By Alan Ponsford
I made the 960 mile End-to-End trip, or Le Jog, in April 2005 on my then new NS. This was running unsupported on the CTC B&B route. Alex and Shaun were very helpful it getting the bike ready, which I then fitted out with the life support equipment. I found my twin bottle layout, as attached images, very useable compared, dare I say, the set-up in the web site picture. Combined with a handlebar mounted ‘bum’ bag, one can graze and drink, at speed, quite happily. Even swapping to the reserve bottle on the seat tube is readily done.
The other kit include a toolset (unused) on the bars, tube & tyre spares stuffed into the frame lacunae, and a ‘day bag’ for the 9.5 day trip. Rather like a child insisting they are 6 and 3/4 years old, the nine and a half days kept my daily average mileage into three figures, just. Pedalling time was 65 hours at an almost 15mph average. 65 hours sounds initially respectable when compared to the sub 45 hour record, but they are in different universes. Even the thought of the continuous 20mph ride makes me feel faint and surely it is only for the truly super-human.
The ‘day bag’ included my evening garb plus a few swaps. This was indeed rather minimal luggage and one generous friend suggested it might be kinder, to others, to dedicate one bottle holder to Right Guard deodorant. However the evening attire was only used for a few hours between the post-arrival collapse and shower, the unrestrained and guilt free gorging and then the final collapse into bed.
The day bag was sheathed in a luminous ruck sack cover for increased visibility. At first, one mutters rather impolitely about the vehicles that cut in on you, but they have actually seen you to carry out this manoeuvre. In fact, it’s the ones that are cutting out, just missing the rear mudguard, that are the real frighteners. They have only just spotted you at the very last moment. The other life preserver was the bar end mirror. Once confidence thru regular use was established, one could rely on it totally. It saved turning round during the high speed 50mph descents, when the wind screaming thru your helmet straps meant you could not hear the cars, that perhaps you had just overtaken….
The Moulton performed like a cross between a fine watch and a Singer sewing machine. The ride, in a suspension sense, was very smooth. I opted for drop bars with Shimano STI levers for front & rear changers. This spec was not in line with Alex’s first suggestion, but it gave me scope to change easily both riding position and pedalling rate. The suitably close gearing spanned from 25 (crawler gear used out of Cheddar and Drumnadrochit) to 90 inches with only two gears being close. I christened them Castor and Pollux as I could not tell them apart. The ride, in a weather sense, was rather more challenging as north easterlies prevailed (not the desired plan) which rather flattened my smile climbing onto Dartmoor and up Shap!
My next Moulton plans are to rationalise my Moulton fleet of the NS, an AM7, an AM5, an AM2 and 2 incomplete F frames. Plus to do a lot more riding as a Moulton is a Weapon of Mass Reduction!