Between Penzance and Marazion, don’t we look pleased with ourselves!
After a seven week wait it arrived two days before we set out for our annual holiday in Cornwall. We had just enough time to set the bike up and have one quick ride into Sheffield centre (to pick up some inner tubes and other bits from Decathlon) and then we had to pack the bike into our trusty camper van for the long drive down to the West Country.
Setting up the Pino was a little bit more tricky than anticipated, first of all the boom was firmly stuck at its shortest position. I didn’t want to exert too much force but the manual implied that there was no particular trick or releasing action so we just twisted and thumped it until it started to move, once it had been moved a bit it became quite free.
Then I had to lengthen the chain. John at JD cycles had been careful to give me all the bits I needed but he didn’t explain that the chain supplied was the right length for a child. I hadn’t quite realised the purpose of the extra length of chain he gave me in the goody bag so I’m glad I decided to do the job before we travelled, I might have left the spare chain behind.
Our first ride was a bit scary, for the first time we were on roads that I knew well from commuting so it was hard to avoid riding as though I was on my very manoeuvreable Brompton and once or twice I found I’d positioned myself in difficult places at junctions. We chickened out of the main right turn that we faced on busy London Road, just too many things to go wrong for a pair of novice Pinonauts.
After that we had to pack it into the van. This turned out to be much easier than packing a normal bike inside (having two teenagers with us we normally load three bikes on the rear rack and one inside the van – the teenagers meanwhile saunter off to the airport and fly down to Cornwall once we’ve driven there, unloaded and set everything up, something wrong there).
Here’s the rear section stowed early on in the process
Here’s the van fully loaded with the front section of the Pino nested neatly on the rear-facing seat of the van.
So it all fits in neatly and it’s no problem to pack everything else around it. We found it nearly as easy to put the Pino in the back of a small hire car (Rover 200 Rent-a-Wreck) and our own Ford Focus.
Once at the campsite it took about ten minutes to assemble the bike and about ten days before people stopped exclaiming at it. By the end of the holiday most cyclists on the site had tried it out, plus a few non-cyclists, and our son Jamie and his friend Will were getting dangerously interested in how fast it would go on the road. Jamie draws the line at riding it in Sheffield, “too many people know me!” Will became quite adept at chauffeuring attractive older women around the campsite.”
Cornwall is well endowed with steep hills but we managed to find three routes that combined relatively few hills with a good number of cafes. However our first ride started with a daunting task as we rode down to the King Harry Ferry between the “mainland” near Truro and the Roseland Peninsula. The King Harry is a fine chain ferry across a beautiful stretch of river but on each side there is a big steep hill. We were pleasantly surprised that we could both execute a commendable hill start at the ferry and climb up the side of the valley without feeling too much strain. Incidentally the ferry cost only 50p for the Pino (charged as one bike). A small saving towards the cost of buying it.
These first rides were only around 20 miles out and back but everything worked well. The transportability of the Pino made it very easy to drive to the start of the ride in a small hire car (Once the camper van is attached to its various awnings and extensions for a long stay it becomes a kitchen-bedroom-teenage hangout and it’s too much work to pack everything up make it roadworthy again, plus it would deprive the teenagers of their life-support).
At the end of the ride, packing the bike up again into the car is a bit more challenging as my brain seems to turn to mush when I’ve been exerting myself but we gradually worked out a routine, plus ways of attaching hand baggage, drinks, mirrors, computer, fine adjustment of seats and boom and other minor tweaks to get it all working smoothly for us.
Because of the big difference in our fitness and strength it took quite a while for me to work out how to let Isobel contribute. On uphills we both had to work hard but on the level she didn’t feel she could “keep up” with me so didn’t contribute much effort, if any. Gradually I forced myself to select a gear that felt a bit too high but also I pushed a bit less hard, Isobel began to feel some resistance to work against and, to my surprise, we began to pick up speed as her effort kicked in. A lot of work to do yet but we are beginning to understand how to cooperate.
The Rohloff gears were a revelation. Every time I changed gear I gave thanks that we had decided to spend the extra money. I’ll say a bit more about that in another post.
So a big success, I’ll post details of our Cornish rides and also some of the small personalisations that we have done. Looking forward to some more riding in September.
|Visit this group|