I came back yesterday at noon from the first test with all the equipment. As expected, the weather was a bit crappy, but quite ok (cloudy, no chance of meatballs, little rain). I’m still sick, probably due to the mounting stress, but I survived 🙂 I didn’t go very far though, but I’m happy to have maintained an average speed above 19km/h, or 12m/h. That was unexpected.
Adding the trailer, with almost all of the equipment (missing a couple kilos only) was the main test. The trailer itself is already 6 kilos, and the equipment about 12, by the last count. That’s a lot of weight to drag on the road ! I was quite apprehensive of the result in this area. The first couple hours were tiring for sure, and I could definitely feel I had to put in more power to progress. But I was able to make it through the few slopes I encountered, by changing gear often enough. Then, after this initial period, it was much easier. On the second day, I was accustomed to the trailer and its weight, and the increased effort it was requiring at all times. However, I’m not ashamed to say I will walk up the bigger slopes ! 🙂
Another point on the trailer is, as I’ve read everywhere, you forget about it while biking. It doesn’t affect the bike handling, the air resistance, or the balance. These were the main points that made me go against the panniers. It also doesn’t change the width of the bike, and you can go through the same places.
I had already tested the bike a bit the previous day, but this time I logged 120kms / 80 miles in a couple of days, and I went through all kinds of roads, including a forrest path and a busy, albeit large, road. I have a few quirks to correct by going back to the shop, especially on the gears switch, but it’s going quite comfortably. The butterfly handlebar also needs some getting used to, as it’s much lower than the handle on my previous bike. I sold said bike yesterday afternoon, and using it again was feeling like riding a wooden horse toy ! This new bike is definitely higher quality.
A point I didn’t expect to encounter is that the U-lock is almost useless outside of a city. I need to have the bike close to a thin post to use it. Trees don’t fit that description. So, I guess I’ll have to carry the older chain I have on top of the lock. Maybe I’ll get a newer one in the states.
Another point I tested was of course camping ! I have done no camping in the last 25 years, and boy did it evolve ! Here I am setting up the tent :
As far as I can remember, setting up a tent in the 80s was a pain, it was complex, and very long. Now you can do it, very quietly, in less than 10 minutes, without even thinking about it. Well I still have to progress though, as I’ve put the tarp cover upside down, and probably didn’t fasten it correctly. Still, the tent was up, and I was able to sleep in it 🙂
Putting everything back in the trailer is a bit longer, of course. It took me about one hour to roll everything back into place, in no hurry. It can probably be reduced to half an hour, maybe.
But mostly, I was happy to ride in this field test, as I was finally going from point A to point B – even if the next day I was coming back to point A ! It was more interesting to push forward, even getting lost along the way, rather than going around in a circle 🙂