Thursday, 28 January 2010

Post Mortem

Retrieved the bike today. Its totalled! Forks are obviously kaput but rear triangle and dropouts are bent beyond repair. Not sure how that happened.

Looks like some internal rusting in the fork steerer had led to a couple of points of weakness that had become stress risers. Bit surprised at the rust as the bike has always had mudguards fitted. Still not completely immune to the elements I suppose. In hindsight I'd noticed some creaking from the front end for a while, especially when honking out of the saddle, but attributed it to a recent wheel rebuild. A couple of years ago I ignored a similar sound and my handlebars snapped - leading to another face-plant - so the moral of the story is: If the bike makes an odd noise and, in particular, its coming from the front end; INVESTIGATE. Do it properly. What looks like an insignificant gouge can actually be pretty significant if it is in a position of stress. I go through this pain so you don't have to ...

Anyway, on the upside, my face is healing nicely and I can look forward to ordering a spangly new touring bike via the cycle to work scheme. Any recommendations?


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Loads better

Seven days on and my face is, well, like a new face. Still sore but healing amazingly quickly. Simon was spot on - I thought it'd take much longer than this. The inside of my lip and mouth is almost healed and the non-dissolvable stitches come out tomorrow. Only downside is the dental pain. Possibly broken the roots of the upper incisors but will know more when I go back to the dentist on Thursday.

I was planning to cycle to Birmingham on Friday for a weekend conference but I'm going to have to go by train instead. Not sure my face could stand the wind/cold and in any event my touring bike is buggered. Its the only bike I have that I can fit panniers to. Not too disappointed though as I'll be able to relax with iPod, beer and crossword on the train.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

That didn’t go well!

Oh dear. Most of yesterday was spent in Bassetlaw and Rotherham A&E depts dealing with the consequences of a catastrophic failure of my front forks.

I don’t recall a great deal about it but was cycling uphill from Harthilll towards the T-junction at Killamarsh. Then it was a case of introductions: Tarmac meet face, face meet tarmac! Haven’t had a chance to inspect the bike yet but I think the fork steerer snapped where it joins the fork crown.

Anyway, end result was concussion, lots of stitches (inside and out), a top lip sewn back together (nearly had a hare lip there), damaged front teeth and the usual cuts, grazes, aches and pains. Could have been worse though. If it had happened a minute later I would have been going downhill at about 30mph. I don’t want to think about that.

I’m not going to get into the helmet debate but I did happen to be wearing one (sometimes I do sometimes I don’t). It’s now broken. Did it help? Who knows? Possibly is the most likely answer.

So, another enforced break from cycling. Hopefully short. Hopefully I’ll have confidence when I get back in the saddle.

Thanks to the people who came out of the factory to move me to the side of the road and sort out some first aid. They almost certainly won’t read this but I’ll take ‘em a pressie when I go and pick up my bike.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A (shortish) ride at last

Managed to fit in 27 miles over the rolling hills around the borders of South Yorks/Derbyshire and North Notts yesterday afternoon. Not that far but very enjoyable and enough to make me sweat plenty!

Was impressed by the drivers of the Wilkinsons lorries who waited patiently behind me while there was lots of oncoming traffic before passing really wide. Wish everyone was that considerate.

Will get another 41 miles in today with my commute. Looks foggy out there. Best be careful.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Goodbye snow. Hello roadbikes

At last!  All that remains are the rotting corpses of snowmen in people’s gardens and the odd patch of compressed snow and ice looking to catch us cyclists unawares.

The pressure of a work deadline has meant lots of time in front of a PC (not much fun with my dodgy eye I can tell you) and not enough time on the bike over the last few days.  I did brave a very slippy ride in to Sheffield on the touring bike towards the end of last week but otherwise the mileage was much lower than it should have been.  However, the much improved weather and less work pressure this week marks a change in all that.  And I can confidently take one of the skinnier tyred beasts out of the garage.  By the way Caroline – I’ve never even considered naming them :-)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

More snow cycling

15 miles or so on the MTB yesterday, mostly on a snow covered NCN route 1 east of Lincoln.  I really love that stretch of old converted railway line and use it whenever I’m out that way.  It was beautifully quiet yesterday and plenty of wildlife to enjoy despite the freezing conditions.  Maybe just more visible when everything is white?  It was all very grin inducing and despite having VERY cold feet (forgot to wear overshoes) and a  numb face I was surprised how warm I got.

The heating on the train back to Worksop was seemingly set on ‘blast furnace’ and so after finishing the DT crossword I dozed off nearly missing my stop.  This instinct of waking just before your intended stop did not befall the amazingly drunk guy who was so comatose that not even a solid punch on the shoulder could rouse him.  He probably woke up bemused and hungover in Donny.

Very tricky conditions on the local snow-packed roads and it was fun trying to control the involuntary slides.  Home safe though.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Cabin fever


This snow is all well and good if you are a training for a cross-country ski-ing event but not when you are trying to get some LEJOG training miles in.  Cycling withdrawal is biting but the risk of coming off on ice is too great for me to get any of the road bikes out.  I gave in yesterday and decided to venture out on the MTB.  Not far at all; just to do a bit of shopping and have a bit of fun on some local tracks.  I’ve never really ridden in snow since I was a kid (the risk perception and fear genes only kick in in later life don’t they) but after a tentative start and a few hairy moments I was having a blast.  If I wasn’t so busy today I’d be making my way to a quiet Clumber Park and wearing a fixed grin on my icy mug.