I apologize upfront that this update is long, but I do believe the end of the story is worth it 🙂 ).
I did not start the trip today. As you know, I originally planned on bringing the custom trailer that I built to pull behind my bicycle (that could not only carry my gear, but I could sleep in as well), but without having enough funds raised, I couldn't send it.
If I sent it now, it would take around 1 - 2 weeks to get here, and would cost in the region of $2000 one way.
As you know, I try not to let too much stand in the way of what I need to do, so I decided its not an issue, I would rough it in a tent instead.
I purchased a tent, and the other camping gear I would need, racks and panniers for both the front and the back of my bicycle (all purchased here in Dublin), assembled everything, packed up all my bags this morning and realized that there was no way I could ride a bicycle with that much weight on it. In fact, the bicycle kickstand snapped because of the weight. See the photos of the packed bike below.
Without having a support team to carry my gear and meet me in different locations each evening, or the funds to stay in B&B's each night, there was no way for me to cycle like that.
So this afternoon, I had to go back to the drawing board.
After calling around 5 different bicycle stores, and no one had trailers in stock, I found a bicycle store in Dun Laoghire (#dublinlovesbikes), explained what I was doing and why, and they were only too happy to loan me a trailer that I could pull behind the bicycle that would carry half of my gear.
The interesting part is while waiting for a taxi to take me there, two drivers cancelled on me just before they arrived. The third driver picked me up and on the way we were discussing the reasons I'm doing this bicycle trip.
And he said to me that he has an eye condition also.
I asked him what it was, and of course he told me keratoconus. He said he's been looking for a doctor for a long time and has not been able to find anyone. Needless to say I gave him your name and phone number to the clinic, and he was exceptionally excited to hear that there may be help. He said he will call the clinic this week.
The strange thing is, if the other two taxis had not canceled I would never have met him, and if my bicycle was rideable the way it was, I would never have gone to the bicycle store and met him either.
What appeared to be negative situations for me, were not negative. They were in fact the catalysts for much greater good.
I really do feel that G-D works in mysterious ways. And sometimes we're lucky enough to see the machinations behind the curtain.
After all, my whole reason for doing this bicycle trip is to raise awareness for keratoconus, and here I meet a taxi driver that I'm able to help already.
A very humbling experience indeed.
So, to cut to the chase, I plan on assembling the trailer in the morning, picking up a tarpaulin to cover my gear, load up and head out. I expect to do shorter distances the first few days of cycling until I get used to the weight on the back of my bicycle and the trailer.
I will give you an update tomorrow evening when I get to my first stop.