An exceptionally cold morning saw Sandra, Maurice, Andrew, Tom and Brian setting off from the Packhorse Inn at Moulton on a tour of the lanes to the east of Newmarket. This was to be a memorable ride, the mercury never rising much above -1°C. Indeed our extremities stayed numb for many a mile! But it wasn’t just low temperatures that we had to contend with.
First of all, Sandra had a puncture, though this was fixed quickly enough and she was soon back in the saddle. Our next breakdown, however, posed more of a challenge. While cresting a hill, there was a loud snapping noise from Andrew’s rear end. His chain had not only broken but the damaged end had jammed in his gears and ripped off the rear derailleur! We were a long way from home and, mechanically speaking, things were not looking good.
But we Windmillers are a multi-talented bunch. Tom, stepping forward, donned a pair of latex gloves, upended the bike and set to work. He removed the broken derailleur, shortened the chain by several links and – lo and behold – converted Andrew’s stricken machine into a fixie. How impressive was that?
Within half an hour we were on our way again – and intrigued to find that Andrew went even faster without gears. Indeed, he arrived back at the Packhorse ahead of the rest of us, though maybe he was just badly in need of beer and sustenance after the misadventure with his chain.
Who needs gears anyway?
All in all we clocked up 29 miles; not bad considering the low temperatures and mechanical challenges.
Thanks, Tom, for keeping our wheels turning and – as ever – thanks to Maurice for planning the route and shepherding us around the Suffolk lanes.