“Next adventure? What happend to the last one?” you might be thinking. Don’t worry, the project to walk of the Thames is still on going and will be picked up when the weather has improved a little bit. For now I have something much wackier to get on with.
As I’m under doctors orders to cut back on the cycling for a bit I needed to find myself a new form of cheap, human powered transport. I mean, how else am I to spend my precious annual leave allowance but by masochistically propelling myself across a distance?
Kayaking down a river or along a canal caught my eye. Romantic visions of calmly carving my way along a European river were soon stopped in their tracks once I considered the difficulty of getting the damn boat to the starting line.
No I needed something cheap, simple and easy to get to the start line and one day whilst trawling the web for inspiration I found it…
A longboard! Now if you don’t know a longboard is basically a longer, wider skateboard with bigger, softer wheels. The longer board flexes more giving a softer ride and the larger wheels reduce rolling resistance and allow you to ride on rougher roads than a normally skateboard would.
Now don’t worry, I’ve not gone insane, although I’m sure some people have jumped to that conclusion after my London to Shanghai bicycle ride. Longboard touring is in fact an activity that a few other people have taken on and some on far more serious trips than I intend to. Introducing Rob Thomson who skated across the entire width of China on a route almost identical to the one I cycled…
After watching Rob’s videos I decided this was something I was going to give a shot so off I went to Amazon.co.uk and picked up the cheapest suitable longboard that I could find. Such a short trip didn’t warrant the investment of a trailer like Rob’s, considering I’d have to build the thing, so I’ve opted to carry all my gear on my back.
For this to be feasible I needed the equipment to be as light as possible. Since balance plays a big role in skating you can’t even carry as much as you would if you were walking. After emailing Rob, who as well as skating China with a trailer also crossed the US skating with a backpack, I got some feedback that 12kg was the upper limit on what was doable.
Fortunately I already have some lightweight gear from the bike trip, all I needed was a compact lightweight tent which I found in the MSR Hubba NX which I’ll do a little write up on after this Paris-London trip.
About 4.5kg for a full camping setup including the pack. Not bad at all. Throw in a 150g cooking setup and I’m almost ready to go…
… except for one little thing, I need to learn to ride a longboard first.
The board arrived in it’s a box and like a kid at christmas I ripped it open eager to get at the goodies inside. I quickly learnt that by entering the longboard market at the budget end you must deal with the not so reassuring knowledge of having your new mode of transport supplied by a toy store, but I digress.
After a few awkward runs around the quiet streets where I live, as well as some trial stints along the Brighton seafront while visiting friends, I quickly got the hang of it and have started doing some decent 15km+ training sessions carrying most of the gear I’ll be taking with me…
I’ll be leaving Paris on Sunday, March 22nd, so I’ve got just 2 and a half weeks to wrap up my preparations and get some more training in. I’ll probably be whining on my Twitter page during the trip about how terrible an idea the whole thing was and will make sure to do a write up here afterwards. If all goes well I’ve got some more ambitious Longboard touring plans lined up for this winter!