After 5 days of hard work with testing and adjusting the bike, both I and the bike are ready to leave Bielefeld.
Last Friday started with a broken airplane and delays, but I eventually made it with 20 minutes to spare in Hamburg for the train-ride to Bielefeld. The weather was very sunny and the long walk from Nordcentrum to Velotop was a challenge with close to 40 kilo of luggage.
So nothing much got done that day with the bike except treating the leather saddle with proofide, the substance Brooks claims will save the saddle.
Saturday had bad weather so I spent the day at Velotop and installed all the extra fun stuff I brought from Sweden. Now the bike was ready to pack and ride.
So I spent Sunday in the sunshine just south of Bielefeld, an easy 50 km with almost full load on the bike. First impression is that the Bullitt is a great holiday vehicle. It’s like a Mini-MPV, there are lots of places to put lots of stuff.
Strangely enough the handling improved with 30 kg of load on it, that is a mystery to be solved, but I guess the weight calms the otherwise "nervous" steering down. Having a small 20" wheel way ahead of you on turns and bumps takes some getting used to.
The next project was attaching the aluminum box properly, the website of Bullitt bike clearly states "Without attachment kit. Please be aware that holes require drilling in the bottom for secure attachment, get creative!". So I was prepared for being creative. The main issue is that drilling holes in the alu box requires one to be sure of exactly how the mounting is to be done. Holes in an alu box can not be undone.
Since I am not certain if I can leave the box on the bike and still get it in to the bike storage at home I decided to leave the mounting to be solved at home after the tour.
Loaded, the box is so heavy it will stay on the bike unless I jump with the bike, so I will use one strap around the box and bike to be sure it stays in place.
Next issue was that apparently aluminum goes black and rubs off against bags when they touch the box, I had no idea of this, but luckily some transparent film from the baumarkt solved that problem. Also a cheap shower mat protects the floor and dampens noise and vibrations.
But the box is so nice that it was all worth the hassle.
My initial idea was to pack everything in 6-7 smaller drysacks since that would make it easy to organize stuff in the box. But after a few hours testing it turned out that less space was wasted with one big bag in the bottom of the box and then just one drysack and sleeping bag on top of it.
First the big black bag with downmat and clothes and more.
Kitchen (blue bag), sleeping bag, tools, rain clothes etc.
I am sure I will change the packing over time, but it was surprisingly easy to pack the box.
But my favorite quote from the Bullitt website is,
“Remember – the good news with the Bullitt is there ain’t no bad news. Whatever choice you make, it’s going to be the right one.”
so I hope it will all be good.
Tomorrow I will pack up and leave, one last stop at Velotop to check tyre pressure and pick up my tube of Brunox. The weather looks like it will be the same as the last few days, cold, strong wind, and rain,rain,rain.