Arm raised in victory. He crushed the last 2.5 laps solo to hold a 10 second gap on the 5 chasing riders.

Well the second part of the trip is coming to an end. My time in the UK and Ireland is just about over. As many of you know my tour by bicycle was cut short by the formation of a crack in the trailer frame. Luckily it happened with only a week left and only 3 days of actual planned transit riding. I’ve been able to make my way around by train and have ridden sans weight to see the countryside.  It has also allowed me to take a ride with one of the local bike clubs and time to take in the Suir Valley bike race in Clonmel.

The crack that has brought the tour to an early end.

The end of my time in Ireland has been pretty relaxing, which is much needed as the next part will start with a bang and the month of July was my biggest mileage month of the trip so far. I guess that’s what happens when you decide you can’t take the Scottish weather and there’s only one way out; ride, ride, ride. I did just under 700 miles in the first 2 weeks of July, and then settled down and only rode another ~400 in the second half of the month.

I can use all the help I can get. Here’s hoping the Blarney stone works…

August will be a pretty low mileage month by comparison. I may get 100-150 miles in before leaving Ireland on the 8th on my way to Budapest, but after that there will be a pretty good lapse in riding unless I find a bike shop in Budapest that rents road bikes. After arriving in Budapest, assuming they let me back into the Schengen countries, I will spend 8 days wondering around the city and enjoying the Sziget festival. After the festival ends, I’ll take a train to Zagreb to start the cycling again. I have pre-booked the train to Zagreb to show that I have every intention of being out of the Schengen before my tourist visa would expire. Here’s hoping they’re feeling nice.

I have one big thing I need to do between now and arriving in Zagreb. I have to figure out how to continue the cycling. Do I try to source a replacement part for the trailer through purchase, repair, or new fabrication? Or, do I buy a couple panniers and racks and ship the box and trailer home? The trailer system has worked really well up to the point of failure. I admit that there were some downsides to this method of touring. For one, it is massive and incredibly awkwardly shaped. It is difficult to store in hostel or hotel rooms. It is incredibly heavy since everything is in one box instead of multiple panniers. There have also been a couple of occasions where there have been mechanical issues, but those were of my own doing except for the latest crack. Really even the crack could be considered my fault. I chose to carry too much stuff and ride in countries there the roads aren’t exactly smooth.

On the other hand, it handles really well going both up and downhill. I have no problems standing and pedalling up steep hills and no problems doing 30+ mph downhill. It was also really great to never worry about getting a box to transport the bike on a plane. As well as it always going as normal checked luggage with no additional fees. If I go with panniers I will probably start racking up fees and leave my bike more exposed to potential damage. Not ideal.

I will likely see if it is feasible to either fix the issue, or buy another trailer frame, and reduce my loaded weight first. Reducing the weight shouldn’t be a problem as I don’t plan on camping much in the heat of south-eastern Europe. If I can’t get the trailer back together then I’ll be forced to pick up the rack and panniers. So, If anyone knows of a good fabricator that I could send the cracked piece to please let me know. They could reuse the flange which I would think is the hardest part to source. The rest is pretty straight forward  bending and welding of steel tubing with a few washers and a nut… or so of think.

Brave soul riding a C60 in a 160 person criterium.

I feel like, even though eastern Europe isn’t the wild and unknown, it is the start of the real adventure. Western Europe was meant to be an introduction to living on a bicycle to prepare me for the next year.

I’m lucky the failure came now instead of a month from now. That’s for sure.


Published by: Andrew Monfort

I am a former engineer who decided to follow my dreams. After 9 years of working as a process engineer in the oil & gas production and refining industries, I decided to follow my passions (cycling and travel) to see where they lead.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s