Last October I was satisfied with my homemade pedal powered dinghy. The pedal action had been too hard and slow so I’d added a gear system to make the pedals turn more quickly like a bicycle and all seemed well. Unfortunately on my trip before last the chain had derailled. I’d put it back on for the same thing to happen again. After adjustment it all worked well on the last occasion but the fault had got me a little nervous about getting too far from home along the Leeds/Liverpool canal.
I decided to make a journey from my start point to an ice cream parlour to the south then go back past my start to a slipway, returning back to the start to take the boat home on a wheeled trolley. If anything went wrong I still had the option to use my emergency paddle to get the boat to the bank where I could drag it out of the water. Today things went well so I will now be confident to do a longer exploration next time.
My 47 minutes on the water made the trip a good exercise session, particularly as the boat takes some effort to get it to the canal and back. Unlike on a bike, where the gradient often determines the work rate, I had total control over the effort I applied. I started gently enough but made a really big effort for the last few minutes. The relaxed, recumbent riding position feels different to a bike and the still slightly slower speed of pedal rotation stresses the muscles more than the lungs.
People always talk to me as I speed along (at walking pace!) and dogs are invariably curious. In glorious sunshine I enjoyed the whole experience which I could certainly feel in my legs later.