Monday, October 12, 2009

Porky Panniers

A few weeks ago, I broke an eyelet off of the back of my Karate Monkey. It's my work bike so I frequently have to carry loads of stuff in the panniers, and one day it was just too much. The bottom of the rack broke free of the frame and made a horrendous noise as it jammed into the rear cog/chain.

Keeping it real, I took the bike to my local garage and they brazed the eyelet back on. Hooray for steel frames! But the cheers were premature... today one side failed due to incompetence, then the other side (the recently fixed one) broke off again leaving me with over 5 miles to get home. Doh!

The incompetence was hearing that something was loose on my way to work and deciding to fix it when I got there. The number one thing I've learned about riding bikes a long way in various places is "fix it now, it can only get worse if you leave it." But, like an idiot, I left it anyway. I went round a corner, and suddenly the back of the bike went crazy as a bolt fell out and my load got jiggy. I paced up and down near the site of the wobble, but I couldn't find the bolt. Nearly 10 miles to get to work and 5 miles back. Time to improvise and (would you believe it?!), no cable ties.

The one thing I did have was my cable lock, so I worked it around the frame, rack, and pannier itself. Pulling it as tight as I could, I had low expectations. But bodge-tastically, it held. I got all the way to work without as much as a rattle. Sweet.

Then, on the way home, I hulked the bike around on the way up a bridge (they pass for hills in London). There was the hideous noise again as the non-bodged side of my panniers snapped off the frame again. OK, now it's more than 5 miles with a bike lock holding one side of my panniers and nothing holding the other. I jammed the free side into a convenient bit of dropout and thought smooth thoughts all the way home.

Luck of luck, I made it. Adding to my luck, it was only a few days ago that I got my new saddle bag from Epic Designs. The perfect replacement for my panniers (at least for now). I think I'm going to be in the market for a steel frame with tougher drop-outs now. And I'm going to loctite the damn things into place!

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