With just one week to go before the start of our trip, I packed my stuff this morning, loaded up the bike and went for a quick spin to Newmarket and back. The idea was to find out how my bike feels when loaded.
It's Spring Bank Holiday weekend, so of course it's pouring with rain - and there's a pretty strong wind from the NE. Even better! I can pretend I'm riding in Scotland!
I switched on The Gadget to record a GPS track. In about two and a half hours of cycling I got absolutely soaked, as well as a bit cold.
I was travelling relatively lightly, carrying two half-full panniers and a handlebar bag, but the Airnimal felt quite different, at least initially. The main feeling was of reduced manoeuvrability: I don't know to what extent that was because of the panniers or because of the handlebar bag. Whatever it was, it wasn't helped by riding into a strong headwind as I headed east out of Cambridge, and I found myself exploring my newly-added range of low gears. After a few miles I began to get used to the load and started to feel more comfortable.
The approach to Newmarket was along a long gentle descent: on a normal day I could have easily managed 30mph on the Airnimal coming down this clear straight road. However with the panniers and bar bag I felt a bit of wobble over 25mph, so I took it easy.
On the way back from Newmarket this sign caught my eye. See how filthy the weather is!