The Return of the Beast

Posted: October 10, 2015 in Tricycle
Tags: , ,

A new trike axle, rarer than hen’s teeth

It’s been sitting in my shed unloved and neglected for many months. The wheels carefully put to one side, clean and shiny ball bearings in a plastic container, various other bits carefully packed away. The spiders had built webs, raised families and held parties but the beast had remained immobile.

I’d found out the hard way how difficult it is to obtain a replacement axel for a Trike. I’d had a number of attempts. The first was an e-mail to Mark; a parcel had arrived a few days later with some new looking metal work. It had all looked so rosy until I started to try and fit it. Although the right overall length was correct the bit that the cones went against where in the wrong place. My second attempt was the man in the midlands. I had been told that he was sometimes rather hard to get hold of. This proved to be an understatement. The fact that my job means I’m often unable to make calls during his working hours just exacerbated the situation, eventually I got through only to find that he had none in stock and was unlikely to have any for a while, I suspected that “a while” could be measured on a geological calendar.

The third attempt started with a chance conversation at the beginning of an Audax. A friend had just acquired a new lathe and was looking for a project. I mentioned the case of the broken axle and his eyes lit up, he seemed to think this could be the thing to test his skills and machinery. First of all he wanted a drawing. I never did technical drawing at school, something that was painfully obvious from my scribblings. I realised that it would probably be better to send him the broken parts, it would make more sense.


enough to make a technical drawing teacher weep

A few days later an e-mail was waiting for me:

“Looks doable, need to wait for my active centre to arrive”

And I waited, and waited. Some months later another e-mail arrived:

“OK think it’s doable going to give it a try, can you give me an idea where the shoulders are meant to be, the original is a bit of a mess”

There followed another few e-mails and a holiday until:

“I really need to see the rest of the Trike to work out some of the measurements”

Arrangements were made and only a month later we were in my shed looking at the forlorn beast and discussing dimensions. He had fashioned a metal rod to roughly the right dimensions but was curious about clearances, threads and other details. It was then I brought out the axle that Mark had sent me. He looked at it, then at me, then back at it.

“I could just adjust that axle you know!”

A plan was formed and promises were made, I’d have an axle of the right dimensions the next week.

A month later a parcel was waiting for me on the doorstep; the adjusted axle. Overcome by excitement I left it on the kitchen table for a few weeks before attempting to fit it. In all it took about an hour of fiddling around to make it all work. It was tricky getting everything in the right place. There were many things that could have gone wrong but I was glad that I had had the presence of mind to have left one of the cones alone. This acted as the point of reference around which everything else could be build.

The Beast 2

Inside there is where all the trouble happened

Once I was happy it was time for the “moment of truth” a nervous ride listening for every rattle and squeak. It all went quite smoothly. Smooth enough to warrant giving the beast a good was and scrub up before introducing him to Gracie

Gracie and the Beast

Gracie and The Beast


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