My commute to work this morning ended prematurely leaving me completely stranded. The temperature when I set off was just above freezing, but with frost on the ground I was already taking it carefully. I had only covered about two miles when I reached the bottom of a hill and shifted gears. Suddenly my legs were spinning freely as the bike slowed to a halt. I climbed off and gave the pedals a few confused turns by hand, noting that … yes indeed, the rotating pedal action was definitely moving the chain, spinning the cassette and 100% not having any effect on the rear wheel. Bugger.
Something had clearly gone wrong with the freehub meaning that the rear cassette would not engage with the wheel. Whilst I had only travelled two miles from home – walking just a few ungainly steps in cleats made it clear that going back on foot was out of the question. With my wife currently away visiting her sister I was left with little option but to cross the road and try to thumb a lift back to the village. I was hoping for a farmer in a 4×4 or a van driver, so when the I saw the local bus appear over the hill I began jumping around like a crazed lunatic trying to flag it down. With all the fluorescent Lycra and flashing lights I doubt he had much trouble spotting me, but best to make sure!
I paid my fare and gave the other passengers some entertainment as I staggered onboard with the bike and let them all know what had happened. They humoured me by pretending to be interested.
Once home I changed clothes and chucked the faulty wheel in the boot of the car. Then I set off for work, dropping off the wheel on the doorstep of the local bike shop.
For the last few months I have been boring the hell out of a colleague at work telling him about the hypothetical, hand-made, steel-frame bike I will own one day. Upon hearing my story this morning he said my current bike had obviously committed suicide rather than be relegated to the lowly levels of being third choice bike. I then phoned the bike shop to be told that the overnight sub-zero temperatures could have separated the water content in the freehub grease and caused it to seize up. Or something like that anyway. He said he’d sort it out for me later this week.
Tomorrow I will be riding the cherished crabon bike on commuter duties. Maybe it’s finally time to exercise my ‘n + 1‘ rights and buy a decent quality commuter bike …