A tale of three Garmins

There are rides when everything goes right – on others, it isn’t quite so straightforward. Today, I experienced the latter type, one of those that felt doomed from the start. Fortunately in this case, it wasn’t just me against whom fate and circumstance conspired.

With a rare free weekend, I decided to come home – as a student, few things are better than having someone else willing to do the cooking and cleaning. Plus, after weeks of living in Devon – some flat and easy rides were in order. As is rare nowadays, my father and I managed to coordinate our respective schedules to the extent that we could go for ride together. This was where the problems started.

Firstly, it was my gears. Stupidly I had put the winter wheels onto my Specialized and not tested them out prior to this point – suffice to say the bike was protesting, the tortured sound of a rubbing chain is one I’ve long since come to dread. My initial thought that re-adjusting the gears may have been a five minute job was soon proven wrong – half an hour later after much swearing, the bike was at least rideable.

Next came the inevitable hunting for the correct kit – it’s quite amazing how things tend to vanish in the tumble drier, ours has developed a particular taste for lycra. There is always one glove or arm warmer missing, this time was no different. How I longed for the summer, when you can get away with wearing only jersey and shorts. After a typically long search, the necessary items were found.

Now to fast forward to that critical stage – actually getting out the door. The house was locked, and the course loaded on my Garmin. Of course, it couldn’t find my heart rate sensor and decided to pick up data from my Fathers instead. This necessitated yet more faffing, running back inside for the spare HRM. I then realised I’d forgotten my front light, time to open up the garage again and rummage around therein.

Yet – it could have been worse. My Father is the one of the few people I know who can, on occasion, match me for disorganisation (genetics is the perfect excuse). He has recently invested in a power meter and new Garmin, after the mysterious disappearance of the old one. Just as we were about to set off, he discovered this new device to be out of charge. A spare one was found (a very old model that isn’t really fit to be used) – of course, it had to be paired with various sensors.

By now it was almost an hour after the ideal set off time – soon it would start getting dark. One last delay – in the rush to get out the door my Father had forgotten his helmet. Once again, the keys had to be retrieved from the depths of a jersey pocket (this, as it turns out is far easier said than done) – the house unlocked, raided, and rapidly locked again. By this point, I was struggling not to laugh.

The ride itself was relatively incident free. Aside of course, from my Father having to stop and recalibrate his new power meter (6,000 Watts is a little suspicious) and the inevitable mid-way malfunctioning of the old Garmin. The roads were mercifully flat, allowing for a genuinely easy spin – coupled with a relatively light bike it made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. As predicted, it soon began to get dark – prompting an early turn off.

Both bikes were plastered with mud, as is inevitable at this time of year. I made the mistake of going inside and having a shower – the mud is still there, sadly I can’t mask how filthy my bike is – oweing to the fact it is bright orange. I’m gearing myself up for some ridicule on the Club ride tomorrow.

As it turned out, this was not the end. Upon returning home, and putting my Garmin onto charge, I discovered the one that my Father had lost two weeks earlier, I couldn’t help laughing out loud. After the entire house had been turned upside down and a new device purchased, it turned out the old one had simply come unplugged from it’s charger and slipped down behind a potted plant. It still works perfectly. My Mother thankfully saw the funny side of the situation, my Father is not due to live it down anytime soon.

It is a firm reminder that Winter is upon us – gone are the long days, warmth and general ease of existence accompanying the Summer. Cycling for the next few months will consist of little but rain, mud, darkness and the donning of umpteen layers. With the clocks going back, I am beginning to feel a familiar dread.

On that, I’ll leave it – time to go and (not) clean my bike. Goodbye all.

Ps, for those that read my last post, some ‘useful’ content is still on the way. Today’s misadventure was simply too funny not to share.

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