Saturday, September 3, 2016

TdF Gear and a cautionary few words.

Firstly a big thanks to Alpkit who supplied the tandem, and its luggage.

We carried our kit in 2 13 litre Airlok Dual dry bags. Sleeping bags and mats in one, and spare clothing in the other. The one up front was held in a Kanga harness with the fibreglass struts removed. The straps of the rear bag were great for stashing a couple of baguettes underneath.

Our tent we carried in a 13 litre Koala seatpack, which also had room for a days food.

On the bars I had a stem cell within which I kept some chain oil and a water bottle.

The Stingray frame bags held tools spares and some food. I cable tied the frame bags to the frame.

My favourite bit of kit was the Love Mud Bheesty which replaces your stem cap to provide a handy adjustable handlebar mounting point for your bottle cage. A genius idea.

We were lucky with the weather, so had lots of unused clothes, though there is nothing I wouldn't have taken.

We had 3 water bottles. In retrospect a bit more water capacity would have been good.

Now for the cautionary bit.

I'd not really thought about this until the damage had been done. Just before we set off I swapped out the saddle on the tandem which wasn't particularly comfortable after a few hours, for a saddle that I'd completed a number of long rides on, though on a different bike.

This picture was taken on day two of our trip, and the Jackass above had already got a large blister on his derriere. The saddle that had up to then given years of trouble free miles, had when fitted to the tandem become an instrument of torture.

In Dover I bought some Compeed, and Tom had the traumatic job of apply it to my butt.

Whilst the compeed stopped the worst of the pain, and I can assure you a blister on ones bottom is painful when you are doing long days back to back. The saddle in spite of changing angle and fore an aft position, never became comfortable. I have as yet not thrown it in the bin, but that is where it will be heading soon.

So the moral of this, is do not decide to change something important on your bike just before you leave on a big trip unless you've trialled it well before.

I'll spare you the picture of the blister. :)

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