Mudguards, bent noodles and timpani…

July 5, 2011 at 08:11 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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At the weekend I was playing in a concert with the Lane Cove Concert Band. There was quite a lot of logistical effort involved, as I had managed to secure the use of a set of timpani (kettledrums) for the concert, but they had to be transported across Sydney to the concert venue.

Before you get too excited, dear reader, no, I did not therefore load them up onto the bike and pedal them across town – although I did spend some time wondering if it could be done. We took the more pragmatic solution of hiring a truck, although I did ride over to where they were stored, together with my trombone and perhaps even more importantly the cake I had baked the day before as my contribution to the interval refreshments.

I arrived a little earlier than the truck, so I had a cup of coffee whilst I was waiting, the bike working quite nicely as a table outside the bustling café . A few people did ask me about it, what I was carrying and so on. I think it was the cake that attracted their interest!

Once my friend arrived with the truck we loaded up the timpani with no problems. I locked up my bike and we went off in the truck for the concert. It went really well; the second half was the Gunnedah Brass and they were really quite spectacular. Well worth going to hear if you get the chance. There was prolonged applause, and then an encore, which started to cause a little consternation for us – the timps had to be back by 6pm as the place they are stored in was closing – and Gunnedah were still doing their encore at five forty!

The second the applause faded we rushed the four unwieldy drums out of the concert hall and onto the truck, and made a mad dash back across town. We got there with minutes to spare, and quickly unloaded them under the baleful eye of the supervisor on duty.

My original plan was to take all my stuff with the drums, and then cycle home again from there, but in the rush to get the timps on the truck I left my trombone and other paraphernalia at the concert hall. We went back there in the truck, and I put the bike in the back so that I could ride home from the concert venue instead. When we arrived, I handed the bike to someone, and they put it down on the grass. However, the handlebars had spun right round when they had put it down, and when I got it loaded up I found there was a problem with the front brake – it didn’t seem to be working. I quickly realised that in twisting the steering so far the noodle on the cantilever brakes had jammed up against the frame and been more or less folded in half. I pulled it back into shape, wincing as I saw the metal begin to fracture at the bend. Still, this at least got the brakes working, so I set off.

As I went along the road, another mechanical problem manifested itself. The rear mudguard started rubbing on the tyre. Very odd. I pulled it back into place, and continued, but for some reason every time I used the rear brake it seemed to cause the mudguard to once again start rubbing. I have no idea why this should be – I checked the rear wheel was fitted securely, and in any case if the wheel was shifting position under braking pressure then you’d expect the disc brake to start rubbing too.

All very strange; I limped home avoiding using the rear brake where possible, also aware that my front brake was dependent on a piece of fractured metal for continued operation. Still, I made it home safely – I guess I need to book the Radish in for a service…

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