After the highs of March, I thudded into the depressing depths of April. Consequently I did not achieve the same mileage nor the same satisfaction. It was half term school holidays in April and an anticipated lack of riding opportunities led me to think that I could make use of that time off the bike by getting it serviced. I had purchased a £40 service agreement with the bike 1 year ago and was told over the phone that it would take a day-as long as I went in the morning, I could have it back by the end of the day…So on the Friday which was my turn to have the day off (we both juggle child care in the holidays) I decided to ride the 5 miles with the boys down to the shop. The plan was to drop it off and then walk up to the garage to collect the car that had been waiting ~2 weeks for a part. Apparently Citroen don’t make that part any more so we had a wait while it was sourced from the Ukraine but because I don’t need much of an excuse to commute by bike, we did not suffer much (if any) inconvenience by only having one car at our disposal.
It turned out that I needed a new chain, rear cassette and there was some play from the bottom bracket and it would take a week (tops) to get my bike back. No problem I thought, I’ll only miss 2 commutes, I’ll have the car back AND the bike will be ready for the summer. If only. Turns out that it takes LONGER for the suppliers of this company to distribute a Shimano Sora rear cassette (7 WEEKS!!?!) than to source an out of date part for an old French car. The customer service to be fair was outstanding though I’d imagine they’d have to be to avoid the number of complaints they’d otherwise get as a result of a sluggish supplier and skeletal local store stock. I was searching the www one day looking for the aforementioned part when the store manager had phoned and told me that they went instead for an SRAM rear cassette as it was easier if more expensive to get, had replaced it and my bike was ready to collect. 10 working days after I dropped it off (& 200 miles less than I like to think I would have ridden) I picked it up from a brilliant if verbose mechanic who waived the price for the rear cassette for the wait. It says something about my reliance of riding a bike to commute that I found this episode wholly more inconvenient than not having a car.
Anyway, I’ll be supporting local business and going to Scott for my maintenance in future (the man, not the cycle company). The following Monday I rode Doris like she’d never been out and we covered ~ 35 miles in brisk head winds & promising rays of sun shining through fluffy clouds. It was good. The Wednesday of the same week it was back to the commuting routine only at 6 a.m I felt a twinge at the top of my leg when I got up out of bed. No matter I thought, there’s no way after the last 2 weeks and in this dry, mild weather (well, in the evening anyway) I was not going out. So I had a stretch and cruised into work. It was not until I arose from my desk later in the day that I was severely incapacitated by pain at the top of my leg, radiating through my right hip and to my lower back.
Bugger! Dad had osteo arthritis for years before it was diagnosed and he needed a hip replacement. Was this the beginning of the end? I popped a couple of ibuprofen, hoovered up some fruit and weetabix and headed out into a lovely sunny evening hopeful that exercising would sort the problem out. I was even more hopeful on the way home as it was nowhere near as painful as before and perhaps it was lower back pain with referred pain to the front? The answer to that theory when I got home was a painful reminder of the pain a couple of hours earlier. A sharp searing jolt whenever I tried to lift my knee or swing my leg. I had pulled a hip flexor.
Yes, the only treatment is rest and no, I haven’t been on the bike since…Except on Ben’s MTB after I’d cleaned and tinkered with it and lubed the chain it for his Bikeability lessons starting at his school soon. I don’t have a bike stand and he has twist shifters so I had to do it while he was out on a play date. That injury happened on the last day of April. May has not started on the bike yet for me. My virgin bib shorts are in the drawer (much to Mrs B2W’s relief), the new back tyre is equally untried and my body aches to be with Doris on the pot holed paradise of West Essex once more. Moreover the cricket season has started without me. The same training kit that everyone else is wearing at practice is grumpily restrained in my drawer, probably bickering with the bib shorts like a frustrated sibling during a power cut on a rainy day. My new bat, dutifully oiled and “played in” sits in my gear bag begging for the opportunity to punish bad bowling…Surely I didn’t endure the winter rain, biting winds and dark roads to sit around frustrated by this!!
There are plenty of reasons for me to be sad, I am sad and life sucks but no one knows (except for you WP reader)…and if you see some tears tracking down my face, please, please don’t tell my mates (FoTC)…
A third of the year has gone and the money situation is not looking good.
- Cycle to work scheme: £200
- New Tyre: £20
- New tube:£4
- New bottom bracket, chain and labour £48
Nearly £100 in the red, they don’t tell you about injury when you sign up to these cycle to work schemes