I did go for a ride tonight after all, just into town and back, but it was rather memorable. After work I popped into Halfords and used the gift token I got for Christmas to buy a new chain. I decided to fit it straight away, not noticing that I was getting a little close to the time I’d agreed to meet my fiancé for coffee. Since it was our first day back at work I thought it’d be nice to compare notes on our colleagues’ reactions.
The chain was a bit of a pain to fit, and I had to take a few links out and loosen and re-tighten the wheel twice before I got it right. By that time I was already running late and had no time for a shakedown run, but was reasonably confident I’d be ok. I rode into town along my usual route, which runs along the river. I noticed the river was higher still than it had been on Saturday, and pondered whether the route might become impassable in a few days time.
Well I got my answer. The path is often strewn with puddles, and at the point where there aren’t any street lamps I went into what in the darkness simply looked like a large puddle. Then the puddle started getting deeper. I had to make a quick “Go/No Go” decision and decided I’d probably got to the deepest part.
It got gradually deeper and deeper, and at the point I started splashing with my pedals I realised I’d made a bit of a mistake. Still, I couldn’t easily turn around now, and didn’t much like the idea of stopping and putting my foot down into the water. I was a little worried about sliding on the muddy path but knew the best way to stay upright was to look straight ahead and not allow the bicycle to loose momentum. Nothing for it but to press on.
Pedalling a bicycle with each foot alternately sinking ankle deep into cold water is a very peculiar sensation. I’m glad I was on a route I was familiar with, otherwise who knows where I might have ended up. In retrospect it was damn stupid of me to keep going, as any slip involving a bang on the head in that situation could have been fatal – certainly there was no-one around to help or raise the alarm.
Anyway, I got to the other side of the flood ok. I don’t think it got as high as the bottom bracket, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it, and the hub, and the rest of the bike for that matter. Luckily shoes and socks aside I was still dry, very relieved and also rather non-plussed at the lack of proper warning. I got into town just about on time, and after a nice coffee the ride back was – thankfully – uneventful.
On the plus side, it’s saved me the trouble of washing the mud off my pedals!