I can’t remember the last time that I rode around Thetford, but a trip home to Norfolk proved a chance to catch up with my old friend Jed, who offered to guide me around. In the corner of the shed I found a rather dusty Conti Cross Country 1.5s and suitable inner tubes. Off came the 2.1 Nevegals and suddenly the bike looked weird. Ultra skinny tyres make the bike look odd, but also cause it to sit a good inch and a half lower to the ground. Quick ride to the pub last night to check all was okay and we’re all set for this morning’s ride.
This morning we parked up at Brandon Country Park and rode off into the woods. After the first section of singletrack, an odd clicking sound and a strange feeling when pedaling meant a stop to check what was going on. Sure enough there’s a problem. The left hand pedal has about an inch of movement along the axle spindle. Bad. Off with the end cap which reveals the bearing has completely disintegrated. Oh well, no way to fix that until some spares and a workshop are available. Just have to ride it and see what happens. The bike rode well, the skinny tyres finding loads of grip, but the small air volume in the tyres led to a harsh ride. The lower ride height led to the crank arms catching through some of the corners too (that’s a first on the Deluxe).
Thetford’s changed a lot in the last two years or so since I last rode my formerly local home trails. Cleared areas have now established trees, new trails have been cut, old trails have disappeared or worn badly. It’s most noticeable at the bombhole marl pits. The once steep entry drop ins and exit kickers have worn down significantly, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had. The pedal held on for another two hours riding but by the end it came clean off the axle. Time to do some singlespeed maintenance.