Distance: 53.6 miles. Elevation: 3467 ft
It was a mainly sunny day, 8.4°C with a gusty westerly wind. Before leaving, I was tinkering with my bikes (lubrication) and discovered two things:
- There is nothing wrong with the headset on my Giant Defy. The grungy feeling I had noticed when turning the bars was just some brake/gear cables rubbing – so I could have been using it through the Winter after all!
- The chain on the Colnago is knackered. I had noticed it hadn’t been feeling very smooth lately so I measured it, and it was well stretched – it’s odd because I thought I had recently checked it.
So I headed to the West, following a slight (less hilly) revision of last Friday’s ride. I used the Defy. I hadn’t used it for months and I found myself intuitively trying to change gear with just a tap of the levers because I have been so used to the Di2. The wind was in my face for the first part of the route. As I approached Sevenoaks I could see the sky darkening ominously ahead. Then I rode into a brief hail shower. I could see blue sky ahead so I just kept on going.
I was determined to go up Chart Lane (up to Toys Hill) quicker than I did last time. It’s a road with very few parked cars, maybe just 2 or 3 in the whole two-mile climb. So I kept my head down and concentrated on the task in hand. Every now and then I looked up to check it was clear ahead. For the rest of the time I could only see about two metres in front. Well, I must have gotten a bit lax with the checking because I suddenly saw a stationary car right in front of me. It was probably about three metres away when I slammed my brakes on with no hope of avoiding collision. My front wheel hit the back of it and the back of my bike reared up and I crashed to the verge on my left. Luckily it was quite a steep verge and I landed quite gently I suppose. Still on the bike, with it on top of me, I was unable to immediately unclip my left shoe from the pedal. Eventually my struggling paid off and I was able to stand up. The first thing I checked was to see if there was anybody in the car – there wasn’t – good! I got back on the bike and got immediately back to the climb, now with a bit more adrenalin in me! In the end I did the climb nearly three minutes quicker than I had done last week.
As before, the route then led me to Four Elms, Hever and then through Chiddingstone and past Penshurst to Hildenborough.
Just past Hildenborough I was climbing a hill and decided to change to the small ring at the front, but the chain got stuck somehow. I tried pedalling backwards but it was stuck that way too. Suddenly it freed itself and I could keep on going, but after that there was a terrible noise caused by the chain rubbing on the derailleur. I looked down and saw that the front derailleur was bent slightly out of alignment. I stopped a mile or so later to see if I could bend it back into place, but I wasn’t able to so I rode the rest of the way home on the small ring.
Look where you are going
Well I was, but just not often enough. Also the peak of my cap was down which restricted the view ahead. Should always flip it up unless the sun is in your eyes.
25mm tyres are more comfortable
This is the first ride on 23mm tyres for months. 25mm tyres are definitely more comfortable.
If the chain gets stuck, stop immediately
I shouldn’t have carried on riding when the chain jammed. Sometimes it frees itself though, so it’s tempting to keep going.