Thursday, February 25, 2010

cattrike capacity

I sit here, enjoying my cup of orange blossom herbal tea (one of my favourites, next to peppermint tea) and watching the wet snow become even wetter. My left wrist is still wrapped in a tensor bandage and my monthly shipment of Avonex has arrived. With that out of the way, I can now think about what my catrike can actually carry.

When I bought my Catrike Trail in September 2009, one of the main selling features was that the rack I also purchased would allow for me to attach panniers on either side. That coupled with the rack pack I already use on my bicycle means I can carry a lot of stuff. In times past, when my balance was much better, a good day trip would typically entail me packing a good lunch and maybe a few other things like a light windbreaker and a couple of magazines in my one pannier (at the time, I only had one pannier) and bottled water, a couple of bananas and maybe a few tools in my rack pack. Packing strategically allowed for me to be as self-sufficient as possible but it also limited what I could bring; something I noticed when seeing other cyclists with two panniers.

The decision for me to get a second pannier was based on my attempting to ride home from the grocery store with a 4 litre bag of milk. It fit nicely in the one pannier I had but it did result in some interesting effects when trying to turn corners. As a former flight instructor I am keenly aware of the effects of shifting centres of mass but it's an entirely different thing to experience it so noticeably. Suffice it to say that I was even more cautious than I already am when cycling the 1.5 kilometres home from the grocery store.

So, the next time Adam and I went out to our local MEC, we purchased a second pannier for my bike. This doubled my capacity and certainly helped to keep any loads we carried more evenly distributed. Along with my rack pack, I looked more like a long distance vagabond than a local cyclist just out for some exercise and more urban adventures. Still, the desired effect was easily achieved.

Fast forward to 2009 when Adam got his Catrike Speed (a 2006 model in near pristine condition that he bought used - see story here) and it becomes easy to see that;
1. catrikes can carry at least as much as a bicycle and with no risk of anything toppling
2. Adam needed some panniers of his own

Another trip to MEC resulted in the purchase of two more panniers and now both our trikes are very well endowed. That means we can go more places and even for an overnight or two. We tend to pack light anyway so it's really not an issue of whether we have the capacity to bring any given item.

Now, as it still precipitates and my cup is drained of its orange blossom herbal tea, I start to think about where we can go for an overnight trip. We had considered a few places, all within about 80-100 kilometres. I can't cycle as quickly as Adam but as long as the weather is good, it doesn't matter.

Oh, the tensor bandage. Repetitive strain injury from - get this - crocheting. That's almost as embarrassing as the time a couple of winters ago when I sprained my big toe on my left foot. I only ever seem to get silly embarrassing injuries but I can at least spend my recuperating time thinking about the upcoming triking season. May it be a long and enjoyable one!

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