Blimey what a day.
Im going to meet up with Roy ( outside, in the grounds of Chiswick House ). When I am halfway there, and thankfully just after I’d turned off the crazily busy road that traverses Kew Bridge, my Triride spluttered and juddered to a halt. Occasionally it has stopped going, but never in a way like this. The Tri hasn’t felt the same since I had the tyre changed at the bike shop. Usually I try to do it myself (tho I need someone else to help me since I just can’t move my trunk enough, or bend into the necessary position ) but it’s not easy and I thought this time I’d leave it to the professionals…
Except… I have to admit that the ‘ mechanic ‘ took a bloody long time to change the tyre… far longer than it’s previously taken me plus friend.
When I wheeled back from the bike shop, and for the following few days, to be honest it didn’t feel right, or sound right. It looked like he’d twisted the cable which goes from the battery panel to the motor wheel ( the wheel is a motor all by itself when supplied by battery power – all very clever ) and having googled the error message that came up it implied a communication fault between the power and the wheel.
Anyway, at that point I’m a bit stuck. I’m on a busy road and unable to go anywhere. I called Roy to explain my absence from our meeting place, and he offered to drive over and help, even though he was working that day. Bless him ( and I’m always grateful I have such lovely mates ) for driving over, buying me a sandwich and a coffee, and then helping me get back.
I always have to think of the best way to get myself out of a pickle, and I seem to do ok at it really. I asked Roy to push me to a bus stop, hail a bus, and then push me backwards up the ramp onto the bus. I had to get on backwards so that at my destination stop I could wheel down the ramp ( with gravity assist and then be less than 600 metres from home. As the first 250 metres is slightly downhill, I figured I’d be ok for that bit. As I can’t bend to push my wheels with any useful force, I just can’t get anywhere fast or uphill using just my arms, but I was ok to get as far as the canal towpath by myself.
Then I knew I’d have to ask someone for a push, or take a long time to get back ( which I reckoned I’d manage … probably )
As it was I asked the first person I saw – an Eastern European fella it turned out ( and actually those guys are ALWAYS helpful, and he pushed me back home. Of course I’m pretty vulnerable – someone could try to rob me without too much difficulty to be honest… but he didn’t. Instead we discussed a decent place for him to launch a 22 foot boat onto the canal ( which actually isn’t easy unless you come through the lock system from the river Thames .. )
I was back at least… phew .. and then called messaged my mates Mark and Toby ( Moby for short ) in the hope that either would be available to help fix the mechanical situation. I also called Colin Flounders, the gent that supplied the Triride to me. He lives in Devon, about 300 miles away from me, but was actually in my vicinity in his van, or at least not more than 45 minutes away. As he too is in a chair, it’s not exactly straightforward, but he always finds a way.
Having got back I managed to get my Triride off, and then by tipping it over backwards and getting my recycling bin underneath the front wheel to raise it up, I undid the wheel bolts and got the wheel off. As I can’t bend or rotate my trunk I have to do everything one handed, but I manage quite a lot of stuff really despite that. The wheel is heavy, and also is attached to the battery supply, but I managed to untwist the cable and get it back onto the fork. When I switched the power on again, Lo and Behold I now had power… proving that the bike shop caused the problem ( which is sad for me, since over the years they’ve been absolutely amazing to me – but this particular guy I’d not seen before ).
Then however I realised that I couldn’t do the wheel nuts up tight. The thread had been damaged, or the axle spindle had moved, or the wheel nut was damaged, or any combination of these.. so that had I used the Triride it would have been dangerous at best.
Was that the bike mechanic too? I don’t know for sure, but it was DEFINITELY all fine when I took it to the shop 4 days earlier.
Anyway, at that point the cavalry arrived.. Colin in his chair ( with van ) and Toby on his bike. They both had a look, and figured it needed proper checking by Triride. Toby pushed it to Colin’s van, and lifted it in, and Colin then drove it to Farnborough, where a guy called Nathan is based. He’s the expert..
Somewhat stuck without electrical power assistance, I asked Toby to help me get my spare ( Chinese version – not anywhere near as good, but definitely ok ) attachment onto my chair for me, to see if it worked. I’ve had it for a year but never had to use it. A lot of buggering about with the complicated attachment system later and it was on, and working too, though I wouldn’t want to use it on a long trip to be honest – not in the winter anyway – too risky.
Having been inspected by Nathan… it’s gone back to Triride in Italy for repairs. I don’t think the bike shop fella can have caused ALL the damage, but he definitely caused some of it I believe. I’ll be without my trusty attachment for a while of course, but at least I’m assured of it being in A1 shape once I get it back. To me it’s like a car is to you… and you obviously need a car serviced regularly, or you’re asking for trouble.
But massive thanks to my mates ( male and female ) who help me out when I’m in trouble, or in need. There are quite a few of you, and you are priceless to me, boys and girls.
I loves ya.