Things to watch out for

After what I thought was a nice weekend of tinkering I was rather happy with myself that my beloved bike was now running with a lovely fresh drivetrain! Through a bit of neglect my chain and cassette had worn quite considerably. So much so that any applications of Awesome Power resulted in much gear slippage which was obviously hindering my playing of The Game.

During said tinkering I did notice that one spoke was rather loose. As I have Maivc Aksium’s it wasn’t just a case of tightening the spoke nipple as the straight pull bladed spokes are a PITA!

Anyhow as I had already made plans for a ride on the Monday I carried on out and it was all going fairly well until our second big descent. I’d already bottled it on the first descent, knowing my wheel isn’t in an ideal condition and it being wet I just ended up grabbing handfuls of brake lever 😦

The second one was a bit more pleasant (Toy’s Hill I think in Kent) with much wider roads, but it was still damp so I was taking it a bit easier. That was until I spotted a rather large rock in my path……I manged to avoid it with the front wheel but hit it square on with the rear. I heard the expected “psssssttttt” noise and brought the bike to a stop. I tried yelling to my ride buddy Ben but I think a combination of wind noise from descending at 30+mph and him being 20 yards ahead meant he couldn’t hear me.

I gingerly walked down the hill until I found a little gate and set about replacing the inner tube. Another rider coming up the hill pulled over to check if I was OK and had all the tools I needed. Thankfully I come out well prepared and had 2 tubes, a puncture repair kit and mini-pump on bouard 🙂

About 5 minutes later and I’m off rolling down the hill again except my bike is now making a rather nasty rattling noise….bollocks! I finish the hill and then catch up with Ben accross a junction and say I need to check the bike due to the rattling. Closer inspection of the rear wheel reveled another loose spoke 😦 At this point after riding 25 miles away from home and still only 1/3 through our planned route I made a call to head back, not wanting to risk any more tricky descents on the wheel.

We picked a route back via some lovely hills, Ike Hill was superb! Not quite sure why I say that about a hill but it was just a nice gradient and about the right length. We also decided to take on Westerham Hill which neither of us had done before. This was a lot steeper (Ben estimated it kicked up to about 10-12% for a about 1/2 – 3/4 mile or more) and I managed to drop my chain when going for the granny ring! I was however impressed I managed to get going again and clipped in with the 30×25 gearing before toppling over!

We then had an un-relenting headwind to contend with all the way back from Biggin Hill to Crystal Palace and Ben put it quite well:

I’ve never had to work so hard going down hill!

I got home with about 25 miles less in the legs then I initially intended but did however make it home with the backwheel somewhat intact! The spokes where certainly have some effect as I could certainly feel some brake rubbage under pressure when climbing 😦 Thankfully I didn’t need the bike this week for commuting as I’m working at the only site I don’t ride to! Also another blessing it having a Evans store about 5 minutes up the road from the office so the rear wheel is going in (hopefully!) for some TLC!

Then all I need to do is sort the indexing…….


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