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  • stevecowles

Learning the Hard Way on my Bike

Went for a medium distance ride today, well that was the plan anyway. I've taught myself some lessons the hard way. Rather than reword it all, the following is a copy of a post I added to my favourite Facebook cycling group (a group for fun rather than competition).

Sorry, a long post but someone might benefit from my stupidity. I really am a muppet and not as experienced as I thought.

I saw a tempting looking muddy off-road trail while I was over 10 miles away from home on a ride today. Gave it a try, misjudged a small fallen branch and took a minor tumble (nothing new there). Seems the branch was hardened hawthorn.

This is the first time I've had any significant problems so time to try out the travelling toolkit I'd prepared so carefully and it did not do very well. I think I have learned a lot from this.

  • Off-roading is probably best done within walking distance of your home or car / van unless you have a rescue plan so plan in advance even if it is just 'there is a station close by'. I didn't.

  • Take some cash for trains / taxis etc, or a plastic card. I had neither.

  • Carry a spare derailleur hanger, I did not need one but the guard took a battering so a close call.

  • Your wheels are in-line so normally both go over the same thing. I had multiple holes in both tyres, too many to easily patch but I only had one spare inner tube, serious error.

  • Even if I could have applied patches I was sunk as I depend on CO2 cylinders for inflation but carry only one. 3 or even 4 are required to cover 2 tyres and a possible failed patch unless you also have a manual pump.

  • Take a small first aid kit if going off-road, I passed this test although it was not required.

  • Always stop if you see someone struggling (be a fellow cyclist even if you are in a car), they appreciate it even if you are not sure you can help, two minds are better than one.

A pedestrian, 2 cyclists and local farmer all stopped to try to help (appreciated) but not really much they would do apart from offer moral support (cyclists were on narrow 700c roadies, I'm on wide 27.5 MTB). I'd started a long walk pushing the bike but then thought better of it due to it probably causing rim damage. I was running out of options and looking for somewhere safe to leave the bike when a very kind guy in a large 4x4 stopped, seems he has bikes too. initially he offered to fetch me a spare tube and pump from his home but them decided to give me and the bike a lift home instead for which I am truly grateful.

I've got a evening of fixing things to do but will be better prepared tomorrow. Every day's a school day and today's lessons were valuable ones. Feel free to laugh at me. I did get to see this though if you know where it is.

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