Return to skinny wheels...

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On Saturday my wife and I planned a leisurely trip down the Tay from Kenmore to Grandtully, about 12
miles (in our open canoe, not by bike). However as this was a trip we'd be doing on our own it meant
I'd have to make my own way back up to the top after dropping the car off. The obvious solution was
to cycle it. I didn't feel too keen on leaving my decent looking mountain bike locked where I
couldn't see it for a few hours so borrowing dad's never used five quid "jumble sale racer" made
perfect sense.

After ripping the head off the dumb-bell type spanner that was in the repair kit whilst trying to
get the front wheel back on (found a decent adjustable in the boot) I set off knowing that it was
fairly likely that this would not be a fun ride - the seat post would not go high enough, there were
no toe clips, the brakes were iffy (steel rims, seemingly elastic brake cables) and I'd not ridden
on drop handle bars for about 16 years. A return to non-indexed gears took a wee while to get used
to but I gradually realised that despite not being the best fit for me, I was probably making better
time on this skinny tyred thing than I would do on my tractor tyred mountain bike.

I must admit I did get off and push up one hill as I couldn't spin fast enough in the road gears
(plus being unfit!). That was a big mistake! As soon as I got back on my left calf cramped up
terribly, probably partly due to cycling with too low a saddle.

I was really getting into it near the end of the trip and got a fair amount of speed on the hill
down in to Kenmore (despite the front gear cable snapping so I couldn't get onto the big ring). As I
pulled up to the lights at the bridge over the Tay I heard a regularly spaced "squeak, squeak,
squeak." It only dawned on me what this might be milliseconds before the back tyre went POP! The
rear side wall had split letting the inner tube poke through and rub on the chain stay. Oh well,
lock the bike and walk the remaining mile.

It only took me just over an hour to ride it, not fast I know, but it is almost all uphill, and it
had taken me about 20 minutes to drive down the same route so I was fairly pleased. Dad has decided
to retire the bike, he never uses it as he rides a hybrid now (on the rare occasion he cycles).
Rather than skip it I think I'll donate it to the Bike Station, a local place which does up old
bikes and sells them on cheaply. I think I'll see if I can find another road bike there that does
fit me, I think I've been bitten by the bug again!

Have fun!

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