in Cycling, Ride 999, Sport

Unplanned maintenance

As I said in my last post, when I signed up to Ride 999 I assumed that the big challenges would be achieving the sponsorship goals and getting enough miles on the bike to be fit enough for the ride. What I didn’t factor in whatsoever was the amount of bike maintenance that will be required in the run up to the event.

I’ve ridden just over 2,000 miles since I bought my bike 18 months ago. The London Revolution and Ride 999 add up to a total of approximately 1,100 miles in the space of just over two weeks. Between now and the start of the London Revolution there are about 17 weeks. If (and it’s a bit of a big ‘if’!) I can stick to the advice and try to be doing 100 miles a week in training now or very soon, ramping up to 200 closer to the event this will add up to 2,000 miles in training alone. That’s a daunting amount of miles and will take its toll on the bike.

@riderstuart has been very kind in giving me a list of things I need to plan for. I’ve also added a few of my own. They are:

  • A new chain. Apparently it is normal to get 1,500–2,000 miles out of a chain and it is obviously better to get a new one before the old one breaks. Mine is therefore overdue.
  • A new cassette. This is the set of gears on the rear wheel and normally you replace these every time you fit a new chain. They aren’t as expensive as I would have initially thought but I do need to think about what gears I need (i.e. a very small gear for climbing up into the Alps) and then whether this would be compatible with the rear derailleur on my bike (I can’t afford a new one of those so I will need to get one that fits what I have). If I change the gears I assume I also need to change the length of chain.
  • Some new chain rings. These are the big ‘front gears’ by the pedals. From my extensive* (*one hour of) research it looks as though you don’t need to change these as often as the chain and the cassette but it is a good idea to do so as they can be very dangerous when worn. This is a relatively expensive component.
  • New brake blocks. I think mine are still okay but I am sure I will wear through them between now and the event.
  • New cables. I’ve already had a rear derailleur cable replaced in the past year and they will probably all need changing at some point in the run-up to the rides.
  • New tyres. I replaced my rear tyre at Christmas as I had started to get punctures on a regular basis. I’m using cyclocross tyres for now as I have assumed these will be better over the winter and have invested in some Continental Gatorskins that I will switch to when it gets a bit warmer. They are meant to be very puncture-resistant and should be better at rolling along the road than the tyres I have on right now.
  • Cleaning and re-greasing of the bike’s bearings in the wheels, bottom bracket and the pedals. Basically, a bike service or two that I will need to plan with Lovelo, my local bike shop.
  • New cleats for my shoes. Mine are a year old and look a bit worn (I’ve lost a couple of the yellow plastic pieces on them that keep the cleats off the pavement when walking around) and I’m not sure they will go the distance between now and the start of June. Hopefully this is something cheap to replace.
  • A cheap spare back wheel, with the same cassette as the one on my main wheel. This is for use indoors on my turbo trainer with an old tyre so that I can try and avoid wearing out my main rear tyre. I’ll make use of my turbo when it is too dangerous to go out or during the middle of the week where I don’t have time to venture beyond the front door.
  • A decent front light for riding in the rain and in tunnels. My handlebars are tapered so it isn’t easy to fit anything onto them and I’ll need to get some advice on what will work best.

If (and only if) I can get the advised miles in I will need to replace some of the components twice between now and the event. None of this was budgeted for when I signed up so I am going to have to do some shopping around and take some advice as to what will fit my bike, be reliable and safe but also relatively cheap!

Lovelo can expect a visit from me very soon…

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