Jennifer Tough won our Free Deluxe Service competition. She works as a freelance Digital Marketer, and lives in Edinburgh.
“When I was 23, I decided to cycle round the Mediterranean. I had absolutely no plan – just my bike, and a one-way ticket out of Canada.
“After eight months my money ran out, and the last thing I bought was a €26 coach ticket to Edinburgh, where I had family. Somehow I ended up staying.
“I didn’t really start cycling till I was 21. I’d run marathons, so I was pretty fit, but cycling was something I had never really thought of. However, I travelled a lot, and when I was in Burma, I met a guy who’d cycled there from England. I kept thinking about this when I got home, and decided I wanted to give it a go it myself.
“The first big trip I took was from my hometown of Calgary up to the Yukon, about 2,500km with very little but bears, forest and the Rocky Mountains in between.
“I must’ve tried out every touring bike in town before I left. The one I eventually chose, my Sherpa, I got at a discount because the line had been discontinued, and it had been in the store for ages. She’s heavy – all Reynolds steel – but she’s never let me down.
“That being said, until I won the service, the brakes were giving me grief. With the service I got a new chain, and the brakes work again, so I actually stop when I want to, which is nice. She’s also factory clean.
“Having the Sherpa primed like this really gives me confidence for the next trip. I’m obsessed with circumnavigating. This July I’m planning on going round the Baltic Sea – starting from Denmark, through Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad, Poland, then back to Denmark. Kaliningrad and the Curonian Split is the bit I’m really looking forward to, but applying for a double-entry Russian visa and crossing their borders twice on a bicycle could get pretty ‘interesting’.
“Touring is really a courage thing. You have no idea what the roads are going to be like in other countries, whether there are going to be cycle lanes or not. However, it’s worth it for the sense of achievement, getting somewhere under your own steam – seeing tiny off the road places, passing through towns that are well off the tourist map. You get so much more out of the experience.”
Whatever type of ride you’re planning on, to ensure your bike works to its full potential consider booking it in for one of our services.