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Peter Gostelow

Adventure cycling


After several months of procrastination and indecision I finally bought a new bicycle last week. It was ordered 6 weeks ago in fact, but such are the popularity of Thorn bicycles that I had to wait whilst it was built. Thorn are a small company based in Bridgwater, a town which offers little in the way of attractions for a globetrotting cyclist. The company do however have a growing reputation for building strong and reliable bicycles. I was always slightly envious of Ed and Alex, the two English cyclists I rode with in Iran, who flew down bumpy mountains passes on their Thorns. It’s a shame the company’s staff aren’t more enthused by the customers who pay considerable money for what they produce. I got the impression that few people working there were really that interested in bicycles and touring.

I quickly put my new Thorn Raven to use at the weekend.  The weather couldn’t have been better as Steven Lord  joined me for a tour of the Dorset countryside, reassuring me that the Rohloff hub (an internal gear changing mechanism) was a good one. I’ll be out cycling most weekends over the next several months before departure.

My new bike: Suggestions for a name?


 Off road in Dorset

Steve Lord and his Robert's Roughstuff

Cycling on the south west coast path

Cycling on the south west coast path


First night's camping of the year

First night's camping of the year


  1. Yes you absolutely expressed my feelings about the people at Thorn(SJC).I bought a Nomad last year which is such a great bike but I cant say the same of the staff

  2. Ah, this stuff makes me want to get back on the road. Think I better get into planning for taking on South America at the end of this year. A few years ago when you were in eastern China, I started following your blog, and it was one of the ones that got me on the road.

    Your Raven looks a lot shinier than mine does right now – I need to do a bit of refitting of mine. I need to replace my grips and bar-ends – I might swap my straight carbon bars for risers like yours. Will see how they go for you.

    If I can’t find/patch the holes in my panniers, I’ll be getting some new Ortlieb ones. My old drybag has to be replaced too – that rackpack looks like it could be useful, although the drybag with a few bungee cords was pretty flexible for me. Should still be easy enough to strap random water bottles and drying clothes onto though, right?


  3. Is that a waterproof duffle bag on top of the rear panniers or normal drybags?

    • It’s a waterproof rack-pack – waterproof like the other Ortlieb stuff. I may exchange it for a drybag, although in actual fact its very strong and reliable.

  4. Ah, I’ve been wondering what your choice would finally be. So now we know, it’s the iron bird. I wish you joy with it.

  5. Looks good, man! Wish I could be preparing for a similar trip!!

    No front panniers?

    • Front panniers will be there when i get the front rack on

  6. Man, you have no idea how much those photos make me want to be back in England!!!

    • I do think I will miss this when I leave. Great to see your photos of Ethiopia. Best of luck with Yemen.

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