And then it all starts to fall apart
It's not actually that bad, but any little niggle feels like a disaster at this point.
A few week ago it was a bit windy. I leaned the bike up against the side of the house while going back in to lock up only to hear the distinctive sound of bike hitting ground. I could have cried when I saw the paint chip, through to the carbon, on my crossbar. I rang the bike shop and was told to cover the chip with insulating tape without delay - apparently any moisture getting into the frame can cause serious problems.
The next job was to decide how to get it fixed. The bike shop recommended a company about half an hours drive away whose proprietor, Keiran, was very accommodating and seemed to know what he was talking about... but they were expensive, so I looked further, at which point I was directed to another local company who specialise in the repair of carbon bike frames. Their website had some impressive testimonials and on enquiry their price was very, very reasonable. There was, however, one caveat; I would need to strip the bike right down and only deliver the frame to them. This was not good - I really didn't have the appetite to completely strip down a four week old bike (even if I had all the necessary tools, which I don't), so I bit the bullet and committed to go to the first company. The bike was delivered today so I await to see the magic that Keiran performs.
On a related note.....
Last weekend my bike was due it's complimentary 6 week service (thank you Cyclescheme) so I duly returned it to my favourite bike shop. They had also kindly offered to cut down my steering tube so I didn't have this big stack of spacers above my stem. Whilst this is a pretty drastic action (and they did warn me of the impact of this on resale value of the bike) but it does look so much better and after chipping the paint I think I've lost any hope of keeping a pristine machine that will hold it's value. There are guides on how to do this for yourself, but I'd much rather let the experts do it. However...
I got the bike back and immediately set off on the 60 km ride that I needed to get done that day. About 5 km into the ride things started to feel a little unsteady. Slowing down I realised that turning the handlebars did not necessarily turn the front wheel. The bike shop had forgotten to re-tighten the stem! The consequences of this could have been so much worse, so I probably should have felt more relieved that annoyed, but it was getting late and I still had almost 3 hours riding to do.
I had to call in the cavalry (my son, who was with me on the ride) to cycle home then drive back with Torx bit and torque wrench. This would all have been fine, but in my general annoyance of the whole situation I managed to over-tighten one of the bolts and (I think) strip the thread in the stem. fortunately the bottom bolt is holding firm and I've continued to ride the bike, but it needs to go back to the shop (when I get it back from the chip repair man) for them to assess the situation. No doubt I will report on this in a later post.
These are, on the scale of things, small annoyances, but I'm acutely aware that I need to keep putting in the miles; I'm just going to have to do it on my old workhorse for the next couple of weeks.
Just to prove that I do actually ride it...