Bikes and Boats (and Illness).

I never seem to be ill but this week I found that I had a stomach problem. From last Sunday afternoon, after my last mountain bike ride, I simply wasn’t digesting my food. I had an uncomfortable feeling and was cold. I improved slowly during the week and for the last couple of days have been back to normal. The weather has been very wet but I would have expected to ride once during a break in the rain. At least I’ve had a chance to work on my project of building my second pedal powered boat during the week.

Today I was back on the bike and due to the damp ground I chose to ride along the canal bank. Apart from a descent and subsequent climb to the canal, which lies at the same height as our house, and the same again on the return home, there is no appreciable change in altitude. The only thing which changes the amount of effort required, occasionally needing a gear change, is the varying surface. Sometimes it’s bumpy tarmac and in other places compacted gravel. Lined with so many trees the leaf mould also inhibits progress. I’d intended to take it fairly easily and just stretch my legs today but inevitably I listened to my breathing and felt the stress in my legs to maintain a good pace. I mean what else is there to do when there isn’t the excitement of a twisty, downhill trail?

What had started as a stretch of the legs turned into a good training session, covering 11.69 miles in just over an hour with a meager 93 feet of ascent. I traveled south to the White Bear marina where I turned, passing where I’d first reached the canal bank, and went north to the locks at Johnson’s Hillock. The picture above was taken early on the ride at a boat yard which hires narrow boats for a days sailing. A group were being briefed before boarding.

Of course riding by the water has me thinking about my new boat, which is still less than half built. I’ve currently constructed 2 of 4 aluminium hull sections which will be filled with foam for flotation. I’ve also almost finished the front half of the steel frame which will connect the hulls of the catamaran together. The boat will break down into halves for transportation and storage. The front half contains a pedal powered mechanism whilst the back half is for seating.

So far the pedals are just 12 mm diameter steel rods. They attach to long arms which are telescopic. Paddles will be fitted to the bottoms.
The foam filled hulls will provide 360 kg of buoyancy.

I’ll initially make sure the boat works under pedal power but later I have the option to add a sail for use on lakes. I’m hoping to be on the water in April.

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