We loaded up our panniers, and rolled out for a beautiful morning ride to Fujinuma Lake. In lieu of a proper test overnight, we decided to go for a short local trip to see how we coped with the weight of our camping gear. We were interested in three things. How do our bikes handle when loaded? How does our rack and pannier system cope with the kind of load that we expect to carry? How do our legs cope with the extra weight to pull?
As for our three questions? Our handling was very smooth. After the first few hundred metres, it was easy to forget that we were carrying a load. By all reports, this is what the Long Haul Trucker was made to do, and what it does best. Our experience gave us nothing to question those reports. Secondly, our pannier set up worked mostly quite well. The only minor problem we had was with fore and aft movement from the Ortlieb Rack Pack. A simple bungee will solve that. And our legs? Not too bad, as it happens. It was only a short jaunt of 42km, and only over gentle terrain, but we handled it in a little under three hours, including exploring around the dry lake. Not too bad at all.