In which a loose crank causes havoc

The sun rose on what was probably the best day this winter. From horizon to horizon there was nothing but blue sky and, best of all, NO WIND. In fact it was the sort of day that would get any cyclist’s heart racing. We had already decided that this was going to be the day we would try out an alternate ride to Carrum Beach, instead of our usual Warburton Ride.

Unfortunately Mal rang in to say that he would not be able to make the ride. I guess when you do as much riding as he does, hemorrhoids are an unavoidable occupational hazard! Oh well, Mal you missed a real gem of a ride.

Bob and I met at Mulgrave Reserve where we were able to meet a new rider – Brian Coulter. It was a pity that Brian took one look at our incredible physiques and decided that he would only be able to keep up with us for about 2 km. We trust that over the next few days he will be able to summon enough strength for a longer ride with us next week.

Although we all set off in high spirits, by the time we had ridden for about 3 minutes, I realised all was not well with my thoroughbred “racing” bike. In fact it felt as if my pedal was about to fall off – either that or my foot had developed a palsy (whatever that is). When we dismounted to check the bike it was soon evident that the left crank was about to part company with the shaft. With no tools on hand, all we could do was finger tighten the offending nut, and head off on a wing and a prayer. The process had to be repeated every km or so, until we spied some “hard working” technicians resting on a mobile phone tower. When we asked them if they had any tools, they produced the finest set of spanners we had ever seen. In fact it looked as if they had never been used before. A few quick turns of the relevant spanner and all was well again with the world..

The next 40 mins or so passed in near euphoria, riding at ultra high speed (we did not have to slow down for Mal) under a shining sun. At least the sun was shining until we got near the beach, by which time we entered in a proverbial “pea souper” of a fog. We had to assume the beach was there because we couldn’t see a thing. Oh well, I guess you can’t win everything.

Since we now were ready for a hard earned lunch we rode on to Carrum shops. What a dump! Not a patch on the great shops at Warburton. Thinking that we might miss out on our traditional cappucino, I asked an elderly lady (who just happened to be deaf) if there were any better shops around. Eventually with the aid of hand signals we were directed a couple of km down the road to Patterson Lakes. Luckily for three thirsty riders we discovered a couple of nice coffee shops to enjoy lunch.

Outside the Coffee Shop

After lunch, John decided that he knew a “short cut” back to the track, so took off with a great show of enthusiasm. The only problem was that he had forgotten his helmet outside the coffee shop. Not wanting to buy another helmet he managed to get an empty icecream container and some elastic from an obliging grocer. With his “new” helmet on his head he got so excited he thought he would demonstrate his improved riding prowess by riding as close as possible to the edge of the concrete pavement. Of course this foolhardiness soon came unstuck and sent John sprawling across the footpath – right in the path of Bob and his Titanic. Soon the Titanic had hit another iceberg (this one was called “John”) and the two of them were entangled in an ugly mess.

Examining the Carnage

Fortunately the damage was restricted to John’s pride, and we were able to continue on back towards Dandenong. By this time the fog had lifted and we enjoyed smooth riding all the way back to the cars. Bob and I were a little concerned for John’s mental health when he started hallucinating – imagining that every mole hill was in fact a mountain. Maybe he banged his head in the accident and the icecream container did not do its job.

Crossing Dandenong Creek

Seriously though, it would be hard to imagine a day with better conditions for riding. We all parted company eagerly looking forward to next week’s ride.