A Day Of The Unexpected..

Time keeps slipping by and I keep on not making any posts..  I have done three rides since my last post here so its time to catch up.

Yesterdays ride (Monday) was by far the most eventful for a long time.  Notable for two reasons, the first one bad and the second one notable for the fact that I doubt it could ever happen again, its certainly never happened to me before.

I was on one of my favourite rides, a cross country route to Grafham Water and hopefully a cup of coffee overlooking the reservoir before returning.  The last time I went there with the same expectation the cafe was closed.

Click Image For Ride Details

Click Image For Ride Details

It was a nice day for the ride, sunshine and a slight tailwind on the way out so I was expecting some resistance on the return journey.  I was just leaving Kimbolton when I came across some temporary traffic lights.  They were red so I slowed to pace myself so that I didn’t have to unclip from the pedals before they went green.  My timing was perfect I was just a few feet away and they turned green.  However when I applied pressure to the pedals to get the wheels turning again there was a crack and suddenly no resistance to my feet.  The chain had snapped and I looked back to see it stretched out on the road behind me like a snake.

I got my bike to the side of the road and sat in the shade of a hedge to set about repairing the chain.  I didn’t have a spare link pin so I had to carefully push one of the pins almost out with my chain breaker to remove the damaged link.  Not all the way out as I would never get it back in again. Three turns of the screw is usually about enough to be able to prise the chain apart.  I then had to remove a link from the other side that would fit inside the ‘new’ end.  It was then that I realised the chain was one of those SRAM ones with a ‘magic’ link that you are supposed to be able to separate by hand.  Not so in this case as it was actually this link that broke.  It was a bit of a struggle to get it off but I did eventually.

I successfully joined the chain again but it was now about 4 links short.  However as I hardly if ever use the larger chain ring when on solo rides the shortness was not going to come into play.  During my roadside repairs 4 other cyclists came my way and all stopped to check I was OK, which I appreciated.  Although I was able to get myself out of trouble many others might not have been so prepared so its good to know the fellowship of the road is not dead.

I now gingerly set off pedalling again, knowing that within about three miles, before I got to Grafham I had 2 short sharp hills to negotiate.  The first one went OK so that filled me with confidence and as I rode on from there to turn left for the second one I saw the police had closed the road and were holding the traffic back. I asked the policeman if I would get through OK and he said I would.  I rode on not knowing what I would encounter.  I would never have guessed what I was about to meet.

Just after the start of the climb I saw the road was blocked up the hill by a boat!!  Albeit it was on the back of a truck but the width was such that it completely blocked both sides of the road.  There was a man on top of the boat cutting away overhanging branches from trees that were impeding its passage.  I managed to get past on the roadside verge and carry on my way.  But I am guessing its probably the first and last time I will find a hill climb blocked by a boat!!

Thats about it for that ride, the cafe was open and the chain held out for the return ride.  A total ride length of just about 54 miles.  I got home and ordered a new chain form one my favourite online bike parts suppliers, ‘High On Bikes’ in the afternoon and this morning it was delivered by free delivery, about an 18 hour delivery time from ordering to landing on my doormat.  Thats why I use them.. 🙂

Going back in time now to last Saturday and the Team MK ‘C’ Group club ride I found myself fulfilling the duties of leader of the second group on the ride to Carlton in the absence of the nominated leader who failed to turn up.  The second group usually consists of riders moving up from the ‘D’ group but who maybe not quite ready for the full blown C group ride so its a little steadier and an introduction group.

I choose an easier route for us but maybe a little longer than the other group.  Once I found the correct pace to suit everybody it went OK I think.  Its no good going too fast or hard over the hills or you are forever waiting for people to catch up.  Better to keep a steady pace.  Our total ride length was 53.5 miles.

We arrived at the cafe just as the first group were leaving so that meant there was more room inside, my timing was perfect, deliberately so of course!!  There was one bit of excitement.  Another group of cyclists were ahead of us in the queue and when it came  to my turn I suddenly heard the sound of falling cutlery and crockery behind me.  I turned around to see one of the other group unconscious on the floor.  Fortunately somebody came to his  aid and put him in the recovery position but he was still out for the count.

He did begin to stir eventually but looked very dazed.  I didn’t hang around to stare but somebody later said when they loosened his clothing he was wearing a tight base layer under his shirt, this on a day when temperatures were up in the eighties and a blazing sun.  I think maybe they had been riding hard and the heat just overcame him when he stopped.  They later moved him outside into the shade of a tree and he was at least sitting up OK and talking by then. (Ride Stats Here)

My other ride last Thursday was one of my local loops of 47 miles with Steph from the club, who I have ridden with once before apart from club rides. It doesn’t get any easier!!  She made me work that little bit harder than I would have done on a solo ride which I suppose is a good thing but it doesn’t feel that way at the time..  (Ride Stats Here)

So thats the last 6 days caught up with.  I plan another ride tomorrow, a bit longer than recent ones so hopefully there will be an early start and just a plain ride with no extra curricular excitement!  IF there is anything of note you’ll be sure to hear about it though.


2 thoughts on “A Day Of The Unexpected..

  1. You are a brave (and competent) soul. I’ve yet to suffer a chain break on a ride and do not look forward to the day that I do. I’ve separated a chain only once. I was in my garage and was very comfortable. It took me forever. I can’t imagine what a roadside repair would be like. Having fixed your bike, you didn’t immediately turn home (as I would have done) but pressed on. Bravo! For your trouble, you got to see a boat blocking a hill; a very nice reward!

    • It was the draw of a cup of coffee kept me going Steve. It was only 3 or 4 miles away and the only refreshment option on the ride otherwise it would have been 54 miles non stop.. which I have done but not in summer.. its called incentive.. 🙂

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