I’m back from holiday and straight back into the routine of work and cycle commuting. It’s July and in England it’s been raining ever since “Summer” arrived. I rode a hard commute home last night which included overtaking a cyclist on a hill who was donned in full pro team kit. Perhaps he was lost in thought, day-dreaming of Wiggins and Froome, perhaps he was just out taking it easy, but I decided that anyone dressed in such clothing was fair game and attacked!
My ride to work this morning started in drizzle and over the course of 55 minutes progressed to full downpour. During the course of this ride a few thoughts were rattling around in the big empty space between my ears:
- Should I stop and put my rain jacket on? No point – I’m already soaked.
- Air vents in the soles of cycling shoes are a bad idea when it rains
- My feet are soaked, I need some better shoes
- Maybe I should stop and put my rain jacket on. No point – I’m already soaked.
- I need some mudguards
- My arse is soaked
- Do I need a car?
- Is that just a puddle or a pot hole full of water? I’m sure there’s a big pot hole around here …
- I think I will stop and put my rain jacket on. But I definitely don’t want to stop. Plus there’s no point – I’m already soaked.
- How long have I been cycling for? Only 30 minutes?? God, it feels like I’ve been going forever. Still 25 minutes more of this …
I commenced my cycle home in perfect time to coincide with a late afternoon downpour which would have provided further excellent rain-related musings had it not been for a terrifying death-rattle noise that my bike had suddenly developed. Three times I climbed off the bike and stood on the side of the road spinning the wheel, turning the cranks and listening. It was clearly nothing I could fix with just a multitool so I continued home gingerly, half-expecting a catastrophic failure and the unpleasant consequences. To cap it off, I also got a puncture a few miles from home.
I had a few plans for this evening, but in the end I abandoned those and spent two hours in the garage fettling. My cycle terminology is still lacking, but I know how to take things to pieces, cover them and myself in grease and put them all back together. The death rattle was caused by a seized nut on the rear wheel axel ‘thingy’ and a lack of grease around the bearing / hub ‘dooberry’. I also stopped the clicking noise on my wife’s bike and replaced the worn tyre which had caused my puncture. As a result, I’m fairly sure that the commuter workhorse is back in shape for tomorrow morning and I won’t need to subject my good bike to these awful ‘Summer’ conditions.