathon, all going well I will be tandeming from London to Paris at the end of the month & then when I return I’ll be partaking in the London Triathlon before going to Burning Man, Vegas & South America.
However the dream is to cycle around the world this time next year in order to set up a sporting charity in Cambodia, a country & nation which stole my heart when I was there for 3 months. I have never done anything of this magnitude before & I’m currently exceptionally busy with all of the above, but I’m also in the process of trying to create a blog & get sponsorship for this adventure — I’m hoping to call it a beard, a bike & a bucket list. The idea basically being that I give myself a year to do it & grow a beard the entire time, taking snaps day by day & trying to tick off as much from my bucket list as I can, with everything that’s going on getting a working bike & the accompanying gear would be one leas thought & concern.
Thanks for reading
“There is more to Britain than a single map can show, more histories than a single book can tell. Monuments, houses, whole villages sometimes, lost to all human knowledge until you turn the bend in the hidden road and meet with an echo or relic of a by-gone realm. Wessex, Loegria, the Danelaw, Trinovantium, Siluria, the Isles of Avalon, Sodor and Ultima Thule – you may no longer use their names or think of them as real places, but now and then you can glimpse them, where the veneer of the modern day wears thin.”
This is from the first chapter of my novel-in-progress, Poly-Olbion, where the hero cycles from Land’s End to John O’Groats through a Britain where the myth, legend and history blend indistinguishably into the modern day. In the first chapter alone, he dances with Terpsichore, the muse of dancing, joins a tour group of bicycling satyrs and witnesses the landing of Brutus, mythical founder of Britain, at Totness bay.
I’m midway through chapter two at the moment and have detailed plans for everything up to chapter four, which involves dragons, a shadowy government organisation and a secret base on the Welsh Borders called Project Vortigern. However, in despite of devouring the guidebooks and blogs I still need to do the End to End myself to gather inspiration and extra detail, and this handy bike touring package will allow me to do that — and doubtless, complete my novel in twice the time it would have taken otherwise.
I blog — on an eclectic mix of topics — at http://thomastyrrell.wordpress.com/
after cycling from Munich to Scotland in 2012 ( http://vimeo.com/50016268 ), my girlfriend will be joining me this year when cycling from Munich to Lisbon (Portugal). We’re going to spend approx. 3 months on the road, together with our two dogs (in trailers).
Unfortunately she does not have any bike yet that would be comfortable to do the trip with, so we’re hoping to get some support here 🙂
Fabian & Stefanie
I have no amazing plan to save the world nor take-on a major charitable campaign, I am simply looking for an adventure. I am 23 and my brother and I have both just spontaneously quit our low paying long hour jobs in the rat race, to set out on our first cycling trip where we intend to cross Europe from London to Istanbul on a 4000 km adventure on extremely limited budgets (which quitting our terribly payed jobs has not helped).
It would be amazing to pass the gear on to the next person who is ready to quit staring at a screen 24 hours a day and to continue the legacy of opening people eyes to the real world. We set out on our adventure on August 10th and will be documenting it all along the way. If I am to receive this gear, I will purchase a GoPro with the money I had put away for the gear to film our exploration of Europe and ourselves.
Next Easter, my mate, Tom, and I will be flying down to Joburg, making our way to Gaborone, Botswana, then hopping on our bikes and pedalling 1500 km over 2 weeks through the nothingness of the southern African nation up to Victoria Falls on the Zambian border, all in the name of supporting the mental health charity, Mind. Will be shooting footage — shot by our Australian support crew (insisted upon by the charity due to the fact that they said they couldn’t be seen supporting something that could possibly lead to us dying — we really hope that doesn’t happen anyway!), who don’t technically have any first aid experience, but seem to be keen nonetheless — to form part of a documentary that looks into the impact of fitness and motivating challenges to help those who’ve suffered from depression and other mental battles.
