Thursday, 17 July 2008

Dorset Cyclepacking-Postscript and Test Reviews

Further to the rather swift end to my Dorset Boundary cycle trip I can happily report that both Colin and Peter finished as planned. Peter managed to obtain some brake blocks for his bike although the shop in Bridport only had one set in stock that fitted. Due to the steel rims that Peter was riding on combined with the wet weather, he was forced on at least one occasion to slow up by aiming for the nearside hedge/ditch. Lucky that he did not hurt himself!! On the last night they camped at the Moreton C&CC site moving on from there on the last day by way of the Purbeck Hills and then the chain ferry across to Studland and back to Bournemouth. Peter did say that he enjoyed the last two days the most, as the roads were not so enclosed as at the start of the route and the views were better. Also the gradients although steep, were found to be easier. As I have not completed this route yet I do intend to go back in August and complete it in three days as part of my LEJOG training.
The Tent: Wild Country Duolite Tourer.
I like this tent! Although not as light as my usual mobile shelter, the Hilleberg Akto, it is as described 'great for cycle touring'. It is an easy tent to erect taking only a few minutes longer than the Akto and once inside you have lots of room. It has a huge porch which according to Terra Nova the manufacturers, is 'ideal for storing bikes.' Now I do question this. By bikes do they mean childrens bikes? Yes my fullsize folder was stored in the porch without any problem but that's a folder- I do question whether you would fit a normal tourer in the porch without compromising your own access to the tent. I think that I could get my new tourer in the porch if I dropped the front wheel first and if I am lucky I might even manage without removing the front wheel ,but as for bikes-plural-NEVER! But this is the only black spot on what I think is a very good tent. I liked the quirky shape with it's exterior pole system on which you hang the fly and inner. The tent is very stable in windy conditions hardly moving at all and in all the rain that we experienced not a drop entered any part of the porch or main tent area. The Duolite is as it's name suggests a two man tent. I am using it as a one man tent and for one person the space inside feels vast. There is enough room in the main tent for two campers but if they were both cyclists I think that one of the bikes would have to be chained to a fence outside the tent. When I do my Boundary trip re-run in August I intend using my new touring cycle and I will report back on how I get on fitting it in the porch.
The Cycle Computer/GPS: Garmin 605
I had only obtained this a few days before the trip. It comes with a 'Get you Started' quick reference guide consisting of ten pages,the main instructions are supplied on a computer disc. I did look at the disc before I set off but once on the trip I could not remember some of the important items. This is the problem with instructions on disc which seems to be more and more the norm with electronics- a mistake I feel! However using the 605 with what I could remember and what I have learned from the disc since my return I can state that the Garmin is an awesome piece of kit. You can configure the readouts to suit yourself. All the usual things are there such as speed-average speed-time-time of day etc etc. But you also can add in things like elevation-calories used-pace-gradient-distance to destination and ETA at destination etc....... In fact there is so much information that you can access that you get two pages on the computer on which to display it-just a flick of a button takes you between them. Another push of the button takes you to the map page which also gives you turn by turn instructions for your route. Yes, you can read the screen in bright sunlight with no problems and for night use it has a backlight. When you get home you can download all the information regarding your ride to your computer. You can see a track of the route that you rode as well as all the information on speed-average-pace etc...It is brilliant and I have really enjoyed learning how to use it and seeing all the information concerning the rides I have made displayed on my home computer. No need any more to keep my ride history in a little log book- it's now all done for me. I obtained the Garmin with the European road mapping package which seems pretty good. Dave Topley who had the 705 version with the offroad mapping told me that he wished that he had gone for the road mapping as he has not found the offroad mapping to be that good. If you are in to cycle touring and like to do the odd sportive and cycle training then the Garmin 605 with the European road mapping package seems to tick all the right boxes and more. Expensive but worth it !

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