Sunday, 16 November 2014

This week and last week

Last week, possibly Sunday, I can't recall, we rode to the Tatsfield Bus Stop, mainly because the bus stop is covered and this means the seats are dry when the weather has been cold and wet. However, not having mudguards meant that I was wet so from my perspective it was pointless; we could have gone to Westerham and stood up to drink our tea. Either way I would have been wet. I need mudguards or a sensible bike, let's face it.

So, we rode to the bus stop on, I think, Sunday 9 November. We haven't spent a great deal of time at the old Tatsfield Bus Stop of late. We've been riding to Westerham or taking suburban rides or, as the week before last, to the Tatsfield Churchyard where the seats were dry but then it started to rain and, as avid readers will be only too aware, there's no cover at the churchyard.

This week we planned to ride to the Tatsfield Bus Stop, mainly because of the aforementioned dry seat argument, which, as I've said, means nothing if you're wet anyway, thanks to no mudguards. But I won't labour the point.

Last Sunday at Tatsfield Bus Stop
Yesterday, as we rode along the Limpsfield Road, past the new cycle shop opposite Sainsbury's, we decided to take the slow route, until we remembered the state of my gears. Whenever I ride up any hill they slip and clunk and then the chain falls off or slips on to the smaller front crank. The bike needs a service, but, as always, money is short so, like everything else in my life at present, I leave it until it gets so bad I have to fix it. Like now. However, today I had to make do with dismounting every time a hill approached. Yesterday morning, as I reached the top of Church Way, I had to dismount and then, as we weaved our way around the country lanes adjacent to the B269, I found myself dismounting again and again.

Instead of riding the slow way to the bus stop – Andy figured I'd be walking the length of Beddlestead Lane (a long and winding hill) – we decided to investigate Scotshall Lane, one of the very few roads in the area we haven't explored. It was pleasant for a while, but when we reached the end we found ourselves in the Farleigh area (turn left for the Harrow pub and then?). Opposite the pub we found a covered bus stop but it was so depressing and cramped with its fold-up, heavy duty plastic seats and its ugly green paintwork that we decided to ride back into Warlingham and part ways at Warlingham Green – without drinking tea or munching biscuits. Not a brilliant ride but at least we know what to expect at the other end of Scotshall Lane – nothing!

To make matters worse (what with the faulty gears, the rubbish bus stop and the short ride) it started to rain and we both got soaked.

Last night I had sent Andy and Phil an 'abort' text. I was tired and feeling a little despondent, but I texted Andy and said that I might change my mind in the morning. Clearly, if you have read this far, you already know that I did change my mind. I texted Andy again and said I'd meet him at the usual time on the green. Perhaps I should have stayed in bed.

Sunday 16th November – to Tatsfield Village!
Another place we haven't been to for a while is good old Tatsfield Village. After yesterday's miserable ride, we decided to pay it a visit. The weather was much better: no rain for a start and it brightened up as we headed along the 269. Perfect cycling weather and, once I'd got underway there were no problems with the gears. I found that the bike rode well if the chain was on the smaller crank at the front and mid-way through the rear gears.

Tatsfield Village hasn't changed a bit since our last visit – why would it, I hear you ask.  It's the same old, same old, so we sat there for a while discussing our bikes and my gears and other bicycle-related chat as we sipped tea and munched our biscuits.

Tatsfield Village, Sunday 16 November 2014 – 
manic expression due to almost missing the self-timer
The journey home proved very troublesome for yours truly. Those gears decided to play up big time. In fact, there was no way the chain was going to slip on to the larger front crank, making the ride home extremely slow. Andy must have been relieved to say goodbye half way along the 269. As for me, I limped home at a snail's pace. Despite the fact that we only went to Tatsfield Village, I reached home just before 1000hrs – half an hour later than I would have returned had we gone to Westerham (and my gears had been working properly).

So the bike needs to visit the repair shop and I'm thinking of Ross Cycles in Caterham. I can't abide the thought of Halford's. Every time I've taken my bike to Halford's it comes out worse than when it went in or there's something wrong with it. For instance, the last time I had it serviced in Halford's they did something to the forks – making them more springy than necessary and, it has to be said, for their own ends, not mine! I'd told them to tighten up the front forks; they loosened them – probably so they could mess around doing jumps in the car park. Either way, I wasn't happy and resolved there and then never to get the bike serviced in Halford's again. I'm also a little reticient about Evans Cycles (where they're bound to come up with some spurious reason why they have to charge me a fortune. Equally off the list is the bike shop in Redhill as I believe he's miles too expensive and probably suggests things that need doing when they don't. I wouldn't mind, but I'm at rock bottom financially. I've even considered buying a secondhand bike for £75 rather than shell out more on getting my existing bike serviced. Andy says it would be a big mistake – a false economy – as a cheaper ride means cheaper parts and cheaper parts mean more frequent servicing. It's looking like Ross Cycles, but that means no riding next Saturday or Sunday, although I can live with that. The only problem will be getting over there as the ride is hilly and the bike ain't up to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment