the bike 

Bike Front 2.jpeg

What’s Going to Take Me Home

Preparing for a trip like this, I honestly had no idea where to start. My longest ‘bike tour’ prior to this was Oban - St Andrews and I made it on a £100 road bike from Tesco with a backpack of all my stuff on my back. I had an amazing time but it’s safe to say that it was not the most efficient set up, and I don’t think it would’ve got me half way around the world.

No, this trip called for something a little more specialised. I began looking into touring bikes with racks that I could attach panniers to, and learned that most touring bikes have inexpensive components that are easy to fix or replace even in remote parts of the world — welcome news for my budget. One name that kept cropping up on various websites was Marin’s Four Corners.

Bike 1.jpeg

After a bit of digging, I found out Marin actually had a store in Shanghai so I headed there for a look. After spending a while checking out all the bikes and accessories and chatting to the manager, I decided that the Marin Four Corners was going to be the bike that took me home. He helped me order in the correct size and a week later I went back to pick it up. The bike itself cost about £500, with the manager giving me a discount of about £100 since the trip was for charity. The racks I got cost about £60 for the front and rear and I added a Brooks leather saddle and bar tape for about £100. So in total, I spent about £660.

In Xi’an, week three of the trip.

In Xi’an, week three of the trip.


  • Marin steel frame and fork

  • Shimano sora groupset

  • Random Chinese brand front and rear racks

  • WTB resolute tyres: Chunky for the unpaved roads of Central Asia

  • 12º flared drop handlebars with Brooks leather bar tape

  • Brooks B17 saddle