Day 13-1. Sognsdalfjøra to Gjerda Campsite Jøstedal
Distance 61km Average 14.1km/h Max 52.3km/hr Time 4:18 hrs.
We awoke to the sound of rain. It was the sort of summer rain that would have been nice if it had been a very warm day: the big drops wetted well, perfect for cooling a hot body on a sunny day. Although it was not that cold the sun was nowhere to be seen, and looking at the density of the cloud cover looked likely to stay that way all day.
After a slow start we ambled into town looking for inspiration for materials to bodge Damae's Tour Boxes. The petrol station round the corner from the campsite did not have anything inspiring but at least I had worked out why the boxes had suffered the damage and how to reduce the chance of further damage. The Tour Boxes had already been over the Rallarvegen the year before without damage, so it was a case of looking at what had changed on Damae's bike to work out what the problem was.
Earlier in the year Damae had picked up a nice zipped Top Box with the mounting rack. This rack was also an Orlieb product and allowed two panniers to be hung underneath the Top Box. The advantage of this rack was that it dropped the panniers by about three centimetres lowering the centre of gravity a little. The disadvantage, as we had now discovered, was that the Tour Boxes now only made contact with the Tubus rack in two places, at the top where it clipped on, and at the extreme bottom of the case where the cracks had appeared. Before the extra rack had been fitted the Tour Boxes touched the vertical posts of the Tubus racks and hence all the sideways forces were evenly distributed over the inside edge of the Tour Box.
In the new situation these sideways forces were concentrated right a the bottom of the boxes. With fabric panniers this would not have been much of a problem as they a) give more so would have found a better fit b) give more so that the effect of sideways forces being concentrated on one spot would have been far less dramatic. The plastic of the Tour Box is not designed to be repeatedly hit with a hammer at the same spot.
Thus the bodge would be pretty simple if we could find the right materials. These were a) a thick sticky tape to seal the cracks b) some sort of padding to keep the bottom of the boxes from touching the rack and to spread the force of the sideways bumps more evenly. Eventually after wandering round the pleasing modern shopping centre in the centre of Sogndal for fifteen minutes we bumped into the DIY store. Here we found some all purpose tape that Damae calls ducktape and after ten minutes of umming and aahing I picked up four small paint rollers as padding and some more cable ties. So now the Tour Boxes could now be fixed, and ambling round the bike shop had been interesting enough and that done we would be on our way again.
The centre of Sogndalfjøra seemed to be well served with shops and transport links with a bus station and a few minutes walk to the fast ferry service. The sort of place we could live in quite happily. One thing that struck us as we walked around was the puzzlingly large concentration of teenagers wandering around and standing in huddles. We discovered later in Vik that education for sixteen to eighteen year olds is often concentrated in the bigger towns. As it is too far for many children to travel every day a lot of them stay in Sogndalfjøra during the week in rented rooms, going back home for the weekend.
Now it was time to fix things and get going up to Jøstedal, and ten minutes later we were back at the campsite. Damae started packing up and I started on the boxes. The fixing was mildly complicated by the rain and damp so we made sure we dried each box in turn before applying the ducktape. Damae removed the inner linings of the boxes and I taped the insides as well. This went well and with all sealed up I turned my attention to the support system. After a half hour or so the repairs were finished, and Damae was not to have any more problems with her panniers.