Last September I took delivery (finally!) of a Van Nicholas Amazon touring bike. The frame is unpainted titanium, it looks gorgeous.
It was a replacement for a bike I’d had stolen, paid for by Prudential Insurance, God bless ’em. I was tempted to get another road bike, but I can’t fit a rack to it, so I can’t go touring with my tent, my stove, and my little tea pot, and that’s what got me into cycling. So I chose a touring bike from Van Nicholas in Holland.
I thought I was hit hard enough with the euro at 1.30 to the pound. Now I’m just glad I didn’t buy it in December.
Anyway, back In December I went cycling with my brother Mike, a lovely little ride up the river Exe to Bickliegh, across a range of hills to Crediton and back down the Creedy valley to Exeter. I rode my (almost) new Amazon.
It was cold, and very wet. When we got back our bikes looked like they’d been painted with mud. I knew I’d need to clean it again thoroughly before I could ride it again, and you know what it’s like, I just rode my Trek instead for a few weeks. Until that got so dirty I couldn’t ride that either.
So I turned back to the Amazon. I couldn’t believe it – the pedals wouldn’t even turn round. The chain and all the running gear was completely rusted up. I tried to use a chain cleaner, but I literally couldn’t turn the pedals to drive the chain through the cleaner. And this came as a result of one 30-mile ride and a few weeks of neglect.
I did manage to clean the chain in the end, by lubricating it enough to be able to turn, then cleaning it thoroughly using a chain cleaner. I stripped all the sprockets off, took off the derailleurs, gave evrything a total clean, and lubricated the chain with a posh teflon-based lubricant.
Useless. Three days later, following a little ride in the snow, the chain was all rusted again.
It wasn’t as bad as previously, but it still needed another clean. A useful reminder though – you can’t really use light lubricants in winter, you need some proper wet winter lubricant. Which I’ve now bought from my favourite bike shop, Sidwell Cycles in Exeter.
So, happy cycling again. Not perfect, but getting there.