- Lucky escape
I was cycling the road along the Taff just past Gwaelod Y Garth at a fairly good clip this morning. The road is quite up and down, with many blind bends, but after two years of riding it pretty regularly, I have almost never encountered a car.
Well, today I did.
I was taking a descent that curved to the right, making for an almost-blind bend, when a car appeared coming toward me. I was not riding a race line, so was on ‘my side of the road’, but really, the road is too narrow at that spot for there to be sides.
In any case, I slammed on the brakes and began skidding toward the now-stopped car at decent speed, and somehow the bike (which was pretty much taking its own trajectory now) slid to the driver’s side of the car, and kept sliding. I banged into the side of the car on the way past, and finally came to a halt about 30 feet beyond the car.
Thank God I did not go right into his front end, and also that I never even came off the bike. The driver got out of his car immediately to check that I was alright. He was an elderly gentleman, and his only concern was for me.
The situation was entirely my fault, and I am so thankful the man did everything exactly right. He swerved as far as he could to his left and stopped, and when I finally stopped all he wanted to know was if I was alright and if my tyre was going to be safe now that I had skidded so far on it. Anyway, we checked his car over for damage, and I thanked his and shook his hand for caring.
After that I had a significantly more tender ride home.
I’m still shaking.Posted 8 months agomolgripsSubscriber
These things are a good way to learn. I’ve had a few over the years.
Once (much much younger and having had far fewer of these learning experiences) I came blatting down a narrow lane around a corner to be met with a car coming the other way. Couldn’t stop at all (using canti brakes in the wet with some faddy brake pad that was useless) so managed to slot myself between the bank and the car. Driver probably thought I was a hooligan for not stopping, he didn’t realise I couldn’t.Posted 8 months agoBunnyhopSubscriber
Glad you are safe.Posted 8 months ago
nbt and I had a brake failure on our tandem last Sunday.
The experience was not a pleasant one.
Maybe nbt will post up what happened.
I’m so grateful he stayed calm and got us safely down a side lane, using his feet. Cleats were starting to spark.jwtMember
Group road ride about three / four weeks ago, started innocently enough then the testosterone started creeping in up the climbs. Then racing for road signs to finally hell for leather everywhere. There was a conversation regarding a blind bend on a downhill section that is on a strava section that is dangerous in summer due to being unsighted. Two of us starting hanging back as it was getting silly, but the two up front were in full on hammer and tongs mode. We came around the blind corner five or ten seconds after the sprint train to find loads of tyre marks on the entry and a bike sticking out from under the front of a stationary bulk liquid waste tanker. I thought the guy was dead as I could only see his feet. Very lucky as just scratches and grazes. Poor bloke in the tanker thought he’d killed him was very pale and shakey, followed by huge apology from the guy we pulled out from under the tanker. Hoping the lessons learnt…….Posted 8 months agonbtMember
Here’s what I wrote up on Facebook about the incident mentioned by my wife 🙂
So yesterday was interesting. Not been out on the tandem for a while so we decided to head over towards Buxton and see how we felt. All started well, nice easy going through Disley, the climb up to Windgather provided a beautiful view of a Little Owl who wasn’t spooked, he just sat and watched as we chugged uphill. Down The Street we went and up the Goyt Valley to Derbyshire bridge, where we decided that perhaps Tideswell was a bit optimistic given the lack of time spent on the tandem recently, so we’d head to Buxton for lunch. Over Axe Edge, and down the A53 into Buxon for lovely grub @ The Green Pavilion.
Once replete, we start home – then stopped almost immediately for some fettling. I’d been hearing the front brake rubbing for a while, and it was gettting worse (lifting the front of the bike and spinning the wheel gave us about 2 revolutions max), so I loosened the bolts and recentred the brake – or tried to. It’s already way over to one side. Bugger. Not much we can do, we’re getting some effect, so let’s carry on. All ok for the next few miles.
The descent into Chapel en le Frith down Long Lane proved interesting as the lever for the front brake went right to the bars with negligible effect on the wheel. At least the back brake is working fine. Don’t overcook it – no dragging the brakes, scrub plenty of speed then build up again, repeat as needed. Ok, we’re down safely and into the village. Bugger. Right: bike over, pads out, push the pistons in, pads back in, recentre caliper, try again.
Nothing. Not a sausage.
Ah. What’s that on the hose where it exits the lever. is it brake fluid? Bugger.
Let’s try new pads. That means pads out again, pistons back in again (as the pistons have a special “clever” centring point which makes it a swine to fir / remove pads), NEW pads in, recenter, still nothing.
Oh well, we’re about ten flattish miles from home. We either take the main road into Whaley Bridge and get on the canal there, or pop over the edge of Eccles Pike and use the old tramway at the bottom of the hill. It’s a big hill, but as long as we’re careful we’ll be ok, the back brake is fine, it’s stopped us coming into Chapel.
Off we go. First minor descent is just a dip, straight into an uphill that scrubs all the speed and then means we need to pedal. The we crest the hill and we’re freewheeling. Gathering speed, gathering speed, then brake to scrub lots of speed. Repeat. Repeat again. All going well so far, I can see the bridge over the A6 and the Old Hall Inn, not far to go. Brake again speed is slowin….. AARRGGGGHH THE BACK BRAKE’S DIED! I’VE COOKED IT FROM TOO MUCH BRAKING.
Don’t panic. Been considering this in my mind anyway as we descended. There’s a mudguard so I can’t stick foot between tyre and forks like back in the day, so off the saddle, unclip, foot on the floor. Both levers still to the bars, pumping madly in case the reservoirs catch and the brakes start working. Nothing happening. Gaining speed. Jane’s screaming behind me. There’s a road on the left. As long as Jane doesn’t panic I can steer us into it, hope there’s nothing coming. round the corner. Road clear, parked cars, dog barking becuase there’s two screaming people on a bike.
We come to a halt. I unclench.
We walked slowly and carefully to The Old Hall Inn, Chinley, where Dan the landlord was a star and let us put the tandem in a safe place till I can get back to pick it up later this week. Mark H very kindly abandoned the most exciting stage of the TDF to come and pick us up. I had a pint of beer to calm my nerves while we waited.
On closer examination, the back brake is working fine – the 6 bolt rotor is mounted onto a screw-on adapter. The threads either on the adapter or the hub (or possibly both) have failed. The brake clamps the rotor, but the adapter is just spinning on the hub.
New brakes will be needed: I’ve never really liked the Avid Hydraulics, so I think we might well go for mechanical brakes, with a drag / parking brake. We’ll need a new rear wheel too, and possibly new pants. We’re alive though – for which I’m thankful.
This is more or less the view I had when the brakes failed. I may have been slightly further down the hill, but not much
*PARP* indeed.Posted 8 months ago
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