The day started well, I set off at around 10.30am. There is a steep climb out of Eniskerry up towards Roundwood which, in hindsight, wasn’t a great place to start as I didn’t get much of a warm up before the climb. The first hour was tough and it took me a bit of time to get used to the drag caused by the added weight of the panniers on the back of the bike. But about an hour in, the road leveled off and I was settled in to a nice rhythm. Marion Finucane was interviewing a guy who’d been adopted at birth and found out in his twenties that his birth father was Phil Lynott, and there was peace in the valley. Peace, that is, until my pedals started to fall off!
One of them started to come lose and I didn’t think it was a major problem at first. I borrowed some tools in a garage in Roundwood and tightened the pedal; but I was only a couple of miles out the road towards Laragh and the pedal came off completely, followed by the other one! And it wasn’t just the pedals, the threads on both cranks were being worn away. Some cyclists pulled in to help me with the diagnosis: the pedals had been double threaded and both pedals and cranks were knackered. Oh shit!
This was a big downer, I thought I might have to cancel; and if not, it was going to cost a lot of money to repair. The cyclists recommended that I try to freewheel in to Ashford where there was a bike shop. What they didn’t tell me was that Ashford was 15km away. So I was stranded between Roundwood and Ashford at this stage, and said I’d chance flagging down a passing car. The first one stopped, and seen as he had a mountain bike on a rack on the back of his jeep, I thought he might be able to help. He offered to drop me in to Wicklow town to the bike shop there (the one on Ashford had closed years ago). On the way, I proceeded to tell him all about the sponsored cycle and the fundraising and the fact that the bike shop in Tallaght had sponsored me a lot of equipment and given the bike a full service- including fitting the new pedals. So he then offered to drive me back to Tallaght (40km away) to the bike shop there. Once we arrived, he (John) said he would wait if they could do something for me in less than half an hour. The guys in the bike shop obliged, replacing the whole pedal and crank system on the bike with a new one in 20 minutes-again no charge. John then brought me back to Wicklow, invited me to his incredibly cool, almost passive, house for some tea and grub before dropping back on the road to Aughrim.
Thanks John, you rescued me from the brink of disaster yesterday, you’re a life-saver.