I've been giving some thought to the details of the tandem equipment and with that in mind I'd been considering a number of upgrades. To clarify my thinking, which is not always clear, I rang John at JD Tandems in Gargrave who was his usual extremely knowledgeable and helpful self.

The main issue on my mind was gearing, both for this trip and for the future. Currently the cassette fitted is an 11-32 running with a triple chain set with 28-38-48 chainrings. It transpires that significantly lower gearing can be achieved whilst retaining good shifting by fitting the following combination, cassette 11-34, chainrings 26-36-48.

Making this change will leave us with no loss at the top end of the gearing but with significantly improved bottom gearing which on a loaded touring tandem is sure to be a good thing!

The current gearing setup is:

The proposed gearing setup is:

In addition to the above we plan to replace the front rack with a Tubus rack as the existing one is not as secure as I would like. JD Tandems are also going to put together a small spares pack to take with us on this and other trips which should avoid any problems of en route repairs, at least if I can find a bike shop I'll have the required bits with me even if I can't fix it!

The above will be topped off with an Ortlieb Bar Bag for easy access to the essentials during the ride. Planning is in full swing!