The trip was another good one. Most of us managed not to get wet on the Friday when thunderstorms hit in the evening. Rain on Saturday gave way to finer weather later in the day. Sunday whilst grey stayed dry and turned sunny later.
The company was good as with the previous trips with this group, and the places we stayed at all had their charms. The route was interesting even though Damae and I had done some of it a few weeks before. The wind was not bad and we had some nice hilly bits in the dunes and off-road sections. A big thank you to the organisers of the trip!
Matt really enjoyed himself and managed to banish the Zeeland 2004 demons forever. He did not break himself this time and kept up well with the pace. It was great to cycle with him again, and here is to the next trip!
For Damae and I the biggest surprise was just how well our Bromptons coped with a longer tour. The bikes are 6 speed models and proved to be very comfortable touring bikes. I had already fitted stubby bar ends to the bikes and both Bromptons have Terry saddles, similar to the ones on our touring bikes.
With a bit of ingenuity and light packing we managed to take enough with us including our lightweight tent and sleeping gear. We used a combination of our Brompton bags on the front, a front handelbar bag on my bike, and by using our handlebar bag holders on the saddle stems.(See the Brompton 2007 pages for more information and pictures)
We were able to keep up with the fastest in the group and were able to set the pace when we wanted to. The 6 speed Bromptons still have quite wide gaps between the gear ratios when compared with our touring bikes. In the relatively flat terrain on this trip this did not seem to put us at a disadvantage. Most of our travelling companions had touring or mountain bikes with lots of derailleur gears.
We were undoubtedly helped by the high pressure tyres on the Bromptons with the very low rolling resistance, also by having to travel light. I think we probably were each carrying around ten kilograms less than when touring with the normal bikes.
A couple of days after we returned I am sure I heard Damae say something about wanting to see if we could fit Ortlieb bags on our Bromptons. I have to find some time to make some custom racks to see if it can be done. Then I am sure she muttered something about an SP Rohloff making a good touring bike......
In as much as the recumbent trikes we tried a few weeks ago were a disappointment, the Bromptons continue to surprise us with just how capable they are as bikes. To be continued.....