The journey may not seem particularly epic but the challenge that lays before us comes from the endless stretches of road that do nothing but roll over the horizon for mile upon mile! That and lions (and cheeky monkeys). Plus, neither myself or Tom have embarked on any sort of long distance cycle previously, so we really need to get out there and start training! Oh, and learn how to fix a puncture.…still no idea what we’re doing there!
I am in middle of trying to start my career and lifestyle as a Woodsman/woodland management worker. I want to start my own business in Sustainable woodland and countryside management working for land/woodland owners. I live in Herefordshire and I am trying to set up spending a month (in Herefordshire) cycle touring/wild camping around all the woodlands and countryside which is sustainably managed so I can volunteer and learn all the skills I need to start my career. Part the reason for me choosing to cycle tour and wild camp is because I want to as part of my business adventure be as eco-friendly and low-impact as possible. So my main mode of transport for work would be bicycle and trailer (all items to be sourced by recycling or second-hand). I will be setting up my own blog/website to write about my adventure, eco-living, exploring the countryside/wild camping and traditional country craft.
The bike and camping equipment would be a perfect starting point for me for my month long adventure to start up my future life.
I love this idea and love the stories and tips from all of your adventures. I too have never done a long distance tour by cycle but in August 2015 I plan to participate in the Transcontinental Bike Race. I know I will not be “racing” it, but still riding at a quick pace covering many kilometers each day. I am a Canadian coming to London to be a teacher and will use the bike everyday to commute to different schools and areas, and on weekends train for the big event!
This reminds me of a radio station that gave away a free wedding at McDonald’s as a price to a couple. The competition sounded grandiose and the winning couple didn’t realize that McDonald’s wasn’t some nice event center (I even thought that) but truly just the fast food restaurant. Needless to say there were some hard feelings about winning the price.
I’m not dissing McDonald’s as a wedding location, just saying that one needs to know what they get into. I.e. I wouldn’t recommend Tom’s #freeLEJOG equipment to someone that not ready to enjoy the adventures of misery, especially equipment failure. But anybody reading Tom’s blog should know that already. 😉
Haha that’s so true! I have some really, really lovely camping gear and the idea of cycling round Britain in late Autumn without it all and instead relying on that tent and the useless waterproofs described with such hate by Tom in one of his blogs almost filled me with enough dread to not enter this competition!
All the more reason to enter! Don’t want to go soft around the edges too soon!
Plus, the “adventure of misery” has always been quite appealing. Can’t say I understand why apart from the fact that it always seems to produce the best memories… or at least the most persistent memories!
Some awesome ideas on here already 🙂
It’s already pretty obvious which entrants understand the ethos of this giveaway, and which have just seen the words ‘free bike’ on Twitter and skipped straight to the comments… 😉
hi. I had thos crazy idea for more than few years but I never got ready to make it real, an advise from someone like you would be great. so at first when I was living in lithuania I allways had idea of traveling into chinia without any money, but because of some mistakes I did in my life I couldnt make it real since I had a loan and needed to work hard for it, now I live in uk, have pretty good job, and I think I will be able to get that money in half a year or so. and when that will happen im thinking about taking my bike, tent, sleeping bag, some other gear and take a money free ride around the world without any destination. I never feel good when im staying in one place, finding a new amazing places, new cultures, that what I call realy living a life and makes me feel realy good. I dont have a wife or even a girlfriend and because im only 23 years old the big adventure would be great thing to remember as being old. so any advises highly appreciated.
I hope that you will learn a lot by reading through the 9‑part blog series I’ve just published about travelling money-free…
I vote Martin #soulcycling
So this is the plan: cycle the world for beer. As a brewer, I’ve been visiting breweries on my bike trips, to talk to the brewers, to take inspiration from them, to learn brewing techniques. At the same time, I’m supporting these breweries by showing to the world what kinds of beers they’re making, as they’re small craft producers that don’t have the marketing power of the big companies.
