Luggage for touring Europe with a bicycle … or a yak
I’ve been giving some thought to a replacement backpack for the Trip. As you will remember, the old BC (before children) backpack had to be ‘retired’ due to irreparable wear and tear. I have done a bit of research and looked around a fair bit, and kept coming to the same conclusion with each potential candidate. Essentially, there was too much carrying technology for our needs. Given that our ‘luggage’ will mostly be inside the trailer, apart from train trips and general movement around and in our accommodation, it seems unnecessary to have the carrying technology for Himalayan trekking and the extraneous weight.
Then in one adventure supply shop I spotted an ‘expedition duffle’. It had the simplicity I was looking for with the ability to be carried like a regular bag, but also lightweight shoulder straps that enabled it to be carried like a backpack when required. This was perfect and totally converted me to the idea of a duffle bag. Henceforth, I changed my ‘search image’ to that of a duffle bag. The leading contender at the moment is the North Face Base Camp duffle, and I have to admit that this is partly because it comes in some really nice colours. It also appears to be pretty robust … always a consideration when anywhere near the Husband!
The duffle has the added advantage that it can squash to fill what ever space is available; it’s pretty waterproof and can therefore be left outside your tent if necessary … on Everest; and it has a daisy chain (little loops along its length) that enables you to lash it to your yak … always handy. But above all, it has the irresistible appeal of being proper ‘adventure’ equipment. Not that we are intending to travel by yak or scale Everest but there’s no harm in being prepared … and it brings out my inner Bear Grylls. Although, just to be clear, I will draw the line at eating worms and beetles. Eating creepy crawlies (unless prepared by a Michelin starred chef) joins the ‘poo shovel’ in the ‘not happenin’ basket.
The following video shows the features in detail.
The identification of ‘the bag’ and the arrival of payment for a piece of contract work, meant that last week I ordered the trailers from the Netherlands (I also ordered a spare axle for emergencies). The duffle obviously needs to fit inside the trailer along with other items such as the tent. I tried to estimate which size of bag would be best for the trailer but in the end decided that the safest option would be to get the trailer and then take it to the shop for a ‘fitting’. Plus the Husband and I have a difference of opinion. I am thinking that the medium is more than sufficient in capacity for traveling plus a good size for the trailer, but the Husband is convinced that the large is the right choice … I will keep you posted on this one.
The cardigan is going well and I have finished knitting both sides and am now on the back … this has totally amazed the family and they are in awe of the lightening speed of progress.
I’m starting to think about my next knitting project. Having read a post where a lady bicyclist said that the best item of clothing she had used was a pair of arm warmers that she made by chopping off the feet of a pair of long socks, I have decided to knit myself some footless arm socks. I totally understand how these are useful as I often get cold and slightly itchy arms when cycling due to a cold breeze. I don’t suppose you can get a pattern for footless arm socks so I will adapt a standard sock pattern and let you know how I get on.
I have started a couple of new pin boards on Pinterest. The boards contain equipment we already have, items we have bought, items we have nominated for purchase when they go on sale and equipment we will need but have yet to find and nominate. I have also started a board for clothing to make a start on the ‘capsule wardrobe for bicycling in Europe’ collection.
I am currently sheepishly watching gardening programmes on Choice TV due to the strange affliction that I wrote about in my previous post. I have become strangely attached to Monty Don and Gardeners World, which is odd given that I live in an apartment without a garden or any soil to speak off (two pot plants). I wondered whether you could be an armchair gardener in the same way that armchair athlete don’t actually do any sports but simply watch it on TV? I have also discovered a wonderful cheese programme on Choice called Cheese Slices that airs on Thursday nights. A man after my own heart that obviously loves his cheese tours around France visiting and tasting artisan cheeses of the region. The Husband and I have decided that this should be added to the ‘quest’ basket … to sample as many cheeses as possible in a single year… washed down with a suitable local wine, of course.