We felt like little kids on our first bike this week. Leaning to balance and trying not to wobble, and struggling to steer, stop and start.
Although we’ve been riding for years, learning to ride a fully loaded bike with 4 pannier bags and a tent is not your eveyday trundle into town. I was reminded how scary it must be for little kids to learn to ride… so many things to think about at once.
Feeling a little bit excited about our first touring experiment, we loaded up the bikes for the first time and tried to venture out the front door. Then we had to unpack the bikes in order to get out the front door as the bikes were too wide…
Just pushing and manouvering the bike was a rather intimidating prospect, my bike + gear weighs half of me! But once I hopped on I was plesantly suprised and how stable things felt… The steering is slow and heavy and the brakes feel a little squooshy, but it still rides like a bike! Then my heals start smashing into the back panniers. Meanwhile, Andy’s toes are crossing his front wheel. Not good. Time for some adjustments.
A change of shoes for me (back to my clip-ins) and removal the toe clips and shortening the front fender for Andy and we think those problems are sorted. Glad we tested that our before we launched off to Tassie with only one pair of shoes each!
So we rolled off to the Boulevard… hardly having to pedal much as all that momentum just propelled us along like a container ship. Until we met our first hill. After Three Peaks we had lured ourselves into a false sense of security about our ability to climb mountains.
We changed down gears as we normally would, but quickly came to a complete standstill and nearly caused a pile up with the poor people following behind us (at least they laughed).
Made it to our regular destination: the beautiful undulating hills of the Yarra Boulevard. Newly freed from the constraints of his carbon-forked-skinny-wheeled-bike, Andy led us off the road and onto the dirt side tracks and across ovals full of thick grass. Past the dog school with puppies chasing each other madly. It feels so liberating to ride on grass for a change. Now I know why those puppies are so excited!
By the time we make it back to the paved road we feel like we’ve got the hange of this fully loaded touring business. Afterall we managed to get through this river bed / trail. Tasmania’s not looking so scary now.