In which we see TWO more loose cranks

With the temperature predicted to rise into the 30s it finally looked as if the days of the dreaded dripping noses might finally be coming to an end. John was back from his recent trip to the fleshpots of Sydney and was keen to exercise his legs on a ride. Of course Mal was still fresh from his recent success on the RTB ride and had reshaved his legs with a new packet of razor blades specially for the occasion. It all augered well for a memorable ride.

I headed off to our starting point at Mt Evelyn but Mal had decided to take the easier path from somewhere back near Pakenham Race Course, indicating that he would meet up with the rest of us at Woori Yallock. I was still suffering the after effects of a recent dose of the flu and took the first 10 km at a leisurely pace, enjoying the peace and solitude. Not another rider in sight – just the cattle in the paddocks laughing at me as I passed.

Everything was going so well at this stage that I started to feel better and was just starting to hit my pedalling rhythm when my left leg started to come loose. I know that old age is a real bummer but I was hoping to hold on to that leg for a few more years at least. I did not really feel ready for vital body parts to start falling off. But here it was happening to me. Every time I pushed down with my left leg, everything started to go wobbly. I suppose if Bob had been riding with me he would have postulated another of his expert diagnoses and stated “I think your leg has gone all funny!”, but here I was riding all alone and not knowing what was going to happen next.

After perservering for a few more minutes it became obvious that the problem was getting worse and I decided I better stop before I completely fell apart. It was at this point that the real cause of the problem became apparent. It was not my leg that was falling off, but the left hand crank on the bike. Somehow the nut had worked loose and the crank was in danger of parting company with the rest of the bike. And here I was in the back of the bush without a spanner in sight. Why is cycling so darn complicated ????

Just when all looked hopeless I looked up and noticed John riding towards me along the trail. I began to wonder if my luck would ever turn for the better. Nevertheless John assured me that he would have the problem fixed in no time with his new ACME Junior Boy’s Tool Kit that he had in the boot of his nearby car. With slightly renewed hope I limped off, pedalling with one foot only. After a few minutes I covered the 2 km to John’s car and about 15 minutes later John arrived as well.

The only problem was that John’s new amazing tool kit seemed to only consist of 20 types of plastic screwdriver. While probably quite suitable for playing with his Lego set, it was not much use on this occasion, so we both set off to nearby Woori Yallock in search of a real spanner. Fortunately a few hundred metres up the road we found an Auto Electrics business and woke the owner from his peaceful slumbers long enough to ransack his took kit. The bike was soon fixed and we were ready to continue on our way.

At this time Mal rang in to ask where we were so John gave his 200 decibel hooter a few blasts to let everyone within 20 km know exactly where we were. Attracted by the commotion Mal (and 6 elderly members of the Warburton Train Spotters Club) soon came down the path to meet us.

Since things were finally starting to take on a more familar note, John decided it must be time to start asking “Why do we do this?”, often answering his own question with his “beats working for a living”. We pointed our metal steeds towards Warburton and resumed our sacred quest (for coffee).

The next few km passed without incident however Mal and I did not notice that John had somehow managed to lose contact with us. We decided to wait at the Highway at Milgrove for him to catch up. Little did we know what sort of surprise was to lie in store for us! There riding towards us was John, but he was gesticulating wildy and waving his hands in the air. It appeared that he might have finally lost the plot – especially when he started throwing his clothes off and slapping himself. He kept raving something about an insect crawling and biting him, but Mal and I were convinced it was early onset dementia.

John’s Famous Milgrove Streak
(aka the second “loose crank”)

After a few minutes John managed to regain his composure (and his clothes) and announced that he was ready to continue the ride. He also managed to collect a few phone numbers of some elderly members of the Milgrove Evergreens Ladies Walking Group who were passing by and who were apparently quite impressed with his performance.

I began to ask myself “why can’t just one ride pass without incident?” while we finally covered the remaining couple of km to Warburton. It was great to eventually reach the coffee shop and enjoy the customary refreshments and yarns.

We set off back along the opposite side of the river and enjoyed some of the best views that anyone could ever wish for. Mal sprinted into the distance as John and I pedalled on, savouring the moment. Well, I would have savoured the moment a bit better if I did not have a growing headache nagging away. I started to realise just how rough the track was as each bump shook my head a little more. Oh well, I guess this is all just part of life’s “rich tapestry”.

About this stage I decided that I would stop my ride at Woori Yallock and hitch a ride with John back to Mt Evelyn where I had left my car. All I had to do was make another 6 or so km, when pffffffffff. Oh No! Oh YES! Another %@*!@ puncture. This was my FOURTH puncture in about 5 weeks. I am starting to believe that the puncture fairy no longer loves me. Fortunately I had come prepared with two spare tubes and after about 15 mins we were on our way again. I am seriously starting to toy with the idea of filling my tyres with concrete.

Well we did successfully manage to cover the remaining distance to Woori Yallock without further punctures (or fictitious insect attacks). I was wondering how the Test Match had been going during the afternoon, but found it hard to believe that Australia was 1 out for about 325. Seems like the poms have about as much staying power as my inner tubes……….