Monday, 24 September 2018

A French tickler

A few months ago, someone on the SKCC forum proposed a brief , one night excursion to France. It seemed a perfect opportunity to get the wife out with me and get her more interested in Zedster. Sadly, my recent troubles meant i wasn't sure if I'd be ready in time, so I cancelled my hotel and the babysitters but the Eurotunnel tickets were non- refundable. Then, when I actually managed to get Zedster ready (6pm on the Friday night!), I decided to just go for it. Unfortunately,  this meant my wife couldn't come as we had no babysitters we could get at such late notice.

So, I left home at 5am for the 2 hour slog down the motorway to the Eurotunnel - a nerve-wracking journey trying to listen out for my sump dropping off, or some such disaster.

I arrived first because it only took 1.5 hours (thanks Google! Could have had an extra 30 minutes in bed) before the others arrived; a Caterham, couple of Tigers (or one might have been a Westfield) and a beautiful Morgan:

Sadly, this was to be almost the last dry time of the trip! Our train was delayed 2 hours and the second we drove off the train, the rain started and didn't stop until we arrived back in Folkestone!

But it was a great excuse to test Zedster in horrendous weather - and he did pretty well. One of my wiper arms stopped working an hour into the trip but this was just a loose bolt holding it on to the spindle. The other one was loose as well, so i need to get some thread lock on them for future. Once tightened, they were fine.

My roof was great except that, overnight, a puddle formed in the middle and some of this got through the material and wet my seat. Next time, i might carry some sort of pole with me to make a peak in the roof so that the water doesn't collect.

My doors were also excellent but are just lacking straps on the inside to hold them against the side of the car. Ideally, I need to bend the lower frame but I've tried and can't seem to get it to follow the side panel. Straps will also stop the sides blowing up at speed and letting spray in. The Caterham had armrests bolted into the door which doubled as the straps holding the door in as they hooked over the sill - very clever. I might try doing that...

An interesting discovery is how stable Zedster is at speed. Going past trucks at 70mph in torrential rain and strong winds and he didn't even slightly stray off line. My normal car is all over the place in that scenario - must be the low C of G.

So the trip was very wet but a nice bunch of people,  some great food, a decent hotel and lovely, empty roads.

An enjoyable trip which would have awesome if the weather had been just a bit better. But hopefully the first European trip of many... (if Zedster stays in one piece).

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