There's a lot of gear that goes into surviving on the road for three months!

The Unicycle

I'll be riding on a 36" Kris Holm Unicycle. I chose this particular machine as I've always had an affinity for Kris Holm Unicycles - for some reason, none of the other brands stand up to my aggressive riding. The main debate I faced was whether to ride with a 29" or a 36". The 29er is easier to transport, lighter, easier to get parts for, and the potential for injury is less in the event of a crash (because it has a slower top speed). But the 36er is fast. In the end I settled on the 36er as the 29er just isn't quite fast enough for this sort of trip. If worst comes to worst and something breaks, I can always have replacement parts shipped out to me.

 

Unicycle specs:

Frame: 36 inch 7005 T6 aluminum KH
Saddle: KH Fusion One
Seatpost: KH Pivotal 27.2 x 320mm
Hub: KH Spirit - 36 hole (spoke length 369mm)
Rim: Nimbus Nightrider - 42mm wide, 36 hole
Cranks: KH Spirit 127/150 ISIS
Pedals: Wellgo clear polycarbonate platform
Tire: Nimbus Nighter 36 x 2.25 inch
Brake: Shimano Deore-level Hydraulic Disc Brake with 180mm rotor


the Panniers

The main problem I faced when planning a self-supported unicycle tour was where to store my stuff. Backpacks are out of the running (that much weight held above a unicycle really messes with the centre of balance) and being attached by harness to a child chariot would limit control and maneuverability. The only option, therefore, was to attach everything to the frame. Stores have yet to hit upon the lucrative market of unicycle panniers, so I contacted Cary Gray, one of the previous record holders for Longest Unicycle Trip. He was incredibly generous in sending me the measurements and stencils for his own pannier set-up. An absolutely wonderful friend of mine, Rhonda, put an enormous amount of time and effort into bringing my panniers to life. She did an amazing job and I can't thank her enough. 

 Front (left) and rear (right) panniers, plus the backpack I'll be wearing to carry water and extra food. 

Front (left) and rear (right) panniers, plus the backpack I'll be wearing to carry water and extra food. 

With the panniers being made, I was faced with the challenge of attaching them to my unicycle. I am very indebted to Ed Pratt, a touring unicyclist currently riding around the world, whose pannier rack design was pivotal for my own design. I spent some time communicating with machine shops, but ultimately, their quoted costs to bring my designs into reality were just too high for my student budget. Instead, I contacted a good friend of mine, Colin, and together, over the course of 30 odd hours and fueled by pizza and sleep deprivation, we built my whole frame set-up. 

The whole structure is built with aluminum for its strength and lightness. It's composed of a front and rear top bar attached to a central piece on the seatpost, with a reinforced fender beneath. The panniers are attached to the top bars, while the fenders brace them from underneath and support part of the weight. The front top bar also has handlebars - a vital element for controlling the swing of the unicycle when it's bearing so much weight.


The equipment

The nature of the panniers and the unicycle itself means that unlike a bicycle, where you can attached two front bags, two back bags, handlebar bag, frame bags etc, space on a touring unicycle is at a premium. Additionally, if you add a lot of weight on a bicycle, it just becomes slower. With a unicycle, if there's too much weight, it literally becomes impossible to mount. Not only do you have to think about overall weight with a highly critical eye, you also have to be concerned with weight distribution. If there's too much weight in the rear bag or too much weight right at the front or back, the unicycle will buck me off. All this means that my kit has been cut down to the base essentials.

 A properly knolled gear pile

A properly knolled gear pile

camping

Tent - Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 (in dry bag)
Sleeping bag - Big Agnes Thunderhead SL 30° (in compression dry bag)
Thermorest - NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad
Stove - MSR Pocket Rocket 2
Lighter
Fuel

Pots - Snow Peak Mini Solo V2 Titanium Cookset
Spork
Swiss Army Knife

Clothing

Cycling jersey
Padded Chamois shorts x2
Hi-vis cycling jacket
Visibility vest
Wind pants
Goretex pants
Long-johns
Pants
Tee shirt
Shirt
Tank top
Down sweater
Hoodie
Raincoat
Socks x2
Underwear x3
Buff x2
Cycling gloves
Gloves (warm)
Helmet
Shoes - Five Ten Freerider Pro
Sunglasses

 

Electronics

Phone - Samsung Galaxy A5 + power cable
Music - Ipod Touch + headphones + power cable
Lights - Front and rear on helmet + power cable
Tracker - Delorme inReach SE + power cable
Camera - GoPro Hero 6 + extra battery + charger
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Steripen +
extra batteries
Headlamp
Power Adapter

External Battery

 

Miscellaneous

Dry bags - OR
Notebook + pens
Ziploc bags
Wallet
Bear spray
Canada by Bicycle book
Latin Grammar book
Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek (gotta still study!)
Chamois cream
Toothbrush + toothpaste
Sunscreen
Bug spray
First Aid kit
Micro towel
Toilet paper

Tools and repair

Cord
Thermarest patch
Gorilla tape
Zip ties
Super glue
Allen keys (4mm, 5mm, 6mm)
Spanners (10mm, 11mm x2, 15mm)
Spoke wrench
Tube Patch Kit
Pump
Spare 29" inner tube
Tire levers
Spare brake pads
Spare nuts and bolts