Thursday 25 July 2013

Conington contortions

Yesterday I had a late pass from ladysolly, who would be out playing bridge until all hours, so I went north to Conington; there was a new ring there entirely on roads, so a good circuit for biking. But Freda the Freelander is still out of action, so I travelled up in the Volvo, which is a good car, but not quite as tall as the Freelander, so it's a bit more difficult to put the bike in.

I parked neatly in a small layby, got the bike out, and went round. Near the end, I saw someone ahead of me behaving suspiciously; that turned out to be geocacher SimplySup, and we had a chat when I caught him up. THen back to the car, and on to the next location.

That was Yaxley, where a small new crop of nanos has sprung up. I got the bike out and went round again, including a visit to Yaxley Yabadabadoo 1, which I DNFed when I did that series, and which I DNFed again. Almost everyone else is finding it, so it must be one of those caches that is tuned to be invisible to my eyes alone.

I was at the far end to town when the disaster happened. I was biking along, and there was a fairly loud bang from behind me. This had to be one of three problems. 1) someone was shooting at me, or 2) a short circuit in the controller, or 3) a blow-out in the back wheel. I slammed on the brakes. I ruled out number 1, this being England, and the fact that the motor still worked ruled out number 2. And the flat tire made it certain that the problem was a blow-out.

Because this was a short ride, I'd come out without my puncture repair kit, so I wheeled the bike for a couple of kilometers back to the car. I upended the bike and took the back tire off. The inner tube has a one inch split in it. So I put on the spare inner tube I carry in the car. But while putting the outer tire back on, I saw that it had developed a several inch long split in the side.

What I think had happened, was that the brake was rubbing against the tire until it wore it through, then it went on to destroy the inner tube. Clearly I couldn't use the same outer tire, and I didn't have a spare outer with me. So, I thought, I'll have to cut today's outing short. I went on to do two more caches as cache-and-dash to finish off Yaxley, then I sat in a pleasant shady spot for lunch and coffee. While I was eating, I remembered that I'd passed a bike shop just outside Yaxley. Worth a visit, I thought. And if that fails, there's bound to be several bike shops in Peterborough.

It was a very small bike shop. More a bike shed, really, with maybe ten bikes, a few spare parts, and a man about my age tinkering with one of them. I asked him if he had any 26 inch tires, Kevlar reinforced, and he said no, but he did have some ordinary 26 inch tires. He showed me, and I noticed that they were Schwalbe Black Jack. Which are the brand I usually get (from Ebay) and which actually are Kevlar. So I bought one from him, only £13.50 (compared to £11 on Ebay) and, working in the car park just outside his shop, I fitted it. I carefully adjusted the brakes so that they wouldn't rub on the tire, put the bike back in the car, and was ready to continue my day's adventure.

That took me to Ramsey, where I trundled round on the bike picking up about a dozen caches including two solved puzzles, and then at 7:30 on to the last ring of the day, the Linwood Loop, which I finished justas twilight arrived, at 9:30.

Quite an adventure today! And I did 67 caches, with two DNFs.

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