On September 2013 me and my brother cycled from Florence to London, 2400 km visiting more than 20 breweries. We made a video of the trip, you can watch it on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nXmtubNSoE
And the next step is Britain! Now I’m living in London, and did it to take 20 days off work to cycle the UK, starting next Monday 14th July!
It will be a 1700 km ride from London to Aberdeen, showing the best of british craft breweries. I’ll post all the pictures and videos on the facebook page, Beer Cycling Trip: https://www.facebook.com/beercycletrip
In the future, I’m planning to start my trip around the world. When I leave London, that will be about 4 years from now, I want to cycle each continent with the same purpose: beer culture. From St. Petersburg to Porto, Japan to Jerusalem, Alaska to New York, Perth to Melbourne, Cape Town to Cairo, Panama to Tierra del Fuego. Every culture has had its own fermented drink, and I’m going there to drink it!
If you guys like the project, take a look at the Kickstarter page, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1244828598/great-british-beer-cycling , I’m trying to raise funds to help me get a GoPro camera (the last trip I filmed it with a friend’s GoPro), a good sleeping bag, pannier bags and food during the trip.
If I win the bike and the gear, I would be happy to pass the bike on to someone else with the same adventurous spirit, as I already have got my beloved Coppi which we already rode many kilometers together.
That’s it, good luck everyone with your trip plans!
Bicycle Powered Go Fossil Free UK Speaking Tour!
I’m going to cycle from John o’Groats to Lands End over the course of about 6 weeks from late September. The purpose is to raise awareness of the links between the fossil fuel industry, deforestation in Borneo, and climate change, and so I will give at least one talk about deforestation in Borneo and the Go Fossil Free Campaign every day off the journey (even if it’s to a group of yocals in a country pub, but hopefully also to universities, schools, and environmental groups).
I love the idea of doing this by bike because of the carbon free nature of the journey, but it’s also something I have always wanted to do. I think it’s going to be a bit life changing. Your #freelejog experiment inspired me to travel by bicycle so it would be a really fitting extension to your journey and that of the bike and gear. There’s also some cool links between the low impact history of the bike and gear and this project.
I have a bunch of additional ‘rules’ to make sure I do as much as possible along the way and don’t start making it too easy on myself. I’ve listed them all on my blog.
One of the rules is to do something I haven’t done with multimedia before. While I have done a lot of filming and have made some short films, I’ve never made a feayure length film so I’ve decided I’m going to try to make a film that combines footage and interviews from Borneo that I’ll be filming this summer with clips from my talks in the UK, and the bicycle journey itself. I’m really, really excited about that!
So that’s my idea! For a bit more background and the rest of the rules check out my blog:
Good luck to everyone who enters!
p.s. if anyone can think of a good hashtag for that I’ll visit your town and buy you a beer on the way!
Cycling for adventure and a healthier planet – sounds like a winning idea
I have never done a long distance bike ride and I decided on Friday that in the first week of September, I am going to ride through Poland, Austria, Slovenia, a tiny part of Italy and finally Croatia.
I will take the clothes on my back. Possibly a water bottle! That’s about it!
I live in the French Alps in the winters and I would LOVE to pack up this bicycle and use nothing more than a map and a compass to make my way from sunny Surrey to mountainous Meribel and enjoy the culinary delights of various vineyards, boucheries, boulangeries and fromageries along the way. There are some gorgeous quiet rural areas of Normandy, Burgundy and the Jura and I would cycle along as much of the canal system as possible, stopping along the way to see friends of mine that live on the peniches (barges). Aaaargh, too excited!
Hi Tom when I saw you completion I thought great I would love to do a trip Bristol to Sheffield not big by world standards but an adventure for me and the next adventurer could then take it from Sheffield to their destination. I won’t be entering as I am to tall for your bike. Also looking in the shed I have got most of that kit already, just need to be selfish enough to go and do it.
Planning to do 150 cycle events over the coming 10 years along with 17 marathons 5 ultra marathons, mudruns and 4 epic kayak/canoe journeys. majority of which are solo all in the aid of Charity