Four shops, two new pedals and one mechanic in shining armour
Today, just 1km into a 75km group bike ride, I suffered a major mechanical failure. The left pedal of my bike stopped turning and it looked like my day of training in the Fuerteventura sunshine would be over before 10.30am.
But I was keen to find a solution and so I imagined that our resort of Playitas would have the answer. Not so, said Super Mechanic Nick, who, as the resident and only Tri Club mechanic, had kindly stopped to help me.
Playitas might be a sports resort but it does not keep bike spares.
I had heard that there was a bike shop in the nearest town, Gran Tarajal, just a few kms away so I decided to ride there, one legged. SMN offered to be my Mechanic in Shining Armour and accompanied me towards the Bike Shop of Hope.
Sadly, the Bike Shop of Hope had closed down.
So, we asked around and finally a police officer pointed us towards a sports shop. This is the kind of sports shop that you find in many resort towns, selling bikinis, causal shorts and a rack of I Love Playitas t-shirts. My heart sank.
Amazingly, however, in a corner of the fashionable store there was a glass cabinet stocked with an assortment of cheap bike pedals and cleats. The choice was limited but I was grateful to find a road bike set for around £20.
The next step, I imagined, would be easy. A simple case of swapping the irreparable pedals and cleats for the new (but cheap) pedals and cleats. However, as anyone who rides a bike must surely know, anything mechanical is never as straightforward as it should be.
The process of removing the old pedals and cleats took a trip to a motor shop and then a motor repair garage, the kindness and time of the motor shop salesman and a car mechanic plus several different types and sizes of tools.
Finally, the old pedals and cleats had been removed and the new pedals had been fitted.
Sadly, the next part of the Fit New Pedals and Cleats Saga was another 20 minutes of frustration as SMN and I tried to affix the new, but different, cleats to my somewhat worn bike shoes.
But surprisingly, in the end, the tally of time that was wasted amounted to less than one hour. My hopes had been raised, dashed and raised again. I could now set off to try to rejoin the rest of the Glasgow Triathlon Club group who had ridden on after my pedal stopped turning.
According to various cyclists on my winter training camp there are several things that I should learn to do more often: Apply grease to moving bike parts, bring spare pedals and cleats, apply more grease to other moving parts, take pedals and cleats off and put them back on every so often and, you guessed it, apply more grease to moving parts.
Then again, it could have been bad luck. It could be that the bearings of my bike pedals simply gave up, and there was little I could do to change this fact.
Thanks to SMN and all the very kind and helpful people in Gran Tarajal, my day’s bike ride went off without further disasters. We caught up with the rest of the group at a lunch stop and went on to cycle numerous hills, face down headwinds and enjoy tailwinds and generally value the opportunity for training on a winter sunshine holiday.
I am sure, aren’t you, that over the next six months I will remember to grease the new bike pedals maybe, er, about, kind of, once, or perhaps even twice!