47 Miles, One Puncture & One Broken Gear Shifter

Roll call for today, Saturday, was myself and Stevie Potter. Gilly was heading out on the Sunday as he had a night out on the Friday night and didn’t get in till 3am! Davie Mullin had also opted for a Sunday pedal as the forecast was looking far better. I had a night out on Saturday so Sunday was gonna be a wipe out for me so Saturday it was.

Stevie arrived round at mine at 9am and we set off on the same route as the previous three weeks.

As we left the weather was actually pretty good. The sun was shining but it was a tad cold. As we headed up Stroud road we could see the dark grey clouds in the distance and were hoping that they would had cleared away by the time we got there, that was not to be the case!

Next we took on the challenge of the Eaglesham climb followed by the three climbs over the Moors which went well, I was feeling pretty strong.

Having conquered the moors, again feeling pretty strong, we carried along the A77 into Fenwick, Kilmarnock and Galston.

As we arrived into Newmilns I shouted to Stevie to pull over as I had a slow puncture. We set about changing the inner tube which was a relatively quick job, to be fair we’ve had plenty of practice of late! I opted for the CO2 this time to speed the process up and to get a high enough pressure in the tyre. Once the inner tube has been changed over I put the wheel back on the bike and went to click the gears down into an easier one to set off and CRUNCH! My right shifter had just broke! The cog inside had worn two teeth resulting in the shifter slipping and not moving down the gears.

As the usual cafe stop was only half a mile away I carried on and took a look when we arrived at Bobbins Cafe. There was no fixing this so the best solution was to adjust the gears using the barrel adjuster to allow me to carry on, downside was I was now locked into one gear! I opted for the smaller cog just off the middle. I felt that this gear would be the best one to allow me to climb the hills and get half decent speed up on the flat.

We popped into the cafe and ordered our usual food and drink then started the next 20 miles in a fixed gear. As we left the cafe we were then treated to rain pelting down from above! Great, not only was I stuck in one gear, we were now also getting pelted by the rain!

Just out of Newmilns came the first wee climb which gave me a taster of what was to come. I really had to work hard and fight through the pain barrier on the climbs.

The next real test came at Loudon Hill which is a challenging climb at the best of times without being stuck in a higher than usual gear! I told Stevie to carry on at his pace and I’d get him at the top but he opted to take part in the fixed gear challenge and dropped into the same gear I was stuck in so that we were both facing the same challenges! Hat off to him!

After being out the saddle quite a lot we crested the top of the climb feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves! The next two climbs round the side of Loudon Hill really tried to break us but we got out the saddle and really pushed to make it to the top! I was down to my last couple of pushes on the pedal when we crested the hill.

From here we carried on back towards Ardochrig facing challenging climbs on the way, digging in deep and beating everything thrown at us.

All in all it was an enjoyable 47 mile pedal. I was really chuffed completing the last 20 miles in the one gear, especially with the climbs we had to do. Average speed was 13.3mph which I was happy with taking all things into consideration. I’ve never been out the saddle so many time on one ride as I was today!

I ran the bike up to work after I had showered and what I already knew was confirmed…….. I needed a new shifter!

Once again hats off to Stevie for joining me in the fixed gear challenge so that we were both facing the same tough climbs and challenges!

Stu