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Friday Bikes

Buy brand new bike in December 2020.

April 2021, shifter packed up 25km from the end of the Freedom Circuit.

Became a single speed and walk up every hill to the finish in the pouring rain and freezing cold.

Replaced shifter.

New shifter packs up a month later with exactly the same issue.

Shimano parts unavailable countrywide.

Finally source new lower spec shifter.

Ride bike.

Crank starts coming loose every ride.

Grab helmet, gloves, glasses, phone and no 8 Allen key every time I leave the house.

Ride all the way around the Baviaans with regular stops to tighten crank.

Knee starts mild grumbling about all this riding.

Ignore it and keep riding.

Ride a 3 day tour in the Karoo, knee starts complaining loudly and says it’s not doing this anymore.

Spend a small fortune at physio, chiro and bio to make it stop.

Strict instructions not to overdo it and to rest. Short easy rides allowed, stop if it starts hurting.

Watch rest of team from air-conditioned bakkie while they do heat acclimatisation ride around Zululand in December.

Well rested, bored of driving around in the bakkie. Decide that knee must be fixed.

Get bronchitis, cough for weeks.

Becomes Covid (I think), cough for another few weeks. No energy to even look at the bike.

Get tick bite fever. Don’t feel so good. Bike rests some more.

Ease back into training with a 3 day ride around Swartberg and Cedarville.

Day 3, 30km to go on last day, BB starts making a funny noise and goes on strike. Walk up another 30km of hills to get to the end at St Bernards.

Replace BB.

Go for short early morning training ride. 6am, 10km from home, crank comes loose again.

No 8 still at home in bag from Swartberg ride.

Wake up friend who lives nearby and ask him to bring no 8 to tighten crank.

Crank tightened, continue ride, 100m up road crank falls off entirely.

John starts getting grumpy.

Ride cancelled. Phone friend again. Invite myself in for coffee while John rides home to fetch the bakkie.

Cranks gets fixed.

Fetch bike, bring it home, lube bike, makes an awful noise. Back to bike shop through Friday afternoon traffic. Spacers were taken out to make crank stick, gears not aligned. Work on it until 6pm.

Ride bike on weekend, works fine.

Early morning training ride, 2km from home, chain falls off for no reason riding down hill. Clutch has frozen. Ride cancelled, turn around, go home.

John gets very grumpy.

Next ride, freewheel hub starts making random noise, only sometimes. Decide maybe it’s a good idea to replace, just in case.

Final long training ride weekend. Berg 100 there and back. 100m out driveway of Notties Hotel, something doesn’t feel quite right. Shut up and keep riding, John is not going to be happy.

Turn the corner, not even 1km from start. Horrible grinding noise, can’t change gear. Cable end has not been tied in properly. End has caught in cassette and bent derailleur. Chain keeps falling off jockey wheels.

Keep riding. Stopping after every bump to put chain back on. Make it to middle of nowhere, somewhere on the Umkomaas river. Derailleur says it’s tired of this and not going one step further. Start walking up hills, still 20km from Himeville. Farm truck comes past, get a lift to the end.

Day 2 ride cancelled. Wave every one off the next day. Sleep in, drink coffee. Phone a friend to come and fetch me and take me back home.

John yells at everyone in the bike shop. May need stronger blood pressure medication.

Week to go until we leave for Rhodes. Bike seems fine. Every moving part has been replaced.

This bike was definitely assembled on a Friday afternoon and possibly completed on a Monday morning after a heavy weekend.

I’m on the start line, anything could happen. Watch the dot.

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