You will laugh, no doubt.
I was a couple of hours into a ride, heading over the Campsie hills towards Carron Valley or perhaps North Third to have a mess around before turning tail and heading for home. It was cold and my focus on whether I had enough layers on or not, as i shivered along the road near Fintry, led me to ignore the slight rocking of my left hand pedal with every revolution.
Eventually, it dawned on me I had better stop and find out what was causing the unwanted movement. I’m glad I did: my crank was loose.
I have never had a Shimano crank loosen on a ride before. It was torqued up and I had not fiddled with it in any way. But loose, it most certainly was.
No matter. I reached for my hex key to snug it back up and get on my merry.
Except, I didn’t have a hex key with me of any sort.
Ironically, I had *nearly* packed a second (or so I thought) multi tool before I started, but decided that that was pointless.
The splines in the aluminium crank are not particularly deep, though they are many, and so I sat for a few minutes and considered my options. Only one good option presented itself: wait at the bottom of the Crow Road (a road climb over the Campsies frequented by roadies who often combine it with the Tak ma Doon road to complete a loop with plenty of climbing in it) for a rider who might lend me a hex key.
After 5 minutes a very pleasant chap stopped, held my bike as I tightened the crank and went on his way with a cheery wave.
The rest of the ride passed uneventfully, with some fun messing around on the trails at the Carron Valley mtb centre and a rotor burning decent of the Tak ma Doon.
Today, I decided to use the afternoon’s sunshine to tag on some more mileage.
Out the Westie, then over to Drymen and take the cycle path to Mlton of Buchanan, then over the great lump of Conic hill, and back on the Westie again. An hour in and I was contending with a thonn puncture. Many years of experience has taught me to check the tyre for the thorn in case it is still stuck in the tyre but there was no sign and there only appeared to be one small hole, so I got busy with the self adhesive patches. Remounting the wheel as the tube slowly deflated, my curses were the kind only a man with a tiny pump can think to utter. It was clear that I had not one, but two thorn punctures. Dagnabbit.
Once on my way again, I hustled a bit and H.A.B’ed up the West side of Conic hill. As with most times I am up there, it was blowing a hooley and on one of the step downs on the decent my bike was nearly taken from me by a gust. Yeah, suspension is good sometimes – in this instance it absorbed a very sideways landing onto a rocky section of trail that was itching to abrade at my lily white skin.
I’m getting there, slowly, surely, implacably. It took four hours for me to feel the burn in the legs and I could still put some watts out despite that. I would be happier if I was feeling that way at six or seven hours though. More work to do.