Chain reaction

Close-up photograph of a bike chain.
Artist’s impression of a bicycle chainy geary thing.

I went out with Jane today. We’re married, I know, but we wanted to somehow re-live the excitement of those heady days of dating. Oh hang on! No. I hadn’t finished that first sentence. I’ll start again.

I went out with Jane today on our bikes. That’s what I meant to say. I accompanied Jane on one of her training runs in preparation for Friday’s sponsored cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

We cycled about 10 miles. It took us about an hour, because greedy Jane had two problems with her chain and gears. The first incident was (hopefully) pretty minor:

  1. there was a clicking sound (not good)
  2. we stopped
  3. and I lubed her chain (is it just me, or does that sound rude?)

It was at that point that I realised just how disgusting her chain was. It was as though a garden centre had staged a Bring and Buy sale there.

The second incident was quite spectacular. On our return leg (the Colinsburgh to Pittenweem road) Jane’s gears started crunching as she changed down as we approached a slight hill.

And then her chain came off. On the inside. By which I mean it came off the cogs towards the frame, and well and truly jammed itself between the front chainrings and the frame. I couldn’t budge it.

At one point I thought I was going to have to unlink and remove the chain, but

  1. the chain was so filthy, and
  2. it wouldn’t move at all so I couldn’t locate the removable link.

Time for Plan B.

Whatever that was. I had no idea.

“Can I do anything to help?” asked Jane, kindly.
“Pray,” said I.

And prayer seemed to do the trick. That and some vigourous waggling of the chain and some excessive force on the pedals. (Oops!) Anyway, with the chain on, and the clicking starting up again, we managed to get back to Cellardyke in one piece.

This evening we got the rubber gloves on, the bucket of soapy water filled, and were out in our wee courtyard cleaning the bikes, in preparation for my taking Jane’s bike in for a service tomorrow in St Andrews. Muc-Off is wonderful stuff, that’s all I can say.

Examining Jane’s bike when we got it clean I discovered that she has five or six broken teeth on her front chainrings. No wonder she’s had trouble with it. I’m just glad that Jane’s bike will be getting a full and professional medical before she pedals her way from Glasgow on Friday, that’s all I can say.

That and “Muc-Off is wonderful stuff”.

Keep your lights bright and clean. Sure, but keep your chain clean too, that’s the moral of the story today, I think.

I cleaned and re-lubed my chain too, this evening. Just in case.

It’s all changed… and yet nothing has.

Screenshot of my blog

Hoorah! My blog has changed completely, and yet nothing has.

This evening I took a break from writing and upgraded my blog to the latest version of WordPress (2.0.4). And while I was at it I updated my plugins too. So now the backend (the bit I get to see) is happy and secure and the frontend (the bit you see) hasn’t changed a bit.

If you’re running WordPress then I suggest that you do the same, it’s a significant security update and with excellent upgrade instructions on the WordPress Codex you’ll have it done in no time. (Remember to backup your .htaccess file, too.) You’ll thank me in the long run.

Can I go to bed now?

Another reason for the late night (apart from essential blog maintenance) was that we were waiting for today’s guests for our holiday cottage. We were expecting them at 16:00. They phoned at 17:00 to say that they were in London, having flown in from Barcelona, and would get a flight to Glasgow arriving at 18:50. And then they called about twenty minutes later to say their flight was delayed.

By three hours. They would now arrive in Glasgow at 22:00. And it’s 01:28 now and they’ve just settled in next door. Having driven into the harbour wall, in the pouring rain. I do hope their holiday improves.