Category Archives: Thorns

Derailleur Failleur and insult to injury

Now that's what I call a thorn!

Now that’s what I call a thorn!

Be prepared?

Just a couple of days ago, I was down in my low grandpa gear climbing one of our many steep gradients (this one ramps up to just under 17% according to Strava).

Kerchang, ping kerplunk, aghghghghgh! An abrupt halt.

Inspected the damage. The rear derailleur had catapulted into the rear wheel. One spoke was broken as well.

Luckily, being a cautious sort of chap (except when descending fast) and a boy sprout in my yoof and I’d just been putting up some posters, I had the wherewithal to take off the derailleur via its hanger & jury rig it to the frame with bits of string. To add insult to injury as  was doing all this I noticed a giant thorn in the back tyre (not the one in the photo though!) and heard a faint hissing sound. Second one in a week, off with the wheel, extract the thorn, replace the tube and get ready to rumble. Luckily I was nearish home & managed to scoot the 2 1/2 miles back with some freewheeling down & walking up. So, off to the bike doctor with the poor bike.

So on to the old iron steed the next day out with my compadres. This poor old hybrid has been sadly neglected & climbing up was a nightmare of slipping chain, missed gears, fluffed changes and even the saddle decided to come loose. Ah well serves me right.

So today, fitted new chain & cassette & started a TLC campaign on the poor thing. Alas, I knew I had to change the chainrings as well. Trouble is, they are hard to get, especially at a reasonable price, so the hunt for replacements goes on.

But – and it’s a biggie – life out on the bike still is enjoyable & invigorating even with the hassles. And thanks for the help my cycling mates gave me, overlooking my curses & general grumpiness for 35+ miles.

A Rose by Any Other Name . . . . . . . . .

Up in the Lammermuirs, Scotland

Up in the Lammermuirs, Scotland

What’s in a name?

I’m not sure, but I do enjoy giving my rides a special name rather than ‘Tuesday ride’ or ‘Morning ride”. Sometimes the name is descriptive, sometimes a little poetic and sometimes just plain daft. Not sure if my cycling friends enjoy them (though some do), but it is a wee bit of fun. A local friend who I cycle with has started naming his rides after the shape of the ride on the map, this also leads to a bit of entertainment and banter.

So what are these names? Here’s a wee selection from recent ones, earlier ones first:

‘ Wi’ the B-Spokes – coffee & scones, but still no sprinkles’

‘The best laid lack of plans’

‘Enough gravel for 1,000,000 grouse gizzards’

‘Wild Dunbar & Mike’

‘B-Spokes Tuesday & Jelly Legs’

‘Talks wi ‘pals + thorn and shrew’

‘1/2 century difference and wet, wet, wet’

‘Deluge & 1/2 naked lady’

‘Oer the Hill wi’ Nicky’

‘Blown over the hill – sort of’

So, are you the ‘morning ride’ variety or do you spice up life a little?

Wedding Roses

Wedding Roses

8th Time lucky?

After numerous repairs, sorting time again

After numerous repairs, sorting time again

Back home from South Africa. Fabulous roads, lots of sun (winter but 25 degrees C in the sun), but on a borrowed mountain bike.

Offroad could have been fun & I managed a couple of dirt roads. So what went wrong?

First of all, bits were hanging off & needed adjusting. Flat tyres and a bit sad altogether. So a quick go-over, trip to the garage to blow up the tyres (no pump available) & then head out on the road. Discovered only a few of the gears were working and the bike weighed a ton. More adjustments but to no avail, not worth spending too much time so I was just grateful to be out on two wheels.

Next ride the rear wheels skewed & hit the frame. So a quick walk back, re-adjust, tighten up & go, with the spanner in my pocket.

Another ride, 2 1/2 miles out and a strange bump, bump, bump from the rear tyre followed by an explosion. The workers on a nearby building site looked up in amazement (fear?). The rear tube had forced it’s way through the back tyre, which was pretty bad having been used for slides & skids, and had not lasted long.

Walked back, then next day off to the bike shop for a new tyre. Because of crazy thorns off-road a ‘tubeless’ solid tube was fitted. Looked like no tubes so no hassle.

After a couple of rides, after 10 miles and 1/2 a mile or so from the house. strange wobbly sensation from the back wheel & rubbing again. Dismounted & found the tyre had dismounted too. A guy walking passed tried to help me ease it on again but no luck, so another walk home.

Back to the bike shop. Discovered the wire had ripped right out of the bead of the tyre. Neither I nor the shop had seen it before (or so they told me). New tyre was then fitted so it should be hassle free.

Out again next day, just got 1/2 mile from home. The new tyre started coming off the rim again. Walked back and gave up as I was coming back home in a couple of days.

Then, back home to Scotland – hurrah a decent bike, no hassles at last. Boy, was I wrong!!!!

First ride out, great going way better than expected, except one of the farmers had put a water hose across the road, with a metal cover on top. The sun was out & I didn’t see it till the last moment. At over 30 mph, managed to jump the front wheel over but smacked it a bit with the rear.Waited for the hiss, but nothing so completed the ride.

Next day out with the B-Spokes (a group of mainly FOSSILS), so went through to the bike – flat. In double quick time whipped the inner tube out, chucked a new one in and pumped up the tyre. Noticed the rear gear cable was looking a bit frayed. But, no time to wait – sped off to meet the others.

Good ride, good coffee, good scones but 2 miles from home, guess what? Yes, the rear gear cable snapped so I waved the others on ahead and slowly made my way back.

So, the conclusion is – not much really, except to hope for a better few weeks and a wee reminder that checking the bike is a good thing? Maybe all bad things may come to an end?

Give me my bike back

Near Platrand, South Africa

Near Platrand, South Africa

I want my bike back

Maybe South Africa doesn’t want me to cycle? And I want my bike back?

Staying with my step granddaughter here, gorgeous weather mostly, but . . . .

The only bike is an old heavy mountain bike. Only three gears working on the back cassette and they keep slipping. Three on the front, but squealing and complaining, plus desperately hard to change up. Is it worth trying to adjust, probably not as just an hour on the bike is enough anyway and I could make it worse

On the first ride out no pump to be found to blow up the tyre so a visit to the local garage. On the second ride out I discovered the kids had been practising skid stops so the tyre was well worn in places. About 2 miles from the house the tyre suddenly started bumping and then exploded, causing the guys at the building site next to me to gaze in astonishment. Especially as I’m sure a fossil like me in Lycra is a rare sight here. The cause, a big rip in the tyre. So off to the bike shop & had a tubeless tyre fitted.

Next ride out OK except I stopped for a pee on a dirt road up into the hills and I managed to puncture myself on a vicious thorn tree.

Next less than a mile from the end of a ride the new tyre suddenly slipped off the rim, luckily I was going slow at the time. There was no wire bead on it!!! Ah well.

So what conclusions? The cycling here is interesting! Folk seem friendly with lots of waves and cheery helloes. The way of life scenery is so different with the Drakensberg mountains in the background behind the savannah. The motorists are mainly very accommodating, and the roads excellent. Makes me yearn for my Specialized road bike instead of trundling along at 10 mph.

But I’m still so grateful I’ve been able to get out! The world seems so different on a bicycle.