The day started well... no sign of the impending doom and disaster that was to befall me. Finished my night shift a bit early and raced home to get everything sorted that hadnt been sorted because of my seven day work stretch.
Currency picked up.. car packed... and bike on the bike rack... Half eleven... on the road to Wales for The Gathering pre flying off on Monday.
Tootling up the motorway ... no traffic... all good. I stopped off at Oxford services just to recheck the bike rack as you are supposed to do... all looking good.
Off onto the motorway again... love the M40.
The wind was gusting pretty bad and every now and again I had to fight the steering a bit. But all was going smoothly...
I felt the car being pulled back by the wind... then it settled. I glanced in my rear view mirror and in slow motion... I saw the back wheel of my bike drop a little... then settle... then tumble from my car and bounce behind me down the middle lane! Couldn't quite take the whole scene in... its not a regular occurence. I could see a lorry move slightly to the left as it manouvered round my now still bike...
Time stopped standing still suddenly and I pulled over to the hard shoulder... plan b... c... d...x rattling through my thoughts in the time it took for me to slow to a standstill..
Hazards on and then ... well what to do next?
I shakily dialled 999... havent done that before (today a day of firsts)... and they assured me someone would be along shortly and advised me to hop over the barrier and wait there. I did as instructed and looking back down the motorway could see my lovely new shiny bike.. now with a wheel in the air. It didnt appear to be in bits at least but a new bike (again) was surely the order of the day. Perhaps there was a bike shop in Llandudno.
In no time at all I saw a Police van draw up on the hard shoulder and the policeman get out and retrieve my wounded bike. He drove up the hard shoulder and asked with a grin 'is this yours?'
As he wheeled my bike out a quick glance told me a lot... the frame miraculously was intact... the wheels appeared not to be buckled (how the hell did that not happen) The front tyre was flat and the rear mech appeared to be bent into the spokes... but it was in one piece (again... how the hell did that happen)
I explained to the policeman what I was doing.. where I needed to be.. and above all... why I needed to fix my bike asap. He suggested a nearby halfords but on seeing the look of disgust on my face.. then suggested a 'proper' bike shop in bicester.
We ascertained that it probably wasnt the best idea to tie my bike onto the rack and he offered to take my bike and let me follow him to the bike shop. What a fantastic bloke.
Ten mins later I was standing in the middle of the bike shop in bicester... explaining what had happened... could they PLEEEAAASSSE fix it now.??
So up it went onto the stand and inspection ensued. Cost??? Didnt ask... didnt care. All I knew was... if they couldnt fix it... i was buying a bike on the spot... because come hell or high water (Alarm fans- see what I did there😀) I was going to The Gathering... my bike would be in a box on Sunday night and it would be on the plane Monday morning!
The good news... its not your rear mech... its the mech hanger (a lot cheaper part... good spot Mark Davies😀)
The bad news... we dont have one in stock! B#@@*r!
They then proceeded to phone round and found another bike shop 20 minutes away. I hopped in the car and sped (carefully) away. Meanwhile my brain is still trying to compute what has happened and above all work out how to get my bike from bicester (if they fix it) to n wales.
I ran into the second bike shop ... got the mech hanger... and ran out again. Quite why i was in such a hurry when if they could fix the bike... it would mean at least two hours!
When I got back... a closer inspection revealed why the bike had fallen. Simply put... the bike rack had had a total and catastrophic failure of the straps holding the bike... they had simply split in half. So at least it wasnt due to incompetance or lack of care on my part... it did still leave me with the small problem of needing a way to carry my bike.
Back in the shop...
So .. do you sell bike racks??
£120 later.. I was in the posession of a very nice bike rack and they kindly fitted it onto my car too (not taking any more chances.)
Back in the shop... the good news is... (uh oh)
Your back wheel is fine...
The bad news is... your front wheel has a slight pinch point in the rim (i.e the rim is bent ) ... new wheel then!
The handlebars were also damaged ... but the aero bars had survived... along with my bike computer (how the hell... Again!)
New bars meant new bar tape.... choices of colour and padding... hmmmmm what colour to have???
Whilst the rear mech hanger ... the wheel... the tyre... the handlebars... the gear cables... and (nope that was it) were being replaced.. I stood and chatted with the three mechanics. They asked about this ride... we discussed gear ratios and mountain bikes and advantages of 29er over 29+ and other crazy adventure plans and actually it was a very pleasant couple of hours ... given the circumstances 😀
Then came the worst bit... the bill. Prices were entered into the till and the amount of time it took to tot up gave an indication that this would be more than the price of an AMT coffee or two.
This is where Im going to name drop the bike shop....
Broadribb Cycles in Bicester... thank you so much... you have saved my next four weeks!
The cost of labour (extensive I might add) was slashed by 50% and a little money knocked ofc the cost of a couple of parts. Very kind to be sure. And this is the result....
And as you know... a glass is always half full... and every cloud has a silver lining and they are as follows...
No one got hurt (top of the list)
Somehow .. my frame and most of my bike was undamaged.. in fact my frame literally did not get one scratch.
As pointed out to me by one of the bike shop chaps... at least it didnt happen on the way home (sunday evening... no bike shops open... flight monday morning) which would have meant me purchasing a bike in Auckland - far from idea
It cost me less than a new bike
I still got to N wales for The Gathering and my bike will be in a box on sunday night... and on a plane Monday morning
I have shiny new blue bar tape - this alone makes the glass half full!!
I kept my saddle as although damaged... it now has character....
Fittingly... I wrote this below on my bike before I left this morning....
A good omen for the ride to come?
Could well be. 😀