Well there was nothing for it but a trip to “tandem hospital” after the calamity that befell me on the Two Loch Challenge. My rear gear cog had split and the only thing was to have a new one fitted. At my age – 50 plus (same as my owners!) – I was never going to grow a new one!
So the “old git” and the “old gal” loaded me up into the tandem transporter and we headed for the professional tandem doctors at J M Richards Cycles in Perth. The astute among you will remember that is where I had my major makeover not that long ago (see post “Under repair” for full details).
Chief surgeon Ally took one look at my cog and shook his head and explained how the cog had started to come apart, loosening up the ball bearings inside. He made me feel better by saying there was nothing anyone could have done to avoid this problem, that it really should not have happened, and said it must have been a “Friday” cog – i.e. a badly manufactured one.
Fortunately Ally had a spare new cog in stock and promised that after a one-night stay in “tandem hospital” I would be fit to go home again.
So after the “old gal” said to look after me, I was left behind and soon in their workshop. Let me tell you it is an Aladdin’s Cave of bicycle and tandem parts. They have nuts, bolts, washers and new bits for any cycling illness you could think of – and some you didn’t even know about, and didn’t want to know about.
Within an hour in the workshop my new cog was fitted and it felt as good as new. They also noticed I had two loose spokes so they were duly tightened up – which removed a slight buckle in my rear wheel.
An overnight recuperation was required, with a quick test the next morning to see the surgery had been a success – and then I was cleared to go home.
The “old git” and the “old gal” came to collect me – and I have to say I was pleased to see them again. I have become quite attached to them both, and did feel for the “old git” as he raced us both down that hairpin bend at Inversnaid to try to catch that ferry. I was quite concerned for him as I have never seen his face that colour!
And my owners received even better news when Ally said that the repairs on my cog were free of charge as it had been renewed so recently. That made the “old git” smile I can tell you!
The “old gal” – who is of course Chief Engineer on the team, even invested in some new quick chain fixers – which will make life easier if my chain comes off again and gets twisted.
So everyone was happy as we headed off home ready for a full test on the Sunday, when we completed a 16 mile trip back to Forteviot via Dunning.
The “old gal” was delighted when the “old git” decided they should stop for a wee gin and tonic and soak up the sunshine in the beer garden at the quaint Kirkstyle Inn at Dunning. Most welcome it was too – again just for medicinal purposes, given the high temperature – and made the last few miles back to my comfy garage fly past.
A quick pit stop for a gin and tonic at the Kirkstyle Inn – it would have been rude not to!
We even met up with a group of super-fit students from Leeds who were doing a John O’Groats to Lands End charity cycle run for Great Ormond Street Hospital. They were covering the whole length of the UK in two weeks and that day were cycling from Pitlochry to Stirling.
The “old gal” quickly told the “old git” not to get any ideas about a similar tour by tandem! Mind you, whisper it, she did catch him having a drool over a gorgeous blonde female in the group who was clearly wearing her tight lycra cycling top to show off her curves! He almost had to be pulled away, as the “old gal” reminded him it is rude to stare!
So the repairs to my gears were given the thumbs up from my owners, and I felt like the ‘cog of the north’ again!