Sunday, 2 September 2018

Debrief with SJH projects

Yesterday was a year to the day since I travelled to SJH Projects in Nottingham to inspect the finished Chapman Ventilation Around The World Buggy.

On this anniversary, I took the opportunity for a debrief with Steve Holland the project manager at SJH. Incidentally, it was actually Steve’s daughter who came up with the name “Chappie”. She hasn’t asked for any royalties yet for its use!

The overall feedback on Chappie that I gave yesterday was massively positive. Chappie is a craft that has been proven to be hugely fit for purpose. I’ve used it in temperatures from -9 to +36 Celsius. Apart from the expected punctures and a damaged brake caused by me (which was fixed in Chudniv) there have been no mechanical failures. The collapsed wheel 100 metres from the finish line was entirely my fault. The spare wheel that I used wasn’t suitable for a large drop off a kerb. The wheel needs a small modification before the next journey to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

The only other issue was a small amount of water leaking into Chappie in monsoon conditions. This is now silicone sealed.

Chappie was very well illuminated at the back and the amount of traffic that gave me a wide berth was proof of this. I don’t even recall any near misses and the 350 lumen lights that I subsequently added were an extra layer of protection.

Chappie proved to be as comfortable to sleep in as it possibly could. The half door at the back with a mosquito net at the top is ideal in the summer. The little fan down at the foot end proved to be invaluable to help circulate air during the night.

The solar panel worked superbly well and provided more than enough power to keep a laptop, satellite tracker, GPS watch, iPhone and drone batteries charged. The only modification I’d like is to have the USB hub positioned near the hatch. I’ll perhaps use a longer wire next time.

Another modification might be some external storage. However, on the next stage I need to review exactly what I need to take with me. Supplies need to be cut down to the bare minimum.

We also discussed my range with Chappie. Last year Steve hit the nail on the head when he said that it would draw a lot of attention. This hampered my progress but we both agreed that it made for a much richer story.

I’ve got my own thoughts on my daily range and I think 31 miles is doable, as proved to be the case on many days on stage five. The rest days need to be better spread out and refuelling on a daily basis needs a complete rethink. Burning 9000 calories and eating 1500-2000 leads to very poor quality miles and this has to change in future stages. Not having a support team to cook and force feed me was a huge backward step on stage five. I need to find the self discipline to plug that gap.

Back to Chappie and both Steve and I agreed that lessons had been learned. However, there is very little to change with Chappie itself.

As I said earlier, Chappie is a craft that is totally fit for purpose. It kept me safe from Belgrade to Kiev and will definitely be used for the remaining 10,200 miles around the world.

In the short term, I’m looking forward to using Chappie as a fundraising tool locally. I have a motivational talk next week and I’ll be running with Chappie to the venue.

Thanks to my sponsor Chapman Ventilation for paying for Chappie’s production. Without their support, stage five would not have happened. Thanks to them I not only have a craft to help get me round the rest of the world but from here on in my tour costs have been massively reduced by tens of thousands of pounds. No more motorhome hire, fuel costs and motor insurance means that more commercial money can go to the charities that I raise funds for.

It’s Chappie’s official birthday on September 21st. I wonder how we will celebrate?