I haven’t written about all my pedal powered boat trips but today was a good one. I wanted to get out early before it got too hot but it took me until after 9am to leave home. I pull the boat on wheels for 0.7 miles to reach the canal and am well practiced at this. On my last attempt I had some lock nuts coming loose so had made sure they’re properly tight this time. I’d also adjusted the length of the rods which attach from the pedals to the paddle wheel. This was giving me smooth rotation out of the water but only time would tell if this would remain the case on the water.
I sailed for 2.7 miles and it went very well with no need for stopping to adjust or tighten anything. The only remaining issue is that the 2 meter long connecting rods are flexing under harder pedalling. At a relaxed cruise it’s not a problem but the flexing gives a notchy feel to pedal rotation at fuller power. I got some good exercise today and was dripping with sweat afterwards. I could also feel the effort in my legs. It reminds me of the effect on the legs of riding a recumbent bike, which I’ve tried in the past. I felt it down the front of the thighs more than I do on a mountain bike. Aerobically it wasn’t too hard. If I can stiffen the connecting rods to get a smooth rotation I think I’ll be able to push myself over shorter distances but then again this is not all about training. It’s nice to be on the water with ducks and herons, though they don’t hang around for long! It’s good to chat to people on other boats or walking the canal bank who are very often complimentary. I have also enjoyed the intellectual challenge of building something unique. When issues arise there is no source of reference other than your own mind and I love this kind of problem solving. The relaxed pace of sailing on the canal is very different to mountain biking but I’m sure I’ll be back many times in the coming months.