The Simplest Continent Crossing Bicycle

It is quite possible to spend thousands on a nice bicycle, but that is not always an option. How much equipment do you need to have a bicycling adventure? Not a lot, I claim.

As I planned to cycle from the UK to Bratislava before rafting into Romania and continuing into Asia, I had one big problem: I had no bicycle.

Then I found an old man in a village near my parents house and he sold me a couple of bicycles for £30 a piece.

£30 Bicycles

While having a bicycle is great, I then needed a way to store all my belongings. Rather than purchasing expensive panniers, I went to a big department store and bought two cool boxes for each bicycle, costing just £30 a piece, then drilled some holes and slotted in some metal rod. This gave me a place to store everything and balanced nicely on top of the rear wheel rack.

Cool box panniers

I then bought a waterproof handlebar bag and put it on the front to store my cameras and passport. After sticking a few pretty National Geographic photos onto the cool boxes, my bicycle was complete. It cost a total £81, including the handlebar bag.


I have now tested it fully loaded and you know what? It works!

This bicycle is now my home. Bring on the continent.


By | 2013-12-12T02:58:51+00:00 July 13th, 2013|Thoughts and Inspiration, UK to Slovakia on £30 Bikes|9 Comments


  1. Misha 02/07/2014 at 20:34 - Reply

    Rite On’ ! Great to se how U brought this adventure together. Recycling & DIY is my preference. Love ur groovy boxes. I just finished my bicycle journey from Washington to California along the coast. Amazing waterfalls, beaches, thrift stores,people & food dumpsters… Including inspired folks handing me funding along the way… Live our dreams…Yaa !

  2. George 16/07/2013 at 09:30 - Reply

    Tying equally weighted backpacks to either side with a bungee cord might work better and keep your stuff dryer. Just an idea but if the cool box works then go for it my friend. Make sure your handlebars are slightly below you saddle (or was that the other way around) double google check that and have fun

    • Jamie 25/07/2013 at 20:41 - Reply

      I thought about this, but I find it hard to balance and access belongings.. and backpacks can be expensive.. hang on, I’m being THAT negative person! This far the cool boxes are working great, but the bottom is somewhat uncomfortable and I perceive that it will get worse. I put my seat about the same height.. is that better or worse?!

  3. Tim Moon 16/07/2013 at 03:45 - Reply

    That sounds like it’s going to be an amazing adventure. Cool DIY project. When does your trip kickoff?

    • Jamie 25/07/2013 at 20:39 - Reply

      We’re on the road right now and loving it. Only been arrested once so far.

  4. Kevin 13/07/2013 at 13:54 - Reply

    This is one of the most efficient travel ideas I’ve ever seen. I can already picture your raft to Romania made of 100 toothpicks, a stick of glue, a handufl of paperclips and a cardboard sail.

    • Jamie 25/07/2013 at 20:38 - Reply

      Good ideas, I’ll bare them in mind.. I think I’ll get a recycled parrot too!

  5. Bram 13/07/2013 at 13:54 - Reply

    Rock on mate! I’m definitely going to follow you on this journey. I like the cool boxes a lot, very creative and awesome. However, I’m curious to see whether that bike is going to be strong enough to carry you and your stuff all the way to Slovakia. I cycled to the North Cape and back last spring and I did that with a proper touring bike. The way you’re doing it definitely adds some more adventure to an adventure. Way to go!

    • Jamie 25/07/2013 at 20:37 - Reply

      That’s a pretty awesome adventure.
      Thus far my bike is holding up. Gear changes aren’t sounding too pleasant however…!

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