8 Feb 2016

8th February 2016 On not going camping with a Camper 'Longflop!'

Monday 8th 40F, 4C, 45mph gales, rain, heavy overcast. The wind rattled around the house in the early hours and is not expected to drop below 30mph gusts until lunchtime. Rain and more 20m/s [45mph] gales are forecast for the next two days. Even when it brightened up mid-afternoon it continued raining and blowing. Rest day.

Tuesday 9th 40F, 4C, gales, overcast with rain again. Expected to clear up in the afternoon with the wind reducing. Promises-promises! Yet again they were completely wrong. A short bright period around lunchtime and then dark skies and continuous rain afterwards. Left in light rain on very wet roads but it stopped eventually. Only 7 miles but at least I made the effort to avoid another rest day. Lighter winds and grey tomorrow looks more promising.

Wednesday 10th 37F, 3C, breezy, overcast, raining. It is supposed to clear up again but with winds gusting to 25mph still with showers. It never really stopped raining for very long and with no pressure to go out I remained dry indoors. Puddles are appearing everywhere on lawns and fields. Everything is saturated. Rest day.

Thursday 11th 37F, 3C, heavy overcast and a bit misty. The on3wheels.myfastforum is discussing trike carrying capacity for camping. I was going to subject them to one of my endless tirades but thought better of it. So you, my poor readers, will have to put up with me instead. There is a lesson to be learned from all of this: 

My almost, daily shopping needs are very different from camping. I need constant access to far more volume than the silly little Submicro-Carradice Camper 'Longflop'. Worse, the shopping has to be graded and regraded according to weight, hardness and fragility outside each shop I visit.

I have now settled on leaving the Bijou Camper fixed to the Trykit rack. Though I'd much prefer a saddlebag of the same height and width but much deeper from front to back. Perhaps if it was remotely to specification it might actually be useful. My Nano-Camper 'Longflop' will barely take two 72mm wide milk cartons, one in front of the other. Yet claims to be 23cm deep! Any infant with a calculator and one snotty finger could tell you that three milk boxes deep should be easily possible. With room for an organic Pastella packet as well. But no! That would be asking [far] too much! [Quack-quack-quack-quack!]

 Carradice Camper longflap saddlebag

I now hook a large sports bag over the saddle pin and this is taken into the shop when I arrive. After further purchases are re-sorted into the remaining volume available, the sports bag rests on top of the Mini-Camper for the next leg. When I first started I used to break eggs, split milk boxes and dented tins. Needless to say 'The Head Gardener' did not tolerate such sloppy behaviour! Many a time I was hauled into "her office" to be, not so much educated, as "improved!"

Lest thee think I exaggerate the problems and difficulties of "mere" shopping on a trike: I sometimes have to visit disparate shops over twenty miles from home. Uphill and own dale it must all arrive home fresh and and completely undamaged. Some of it may even be frozen. So an insulated 'cool bag' must be taken along for the ride. No 'dawdling on the way back' that day!

Initially I used cycle shopping as my reason to go out regularly on the trike. Had I not we would probably have gone without food and essentials. Or I would "simply" have taken the car. Had I succumbed to such laziness I would probably be a 15 stone 'blobby' and dead from lifelong high blood pressure or depression. Or something far worse!

It's absolutely amazing how many miles one can do just visiting three or four distant shops per day. Never visiting the same shops more than twice in a week helps to add novelty and keeps my rural routes fresh and interesting. I highly recommend it as a training regime and for building self-discipline. It would be so easy to drive to the nearest supermarket and stock up [say] twice a week. Or to go several days without a ride because of "heavy dew" or "the sun might be in my eyes."  I chose not to and it literally changed my life for the better.

The fixed rule for tricycling shoppers [there are always arbitrary rules] is that one absolutely must overtake every cyclist ahead of you on the road. Bark-bark-bark! Yap-yap-yap! No matter how much shopping you are carrying, no matter how steep the hill, nor how light his bike, you really must pass him. [Or her.]

The old smithy.

Where's the fun in riding a stripped down, multi-thousand,  plastic bike, with hardly room for a folding toothbrush, or a credit card to get you home? When some daft, old fart on a 'bag lady' three-wheeler, shopping trolley overtakes you like you were going backwards, up a one in ten! Any fool can buy a plastic bike. Lots do! It doesn't turn them into a 'proper' tri-cyclist. ;-)

The mist suppressed all sounds so that my walk became akin to "last man on Earth." I didn't see a single soul once I'd turned off the main road. Lots of Yellowhammers, Chaffinches and Great tits in the trees and felled hedges. Still very wet with large puddles in the fields and on the tracks. The rain is holding off so the trike beckons.

Just a mid-afternoon ride to a builder's merchants. My legs have definitely lost their fitness and are quite achy at times. Though I'm still going quite well. The gears with the Roadlink and Athena RD have been sluggish. Not sure whether it is due to a sticky cable or the RD geometry. Only 14 miles.

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