Fully restored after some extensive repairs following our return from the grand Tour de Burgundy.
You will remember that the “old gal” and the “old git” valiantly replaced several of my spokes on my rear wheel in France – a rather unexpected surprise for them, but one with which they coped brilliantly. That kept my wheels turning and allowed the route to be completed.
On return to home to Scotland and to base in Auchterarder, I was transported back to my private surgeons – aka J M Richards Cycles in Perth for a check-up. The plan was simple – reset all my spokes after the foreign travel and ensure everything was ok.
But as we all know, things rarely go according to plan. When the bike mechanics inspected me, they found a crack on my rear hub – which it seems was the main reason for so many spokes working loose and snapping when in France.
Now you know I am a bit of an “old lady” and I am reluctant to reveal my age, but lets just say I have seen 50 (just like my faithful owners the “old gal” and the “old git”!)
Being an “old lady” classic Jack Taylor tandem has its benefits – especially when it comes to the admiring glances I get – but it does have a downside. And that is that spare parts are extremely hard to come by.
In fact hard to come by is a bit of an understatement. Virtually impossible is a better description. And of course being an “old lady” all my bits are imperial in size as opposed to the new-fangled metric measurements.
Getting a new-for-old direct replacement hub was impossible, so the guys at Richards had a bit of a job on their hands to come up with an alternative. In fact at one point I think the “old git” and the “old gal” were really worried that I would never be pedalled again.
But the true professionals that they are at Richards, they devised an alternative course of action to get me back on the road again. Phew!
After pouring over web sites and brochures they came up with a shiny new rear hub – complete with hub brake and 36 holes for spokes.
Previously I had 40 spokes, and more modern tandems have 48 so they were a bit worried that my wheel may not be strong enough. So to get round that issue, they ordered a new wheel rim (metric of course at 700 mm instead of 27.25 inches!) and found some extra strong spokes to put me back together.
The spokes are remarkable in that they are the only spokes in the world made specifically for tandems, manufactured by a company called Swift – so now I feel even more special and a bit exclusive!
They then set about building my new rear wheel and adding a new tyre to finish the job.
My shiny new rear hub and exclusive extra strong tandem spokes.
Then to make sure all was sound, the guys at Richards decided on a trip round the Inch (a large park area) in Perth. Oh it was good to have the fresh air flowing between my new spokes – and the lads got up a fair speed as they seemed to want to test my to the limit! I can tell you, it was all rather exciting and proved there was still life in the “old lady”!
But the verdict was I was fully operational again – and my rear wheel was probably significantly stronger than before. Success! And well done to the guys at Richards – they are true superstars.
So it was a somewhat emotional reunion when the “old git” and the “old gal” came back to collect me and take me home – back to “Matilda’s Rest”.
Happy to be home – a welcome return to “Matilda’s Rest”!
And that means that the pair of them have no excuses on the fitness front – as they can’t blame me as I am fully repaired and raring to go! But I have no worries as I am sure the “old git” has already been meticulously planning our next adventure.
And would you believe it – after the shock of their forced repairs en route in Burgundy, the “old gal” and the “old git” have signed themselves up for a Bike Maintenance Workshop.
So for six Wednesday evenings the gallant duo will be finding out all about the inner workings of bikes at a course run at the Community School of Auchterarder. The workshop is actually a great idea and is part of the drive to turn Auchterarder into a zero waste community – with the help of funding from the area hosting the recent Ryder Cup golf event.
So the next time I need a repair, we should all be better equipped. Mind you, who was it that said a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!