After compiling my packing list last week, I spent this morning packing my panniers once again, editing the list in the process following suggestions from my kind, Twitter following. I think I still need to be a bit more ruthless (sorry Ruth, maybe next time), as all the space is now taken up but I have no room for food! Out went the saddle bag, both water bladders, the extra 3/4 length trousers, waterproof 3/4 length cycling trousers, bulky fleece jacket (I will just have to cycle harder to keep warm), swimming goggles, two cycling specific tops (I will just wear sports t-shirts), tin opener, two (of four) micro-fibre travel towels, three pairs (of six) underpants, elastic bands, half of the cable ties, all four mini padlocks, the three jogging/walking lights, mini torch, one (of two - who packed this stuff?!?) penknives, two (of three) rolls of electrical tape and the scissors. In total, that's two carrier bags full of stuff. Not bad for a first attempt at fine-tuning.
As it was a nice, bright day, albeit with what looked like quite a strong wind, and with panniers packed, I thought what better time than to go for a first, fully laden, test cycle. The first few hundred metres were a bit wobbly and my immediate thoughts were "Oh crap, I've got way too much stuff on here. I'm never gonna be able to cycle far with this lot." The wind was pretty strong and each turn had me fighting to keep the bike upright and moving forwards. It was quite a bit different to control than my lightweight racing bike. By the end of my first local loop though, I was beginning to get the hang of it. When I got back home, I realised I had done just under 10km in a little over 30 minutes at an average pace of 18.60kmh. No too bad at all for a first stab at it. I then went straight out again on the same loop and did much the same time at much the same pace. Most encouraging. Time to venture a little further.
Two hours and 40km later I got back home. I think I have got it nailed now and it's not actually too bad at all. My neck, shoulders & arms were aching a bit immediately after getting home though. My arms especially. It obviously requires a lot more effort to turn the handlebars and keep bike straight and upright. Those muscles will only get stronger in time though of course. But all in all, I was jolly happy with my first outing. The average for the 60km today was 18.65kmh with quite a strong headwind in places. I am most encouraged by that as I hope/need to cycle an average of 100km each day on my tour. I did think it was well within my grasp (mountains aside) but it is nice to see the proof. I was further encouraged by passing four unladen, commuter types at various places this afternoon. Two were on a climb :)
There was a tweet on my phone when I got back asking about the weight. I weigh just under 90kg (at the moment :) The two front panniers each have 6kg in them. The two rear panniers each have 7kg in them. The tent, poles and pegs weighs 2kg. That's a total of 28kg. I also have a handlebar bag and a rear bag too, but couldn't be bothered to detach and weight those separately so I just got on the scales and lifted the bike up! In total, the weight for the whole lot, including the bike itself, is 135kg. That's a total of 45kg for the bike and everything I will be carrying. Is that a lot? I know it feels a lot as I can only just lift the bike off the ground! I hope whoever built my wheels did a good job ;) T'was I!
Here are some pics of the fully laden lady complete with all new Brooks saddle, bottle cages and bottles x 3 and mudguards installed since the repair and rebuild :)