Having missed the ride out to Cannich the previous year I contacted the organisers early in the year to see if it was happening again. Thankfully it was and a date was set for May. Eagerly I told Beancounter we were going away to Scotland for 10 days and not to make any alternate plans. I also contacted Touring Ted who said he and his missus would like to come along but did not fancy going two up on a bike ride with camping gear for 10 days. So, a plan was hatched and with the aid of the back of a fag packet and a pencil along with a few beers for inspiration we designed a bike trailer that would take two bikes and the four of us would go in a van wiath enough camping gear to be comfortable.
By the beginning of February we had enough steel to rebuild the Titanic and work started in earnest on our engineering project. Ted has also just started a new job which meant the hours we had to construct this behemoth would be at best limited. Coupled alongside a very cold winter which meant it was freezing in his workshop during the evenings we could get together and it was becoming obvious progress would be sedentary at best. It was so cold we struggled for the first hour to get his log fire going in the garage and after a short while it was time to clean up and put all the gear away so very little happened. During hours of head scratching and teeth chattering a construction of sorts was taking change shape albeit at a tortuously slow pace.
Then came bombshell one, Teds missus could not make the voyage due to work commitments. This was followed by bombshell number two, Beancounter did not want to be gooseberry to us two running around the woods gathering firewood and making camp fires of towering inferno proportions while consuming large amount s of alcohol and she dropped out. Naturally this dampened our spirits a little as we no longer needed the trailer, we could just ride up there but the 10 hour ride was something neither of us fancied and just on costs alone the fuel required by the two bikes would be double that of the van and trailer.
Over 12 weeks and with lots of fettling the behemoth took shape weighing in at around 250 kgs and with suspension to handle 750 kgs so we named it the Brunel model. With only 1 full Sunday before the ride out we intended to finish the beast off but the weather got the better of us. We rolled the trailer out into the sunshine where the white paint reflected what was left of the fading sunshine and managed to get the two bikes onto the back and then the heavens opened. The tie down points and the size and shape of the ramp were going to be settled once we had the bikes in position. This was not helped by the fact it was parked on the slope of the work shop drive. The back of the trailer was much higher than it would have been on level ground. I was holding my own bike up while we worked out where to position the final tie down points but it was so wet and slippy that after an hour I gave up and we struggled to the get bikes off the trailer again. The trailer would not be finished or road tested before we would set off and we decided to ride the bikes up.
The plan had gone horribly wrong.