An interesting start
So, I thought, I know it’s too soon to start any serious training, but let’s go for a slightly longer ride just to see what it feels like. Fortunately, Saturday was mild, relatively speaking, and no rain was forecast until well into the afternoon, so I set off on an out-and-back trip to Nottingham, 25 km away.
About 20 km into the ride my back wheel had a sudden and unfortunate meeting with a small, but rather deep, pothole. I heard a distinct pffssst sound and pulled over. Frustrating as any puncture is, particularly on the back wheel, it’s nothing to when you discover you also have a broken spoke. Inner tube replaced I continued gingerly to my destination in Nottingham which was, as it happens, a bike shop. In discussion with them about a replacement spoke I looked more carefully and found that not one, but three had snapped. I was duly given three replacement spokes.
Remarkably the wheel continued to run pretty true so I decided to brave the return journey home, wincing every time I went over anything a little uneven. All was fine and I got back safely.
49 km completed, and I didn’t feel too bad. A promising start given the eventful journey.
The next challenge was of course to fix the wheel. Definitely a Sunday job.
Sunday was a grim, cold, windy and generally miserable day; perfect for not going out on the bike. I decided to take the opportunity of doing bike maintenance to start the process of re-purposing my bike into a more rugged commuter/gravel track machine through the replacement of 25 mm slick road tyres with some lovely new 32 mm Continental Cross King CX nobbly tyres. I’d done plenty of research that clearly said that my frame could accommodate a 32 mm tyre. Unfortunately, I don’t think they were trying to use this 32 mm tyre. Whist technically I’m sure that it does measure 32 mm, the large tread nobbles pushed its width to the point where it fouled with the front fork. Back to the drawing board, and one rather expensive tyre I can’t return. Fortunately, the other tyre is unopened so I can return that one. I also discovered that my mudguards are a pretty tight fit around my 25 mm tyres, so I’ve decided that there’s not much scope to go wider and I need to look for a more grippy 25 mm tyre instead.
Next I moved onto the back wheel. Job number one; remove the cassette, which meant investing in a cassette tool and cassette chain whip. It then meant investing in a second, correct cassette tool…. Who knew that some have a central shaft that doesn’t fit my hub, and others don’t? Once I’d finally removed the cassette it was a relatively simple job to replace the spokes (with the help of a newly purchased spoke key), with thanks to that fountain of all bike knowledge, GCN on YouTube.
By some miracle the wheel still appeared to be pretty much true, so I felt OK to get it back on the road. I have, however, booked it in to be professionally set next Saturday. It’s got to be worth a tenner to do that.
All in all, that took most of Sunday but the bike was ready for Monday’s 5 km commute.
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