top of page

Pick a Bike

Last week I wrote about our extended cruise on “Calder Valley” to find out how longer cruises differ from the one week trips we had done previously. As well as losing track of time - we found ourselves asking each other which day it was - we had to feed ourselves. With a one week holiday, you can load the boat with a heap of food and rely on that. Oh, and beer. And wine. And Pimms.


Keeping Fed

On a longer trip, at some stage you have to go foraging, which can be fruitful at some times of the year. In fact, we did make a damson crumble on that cruise

The snag is, foraging is unreliable, so we had to go shopping. Finding a supermarket or local shop close to the canal is difficult enough, but we then found the worst part of all. You have to carry everything you eat or drink back to the boat. The trip that started off with “let’s go shopping, there’s a supermarket just a mile down this road” later turned into “why is the boat always miles from the shop?", and "why are canals always uphill?” and the key question “why is shopping so heavy?”.


We thought long and hard about this when designing Perseverance. One answer was to persuade the Canal and River Trust to expand into retail and build a series of supermarkets at 10-mile intervals along the towpaths, but we didn’t think that would happen soon. Another answer was to reduce our food intake and only eat things that could be grown on board (didn’t Sir Francis Chichester eat cress on Gipsy Moth IV?), but it would take too long to grow a cucumber, which is essential for Pimms. And you can’t cruise without Pimms.


Bicycling

We finally settled on the solution of using bicycles. These not only get you to the shop, they can bring the heavy load back in panniers. The added bonus is that the range of travel from the boat is expanded from walking distances to cycling distances, so sight-seeing is improved.


One bike or two? Roma would never let me do the shopping on my own (the unreliable husband syndrome) and Roma doesn’t like cheese, so I have to go, else no cheese, and a poor selection of beer. So it had to be two bikes.

Electric or manual? At 65 years old, with loaded panniers and going uphill, an easy decision.

Folding or not? Come on, we’re on a narrowboat.


Curiously, our local cycle shop did not stock folding electric bikes. I would like to support local businesses, but I think they missed a trick here. Forced into Internet shopping we came up with the Furo X.



What this doesn't show is the thrill of becoming Superman. You can cycle without assistance on the flat, and when the going gets hard you just dial up an invisible hand that helps push the bike along. On really steep hills, dial up 5 and the bike just climbs a 1 in 4 without effort.


Bike Storage

Now all we had to do was get two folded bikes into the boat. Here’s how the stern was planned out. For this photograph, I'm up in the roof of my garage looking down on the concrete floor.

The curve of the stern gunwale is marked in cardboard, with gaffer tape where you walk on and off the boat. The mock-up includes a tiller and part of the taff rail. An early incarnation of our locker seat is top left. Moving below the deck the ruler and grey pipe mark the edge of our water tank, the cardboard box shows where one of the two Victron batteries was at that time (since moved and upgraded to MG batteries) and the center of the picture shows two folded bikes stored below deck. Don't forget the invisible weed hatch under the foot of the tiller.

No, we didn't buy two expensive bikes then see if they would fit. I had planned this stern layout using a 1/10th scale model of the stern components, so I knew the Tema motor would fit below the uxter plate and that the beam was wide enough for both bikes.


Covid

During lockdown, we used the bikes for exercise. When the exertion got too much, there was always an invisible hand, ready to help!

340 views6 comments

Recent Posts

See All

6件のコメント


Dave Jesse
Dave Jesse
2020年10月25日

We picked the lightest and smallest (when folded) bike we could find. Being carbon fibre, it is a lot lighter than the metal bikes we found on our research. Conveniently, the battery is removable so we may well take them off and charge them inside the boat - at the same time this reduces the weight of the folded bike to manhandle into the boat.

We also carried out some experiments to work out the space needed to get them into the stern, as this dictates the size of the hatch cover. During this, we found that it's a lot easier to store the bike if you step into the stern and lift the bike down, rather than standing on…

いいね!

Mark Button
Mark Button
2020年10月25日

Dave thank you for another great article it's very exciting to watch your progress. Just curious, how did you pick those particular electric bikes? I know you must have done a lot of research on the many that are available.

いいね!

Mark Bloxham
Mark Bloxham
2020年10月25日

Thanks Dave, wicked, sick or cool works just fine.

いいね!

Dave Jesse
Dave Jesse
2020年10月25日

Mark,

That's a beautiful boat you have there, with some wonderful craftsmanship, and the bike looks wicked. (or should it be "sick"? I'm not sure about the jargon you young people use). Enjoy!

いいね!

Mark Bloxham
Mark Bloxham
2020年10月25日

A couple of weeks ago we decided we couldn't wait to have an electric boat built so bought a five year old one with a Beta 43 , a hospital silencer and in a sound insulated box but the big thing for me was where to put my bike. I'm 60 but still into mountain biking and three years ago bought an electric version with 160mm of suspension front and rear:


https://www.wideopenmountainbike.com/2018/12/merida-eonesixty-800-emtb-review


Lovely bike and anyway, when we viewed the boat I actually took the wheels off and offered it up to the only place it would go, vertically, starboard side aft, just above the triangular hatch. I'm giving up my Ducati but no way am I giving up …


いいね!
bottom of page