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Last week the train service to college threw a wobbly because a signal failed. Trains generally manage to arrive within five minutes of when they say they will arrive, but when things go wrong the whole thing seems to fall apart. From experience you just have to wait in hope until a train may or possibly may not come along, so I got back on the bus home, retrieved my bike and cycled to college instead.
It worked okay. The last hill on the way home was pretty tough, and I can’t say I felt like doing much in the evening. Probably not a commuting strategy for every day then.
I would probably be less tired if I had a bag that would clip onto the luggage rack instead of my backpack. I could also carry the backpack on the Xtracycle of course, but that would mean leaving the Xtracycle in an open bike rack all day.
Cycling all the way from home to college is considered seriously strange by most people of course, but people at college are used to my subversively hippy tendencies.
This is the same view as last week. Being able to see the road ahead is quite exciting.
The weather does this quick change every year and it still takes me by surprise. I’m not complaining though.
In case you think I’m showing off, it’s still freezing in the mornings.
Passing a station in a tiny village in the hills this summer. With the carpentry training going full swing now, I don’t think I’ll make a century like I planned to this year. I’m creaking when I move at the moment.
The first week is supposed to be the worst: after that my system should get used to it.
On the other hand, I’m learning about carpentry, which is good, even if it hurts.
Went out with The Boys to ‘Haus Des Waldes‘; a permanent, interactive exhibition about forests, ecosystems, biodiversity, and their role in our lives. They like making sculptures of of natural materials and this one cropped up since our last visit.
I’d like to think I could make something like this in the Very Smallholding, but I probably wouldn’t have the determination to collect all those sticks.
The mill race again, with lamp post for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Maybe I went a bit too far and reached Narnia.
It turns out that you can, with some effort, make a hole in ‘puncture proof’ tyres. I do not recommend this, of course, and it does take a surprising amount of work and incompetence, but I have managed it as follows:
Pump tyres up to 4 bar, (one bar under the maximum, but the person who worked this out probably thought the tyres would be used as they were meant to be: on flat roads. Under a lighter bike).
Take Xtracycle to garden for family picnic.
Before going home, load Xtracycle with remains of picnic, a bag of compost, several gardening tools, a large plant pot and some work boots.
Decide Youngest Son is too tired to ride home on his own.
Put youngest son on already overloaded Xtracycle. Strap his bike on to tow it home as well.
Consider leaving some things but then realise that means coming back to get them in half an hour. Decide you can’t be bothered.
On the way home, drive up a very steep, badly surfaced road, putting entire weight of (overloaded) Xtracycle, Youngest Son, and and a rider that is ‘cough’ kilogrammes heavier than strictly necessary, onto the back wheel.
Mash pedals to get up hill.
Fail to notice one particularly sharp bit of gravel embed itself into the thickest part of the back tyre under the pressure.
Continue riding (and probably overloading) the bike for the next two days.
Result: one unscheduled visit to the bike shop for a replacement tyre and inner tube.
I guess that’s why the tyres are sold as ‘puncture proof’ rather than ‘idiot proof’.
The Xtracycle had an accident this week and broke one of the clips on the luggage panniers. It wasn’t the Xtracycle’s fault: I had to go to something the boys were involved with, locked it to a railing and the wind blew it down some steps while I was inside.
I duly emailed the shop who sold us the Xtracycle, and they promised to send me a paypal invoice sharpish and a replacement part as soon as the money hit their account.
That was several days ago and I’ve heard nothing since. I’m still waiting for a part I ordered under guarantee two years ago, so I’m not holding my breath.
As Xtracycles are made in sunny California I imagine parts are a bit easier to come by in the US. Are there any US based readers who could order me a spare clip, and send it on to me here if I pay the postage? It’s a pain to do things this way but I really need the Xtracycle to be back in operation. Any offers of help would be gratefully received.
Update: Thanks to Nigel’s comment, I was able to get some replacement clips from Rob at Really Useful Bikes, and have a great chat with a kindred spirit about Xtraycles and Bakfietsen and things cycling into the bargain.