I’m sure there are thousands of cyclists out there with the same problem as me. Lying awake at night wondering “what would it be like taking a steep downhill hairpin corner at high speed on my bike while towing a 20 kg kayak behind me”. This is a question thats been bugging me ever since our first fossil fuel free mulitsport (fffm) event in 2011 which was all good fun and got me thinking about future routes, including the possibility of biking over the Port Hills and kayaking around Quail Island. I mentioned this on our second fffm earlier in the year and even the seasoned coast-to-coasters started to look a little pale at the thought of towing a kayak up & down Dyers Pass road. SO this Sunday morning I decided to give it a try to see whether it was a technically possible and enjoyable experience.
I made it to the base of the Port Hills in approximately the same time as I would without towing a kayak and found the grunt up the steep first section was pretty manageable in my first gear. I spent most of the rest of the Dyers Pass in 2nd gear until Victoria Park Road where I went down to the first gear again. It took 19 minutes to get to Sign of the Takahe which would normally take me around 12 minutes so a bit over 50% slower. I didn’t have that much time so turned back after Victoria Park to return home and got up to around 35 km/hr on the way down – not exactly high speed but it felt quite safe and stable. The only slight worry was when I slammed on the brakes to visit a friend for morning tea, having almost over-shot his driveway, and the weight of the kayak started to jackknife the back of the bike and few cms – nothing major but something to be aware of.
The conclusion – quite do-able and enjoyable, although the return journey from Governor’s Bay up Dyers Pass is long and steep so would be very hard work. Who’s keen next summer?