Gradual progress

To update you briefly on the progress of preparation, there are couple of things worth mentioning. And yes – we finally have spring in here!

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Firstly, Johana is cycling more than sixteen miles almost daily without an immediate need to lie down and have a long sleep afterwards. The shape she got into in less then four months is really amazing and is making me (well, both of us I guess) more confident about the daily distance we can cover. That is obviously more than sixteen miles though.. but given the weight of her city bike and the conditions of Mancunian morning/evening traffic peaks, I am sure it will be a piece of cake!

Secondly, I finally made up my mind and finished comparing and researching, and ordered three essential parts. That is a front pannier rack, both front and rear tire and a third additional drum brake ment to be installed on the left side of the rear hub. It took me a lot of time, but I believe it was worth it. Not only because of the final price, but more importantly that I am confident those parts are the best for our purposes. Especially the drum brake is a real treat as according to the discussions it has all the pluses compared to the disc brake (which cannot be fitted on our frame anyway). The only downside of it is, that although it came (with the tires) from local shop and despite their excellent customer service (thanks Chris!), the manufacturer – Chinese company Karasawa – doesn’t provide any kind of fitting instructions, user’s manual or any additional info whatsoever.. just a drum brake, few bolts and nuts, springs and odd shaped metal plates in a plastic bag! That should be fun.. but will probably wait with that for Jiří at Edinburgh pedicab.
Yet another surprise came with the pannier rack I’ve ordered from Germany. As expectable from Germans, the delivery arrived second day after, uber-properly packed in a box the size of a small fridge. There, in a abundance of paper and plastic foil filling, was the rack (with perfectly instructive ikea style manual). However, one faulty piece prevented the assembly of the whole rack and so I took photos, we exchanged emails.. and we waited for another week to finally get the proper piece! And alas – now it came so the rack is fitted and we can for the first time take all our pannier bags for a spin. With decent tires the tandem starts looking like a proper touring machine!

The construction of the trailer has been slightly delayed by Zygmunt’s leave to Poland, while I was brushing off the plastic coating from the racks/trolley rods. After his return, apparently refreshed and full of energy, he broke (!) his “professional” bench vise, while bending one of the rods for the hooks. Luckily, he waved his warranty and is getting a replacement soon (hopefully more professional this time).

Johana also sketched the first leg of the journey to Czech in more detail, so we have an accurate idea of the final distance: from the doorstep of Yarrow Manse to Dover pier it is almost 600 miles, and from Dunkirk to the doorstep of my parents’ house in Prague another 802 miles, which makes nice 1402 miles altogether! For starters anyway.. We hope to find the EuroVelo cycle routes and follow them through Britain and on the continent from France through Belgium, Netherlands and Germany for most of the time, making just occasional detours. With less then two weeks to go we are counting days!

Meanwhile there are few shots from our last Critical Mass in Manchester…

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