Chain Reaction

chain heartWe had such a lovely weekend planned with rides on the tandem on both days. The original plan was to join the Solihull Reliability Ride today but, after discussion with Boo, we agreed to introduce her to the delights of club runs instead. As I say, that was the plan.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning Boo had kayaking in Leamington so I took my bike along to put a few miles in my legs before lunch. I’d clocked up 10 miles in the sunshine when I was suddenly thrown forward with a jolt and then hit on the bottom and back by my chain whipping apart. To say I was shocked would be an understatement, and it is now more comfortable to sit on a saddle than the sofa! I managed to find a shorter route to scoot and limp back to collect Boo from kayaking so that we could both head home.

After lunch we headed out on the tandem, opting to see how far we could travel in one hour. We’d barely been out for five minutes when we felt the jolt of the timing chain as it jumped, which is a problem we have grown accustomed to. Unfortunately this was a jolt too far for the chain and it had pulled apart. So we scooted back home and settled down to fixing the chain and Boo decided that she had worked very hard at kayaking so was going to relax for the rest of the afternoon. Once the chain was fixed I gave the tandem a quick trip around the block and, satisfied with my work, started to prepare for the club run.

So this morning we loaded the tandem onto the roof rack in the rain, hoping that the weather would improve, and headed over to Stratford. We managed to find some on-street parking (an advantage to the early hour on a Sunday) and then pedalled over to the Box Brownie Cafe  where we found about 18 people from Stratford Cycling Club who were initially understandably a little thrown by Boo’s youth and I drank a rich and velvety Americano that was worth the trip alone.

We were made to feel very welcome by the Club Run cyclists and Boo really enjoyed the group riding. She practised the hand signals used to help a group avoid pot holes, cars and other road hazards. We had just settled into the rhythm of the group when we felt the jolt of our chain parting company and realised that last night’s repairs were sadly only temporarily successful. The group offered to stay with us but we had to ask them to go on with their ride without us, much to Boo’s distress.

Boo and I managed a roadside repair that enabled us to limp back to the car as I reassured her that we would make club runs a regular part of our cycling hobby, after all it was club runs in Shropshire that encouraged me to make cycling such a big part of my life.

Once our Support Vehicle had finished laughing at us we all went out to Halfords to buy two chains (one standard chain is not long enough for a tandem timing chain) and I have fitted it ready for our visit to Zoë’s Place tomorrow morning. So now we’ve all got our fingers crossed that our plans for two more days of tandem rides will not be thwarted!

The good thing about this weekend’s adventures is that Boo has discovered the joys of club runs and has seen that there is something to look forward to after LEJOG in addition to her racing calendar.


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