Roll On : Rohloff

I taught myself well. I learned a long time ago that the road to achievement is paved with setting goals, looking at the (long range Windguru) weather forecast on a Sunday night then planning the bike week accordingly…

I saw this coming. Because it’s technically still the summer, it’s hot rain, but the thing about hot rain is that if you aren’t careful, it comes with a payload of boomies. Today, tomorrow and Sunday: deffo boomies territory.

So the plan was simple: I’ve been here so many times before. Forward load the week with miles. Work on the assumption that the back end might be so shit that it’s actually better to batten down the hatches and let the rest of the week take care of itself.


Last week was the fifth 250 mile week out of five. The most 250’s in a row during the whole of LIfeCycleForNeuroblastoma was six. So the objective for this week was crystal clear at the outset: bank enough miles at the beginning of the week, in the nice weather, to freewheel to a sixth at the back end. But six is only a stepping stone to seven. And eight would be nice…

On the mechanical front, you might recall that the mounting foot on my Hammerhead Karoo broke on Sunday while I was out on the road. It’s a function of how rubbish some of the road surfaces are round here that one of the wee wings that holds the Karoo in its mounting just sheared off through constant shaking. Gawd knows what that must be doing to my forearms.

Anyway, I logged a support ticket at 1pm on the Hammerhead website, which is hosted in the States. Ninety minutes later, I got a code back by email that allowed me to get a new mounting foot, for free, in their online store. I went for two: one free and one paid for on the basis that if the replacement breaks, I’ll still have another one in hand (plus the broken one, which I superglued and put back on with Duct tape for extra insurance).

The replacement bracket arrived on Wednesday, from the Netherlands. That’s three days from support ticket to delivery. Not only is the Karoo a fabulous piece of kit, but their customer service is absolutely first class.

Staying on the theme of mechanical stuff, the Rohloff got its second oil change this week. 1500 miles without a single missed gear change. The technical spec advises an oil change, which takes about fifteen minutes from start to finish, every 3000 miles. It’s the oil, of course, that keeps the thing running smoothly so just like you wouldn’t run a car engine without oil, so you don’t run a Rohloff without oil either: every gear change is metal on metal. But stay with me, because if you’re a keen cyclist and you’re sick of click, click and nothing happens with your derailleurs, then the Rohloff is worth a punt. Yes, it was expensive: indeed it cost me more than I’d ever spent on a bike before. But you know what, the bike won’t be in Neil’s workshop every month getting components replaced and the gears re-trued. Neil told me when we discussed this plan two years ago that if I was serious about mile munching, then the Rohloff was a no brainer. And just like my wife in all things domestic, he was right.

Check this video for a ninety second testimonial:

And this one to have your brains blown out:

Back on LCFN, I used to destroy a bike every twelve months through sheer wear and tear, and it was always the gears that went first. I’m reckoning on the Gold Rohloff bike, with it’s Trek Cyclo Cross frame, going the whole 25,000 miles of R2C2.

In other news, I’ve finally been discharged from the physio. I’ve been going there ever since I couldn’t put a coat on without wincing in pain, courtesy of falling off my bike in Jerilderie at the very start of stage 11 of Ride2Cure. The shoulder’s still only 80% right, but 80% is easily enough to get me through the day.

And talking of Ride2Cure, next week, Wednesday to be precise, will be one year since I flew to Australia. So much has happened in those twelve months. It’s not just the experience that I gained doing that ride across the outback: it’s the friendships that have been cemented from social media contacts into personal contacts. This time last year, LCFN was parked on 44,443 miles, waiting on me bagging the final mile in Brisbane. I did that on Paul’s velodrome in Brisbane next Friday. Oh, the memories. And I was injured back then too, carrying the after effects of a calf strain courtesy of chasing Strava records. No such problems this time around: I’ve given up that game: the Rohloff trades speed for reliability.

Roll on, Rohloff…

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