Two Wheels on my Barrow

Posted: February 20, 2015 in Cycling, Tricycle
Tags: , , , , ,

Last time I went out on the trike I really enjoyed in, well most of the time I enjoyed it. I was a little worried about the metallic screeching noises that came from the back and the way that the drive seemed to stiffen every now and again. After that ride I sent an email to Mark to find out if this was normal. He replied that the bike was 54 years old and had the right to complain a little every now and again. I put the squeaks and grinds into a box labelled “Normal Operation” and forgot about then.

This time the source of the squeaks and screeching made themselves known. I had joined up with the clubs novice ride as I was very much a novice when it came to the tricycle. It was a foul day with intermittent rain and general nastiness, but I was dressed for it, in head to foot Gortex, so wasn’t too intimidated by the irksome weather. It was just nice to be outside really. After a while I discovered the joy of not having a big wet muddy stripe up my back. This was another big tick in the advantages of riding a trike box. The intermittent screeching noises did rather pierce the air and various people on the ride commented that “it didn’t sound right” but they were novices, so what would they know.

The ride culminated in tea and cake, all rides should, I think it is one of the unwritten laws of cycling, after which we all went our separate ways. My house was only 15 minute peddle from the café, with a few twists, turns, ups and downs to make it interesting. About a mile from home something felt “wrong”; the off side wheel looked a little further out than it should be. I stopped, there was defiantly more axle showing than was healthy. I pushed it back in and carried on, after all, my house was just down the road and it was dry there. The problem was that the wheel had liked its taste of freedom and was making another escape bid. I looked down, much more axle was showing. This was really not right.

“When in doubt, pull it out” I think an old axiom goes, so I pulled it out. I now had a wheel and axle in one hand and a two wheel tricycle (which is absolutely not a bicycle) in the other. And it’s raining. A tricycle is not the easiest thing to push, a tricycle with two wheels is even harder. I was thankful that it really wasn’t that far home.

Once I’d dried off and got over the embarrassment of the tricycle walk of shame down the high street it was time to work out why the wheel came off. It wasn’t hard to work out. I removed a cup to find lots of metallic bits that once were joined together to form a cone mingled with ball bearings


The axle wasn’t in the best shape either, most of the discernible axle like features had been removed by the scouring properties of the little shards of metal


It was time for another e-mail to Mark, I sent pictures and a simple message “Help!”.

Mark replied within the hour saying that he had some spare cones in his garage and that he would send them to me. Light on a gloomy day!

A few days later a parcel arrived, full of pristine cones, all shiny and unused. All I had to do was select the right one, slip it on the axle, put the bearings in place with plenty of grease and tighten everything up. How hard could it be? Well, quite hard as it turned out. After putting everything back together the wheel wouldn’t go round. This is a bit of a disadvantage. A few phone calls and a bit of research later and all was revealed, what I needed was a thin cup, what I had wasn’t that. A very nice man in a bike shop in North London sent me the correct part (and a list of questions about the trike) and after just a little cursing and swearing I had a working Tricycle.

I was ready to be a menace to other road users again.


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