Happy trails, ninj-waz!


Ageing ninja or spawny-eyed wazzock?

Ageing ninja or spawny-eyed wazzock?

A few more ouches this weekend. The first was another Trespass top, so that I’ll have a spare for if I wash any clothes en route. Trespass also sell fleece thermals. I’m not yet convinced my sleeping bag and its fleece outer will be warm enough, so I couldn’t resist. The only question is whether I look like a ninja or a wazzock – your call!

I’m also thinking seriously about abandoning my road shoes for a pair of Shimano mountain-bike boots I bought a year or so ago. I didn’t get on with them at the time but now they feel comfortable, and they’re much easier to walk in than road shoes, so I think I won’t need to take different footwear just for walking.

While these shoes are currently set up with SPD cleats, these can be removed to recreate intact soles. Just in case I go with that, so that my feet aren’t trapped in the same position for 4000 miles, I’ve added some half-cages to the platform sides of Lev’s pedals. These also have the advantage of ensuring the pedals’ SPD sides stay uppermost – yeehah!

Trail away

Elly’s comfort-bike, Ché, was returned to her on Friday. Che had been languishing in a friend’s garage – her friend hadn’t enjoyed cycling in Edinburgh. He was sore in need of basic TLC: cleaning, oiling, adjusting brakes and inflating tyres. So Elly got to work on him while I unboxed and assembled my trailer.


Elly at work


The ‘workshop’



I had been slightly concerned by the damaged packaging…


… but everything seemed intact, and most of the assembly was easy.


However whoever created the assembly instructions was definitely not intact from the neck up:


There are no details of how to fix the bit connecting the bike and trailer to either the bike or the trailer. The latter was obvious – a retained pin goes through the bar that connects the connector to the trailer to prevent these coming apart. The former apparently involves a long quick-release skewer and some unexplained extra bolts. I don’t want to use this. Firstly the skewer arrived bent:

IMG_0257Secondly, it’s cheap aluminium. I don’t trust it to last. Thirdly, whenever I’ve removed Lev’s wheels, it’s taken ages to replace them – it’s very fiddly getting the brake-disks precisely into their slots. I don’t want to lose 20 minutes each day to that shenanigans.

Fortunately, Lev’s pannier rack has extra stays to prevent mudguard-wobble. These are bolted to the rack, so it was simple to replace these bolts with longer ones, protect them with extra nuts, then add big washers and more nuts to hold the trailer-connector’s ends in place.


Testing, testing, 1, 2, bollocks!

By the time I’d finished this, it was too late to go and try the trailer on the road, so that waited until this morning. It took about 5 minutes to reattach the trailer to the extra bolts, then I headed off around local streets (cyclemeter map) to learn how pulling the unladen trailer felt. It was OK. I knew I had a payload, and so Lev didn’t feel at all nippy. But the trailer didn’t hamper turns or balancing, and wasn’t blown over by today’s stupidly gusting winds. However, after 20 minutes I’d had enough of being rained on and blown all around the road. I’ll try towing the trailer to Napier tomorrow – Lothian Road and Bruntsfield Place should be all sorts of fun!


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