Mechanical mayhem.

Today the weather has remained dry so I set off on my Trek Fuel EX8 mountain bike for a ride to Healey Nab. Unusually, I had no particular plan for my ride, which is not good for training or improving fitness. I wanted a relaxed ride so didn’t set any targets but just getting out has got to be better than staying at home. Early in the ride I noticed that my pedal cranks felt loose and on inspection found that the left side crank had moved. The crank set on this bike was made by Shimano and I’ve never liked this version. It mainly relies on friction to hold the crank in place and has two 5 mm pinch bolts and a threaded plastic and cap to achieve this. I tried to remedy the problem but without removing the crank and cleaning it all before reassembly it didn’t work.

As I progressed around the trail I kept noticing the problem reoccurring so only rode 2 laps of the hill. I wasn’t putting a big effort in but it’s impossible to lap the trail without working hard on the steeper ascents. It was slightly less muddy than on my last ride here 2 days ago but the worst parts of the downhills could really use a clean to remove the slippery leaves. If left they will turn to mud which may get flung sideways by repeated riding but there may be a problem here. It seems as if the hill is less popular than it used to be and today I I saw a father with 2 kids and a handful of youths just as I left for home. Referring to the app. Strava I can see that less than 500 Strava users have ridden the trails this year which seems like a small number to me. I’ll look at other local trails to see how they compare………….

Well, there’s a surprise! It seems like Healey Nab is still as popular as most trails in the area. One of the most famous downhills at nearby Rivington has recorded slightly less riders. Only the climb to Rivington Pike has had more than twice the efforts recorded this year. It’s a shame, then, that maintenance of these trails has apparently ground to a halt.

I enjoyed my laps but was constantly concerned that the crank might part company with the rest of the bike and would really like to have lapped at least one more time. I’ll take this as a valuable lesson that I must do more routine inspection and maintenance of my bike, especially in winter. I still think Shimano are mainly to blame, though, for designing a type of crank and bottom bracket which is poor compared to their efforts of 25 years ago.

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