Screeching Monkeys – disintegration

Top of the climb

Looking back, the hill up going south from Garvald, East Lothian

I was heading south to the Lammermuirs, hoping for a good climbing day.

Then I heard it, luckily just before I started the bigger ascents. A quiet screeching noise coming from the bottom bracket.

So, do I keep going?, do I do the sensible thing & turn back? At least I stopped & had a look & a wiggle of the cranks – a wee bit of play, but the bearings only done just over 2,500 miles. Decided to keep going on for a whiile. The screeching suddenly become loud and tortuous, what were all those monkeys playing at down there? So headed for home. On the way back the rain came down in absolute torrents & the bike went quiet. Made it back & squelched into the house.

Next day a friend helped me to dismantle the bottom bracket. As we took out the crank there was the sound of clattering bits of metal falling on to the concrete slabs. Tiny ball bearings & odd shaped pieces of disintegrated bearing cage rolled & bounced around. The seal had gone on the one side, probably some time back & everything on that side was totally dry. Strange thing was there was little notice of this failure, which with the lack of phone reception on our deserted moor roads & huge rainfall that day could have lead to an interesting situation. Later on checked the pedals, which I knew had some play, undid them and the bearings were totally shot. I had got some replacements ready.

A couple of days later all the bad bits replaced, and the bike is smooth again & a delight over the heights.

Conclusion, maybe I should check things a bit better, my summer bike is my winter bike & in Scotland this is a rough deal for any machine. Also, my last bottom bracket lasted from new (6 years) so maybe they don’t make ’em like they used to? But hey, the joy is worth the travails.

Another thing brought home how good even my old bike is, went out on my old hybrid and what unjoy it seemed to be to ride it. It’s not about the bike?

Alastair

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