Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Milestone and err, something else

On the commute home last night I clocked up 10, 000 Kilometres for the year to date. Well, this is the distance I've logged via Strava, the actual distance will be a bit more as most rides from home are started and stopped about a kilometre away. I've also climbed 133,000 metres of ascent and taken 340 rides to do it. Given that January and February were basically washouts in terms of activity due to recovering from my hip replacement (a year ago this coming Tuesday as it happens) it's not bad.

So what of the something else? Well last night was a pretty awful night and as I was descending the lane down to the house I began to realise that the brakes weren't slowing me down! I wasn't getting faster but I certainly wasn't slowing down, I was probably doing between 15 & 20Kmh. Our lane is about 25% and there's virtually no flat ground before the house.

I began to run through my options: run in to the back of the car - from personal experience I know that bodies tend to come off worse in such collisions; run in to the house - even less likely to result in a positive outcome; make a sharp right over a very slippery cattle grid in to the yard - any fall would be on to my operated hip and there were all the slots to lose an arm or leg in. The only remaining option was to carry on down the lane by the side of the house and hope that when the tarmac ended the mud would slow me down.

I managed about fifteen metres before my increasingly comical swervings saw me off, fortunately I landed on my left side and didn't land on any of the various rocks that stick out of the ground. Apart from a bruise and a slightly pulled muscle in my leg I got away with no injuries. There was one broken spoke on the bike and the brake lever on the left side had been knocked round a bit.

So why had the brakes failed? They are Avid BB7 disk brakes and have been pretty reliable but I think they have somehow loosened themselves off during my commutes as the canal bank is pretty jarring at times, I've checked them this morning and was able to turn in the adjustment pads so that the brakes worked. It was probably a combination of the gradient and the rain, on lesser slopes I have been able to stop. I'll have to keep an eye on them to ensure it doesn't happen again.

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