(written by Dave)
Warning: bike nerd posting
After yesterday’s big ride, we decided overnight to spend the day hanging out in Keswick. We may be setting the record for the slowest ever LEJOG but it’s our trip so we get to make the rules. Staying at the B&B has been a nice break from the tent. Today, we had our first proper English breakfast of the trip – no black pudding but everything else that you could want, including baked beans, fried tomatoes, bacon, sausage and the rest. Since we are staying another day, we get another one of these breakfasts tomorrow as well. We’ve been eating a lot of oatmeal so bacon, eggs and the rest has been a welcome treat. Oh yeah, the proper bed, chairs with backs, TV with English and a kettle have been nice also.
Properly fortified from breakfast, we returned to the room and took a nap. Ok, that’s a little unusual but I think yesterday may have been harder than we thought. It wasn’t until noon that we made it out of the B&B. We are right in the middle of town and had a nice look around our neighborhood and town square. It seems that every other shop here is an outdoor shop. And they are all having sales. We didn’t buy much as our bags have no room but it was fun looking at the shops. Most of them were UK or European brands so we’d not seen lots of the products before. We even found a shop that carried Hilleberg tents along with a salesperson who had been Hilleberg trained. We spent an hour talking tents and getting answers to questions we’ve had about our tent. In an outdoor gear nerd way, it was quite entertaining.
We eventually made it back to the B&B and got stuck into cleaning the bikes. I’m sure that this is not very exciting to most readers but we’ve had a couple cyclist friends ask more about the bikes and their performance so we’ll include some details today. I really wanted to clean the bikes today because I had a new chain from my incident yesterday and I hated the thought of the new chain running around dirty cogs and chainrings. Plus I wanted to clean Nancy’s chain, just in case my chain failure yesterday was a result of dirt and gunk. Everything cleaned up easy as we’ve not ridden in horrible conditions since the last cleaning, other than the rain a few days ago. Nancy’s chain had a lot of sand grit in it, so the jury is still out on what caused my new chain to fail.
The chain that failed yesterday had about 600 miles on it. Nowhere near enough to have failed on its own (even with the torque that my massive leg thighs can generate). I’m going with “manufacturing defect” as the root cause but that’s just a guess.
My bike has been an issue of late. In the last week, I’ve had the front hub problems (fixed thanks to Duncan in Dunoon), replaced both brake cables, and broke a chain and front derailleur. That’s a lot to go wrong with a bike in a week. On the trip to date, we’ve broken 4 spokes, had hubs repacked and had about 10 flat tires. But all the other failures were spread over 17 months. To have so many issues in a week is quite a change for us. It could be that the bikes are starting to wear out. I figure that they have close to 25,000ks on them, almost all of which has been fully loaded. That’s a lot of hard ks for any bike. So far at least, we’ve been able to cobble repairs together on the roadside which is at least one good thing. Having no failures for a spell would be better.
So, tomorrow, we are back on the road. We’ve got a few days forward mapped out. We are heading tomorrow to Kendal, or slightly past, then the next day to Slaidburn. Neither day is particularly long but we want to enjoy the Lake District and there are rumored to be some hard climbs. So long as we don’t have a repeat of the 60MPH winds we should be fine.