Last thing. I add the front rack. But after much fiddling and head scratching, I realise that I’ve installed the forks back-to-front!
And so. I unplug the front headlight and remove it from the front forks. Remove the steerer cap and the long screw, bash the handlebars off, then remove the spacers. Flip the forks around, add the spacers, bash the handlebars back on, add the stem cap, tighten the screw.
This time. I methodically attach the front rack. I hope that the remaining screws are the correct ones, that there are enough of them and that none are left over.
Nearly there! I mount the bike to give it a little test ride. Turning the handlebars almost results in a wipe out. I realise that I’ve forgotten to tighten the bolts on either side of the stem. Sorted.
Now to load the gear on. I velcro the feed bags on to the handlebars, one either side of the stem. Then mount the pannier bags on the frame, two on the rear, two on the front. I clip the tent on to the handlebars and thread the fiddly strap between the tent bag and the stem.
I attach the solar panel bag to the rear rack. It’s stuffed full of electronics. I realise that the cheap tie downs, which my dad persuaded me to buy, were cheap because they’re too short.
Finally I roll up the laundry bag and jam this into my frame bag. I clip my helmet to my backpack, put on my backpack – and we’re done.
The whole process takes me close to 3 hours. Thankfully the smooth jams from the airplane are also playing in the terminal, and I groove through the entire process.