March 17, 2014 by welshcyclist
All the mild weather, recently, has cheered me up no end. So much so, last week, I was on a run of night shifts, and was able to really get back in to the swing of commuting on my bike consistently. It felt good being back in the saddle, riding to and from my nightshifts. Mind you after the third, I was tiring a bit on the homeward leg.
Five miles in, my left pedal started to feel weird, loose. I stopped a couple of times, holding and testing it, convincing myself it must be something to do with the toe clip. But the unease and tension wouldn’t go away. Then on Aberdulais hill, it became all too real, the pedal was moving. I stopped again, holding the pedal in my hand, I was able to move it. I didn’t have a tool tighten it, so I continued on trying to pedal using force on only the right side.
As I continued into the last 10 or so miles for home, I couldn’t help picturing the long walk ahead, if the pedal did come off. Though it waggled a good deal, it stayed in place. When I got to our gate, I reached down to check it, and it just came off in my hand. By now, I was needing my bed, so I had to leave “fixing it” in my outdoor workshop till later on, after a much needed sleep. I was really tired, the effort of trying to pedal one footed, and the tension of expecting the pedal to fall off, for most of the journey, had really worn me out.
Later that morning, looking at the damage, it was very disappointing, the left crank arm pedal thread was completely ruined, the actual thread on the pedal was perfect? I don’t understand that at all.
I still had a nightshift to do, my fourth, and my commuter was unrideable. The day was beautiful, the sun was shining and I wanted so much to ride in. Only one thing to do! Get my singlespeed ready. It meant transferring my handlebars, lights and all to my new ride, but I have my workstand and tools, nowadays, so I set about the job.
I made good progress, and got it all done, in time for a second refreshing nap.
Setting off a good deal earlier, than normal, because I thought I might be delayed on the hills (hillocks, to you good cyclists out there), with only the one gear. The ride was perfect, and I seemed to be going a lot faster than usual. The Jamis is much, much lighter than my Pioneer. Then came the first “hill”, I approached at speed, and took it OK, slowing a bit over the crest. Harder work than normal, but OK, and I still was moving faster than my usual pace.
The incline at Aberdulais, my bête noir, since I began cycle commuting, seven years, or so, ago, was hard, but I managed it. Best of all I was really enjoying this ride, the difference was very refreshing, almost giving me new enthusiasm for my commute.
When I got to work, I was way too early. Leaving 20 minutes earlier from home plus taking 10 minutes off my usual time, meant 30 minutes too early. That 10 minutes, might sound very impressive to all you very experienced and fast commuters, but the truth is, I am the original slow cyclist. The ride was harder than normal, and I could feel the effort in my legs. But wow! It was great.
It was also a new experience carrying the much, much lighter Jamis up the two flights of steps to the signal box.
What a great start to the last night of my week’s nightshifts.
Sadly, not quite everything went perfectly. The ride back home next morning, again was an incredible rush, but when transferring everything to the Jamis, I had forgotten (DOAH!) to check the front lights, the battery had run out. Not too bad though, the road was well lit through Neath, and then the sun was coming up as I went up the Neath valley, earlier in the year it would have been pitch black, at that hour.
My Pioneer still only has one pedal, I’m still trying to find a new left hand crank, and don’t want to spend a lot on it, because the pedal looks new.
Why would a pedal come loose like that, with only the crank’s thread ruined? I’ve a funny feeling it is down to the way, Halfords fitted the pedal. But that was well over 12 months ago, so I don’t think I can have any comeback there!