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Jack Luke’s Gear of the Year 2022 | The kit that made cycle touring better than ever

Whoever could have predicted Jack would pick his tandem again this year?

Jack Luke's touring tandem

My role exposes me to lots of shiny new tech, but I’ve made a conscious effort to be less acquisitive this year.

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Being honest, I have pretty much all the kit I could ever need for my riding, and I’m struggling to stuff any more into my pokey wee hoose.

As such, I’m bringing you a tighter selection of the kit that has impressed me most in the past 12-months – they’re all products I’ve used for years now and couldn’t live without.

Squirt wax chain lube

I am not sad committed enough to immersion wax my chains, so Squirt does me just fine.
Simon von Bromley / Immediate Media

I desperately hope lubricator-in-chief Simon von Bromley neglects to read this article – I already hear enough unsolicited opinions about why wax makes the best chain lube in the office without him knowing I’m a convert.

But, alas, it’s true – 2022 was the year I fully ditched my wet lube habit and waxed myself up.

I’m not quite dedicated enough to go full slow cooker, but I’m also not chasing marginal performance gains.

For me, the attraction of wax lube is its cleanliness – if applied to a degreased chain, hot soapy water is enough to clean it off. Application is also easy. These are two key benefits because I am very lazy.

Trust me – once you go wax, you won’t go back.

My tandem

I can think of no better way to spend my life than rumbling around from bothy to bothy on this daft bike with Laura.
Jack Luke / Our Media

This is a cop-out as I’ve included a variation of ‘my tandem’ in most yearly round-ups, but I care not one jot.

This year’s two-week tandem tour around Scotland with Laura was the most fulfilling and fun trip I have done in years, and the bike was key to the experience.

A tandem is more sociable and amusing than touring on solo bikes. It’s hard to be mad or take yourself seriously when you look so stupid.

Riding a loaded tandem into a headwind feels like pushing a wheelie bin through snow, but it’s all just part of the fun. We were never rushing, so who cared if we ate our muffins and custard (divine) by lamplight an hour later?

The tandem’s considerable heft also forces the day’s pace to be contemplative and unhurried.

I felt as though I knew Scotland to the marrow, but revisiting familiar places at touring speed reminds one that all corners of the earth give up their secrets slowly.

Expect the same message again next year.

Five Ten Five Tennies

Five Ten is the master of flat-pedal shoes.
Jack Luke / Our Media

The Five Ten Five Tennie is, officially, an approach shoe (a lightweight hiking shoe).

Despite this, I’ve found it to be an excellent choice for cycle touring.

The Stealth Rubber sole sticks tenaciously to flat pedals and the suede upper is fairly weather-resistant.

They’re also comfortable to walk in (we regularly took to shanks’ pony on the tandem tour) and are less bulky than a cycling-specific flat-pedal shoe.

If you want a cycling-specific shoe, the Five Ten Trail Cross LTs look similar to the Five Tennies, albeit a little less stylish in this fashion victim’s opinion.

Worryingly, the shoes aren’t currently on the Five Ten site, and stock is low at most retailers.

If they have been discontinued, I will be stocking up on a second pair and treating this pair to a resole.

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Adidas (Five Ten’s parent company) sells replacement Stealth Rubber to both consumers and cobblers, so hats off for supporting repairability.