B.O.B. Trailer Arrived & Put Together
The trailer arrived and I am looking forward to getting everything set up. I put it together last night and loaded it up today for a test run. I need to sort out gear loading and other issues over the next 2 days. The trailer bag was packed as I intend to on the trip, with the sole exception of food. I was really surprised at the volume in the bag. I am a huge fan of the large blue Ikea bags and this is even bigger. I can see why it is so important to get the bag loaded correctly with the weight down low. Since I am riding a 29er, any weight placed up high would have a negative affect on the handling of the trailer.
In general putting it together went very easy. The exception was the challenge in getting the shock pin in place. This however is a good thing, since it represents a critical pivot point and the tolerance is spot on. After a little struggle, I was able to get it in and everything else went together in a snap.
Today I loaded up the bag, and hooked everything up to the trailer. One of the first things that I noticed with it fully loaded was how challenging it is to get the bike from a parked position into a ready to roll one. I am sure that with practice that will get easier. One really nice thing is the way you can park the bike at a 90 degree angle to the trailer and not need a kickstand. This is an awesome thing and will serve as one of the end points for my Tarp setup in areas without trees. I will post pictures of this setup tomorrow along with details of the bag contents. The total weight of kit came in at 25 pounds without my tool bag and no food. I expect that the two of these will push me into the 30-35 pound range, which is a little more than I wanted, but ok given some of the extra stuff I will now carry.
As I peddled away, it was a very strange sensation at first. The trailer really does track amazingly well, and once up to speed you really don't notice it with a few exceptions. First, today's ride was dead into a 15 plus knot wind, so I think you really do notice the fact that you are grinding into the wind with a load behind you. When I could duck out of the wind, it really went back to hardly being noticed. The other trait I observed was gusts from the side definitely had an impact on the sway of the bike. Now this is not unique to towing an trailer and surely something I would notice with a bike fully loaded with paniers.
Going up hills, of which there were not many, are probably my biggest concern. Right now I am running a 33Tx17 drive train and I definitely noticed this both in the wind and up the hills. Luckily I will have a while to get used to it and strengthen those core muscles. My one consolation will be carrying a 30T chainring that I can switch to in the event that things become un-bearable, but I am hoping not to have to do that.
Lastly I was able to mount the Salsa Anything cage to the back of the trailer which is an awesome location. I will use it to hold one of my bulky, but light, dry bags to free up some space in the large B.O.B bag and provide quick and easy access to frequently used items. This will free me up some space and make it so that i don't have to open and close the bag searching for those pieces of kit that are used frequently.
All in all I am really pleased with the decision to add the trailer. I think while it will create a few challenges, the benefits are worth the trade-offs.