Look closely at this group of happy tourers, and see if you can spot the one who had an almost catastrophic start to the tour, when they flew headlong from their bike and landed face first on the tarmac?
It’s not obvious, is it?
This picture shows how we were still in mile 1 of about 600 when the accident happened:
So what could cause a serious crash in a group of cautious riders, wide awake and concentrating like mad in order to ride on the right? This was not the Tour de France, and there was no slipstreaming or jockeying for position going on.
Here is the offending bike. There are clues in this picture. Before reading on see if you can spot what might have gone wrong!
Well, in all good whodunnits there is a denoument, so here goes.
The front pannier rack contains a piece which passes over the front wheel:
Ironically, this is meant as a stabilizer. It is secured by a bolt on each side, which is a pretty serious design flaw, as the nuts can vibrate loose, allowing the crosspiece to fall forwards onto the front wheel, stopping it dead in its tracks. The bits of cord are to stop this happening again.
Not only was the rider thrown off, the front forks were bent back. It took some serious wrestling with them at the campsite to get them usable again, and if you look carefully you may see that they’re still not quite right.
So, did you guess who the victim/hero of the incident was? It was lucky for the group that our oldest member turned out to be the bounciest and the toughest as well, all healed up and riding strongly just days later, and with the new nickname CRASH SALLY.
As I type this she is off on her next adventure riding the Yorkshire Dales. What a cyclist!