Ready, set… Morocco

The weekend saw me clocking up some miles on the Troll ahead of flying to Morocco tomorrow.

The bike is in fine fettle. Now sporting some bigger boots in the shape of some increasingly rare folding Schwalbe Marathon Extremes 2.25″, the ride has softened appreciably which will help if we do venture off road. The mudguards have been removed for this trip, primarily to easing packing in my Evoc bike bag. However, in contrast to UK riding, I don’t think this act will have any negative effect on the weather. I expect it to be dry and, at times, pretty durn hot.

Surly Troll 'stripped down' for Morocco
Surly Troll ‘stripped down’ for Morocco

I have also hooked up a Lightcharge USB charger to the SP dynamo hub. I’m hoping this is going to serve me well. I was riding for five hours on Saturday and my Powergen battery back was registering charge throughout. My Samsung Galaxy pings agreeably when the charger delivers juice too.

Lightcharge USB charger for dynamo hubs
Lightcharge USB charger for dynamo hubs

Other changes include an Alpkit Possum framebag and a Toppeak Modula extra large bottle holder. The theory goes that I will be buying large bottles of l’eau minerale … not sure how robust this cage will be but we’ll give a go anyhow. I’ll dispense with the rather fiddly and poorly design top rubber strap and use an Alpkit dry bag strap instead.

SP dynamo connected with heat shrink tube to keep things tidy
SP dynamo connected with heat shrink tube to keep things tidy

That said, the Troll’s congested bottle cage mounts and lack of under downtube bosses means I will clamp another cage to the frame. I tried jubilee clipping two cages to the forks but couldn’t achieve the fit and positioning I was after. It all felt a bit vulnerable too… Perhaps I had the wrong clips? This is a shame as it would have been handy getting some weight on the front wheels.

The set up is completed with my ever-faithful (if heavy) Caradice Super C panniers on the rear Tubus rack along with a dry bag.

As ever, I am trying to strike the right balance between weight in the bike bag and weight in my carry on bag. I am flying EasyJet to Marrakech and their new policy on bikes means I have 32kg to play with. Big bikes (particularly bikes with Rohloff hubs) equal big weights so I’ll no doubt carry more into the cabin than I bargained for.

Surly Troll packed in the Evoc bike bag
Surly Troll packed in the Evoc bike bag

A fairly accurate kit list… items subject to change:

Surly ‘Trolloff’, 22″ with Tubus rack
Go Lite Shangrila with inner
MEC Merlin Down sleeping bag
Thermarest Neo Air mat
Thermarest chair
Exped Pillow
Caradice Super C Panniers
Alpkit Possum
Exped Drybag
BPL Honey Stove
Trangia Burner
Trangia Fuel Bottle
Fire Steel
Titanium Cook Pot and Mug
MSR Mugmate
Trowel (for alfresco you-know-what)
First aid kit
Water bladder
Clamp on cage
Sun cream
Soap flakes


Endura cycling undershorts x2
Rohan Outrider Sorts
Smartwool merino tops
T-shirt (Star Wars?)
Rohan Bags
Rohan Overland shirt
Merino Boxers x2
Rab Microlight Vest (for travel and the mountains)
Montane Velo Jacket
Endura Mitts
Specialized knee warners (more of a barrier against the sun)
Buffs x3
Walz Cap
Endura Mullet glasses
SPD riding shoes


Park Tool Multi Tool
Torx T20 (for Rohloff)
Spare brake pads
Spare bolts
Spare Tubes
Spare tyre
Puncture kit
Adjustable spanner
Duck Tape
Cable Ties


Samsung Galaxy S2
Powergen battery pack
X Mini II speaker
Sennheiser in-ear headphones
Olympus Epl1
Lumix 14mm f2.8 pancake lens
Hoya filters
Gorilla pod.


22 thoughts on “Ready, set… Morocco

  1. Thanks for all this up to date info. Troll looking good and all this has inspired me to carry out my own tour in the highlands of Scotland in July.

  2. Matt, can you post a snap of the bike when fully loaded please 🙂

    btw, I’m 90% certain on the rholoffed ECR :-0

  3. I just returned from a trip to Morocco, covered Casablanca, Marrakesh, and went east until Merzouga for a camel ride to the Sahara (great experience!). Few hints: Casablanca is warm by my standards (but I live in Barcelona), Marrakesh started to get hot (+30C) while when approaching the desert the temperatures approached 35C. Locals love bicycles so finding some replacement gear won’t be a problem, you’ll find plenty of tourers like yourself on the road. Marrakesh traffic is very engaging and unpredictable so watch out. In case you want to go east from Marrakesh as I did, there are some tough mountainous roads so be prepared. Good luck and looking forward to your updates!

    1. Hi Elio, We did have an interesting time leaving Marrakech… to say the least. We have climbed the Tizi n tchika and enjoyed some superb back roads so far. The variety of landscapes compressed into relatively small distances on the road is fantastic. I wished I had more time 🙂

  4. Hi Matt, glad you’re enjoying the landscape, the country and its people are really amazing, I had a great time. Let us know who does the Troll fare in the desert, I just got mine and it’s a real beast (a bit short chainstays if I might be picky, though my rack is an old one from my previous bike, will change to a Logo sometime later). 🙂

    1. Hey Elio, My trip has been curtailed somewhat due to an awful sickness bug which I am still battling. Getting back on the road today, albeit carefully. The chain stays are a compromise on Troll but with the right rack I don’t find them to be problem. It carries and controls weight in panniers very well.

      1. Sorry to hear that pal. The locals advised me to spice up the food especially with chilly, against potential parasites, not the first time I hear this story, Perhaps you might try that out. Get well soon!!

    1. Hey… we are back in Marrakech. Had a great trip but for too hot for us south of the Atlas. I also got very sick which messed with our plans. Still, it’s been amazing. We loved the mountains and should have spent more time there. Be safe guys.

      1. Glad to hear it… I have been sick here as well. We just limped out of the Atlas (a little behind with my posts) with 2 creaking bottom brackets and a broken seatpost bolt. Beautiful though!

      2. Looking forward to catching up with that. Hope you are feeling better soon. I am now back in the UK but am still having ‘trouble’. Things hit their worst when I passed out mid conversation with my buddy… cause for concern. Still, plenty of rest, water and Smecta did the trick allowing us to carry on riding south until we could take the heat no more. Take care, Matt.

  5. I’ve only just found your blog & what a great one it is… I’m especially interested in your choice of bike & camping kit. One thing I picked up from this post was the heat shrink tube used on the Dynamo wiring. I’ve not seen this before & wondered if it’s been worth adding & if so what brand/type did you buy? A link to webpage would be great & also I see you need a heat gun to apply!? Any instructions would be useful.



    1. Hi Phil, thanks for dropping by. I bought the shrink tube from BnQ so any hardware store should be able to help. I used a lighter to shrink the tube. This will work but you have to be careful! A boiling kettle will do the trick too although the lighter offers a bit more precision. You also need to be mindful of your cable routing. The tube becomes quite stiff when it shrinks so its a good idea to offer up your cables first. I think the tubing does help with weatherproofing and provides a tidier cable run. That said, the cabling on my usb charger was a bit fragile. You may not need it on a better quality dynamo. I used different gauges of tube and overlaid them for and even tidier finish. Hope this helps. I’ll try to find a link and post.

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