Can you spot the differences between the two bikes?
This was taken on Andøya when I stopped to chat with Reidar, the Norwegian end-to-ender I mentioned. He's riding a Thorn Raven Tour bike (the new edition of my bike), and his is propped up on a stand just like the one I had before I threw it away ... my frame was buckling at the mounting point for the stand, it couldn't take the weight when the bike was propped up.
Aha! That's a clue... Reidar is holding my bike while I take the picture, and clearly the difference lies in the massive front panniers I am carrying. Reidar expects to take five weeks to get to the bottom of Norway because he is fit, and is carrying just enough food to get to the next shop. And he looks the part too - proper lycra clothing, RayBan sunglasses and a good helmet. He wanted to know why I was carrying so much, wouldn't a couple of PowerBars be better?
I explained that my food has traveled many miles with me, and the potatoes are my friends now. I couldn't possible eat them. They are traveling in comfort along with the other goodies in the front bags that were cheaper in bulk and probably wouldn't be found again, like the kilo of dried milk powder (goes off when the silver packet is opened for the first time), and the month-sized packet of spaghetti.
But the good news is that all that weight really keeps the bike rolling on the flat roads around Andøya - in fact, once I get up to cruising speed cars seem to think twice before crossing my path. The weight certainly irons out the small hills, even if the rear drop-outs are starting to bend open under the strain.