A lightweight fixed-gear bike tour of France and Spain

EEK! Poles

What you saw in the earlier post tittled “EEK!” was a sneak peek into the ultralightweight trekking poles Adie is making. Trekking poles (or hiking poles, whatever you want to call them) are obviously not used much when cycling. Trying to coordinate the pole plants with the pedal rotations, while steering the bike without your hands would just be too tricky. Trekking poles are used when hiking; they help with balance, and take some of the stress off of your legs, especially in hilly areas. We plan on doing about two weeks of hiking in our two month trip, in the Pyrenees and maybe also in other Spanish mountain ranges.

So, you might think, carrying trekking poles when only 1/4 of our time will be spent trekking has got to be overkill. Well, actually, we will use these poles every day. The reason is that the tent we will be using (not homemade, unfortunately; it is the TarpTent Squall 2) is supported at the front by two straight poles. The poles that come with the tent are very thin, and flex too much to keep the tent up in strong winds. So, most people use trekking poles instead. The poles Adie is building weigh about a quarter less than the lightest commercially made poles on the market. So there isn’t too much guilt in carrying them either!

The poles use grips and tips sold as replacement parts by major pole manufacturers, but the actual pole sections are aluminium tube typically used for tent poles. The grips are replacement Leki grips, but to make sure no-one confuses these poles with commercial ones, Adie used a Sharpie to change LEKI to EEK! So now you know! The height of the poles are poles are not adjustable (but since they are custom made to Adie’s preference, they don”t need to be) but the poles will disassemble into two approximately 24-inch long sections for packing and storage.

Here is what Adie has done so far:

 

Replacement grips

 

And tips

Aluminium tent pole sections marked for cutting, there are three diameters which "nest" inside each other

Black pole sections glued into silver pole sections to increase diameter to match Leki grips
Replacement tips glued onto thin diameter pole which fits inside normal diameter black pole
Rob’s steady hand performing magic

 

More to come when the poles are complete!

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