Moderate Disaster

I booked today off work. A sunny, dry day was promised, albeit it was likely to be cold, with a stiff wind from the north. The plan was to set off at about 0930 and do 75 miles or so. A nice big bite out of the remaining distance requirement.

However at 0845 as I lay in bed pondering the day ahead, I received a phone call from work. Would I please take part in a Teams meeting with a customer? Now? Please?

So in the end I didn’t pedal away from my garage door until 1055. I decided to make do with the fondo distance. I was tempted to try a route I worked out last night which would take me up north-east of Derby, but in the end I plumped for the easy familiarity of the time-honoured Upper Westbound route.

That all went very well. Very nice out there in the sunshine. I’d wrapped myself up a bit too warm but I stuffed a layer into my backpack. I turned back near Cubley to come back the same way.

I stopped at the petrol station at Hatton for a sausage roll and a Fry’s Chocolate Cream. But just as I was about to rejoin the road, I went over the handlebars. I’m not completely sure what happened but I think the front wheel had got caught in a drain grille. The bike and I both smacked the road. I was OK – I banged my right knee but it’s very superficial. I also hurt the wedding ring finger of my left hand somehow and it’s a bit swollen, unfortunate from a guitar-playing perspective but I think it’ll be OK in a few days.

I inspected the bike carefully. The rear mech was bent inward and fouling the spokes. Uh oh. But I bent the rear mech back outward, very gingerly. Clearly it was still out of alignment but it looked rideable. The right hand shifter / brake assembly was also banged out of alignment, but it was working OK. I got back on the bike and rode homeward. Fortunately the gears were still changing fine. But I made a mental note not to downshift too far at the back, in case I fouled the spokes with the rear mech.

All in all I wasn’t too unhappy. I could easily realign the shifter and I probably just needed to give the rear hanger a careful bend, perhaps with the mech removed, to get it back to spec.

I made it up Rotter’s Rise without shifting onto the bottom gear at the back. Alas – at Newbold, with about four miles to go, my concentration must have slipped. I operated the shifter incautiously and the rear pulleys went right into the spokes, bending the rear hanger quite emphatically and breaking the pulley assembly. All the tension went out of it and the bracket that the pulley wheels connect to was snapped.

I took a quick look by the roadside with the bike upside down but it was clear that I was walking the remaining four miles. I managed to pull the rear mech away from the back wheel again at least. But there was no way the pedals were going to make it spin round.

So I pushed it home from there, wheeling the bike in the road while I clogged along the pavement or the grass verge in cleats. To be fair I did mount the bike and freewheel down some of the descents.

I’m not sure what the extent of the damage is. I’m hopeful that a new alloy hanger can be attached to the frame. It’s the Planet X, so it’s carbon but as long as the frame itself is OK the hanger can be replaced, I think. And I’ll need a new rear mech, assuming the frame isn’t a write-off.

Ah well! At least I’m not short of bikes.

58.78 miles, then.