I’ve never had such a massive component failure, and I admit I never expected it to happen in such a perfect location.
Context: Will, Venetia and I had just crested the summit of a very long pass. Over 10kms we’d been climbing constantly up from sea level to 500m elevation. The hill was almost constantly rising with only a few places to recover a little. I am riding my ECR rigged for touring with slickish tyres and a total weight of 55kgs. The others are riding their Surlys with 3″ knobbly tyres and are pretty much fighting for ever metre.
We reach the pass, and in the last 100m I notice my shifting and gears are feeling weird again so stop to check.
Plans begin to unravel:
Stopping the bike Will comes over and I show him rhe funny noise when I pedal, which sounds like the chain skipping over the tensioners gear wheels (which it is).
Taking the wheel out and checking things out we found the free wheel was barely moving and appeared to be gummed up, in the process of poking and prodding it becomes apparent that the drive side bearing has failed as the axles is moving a few millimetres laterally in its housing. To top it off I think noticed oil had spilled on to the rim and on investigation it is appaeebt that the seal on my alfine 11 speed hub has failed and the gear oil is leaking rapidly.
Analysis: It is a whole world off fucked up inside that hub.
Despite this all being a bit of a catastrophe it genuinely could not have happened in a better location. The pass we are sitting on top of is 16km almost entirely down hill to a ferry whicch connects with a bus that’ll get me back to Rejkyavik. The axle is still intact and the bearings has just enough life to get me along the roads, and the area is simply stunning. I mean genuinely utterly phenomenally indescribably beautiful.
So we rode down the hill to the pub. I jave never had so much fun in my life. Will and i took the chain off my bike so I have the heaviest balance bike ever made and off we go, flying down this beautifully made dirt road in a spectacular glacial valley with snow drifts, tarns, waterfalls, melt water rivers, massive cliffs and so so much happiness.
I’ll try to put up the video of the descent, but believe me. I have never riden a faster, more exhilarating descent!