Day 628 – USA (CALIFORNIA): A trailer? On a skateboard?


Mmmmmmmm. Fruit. Went to the farmer’s market with Donna today. Mmmmm. Fruit.

Fruit at farmer's Market in Redondo Beach, California, USA Fruit at farmer's Market in Redondo Beach, California, USA Fruit at farmer's Market in Redondo Beach, California, USA

But in more important matters…I’ll be blowed if I’m going to haul 20kg of gear and food and water across China on my back. So I’m going to use a trailer. Let me tell you how this is all going to work…

About four weeks ago, I had the wonderful fortune to meet Karen and John Poole, a wonderful long distance cycling couple. That was on day 581 waaaaaaay back in Texas (shudder). John and Karen’s son, Cory, is a longboarder from way back, and is very active in the long distance skating scene in Oregon, a state here in the US. Cory called me out of the blue one day in the middle of the desert in Texas, and I enjoyed chatting with him. I mentioned that I was considering opening up an invitation to board builders in the US to make a board for my skate across China.

To cut a long story short, Cory mentioned this to Longboard Larry from up in Oregon, and a month later, he is putting the final touches on a new board for me as you read. Also in the works is a coupling device that will attach a trailer to the new board.

The trailer at this stage will be very simple. I will be using my old Rollsrolls deck (the one I have been skating on for the last 7,000km). Haven’t quite worked out yet how I will attach my gear to the trailer. Perhaps attach some u-bolt-like steel hoops to the deck and then use bungee cords…

In any case, this is all very experimental. Cory mentioned someone he knew who used a trailer behind his longboard skateboard, but apart from that I have not heard of anyone else even contemplating this. It is hard to know whether this will improve efficiency or hinder it, but I am fairly sure that with less weight on my back, my body will not have to work as hard.

So, within the next few days I hope to receive the board and coupling in the post, and have a chance to give the whole setup a few practice runs along the beach cycle paths here in LA before setting off to China.

Jolly exciting.

Oh and the Chinese visa. I have no answers. Gonna have to play that one by ear.


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14 thoughts on “Day 628 – USA (CALIFORNIA): A trailer? On a skateboard?

  • Eoin

    Hang in there Rob, I am sure something will work out with the visa. You seem to have overcome all of the other obstacles that you faced up until this point, so it seems unlikely that this time will be any different!

  • Scott

    Consider using nylon straps with buckles for anchoring the gear. I've never been a fan of bungees–heavy, prone to snapping one in the face, hooks can puncture gear, too. I've found straps to be super secure.

    Cheers,

    Scott

  • brad

    I just heard on the news today that China is putting a lot of restrictions on passports UNTIL the olympic games are over. Sorry I don't have much more information, I heard it on the radio and I can't seem to find much more information at the moment.

    I don't expect this to help you very much, but it might be soothing to know that if you can make it to the end of the Summer olympic games, you might have an easier time getting an extended stay.

  • Cory

    Hey Rob I'm glad this is going to work out!

    Looks like Larry is just about done with the board. Let us know how the practice runs work out!

    BTW it's Cory, Not Cody but no big deal in any case.

  • rick

    A trailer? on a skateboard? You have peaked my curiosity… The trailer on the bike was a disaster. It would shake and bounce on the downhill runs and seemed to double in weight for the uphills. I am picturing http://www.bobgear.com/trailers/index.php

    I will be very interested/ skeptical to see how you pull this thing off. I know you will, but wow. Maybe you can attach a sail to it, and on the windy days, let the trailer pull the skateboard. http://windsurfingmag.com/article.jsp?ID=10000570

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Rick, I too, have no idea how this will work out. I too have images in my mind of the trailer being jostled around on the downhills, the rear wheels hitting a crack in the road and flinging the trailer upwards, my knees giving out because of the stress and pressure on the front of the knee due to having a heavier board, not being able to skate uphill, the trailer getting run over because it is low to the ground and behind me…the list goes on.

    However, it is an exciting project, and I'll give it my best shot. Worst case scenario? Go back to the pack on my back.

  • Cory

    I thought the best feature that a trailer could offer (not this trailer) is bigger wheels and a disc brake so you could have a proper brake for long descents. We have a local guy who wants to do the Oregon coast this summer. So perhaps he could try it out. But I think using your existing board is a great idea. this way you have a redundant board ready to go in case of breakdown.

    Can't wait to see how it works!

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Cory…the disk brake is an interesting thought. You'd need a fairly large weight on your trailer for it to work effectively though, I would imagine. Even 40 pounds of gear might not be enough to create enough downward pressure for the tyre (presumably pneumatic) to grip…but worth exploring the idea tho!