Photo: All sorted
Imagine the grating sound of sand in your headset.
That’s what I could hear after recent winter riding along dirty country lanes. Time to remove the forks and saddle post to give the inside of the frame a good clean. Loads of filthy water and grime was forced out of the dark dank tubing. Leave to dry for 24 hours, re-lube and re-assemble. Simple enough.
The following day’s ride to Windsor got interesting. Something didn’t feel right. Then a small misalignment of the handlebars and front wheel.
Maybe I just didn’t tighten the screws enough (I had used a torque wrench to set the correct 5N). Maybe I spread the grease too high up the stem and it couldn’t grip? Maybe it had broken? Maybe I would loose control of the steering?
I stopped to tighten up the bolts. It worked for a while, but on the way home it got worse. By the time I got close to home I was steering by leaning over rather than turning the handlebars.
I needed to fix it that night. I had an important appointment to keep at 07:00 the next morning. Filming for the Alzheimer’s Society.
After trying to tighten them some more and making it worse I realised my mistake. I had put the screws for the stem on from the wrong side, stripping the threads. Schoolboy error.
I couldn’t let the Alzheimer’s Society down so I had to find a way on Friday night to attach the stem. I have a tiny toolbox in London with various bits of fixings. I managed to cobble together a solution. It looked odd, but it worked….
Two plasterboard spring toggles was all I had that fitted. They looked like mini wings either side of the stem. Not elegant, but effective. I made the filming.
Some time ago, a bio-mechanic recommended having a stem 2cm longer. It’s remained on my to-do list for far too long, but not any more. I’ve just fitted a brand new stem.
Whilst testing it on the street in my jeans and normal shoes just now a cabbie stopped and shouted
“Whoooo, whose got a brand new bike then?”
Quite a compliment for a 5 year old bike with 26,052km on the clock. I can obviously look after her appearance better than her mechanics.