Testing limits in a bicycle tour

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Rider showing his converted messenger bike thggat will serve as a touring bicycle

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Messenger bike conversion to extreme touring bike.

“I am going to ride from here to Poland, so I had to put this carrier on the front. Some place to carry my bag. I will do it in five days, so that is about 200 kilometres a day. It is not that hard. I plan to avoid the Ardennes and take a flat route. The hardest part is the first day. After that, it’s pretty flat. I would never have done the carrier except I need it. The bike dates back to the seventies. The lug work and style, it is all so old.”
Notes: When you reach 160 kilometres in a day, you are riding hard. There are few touring groups that do over 100 in a day, people being far more comfortable with 80 kilometres max. So, 200 kilometres in a day is extreme. And, with one day done, the recovery to allow a second and third day at that distance – it takes some ability.
Nothing but respect.
My dad was a touring cyclist. Absolutely dedicated to it. He would ride at 12.5 mph over any distance. It was a discipline engrained into him as a touring cyclist in the UK. He did his big tour when he left for Canada and rode from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Victoria British Colombia, doing 160 kilometres each and every day.
My dad was a Methodist (I see that as a hard-coore Protestant). The sort of man who was able to knuckle down and do the job. He was great. Could do the hardest slog and still smile at the end of the effort. He taught me a lot about responsibility and standing by what you said you would do.
He rode his bike every day and did century rides (100 miles) at least once a year.
When he retired, aged 65, he packed his bike and flew it to Victoria, BC and then rode back to St.John’s. And, again, he did 160 kilometres a day. That was the same year I did my Africa tour, riding from Nairobi, Kenya, to Jo’burg, South Africa. I did about 60 miles  a day and only cover ed just over half his distance.
But I suppose I am a lapsed Methodist.

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