Test ride Ireland
Almost 5 months ago we had our test ride in Ireland. How do we look back on this ride? What have we learned? What are we going to change?
The most important thing that needs to be changed is our luggage. We carry too many kilos. Linda in particular wants to lower her load considerably. Ben however, could cycle all the steep mountains. Linda often had to dismount and push her bike forward. That is even harder than cycling up the mountain in the lightest gear. But if you come to a stop, you really have to get off. 😉
The emergency food ration is limited to the minimum. After all, it is an emergency ration. So, food for 1 day is enough. Comfortable folding seats will be left at home. Ben will carry some extra kilo’s of Linda's luggage. So, unfortunately, he doesn't lower his load. Ben now carries all the big bags and Linda all the little ones.
The Vakantiefietser has exchanged the chainrings of our bikes. The small one is in front and the big one is at the back. This makes it easier for us to cycle up the mountain. Downhill will go a little slower, but who cares? Sometimes our speed downhill was more than 70 kilometers an hour. A little slower downhill is ok and less dangerous.
Necessary resting day
After 6 days of cycling, you really have to take a day off. In Ireland we were bound to a time schedule. On September 3 (after 30 days of cycling) we had to check in at 9 pm on the ferry. In the Netherlands we planned to rest for 1 day after 1 week of cycling. We did not stick to that. We cycled non-stop for 30 days. We both wanted to be near the ferry as quickly as possible. After a few days of cycling we were also in such a nice flow that we actually did not want to rest for a day. Oh boy, we were so tired after those 30 days.
And then you meet a very nice couple on the 27th day who invites you to spend the night in the Greenway Manor hotel. On your planned day of rest (day 28) they also invite you to go for a nice ride together (the intention was 10 miles, but it was 60 km in the end). They recommended us to cycle to Wexford on day 29. That was a detour to our ferry in Rosslare Harbour.
The week after coming back to the Netherlands, we were both tired for a while. Our bodies were fully adjusted to 70 kilometers of cycling every day. And back in the Netherlands we abruptly stopped doing so.
We are not bound to a time schedule on our world tour. Except when our visa expires. 😉 If so ... we will pay a fine at the border. We agreed on not going to hurry ourselves. After 6 days we will take at least one day off. Then we also have time to view and edit our photos and videos, to work on our new blog, to Skype with family and to give our muscles some rest. When we are going to take a few days off or even have a long holiday, depends on the weather and location.
Sleeping and eating
You don't have to worry about the next day's place to sleep. After knocking 5 times on people's doors we found a place to sleep. But we are still a bit reluctant if there is a campsite nearby. It is handy to do our shopping for dinner around 3 pm. Since you don't know where you are going to sleep that night, going to bed without a full stomach is no fun. Certainly not if you cycled many kilometers that day.
Fixing the load to the bike
The Exped straps to secure our waterproof Duckit-pro bags are not a success. The straps cause holes in our bags. We are going to replace the straps with lashing straps from Tubus. Linda has bought an extra Clear Cube from Exped to quickly take some clothes or other things off the bike.
We have tried various things to keep our feet dry in the rain. Nothing works when you are cycling in the rain for 5 hours. Even the waterproof socks from SealSkinz ended up in having wet feet. We now hope that the AGU Quick bike boots can keep our feet dry. As soon as we have tested them, we will let you know if it works. If you have any tips for us to keep our feet dry, we would love to hear from you!
Other small adjustments
The globe at the back of Linda's bicycle didn’t stick at the back due to strong wind. We have now put a net around it, which we attach to the luggage net with carabiners.
You can easily lose the plastic hooks of the luggage net. We replaced these with carabiners.
In Ireland we noticed that both bikes suffered from oscillation. This is a vibration which causes the bicycle not being stable. To solve oscillation, the Vakantiefietser placed a Cane Creek Viscoset on the forkhead of Ben's bike. Although Ben’s bike is heavily loaded at the back this works perfectly. Linda will soon get her Cane Creek Viscoset as well. With less weight on her rear carrier, the oscillation on her bike disappeared. However, when we are in desolate areas we need to fill the 4 Hydrapak waterbags of 8 litres each which will increase the load.
The Brooks saddles were very comfortable. After 2 weeks, cycling with a pair of padded shorts was no longer necessary.
During our world tour we will show the statistics on our website. This is the overview of Ireland.