Upgrades and drama

Hi!

Apologies for no post yesterday, both Nikki and myself were knackered!

So, the Manchester trip… it kinda didn’t happen! This wasn’t due to us being unfit, or Nikki’s head having one of its “episodes”, it was actually my bike! Remember the very first ride we did? The one along the canal on which I tried to gear up, the chain came off and took out the chain guard? Well, deja vu! I geared up, the chain came off, and guess what happened! Yep, the chain took out the four riveted holders of the guard, and off it went! Just like the previous time, I was limited to two main gears meaning that it felt like I was free wheeling when going at speed (by speed I mean about 12mph+) as I was unable to gear up. So, the question now, do I take it to the big, well known, faceless car and bike store, where it was bought and should be free to fix (I would have complained if they tried to charge me seeing as its was the 2nd time in as many months of buying the bike), but the level of expertise in the place is close to that of a cheese sandwich; or do I take it to the friendly people at Blackburn Cycle and Scooter Centre (we were in Accrington at the time), who actually know what they doing but will charge me? Stupid question really! I doubt the people in the large store even know which part of the bike you sit on! Blackburn Cycle and Scooter Centre it was!

After they looked at the bike, they said that the guard was specific to the bike and that they couldn’t get hold of one. However I thought “do I really want the same guard on again if all its going to do is break if the chain comes off?”. So, I went with a slightly drastic option, but one which I feel was justified. The whole mid-section of the bike (the crankset, crank arm, chainring, and chain) have now been replaced! The gears have been tightened up, and the bike given a general servicing (and even a clean!). Knowing that the work was done by experts rather than teenagers on their first job was a comforting thought, and also, after the work was completed there was a noticeable improvement in the handling and overall feel of the bike!

So, after all this, a trip to manchester wouldn’t have been a viable option due to time and light levels. We have lights, but you know how some people drive! Travelling through Blackburn on the roads, I noticed taxis were getting VERY close! So much so that if I’d have wobbled a bit as one passed, it currently wouldn’t have a wing mirror! I decided to then cycle in the middle of the road so that they couldn’t get past! Of course this lead to horns being blasted at me, but I didn’t care! I was doing it to protect Nikki from them! As Nikki was ahead of me, I could stop the cars getting past me, and therefore stop them getting too close to her!

Anyway, instead of our Manchester trip, we toured the area. I don’t know about Nikki, but I ache today! We spent from 10:30am till around 7pm on the bikes. I think we definitely met this months 30 mile target, all be it not in a great time, but the distance was covered. Next month’s target will be 30 miles in a set time. We decided to end this tour by cycling to my house in Higherford (Not Nelson as the Lancashire Telegraph said!) and watch a film. We were both doing well on the roads, but whilst traveling though Nelson, there was a bit of drama!…

Actually, before telling you all this, I’ll quickly mention a new purchase for my helmet. I bought helmet lights. You might laugh, but in this story, they came in extremely useful!

So, the story… We were both “on a roll” so to speak, and doing very well on the roads. We had just entered Nelson centre and I was leading due to the fact that my helmet lights were on, so I was easy to follow in the dark. I decided to alter the route we took the first time we went though nelson and went straight across at the lights in the centre, continuing onto the new “High Street” running through the centre. Once there I stopped, turned round to see where Nikki was… Nowhere in sight! I waited a bit then started to worry! I knew Nikki didn’t know Nelson, and that Nelson isn’t really the kind of place you want to be alone in the dark (I tried to find a photo of it at night on Google, but there wasn’t one. Not a surprise really!). I rang her phone, ring ring voicemail. Why wasn’t she answering? What’s happened to her? Why can I hear sirens on the road we’ve just been along??? I cycled back along the road, but still no sign of her! A few more attempts to ring, then uh-oh! Why is my bag ringing?! Nikki’s phone was in my bag, so I had no way of contacting her to find out where she was! I then continued on to the road we previously took. Again, no sign of Nikki. So I went back to where I originally waited, worry building with every step! Got to the top of the road, looking round in all directions, I saw Nikki’s front light at the bottom of the road I’d just walked up! I got on the bike and shot down the road as quick as I could! Nikki, clearly in tears and just as much (if not more) worry than I was then told me what had happened! While coming along the road, two cars had pulled out on her, and she lost sight of me. When she’d reached the junction, she went the way she assumed I’d gone and turned the corner. Whilst turning the corner (and here is another scathing example of how some drivers need to read the highway code, and also perpetuates the van driver stereotype!), a van took the corner tight, clipping Nikki’s bike and knocking her off!!! The bas*@rd (‘scuse my French) didn’t even stop!!! Shaken, she’d carried on and ended up near a supermarket only to find I was not there! We’d both spent 15-20mins going backwards and forwards searching for each other, but missing each other. The only reason Nikki was able to see me on the road she was on was because she saw the lights on my helmet and knew it was me! I think for the actual journey we’re going to need some form of headset walkie talkies to stay in contact with one another!

Thankfully, after finding each other we didn’t get lost again, although even when we stopped off at Spar in Barrowford, Nikki’s heart was still racing from the experience! Safe to say, neither of us want that to happen again!!!

If you would like to help us in any way (maybe donating a tandem!) it would be very much appreciated! You can donate at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge and the money will go to the NSPCC. You can also like our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/r2rchallenge. Also, it is now only one week until our Charity Quiz Night at the White Bear Inn in Barrowford on the 8th December.

Dan

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One response to “Upgrades and drama

  1. Once again, as normal i feel the need to weigh in…

    Dan, while riding 2 abreast is very noble it does make it much harder for cars to pass, a better approach is for the more confident rider to ride behind and slightly to the right of the front rider. That would also possibly have been better in the dark through nelson too. You’re close enough together to ride as a unit and also you can bellow directions in Nikki’s ear (or whisper sweet nothings – depends what she wants :P) Also means that if Nikki hesitates, you have to stay with her. you can also see a gap in traffic and shout “go go go”.

    Nikki – sucks to be knocked off, but in this case you just need to get back on and carry on. I’ve not come a cropper yet, but my brother was wiped out bout 6 months ago and you just need to start back on with it. might be worth getting a saddle bag like this http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=7360 so you can always have your phone with you in a case like this http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ortlieb-a6-document-bag/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=uk&utm_content=Ortlieb-Ortlieb_A6_Document_Bag-Transparent – totally waterproof. Also, make sure you stick very close to Dan. whoever is leading shouldn’t pull into traffic if the gap is not big enough for the both of you.

    Oh and plenty more practice on the roads both of you!

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