The old adage, ‘be careful what you wish for’ rang true yesterday. As I mentioned in the post below, Matt and I were headed for a good old fashioned cross bike blast over Machen Mountain. However, it was not to be. The cycling gods were not smiling on us yesterday. They were grinning impishly and sending thunderbolts of bad luck pinging our way. Within minutes of leaving the house, Matt had a puncture. Nothing major, just a little taster of things to come.
After about an hour of riding, we were plugging away through thick gloopy mud. The type of stuff that fits every crevice in the tyre tread, denying purchase and forcing the rider to grind ugly. In the blink of an eye, I rode over a stick, flicking it into the back wheel and snapping the rear derailleur off. ‘Drat’, I said, or words to that effect.
A bit of thinking on our feet and we’d removed the rear gear cable, shortened the chain and repositioned it on the inner front chain-ring and in the middle of the rear cassette . As I said, be careful what you wish for; for now I had a single speed cross bike, all blinged out in racing garb.
Riding back, the chain kept skipping up the rear cassette and tightening to the point where the pedals would barely turn. Periodically stopping and releasing the back wheel allowed the chain to be repositioned, but not for long. I ran up slopes with the bike on my shoulder and ground out the cadence on the flat. This exacted a great toll on the bike. At some point, two of the chain bolts ring bolts decided to abandon ship, pinging off in search of easier rides. The inner chain-ring warped with the pressure and by the time we were about 3 miles from home, the bike was totally unrideable. Matt resorted to pushing me down the road while I dabbed the occasional leg and used the bike like a scooter. That’s what mates are for eh? (I can highly recommend it actually, much easier than cycling home). An eventful ride, which Matt felt was ‘the norm’ when riding with me. My reputation is clearly starting to suffer.
I think the moral of the story is – DON’T TRUST AN INNOCENT LOOKING STICK.
Despite all the mechanical grief, I still thoroughly enjoyed the ride; no harm done, really good riding prior to the breakages and a nice bit of self-sufficiency to get us home. All this wonderfully topped off by a good cooked meal and massive mugs of coffee. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the repair bill though. I wonder if the shop will accept toast-racks in lieu of cash?
Thanks to Mrs N for supplying a lovely cooked meal and large mugs of coffee. Thanks to Matt Morris for the big push on the way home. Note to self: Carry a spare derailleur hanger.