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Wow, what a great start to my five-month bike journey with my dog Zuri through Europe! Experience how I unexpectedly got a luggage carrier on my dog trailer and was welcomed full of hospitality at Easter.
On the last day before my departure my new Ortlieb bags arrived at home. To be on the safe side, I ordered the new Backroller Pro Plus for the trip, without PVC and with extra storage space of 70 litres. On my journey I have to take a lot with me. My camera equipment including drone and laptop almost need the contents of one bag, then a tent, cooking equipment, sleeping bag, sleeping mat etc.. As a woman travelling alone a lot of things come together. To be on the safe side I also bought the Rack Pack Free with 31 liters, of course also PVC free.
Too much luggage for the bicycle journey
My concern that not everything could be stored in two bags was quite justified. But even with the Ortlieb Rack Pack, not everything would fit into it or at least there would have been no air for food. So in pure time stress four hours before my planned departure I repacked and unpacked everything and renounced half of my clothes. Whether it was a good decision to take only one sweater with me will be clear later.
Everything stowed on the luggage rack and Zuri in the Croozer trailer, I jumped on my Stevens E-Bike to drive off full of energy. But my bike was just wobbling. It was hard for me to keep the track. Shortly before my departure I had also clamped my 4 kg Abus chain lock with security level 15 on the luggage carrier. With an ebike abroad I want to be on the safe side. But that was probably too much of a good thing.
Wobbling towards Easter
Instead of the prescribed max. 25 kg, the carrier probably had 40 kg. So on Easter Thursday I wobbled to the next town and hoped that I didn’t have to stop at any intersection. Of course the normal road was closed for my start, so that I had to drive many detours. Sometimes my Navi Komoot led me also over forest and meadow ways, only to avoid a kilometer country road. In my condition not the best choice.
I was sweating and hoping I wouldn’t have to get off. My first stage of the day of 70 km led me to my dad. There I wanted to say goodbye before I started my five-month bike trip through Europe.
I arrived at his house all tired and hungry. And I knew it had to be remedied. I had to sort out my luggage further. So I unpacked everything again for the third time, but I found nothing more that I wanted to spare. So what to do? Google told me that there were front wheel carriers, even for the air suspension forks that my bike has.
Front wheel bags and front wheel carrier for a lot of luggage?
Full of enthusiasm I went to the biggest bicycle shop in Mainz to Franz XXL at the beginning of my actual journey. Unfortunately they did not have such a luggage carrier there. I went there to the service to ask if another front rack could fit.
Achim, a super friendly and helpful employee came with me to my bike and looked at my problem. Immediately he realized that it was not possible to attach front wheel bags to the bike and that my luggage carrier actually suffered from a lot of overweight.
Croozer Dog L dog trailer as luggage carrier
He looked at my Croozer Dog L trailer and you could see the ideas and possibilities buzzing around in his head. Full of confidence he said that he would find a way to build a carrier on the dog trailer, even if he didn’t know exactly how yet. The hanger is so stable that it would be perfect to carry my RackPack Free. He gave Zuri water from the service and invited me to his home where he wanted to build something he didn’t know yet.
When we arrived, three more Australian Shepards greeted us and Zuri felt right at home with her own breed. I drove with Achim to the next DIY store and we bought some wood and lashing straps. Something ingenious floated through his head.
Creative work until the sun went down
Back home he sawed and tried out 4 hours different variations. Even if I was allowed to hold the saw, I spent most of the time with his super nice twin daughters. It slowly got dark and his wife came home. Although it was Easter Saturday evening and Easter Sunday was a lot of family hustle and bustle, she invited us to spend the night with them.
My journey began full of hospitality.
In the evening I got egg liqueur and local white wine in additon to my new luggage carrier. What could anyone wish for better?
But the next morning the next sweet surprise followed with a nice Easter breakfast with cake. Achim also refined my luggage rack construction. The carrier itself only rests on the trailer and is held by two tension straps, making it non-slip and stable.
Well strengthened and full of gratitude we left Achim’s home. His wife gave us some Easter treats. He brought us despite Easter stress by bicycle to a beautiful view point in Mainz and then to the Rhine cycle path. On top of it he adjusted my saddle point-exactly on me (I had to dismount four times).
Full of happiness and gratitude and above all a non-wobbling bike at Easter, I left Mainz full of energy along the Rhine in the direction of Switzerland.