Posted by: Ian | October 2, 2010

Crickleaze

Despite having a week off work, since cycling with Emily last weekend I’ve not been on a bike: all of my time has been consumed with the move from Hill Farm House to Crickleaze. To be scrupulous, I should declare a small ride around Cinder Hill woods and down to Marsh and back late yesterday afternoon on the Tempo. The Tempo’s bearings, which the Condor shop staff told me it would be completely impossible to replace myself, were replaced for £10 by Brian at the excellent Bicycle Chain in Taunton using nothing more than a spanner, a cone spanner and a long hex key (to drive out the axle). Although the tell-tale judder of shot bearings is now gone, the crank still isn’t spinning freely even after I cleaned and oiled the chain and ensured that the brakes and mudguard are well clear of the rim and tyres. I suspect that there’s crap in the bottom bracket. I’m out of time even to hunt for my crank puller, let alone try to clean it out, before leaving to go to Burford later, where we overnight before tomorrow’s sportive at Blenheim Palace. So I took the Tempo for a spin round the woods to see how I got with it in its current state.

Right from the first gentle hill, pedalling was much harder work than usual. On the steep hills, which around Crickleaze, even more than around Hill Farm, are quickly encountered in any direction, it was impossible. My cleats were snapping out of the pedals as I struggled to get the bike up. On the stiff rise back from Marsh I almost collapsed over the bars when this happened and, for the first time I can recall, I ended up pushing my bike. I don’t know whether the friction at the bottom bracket played any mechanical part in this or whether it’s a pure combination of gradient and psychology; but whatever the reason I’m taking the Felt to Blenheim. It’s such a shame that Van Nicholas are so late delivering the Zephyr.

The woods themselves call out for a mountain bike. There’s a reasonably clear pathway through with a challenging but manageable degree of slope and terrain interest, even though there’s only 20 or 30 acres of woodland. Maybe that can be a project for 2011.

In the meantime, here’s a few snaps to mark the move…

The first bikes in – my Specialized Tricross and Paula’s Kona – were also the first to leave:

Here’s a leftover from a party a couple of years ago and a bike you probably can’t identify in the background:

And a parting shot shortly before the final departure:

The country roadways to the West of Crickleaze are calling out to be explored over the winter months and I’ll post a few snaps as I do so. In the meantime, here’s the nuthatch that comes to feed by the kitchen window:

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