My bike near Kap Arkona during a cycle tour on the Isle of Ruegen with the Baltic Sea in the background

One of the most important questions you might struggle with before your first longer cycling adventure is: What kind of bike should I ride? A lot has been written around this issue, where I barely can contribute much (I myself am a huge fan of Tom Allen’s blog where I learned a lot – you should definitely visit it). But what I can share with you is my personal story of me and my ‚trusty steed‘.

As probably for most of us my decision was constraint by the available budget – and mine was very tight. So, I decided to trust in the old assets which I have already acquired in the past and relied on my Bergamont Vitess 5.1 (2011). No, it is no dedicated high-end touring bike for long distance cycling like e.g. the Surly Long Haul Trucker / Disc Trucker, the Patria Terra, the Norwid Gotland or the Tout Terrain Silkroad which you probably might have on your list (you find a good configuration of the Surly bike on my good friend Anne Westwards‘ blog). But it had one major advantage on its side: it was already mine. And above that, I trusted in it and I was used to cycle on it, also for longer tours even though not so long as now was planned.

As my close and most of the time only companion my bike got a name, of course. May I introduce „Fiete“ [ˈfiːtə]. Well, chances are you have never heard of this name. But if you have your roots in the north of Germany as both Fiete and I have, it may sound familiar to you. To be honest, I derived the name Fiete from the bike model’s name „Vitess“ and it was a funny coincident when I realized that Fiete is a „Hamburger Jung“ coming from Hamburg St. Pauli where Bergamont is based. Is it weird to name ones bike? Not at all!!! 🙂

Over the years I modified the bike’s initial configuration to make it more suitable for my journeys. Here are the current specs as of August 2019.

FrameBergamont 700c AL-6061 Aluminium alloy 52cm male
ForkBergamont Rigid Fork
HeadsetTattoo SI-919, Semi-Integrated, Cartridge Bearing
StemTattoo Race Comp Lite
Rear DerailleurShimano Deore RD-M590
Front DerailleurShimano Deore FD-M590
CassetteShimano SLX CS-HG80, 11-34T, 9-speed
CranksetShimano Deore FC-M590, 175mm, 22-32-44T
ChainShimano Ultegra/XT CN-HG93, 9-speed, 116 links
RimsRyde Sputnik 19-622 (28”), 36 holes, double eyeletted, DV valve with Mavic Valve Hole Reducer
TyresSchwalbe Marathon Plus Tour, 47-622
InnertubesSchwalbe SV17, 28”, Sclaverand valve
SpokesDT Swiss, steel
Front HubShimano Deore LX DH-T670, Hub Dynamo for V-Brake
Rear FreehubShimano SLX FH-M675
Bottom BracketShimano BB-ES25, Octalink V2, 68×121-mm
Shifter LeversShimano Deore, SL-M590
Brake LeversShimano Deore BL-M590
Brake CalipersShimano Acera BR-M422 V-Brake
Brake ShoesKool Stop Cartridge H5 V-Brake
PedalsShimano Tiagra PD-A530, combination SPD/flat
SaddleSelle Royal Ariel
SeatpostTattoo Comp, 27,2 x 300mm
Seatpost ClampProcraft Elite MTB, 31.8mm
HandlebarsTattoo Riserbar Pro
GripsErgon GP4, size L, with Fullsize-Barend
Front LowriderTubus Tara
Rear Carrier RackRacktime Fold-it
HeadlightB&M Lumotec Lyt-N LED, 25 Lux
TaillightB&M Toplight Flat Plus LED
MudguardsTattoo SP-45A*3
ExtrasAtran Velo kickstand, 2 standard bottle cages and 2 for 1.5ltr PET bottles, Vaude Klick Fix System for handle bar bags, Sigma bike computer BC 5.12, Cycle2charge USB-Charger, waterproof smartphone mount