Sunny Sunday test riding
Last weekend was test-time. Checking we had all the kit, that we were happy with the bikes and trying out the new tent.
Saturday was spent finding where we’d squirreled away gear we’ve been collecting and ticking things meticulously off against our equipment list. The living room looked like a bomb had gone off, but after some careful organisation we had squeezed everything we need for the next 15 months into eight panniers.
Early Sunday morning, and I mean early with the clock change, we loaded up the bikes and bashed the paintwork getting them out the door. Probably better to have put the bags on outside, but we were excited to get going to Paddy’s parents about 55 miles away, where the bikes will stay until we fly to Rio.
Are they heavy or what? We wobbled off from the house trying to work out how to balance on them, as it was the first time either of us had cycled with front panniers and such heavy bags. We’re a bit slower uphill, but we managed as well as we would have on our old un-laden bikes, even on a mean ascent coming out of Guildford. On the plus side, we got up some awesome speeds on the downhills.
It was a perfect day for cycling – clear blue skies, mild temperatures and a calm tailwind which helped us race along. We stopped off to see Paddy’s sister, Ginnie, and her family, letting baby Abigail and dogs Monty and Milo have a go on the bikes.
The advantage of the clock change was that it was still light at the end of the ride to try out the tent. We bought it a few months ago, but have been waiting for somewhere to try it out. It was a good job we did, as it took a while for us to erect it, not helped by trying to attach the groundsheet upside down and inside out.
Once up though, we were very impressed, although slightly freaked out when we realised that it would be our home from May. It’s not big, sturdy or permanent like a house – we took it down in 4 minutes and 10 seconds for goodness sake!
It was definitely a good move to test out all our kit properly before we head off. There are a few things we want to change and it means we have time to do so. Hopefully we’ll be quicker putting up the tent next time too.
As we sat relaxing and thinking about the day’s ride Paddy’s mum served up toasted-tea cakes and tea in the garden. Now that’s one thing we haven’t packed – creature comforts. Come to think of it we haven’t even tried out our stove yet, should really do that soon.
There’s more photos from the day on flickr.