Equipment – 2015

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Tour de Travoy 2015 Equipment. The photo above shows all the equipment I was hoping to take with me on the Tour de Travoy in 2015. In the end, I had to ditch about half the gear in this photo as it was too bulky and too heavy to take it all.

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Total weight of all my gear including Travoy was around 25kg.  It was quite a squeeze fitting everything into the 85L rucksack. Out of the 65L in the Burley bag, I was only able to use about 20L as the bag had to sit between the rucksack and my pop up tent on Travoy. My one criticism of Travoy is that it doesn’t come with sides and this makes it difficult to attach a variety of bags and items to the trailer.

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Testing Travoy using a bag of turf. About 3 days before the 2015 Tour de Travoy, I went for a spin with Travoy to see how well it handled and also to work out how much the extra weight would slow me down. Rather than pack in all my equipment, I just put a bag of turf in the trailer to weigh it down.

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Using scales to weigh Travoy and the bag of turf. The scales shows a weight of 13.4 kg so bearing in mind Travoy weighs about 4 kg , I had about 9 kg of turf on board. I never actually weighed Travoy with all the equipment on board but it was at least 25 kg when I set out from Paris. In France on some days with 6 litres of water on board the weight was over 30 kg.

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Spin around by Dunlewy to test Travoy. This spin is 46 km and normally takes me about 1 hour and 50 mins. With Travoy and a bag of turf, it took me about 2 hours and 20 mins or an extra half an hour. I knew I would be a lot slower going uphill but what surprised me about the spin was that I was also slower going downhill. I had thought that with the extra weight, I would be quicker on the downhill sections but I was actually slower due to the extra drag.

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Testing the solar panel. I had ordered a 15W solar panel to charge up all my phones and computers while on the Tour de Travoy. The panel comes with 2 USB connections and I had hoped to attach it to the trailer and use it to charge a portable battery as I cycled along. If the solar panel is facing the sun, it can charge a battery or a phone as fast as using mains power. However, by being attached to the top of the trailer, it was often at an angle to the sun and produced very little power. In 2015 during the first week of my Tour, I cycled south from Paris to Lourdes and the panel would often be covered in shade from me sat on the bike and consequently, generated very little power. So after a day or two, I stopped attaching it to the trailer and only used the solar panel at campsites. The last week of the 2015 Tour , I cycled north from Grenoble to London. The sun would have been on my back that week but I never thought to try the panel again to see if it was more effective. Maybe on my next Tour if I am cycling north, I will try attaching the solar panel onto Travoy again.

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Using a Power Monitor to check the output from the solar panel. All USB gadgets operate a 5V. There are 2 USB connections attached to the 15W solar panel so each is rated at 5V x 1.5A = 7.5W. The photo above shows that the panel producing  power at close to its maximum at 1.29A. Most chargers that come with phones only charge at 1A, so a solar panel can charge a phone quicker than using mains power provided there is plenty of sunshine.