Yes, it’s one of those sections discussing tour preparation – gear, ideas, trike etc. You may not be interested. If so – don’t read any further!
One item I reckon will be helpful on the tour is a good set of mudguards. Without them water collected on the tyres flies up in the air ahead of the rider. Any side wind then pushes the water into the path of the rider who soon becomes wet and dirty as does their spectacles. That’s OK if you end up at home and can use the shower but imagine a whole day of rain and a face full of road dirt. Tour requirement – mudguards.
I ordered them from Greenspeed early in the New Year and now they have arrived. Simple to fit, they mounted in 10 minutes. In the picture they look a tad high so I think I will lower them during the week.
After the 10 minute fitting, I tried them out. I found the handlebars struck the guards and steering was limited quite a bit. After adjusting the bars by pushing them in a bit and pulling them up a bit, all was well but I do prefer the original bar position. There is nothing I can do about that and I do want to be able to ride comfortably in the rain, so this is how it is.
Panniers and Bags
It looks like I will be able to use my existing panniers for the Melbourne to Adelaide trip thus not needing to buy a pair of the desirable Arkel recumbent panniers. I have two 20 litre Ortleib panniers plus a 31 litre Ortlieb rack pack bag all of which performed excellently during my 3 week Victorian tour in 2017. I can add a separate Brooks toolbag. .. and a small bag fitted under the seat. .. and, maybe, a small bag for wallet, phone etc. .. and the camera tends to hang off the seat. When using the panniers and rack pack I find I can fit the tent and chair on the rack separately, thus freeing space inside the bags. This is a great help. So, a place for everything!?
I thought twice about the chair. The seat on the trike could suffice but a separate chair allows more flexibility and ease of picking up the feet and plonking them on a table to rest the legs.
On the trip to Deloraine this month I loaded up the bags with just about everything I could think of and it all fitted. On the tour I will need to carry just that bit more – which should fit in OK. Shopping bags can be hung off the seat back to carry temporary loads – like bread and veggies and extra water. I hope I don’t need more ‘cos what I am carrying is already quite heavy!! Thinks “.. better get those scales out and find out exactly how much things weigh”.
Keeping things charged
While it is possible to find a “spare” electrical socket in camp sites, it is not always possible. Or, maybe not safe to leave your stuff around in the Laundry or Camp Kitchen for an hour or two. I certainly don’t want to use powered sites and have to carry a power cable. So I decided to try a solar charging panel that can be strapped on the back of the bike. The chosen one is only 7 watts and takes all day to recharge lights, phone, camera and a battery bank that came with it. I am testing it out while at home and while we have plenty of sun. It is working as expected – doing the job but taking it’s time. The model gets good reviews from users – generally because it keeps on doing it’s thing reliably for years in hiking/biking type conditions.
To be on the safe side I have ordered a set of Schwalbe Big Apples. Why BAs? I spent some time, quite a lot of time actually, researching tyres. They all have their supporters and rubbishers and scientific style web sites that prove / disprove how good they are.
My thoughts are that Big Apple (BA), being a balloon tyre, are not that fast. Many people reckon this statement is wrong but I know what I feel when riding – they do not roll easily. BAs can be ridden at pressures 35 to 70 psi. To sort things out I decided to ride with my current BAs at 35psi for a couple of trips, then up the pressure to 70psi and see what the difference is.
At 35psi the ride was comfortable. Not surprising as Greenspeed sell the trike with the tyre as part of the “suspension” system comprising BAs, woven seat with “give” and a flexible frame. They have not built a trike with actual suspension until 2018, believing suspension to be a heavy, unnecessary extra.
At 70psi the ride was full of vibrations and double vision. It would seem that nothing coming from the road was being dampened at all. So BAs should be used at lower psi. The problem with this is that speed is affected. Quite a bit as my average speed for the rides showed.
There are a few more considerations though. Firstly the current BAs have not punctured even with me riding on the roadside shoulder quite a bit and riding over Saturday Night glass on a Sunday morning within Longford. I like a tyre that doesn’t puncture. Secondly, in the unlikely event of a puncture occurring, BAs are quite easy to mount and dismount from the rim. Marathons (which would be my second choice) are notoriously difficult. So I have chosen tyres that will give a slower ride but which should give more comfort with puncture protection and in the knowledge I will be able to take a tyre off/on if necessary.
For psi I will settle on 50 which is what I have been using for the past few months.
The start of the trip is a Ferry ride across Bass Strait. The ticket has been booked for Saturday March 16. The first leg is a ride around Port Philip Bay down to Mornington. It will be on a Sunday morning and the streets will be busy with weekend cyclists riding in marauding packs. Can’t wait !!