I picked up the Tail Wagon this weekend while visiting my brother and sister in-law in Manchester and I’m chuffed to bits to finally have my hands on it!
My sister-in-law decided to check out the comfort rating and was pleasantly surprised.
Since getting him home I’ve sprayed him with some NikWax waterproofing potion and sewn him a fetching green coat so that overnight showers and rainy days won’t bother us. (Wet dog in a tent anyone? No thanks.)
I used bright green Nylon Ripstop from my local material place, did sort of foldy over waterproof seams (which I will seal with heat sealing tape when I have some) and used shock cord and webbing to make fastening loops. I also put a window in so Scout can look at me from her snug, waterproof throne as I pedal through the driving rain. Hmmmm.
I still need to explore some sun-proofing options. Something temporary (thinking magnets or Velcro) that can move around from the top to the sides depending on the time of day and direction of travel. Watch this space….
The Parkour community throws up gems of people and Richard Thompson is one of them. He’s been my bike guru since I picked Jeeves up and brought him home. Richard tuned him up for me and has been an endless source of advice and help when it’s come to collecting all the bits and bobs I’m going to need.
Today he gave me a lesson in bike maintenance. I cycle a fair amount and have done a small tour in Italy but I have never, actually, had a puncture. (Desperately hitting anything wooden as I write this). It seems mad, but there it is. I have a feeling my luck isn’t going to extend to 5 weeks in Europe so Richard taught me to
We also ran through puncture repair, gear adjustment, chain breaking (and fixing).
Next lesson will include brake cable and pad replacement 😬 and gear cable replacement. Basically I need to know how to get us safely to the nearest bike shop if something catastrophic goes down. Ideally, simple problems can be fixed by the roadside without me calling Richard and blubbing to him because I can’t remember how to get my tyre back on. Ideally. Based on today, I feel like my hands will be permanently greasy.
Rich is a private mechanic in London. He can come to you, or you can go to him. He knows stuff. Email him!
So I’ve gone and done the unthinkable….I bought some Crocs.
They were £7 in the men’s section of TK Maxx which is lucky because I’d struggle to part with more for them. It’s not the first Fashion cardinal sin I’ve ever committed for comfort’s sake but I blurted all sorts of excuses to the cashier as I paid for them.
Look, I’ve heard they are perfect for many aspects of cycle touring. And they’re light as a bloody feather which I have a feeling is reason alone to have them along for the ride. I’ll just refrain from looking down. Hey, at least I didn’t have to get the hot pink ones from the women’s section. Points for black right? Fashionistas? Right?!
So, I’m beginning to realise that this is actually going to happen now and I might not have the experience, equipment, stamina, ability, resources, or knowledge to achieve it.
I have the gumption though. I believe that. Whatever that is…. You know, moxy, brillo, oomph, pluck, mettle, grit…all those old timey words for spirit and determination?
I’ve always had oodles of that bit. Like when I moved to a seaside town in Wales aged six and discovered that everyone already knew how to swim and so our weekly school lessons consisted of me splashing around in the baby pool while everyone else swam widths and lengths with small fishing town inhabitant expertise. But soon enough I figured out how to float on my back, and then how to move forward and before I knew it I was staring at the leisure centre ceiling, swimming backstroke in the annual school gala. My mother watched proudly from the balcony as I swam one full length faster than anyone else. Ann, my friend’s mum sat next to her and remarked of the splashing young Lamb ‘She doesn’t have any technique but her determination serves her well.’
That’s probably held true in most of my endeavours.
I’m not the best cyclist, but I can definitely move forward, I guess I just have to keep doing that…I think I’ve got an awful lot of preparation to do…but, it’s just like riding a bike, right? Really, really far, right? With a tent and all your stuff…and a dog. Yeah. I’ll take to it like a Lamb to water.