At just before 9 on Saturday morning I met up with Retro and Paul. The sun was burning the clouds away and for once I was following, being shown some of the delightful singletrack paths Friston Forest has to offer.
The start was up the SDW to the top of the Downs (no gain without pain) before cutting back down to the edge of Lullington Nature reserve – so far so good – I knew where I was. Then the fun started; into the woods for a varity of paths; trees spaced just far enough apart for my handlebars to squeeze through, ground perfect, bumps, roots, down, down, down, twisting and turning, then into the open and back up a fire road, then another dip into the woods and down again. I had a vague idea where I was but that was all, and after the third path I was lost. Luckily Paul and Retro knew where they were.
Then suddenly Paul stopped – the brake pads on his front wheel had absconded – PING – gone. After riding back uphill for a ¼ mile and much peering around Paul found them – phew – they were reinserted with a zip-tie as the restraining bolt.
Not long after, I managed to knock a stump with my pedal and my crank arm rotated slightly. At first I didn’t realise what had happened and was looking at my gears while slowing down. I then cracked the arm again while being over-taken and then they were only 90 degrees apart. Nothing I could do would remove the plastic retaining plug to enable me to take the crank arm off. So by a combination of single leg cycling and pushing I caught up with the others who were relaxing in the sun. In the end there was nothing we could do to repair the situation and I had to call it a day and make my way back to the cars some 4 miles away.
So I had more practice of single leg pedalling – and then the crank arm rotated a bit more and they were now opposite each other. This was somewhat easier to manage. It was a bit like being on a stand up rowing machine but with a rotational movement – boy it was tough on my abdominal muscles, looked hilarious and felt ridiculous as I got up to speeds of 15mph 🙂