Can We Fix it? Yes We Can!

Trip Start May 22, 2009
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Trip End Feb 16, 2010


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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Monday, August 10, 2009

55+ days on the road, and over 2200 km.  Time for some maintenance and cleaning.  When your using the same few things day after day, they get worn quite a bit faster than when you can distribute the abuse amount multiple items.  Our sleeping bags and sleeping pads have been used more in the last 2 months than they would have in 2 years of normal amounts of camping outings.  So after so many nights in a row, our sleeping bags were absolutely mingin!!!  Time to get them washed.  Being down, they required a little more attention than just a spin around the washer and hang outside.  But a trip to the launderette made the job an easy one. 

The tent was also getting a bit disgusting.  I wiped down the inside and cleaned out all the dust and feathers and dead bugs.  Then bought an air freshener.  Everything smells so nice I hardly know what to do!

Our air mattresses were also in need of repair.  We’ve been noticing over the last little while that they’ve developed slow leaks.  At first I took the worst one, since I like a more deflated mattress and my body weight didn’t deflate it as quickly.  But soon the other mattress was showing signs of leakage as well.  They’re now both too bad and are requiring mid-night refills.  Slathering the mattress in soapy water, we tried to detect where the leaks were (I had the difficult job of lying on the mattress to give pressure).  Soon it was evident that the seals along the seams seem to be leaking - in a whole bunch of places!  Not a single puncture, but de-lamination of the actual mattress.  Great, that means that this will be a recurring problem for us.  However, a bit of seam sealer did the trick for now.  Doesn’t look very pretty, but who’s looking anyways?!?!

I also spent a considerable amount of time sewing.  Several bags and bits are showing wear and needed repairs.  As well, our clothing are showing some holes and need sinching around the waists (not a problem I’m begrudging at this point).  

The biggest project of the day is our pannier bags.  Apparantely they are complete pish!  2 main clasps that hold the bags to the frames on our bikes have gone now, on 2 of the bags.  So far, we’ve just been tying a rope through and attaching it to whatever we can find on the fronts.  It works, but stretches out during a day of rattling and needs re-tightening.  Wanting something a bit more stable than plastic attachments, the search was on:  Halfords vs. B&Q.  Neither really had what Brian was looking for.  In the end, he went with rip-stop strapping bolted through the pannier backs.  Since we didn’t know if this repair would be any better than what existed, we chose to only repair the 2 broken bags instead of 4 (until we can field test this to see what is better).  It would be horrible to destroy 2 good bags without knowing it!

Brian also finally caved in and bought 2 new chains for our bikes (only at double the Canadian price).  Stretched out very far from hauling so much weight, they were both starting to grind a bit when pedaled.  Getting them both oiled and set we were ready to set out from Edinburgh in the morn. 

We’d been staying with Pete and Shona for the last few weeks and having a wonderful time, but must be on our way and let them get their lives back.  We will greatly miss them, but left in the morning with promises of seeing one another again soon - either on this side of the Atlantic or the other. 

However, after only a minute or 2 down the road, we were having difficulties.  Seems that the new chains were not the answer to our problems, but were causing them!  I knew that they needed time to adjust and set themselves, but Brian likes everything snappy and perfect.  We repeatedly stopped while he adjusted his gears, and then his deralier - trying to make things right.  After about an hour, we were a whole 6.78km down the road!  By then, his chain noise was getting worse and worse, and he couldn’t go up any incline without it slipping.  Pulling off into a little Crescent, he worked and worked at it - trying to figure out the reason for the slipping so he could fix it.  After awhile, I set off on my bike to scout out and see if I could find a cycle shop or somewhere we could get help.  Obviously this problem was out of Brian’s scope of ability at this time.  Went up and down to the next town and found nothing.  Stopped in at a little store to ask - just in case.  Nothing.  Cycled back to Brian to see if he’d had any luck.  Nothing.  My only idea was to return to West Calder to the shop where Brian had bought the chains.   Then, if they’d sold us the wrong ones we could work it all out.  I was getting a few strange noises from my bike, but nothing like Brian was encountering.  Should I cycle there?  About 15 miles.  Even if I do go, that won’t help to get Brian’s bike there…Grasping at straws, we decided to call up Pete and Shona and ask for help.  We really didn’t want to take advantage of their kindness, but we were at a bit of a loss at the moment.  Fortunately we weren’t very far away from their home. 

Within minutes, Prince Charming came to rescue us rising on a white stallion (Mercedes van) to load up the bikes and whisk us off to the West Calder Bike Shop.  Sheepishly, we hung our heads in shame as he approached.  But his bouts of hearty laughter along the ride helped us to see the humor of the situation - although we still weren’t very happy about it. 

Problem:  cogs worn on the rear cassette.  The new chain didn’t fit properly.  Supposedly you should replace the chain and cassette together if the chain gets too stretched.  (When Brian took off the old chains, they were stretched a full 2 links longer than the new ones).  So now we know.  Easy repair.  The shop thankfully had the parts, and it didn’t break the bank.  Finally at 2pm we were able to set out.  Not sure if we would make our destination, I swore to myself if there were anymore problems with the bikes that we would be taking a taxi into Edinburgh to get it fixed rather than calling on Pete and Shona again!  But all seemed to go smoothly from there on.  Problem solved and we even made our destination for the evening.  My cogs are a bit worn, but the chain should stretch into it in a day or two without too much difficulty.

When loading up the bikes the next morning, Brian noticed that the welds on his pannier racks were broken through.  That would explain the rattles and shakes he’s been experiencing with the gear as of late.  But a little string and some duct tape, and who needs welding?  They’ve held themselves throughout the day, and hopefully will continue until we can find new racks and/or a place with a TIG welder.  

So far, our repairs have been as follows:

Brian - 2 tubes replaced, 1 set of pedals replaced, 1 chain replaced, 1 rear cassette replaces, 1 set of cables to rear cassette replaces, 1 pannier rack soon to be replaced, 

Sharilyn:  I chain replaced (only because of Brian’s insistence). 

But who’s keeping track…..
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Tweedside Caravan Park

Comments

lindsayholmes
lindsayholmes on

...
You're doing great!
i'll start to worry when your posts read like this:
Brian: 3 hernias, 1 hip, 2 knees replaced...
Sharylin: ...hey, where is she!?!

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