Getting nowhere fast.


June 13, 2020 by welshcyclist


I’m not having a lot of luck on the cycling front these days. Far too many punctures on my part cycle commute to work, recently cured (I hope?) with my (yes I did it) installation of under armour protection tyre inserts. Took me a strenuous two hours per tyre.

Then I had pedal trouble, the left pedal started making squeaking noises and occasionally would not spin. I decided to replace them, they had been in situ for a very ling time, and were cheapies. I had another set of much better quality which I could replace the old worn out cheapies with, so all I had to do was remove the old and replace with the new.

Sounds easy doesn’t it, not for this non mechanic.

I just could not move the nuts with my pedal removing spanner, not even with my son’s extra strength. The lockdown has meant there are few bike repair shops open, so, as usual, I was in a stand still situation. I eventually found a bike shop that remained open for repairs/sales etc, in Aberdare about six miles away. Speaking on the phone to the proprietor to find out it would be the following week before he could do anything.

But I took a chance and went up to his shop early a week last Saturday, and caught him between customers, he brought Pioneer and myself into the shop, took a look went out the back and brought back his pedal removing spanner (much bigger then my BikeHand toolkit version), and whipped both pedals in less time than it takes for me to get winded going up hill. I bought a pair of cheapie pedals of him, and returned home happy in the knowledge I could get back to my cycle commute to and from work.

That afternoon I put on my new cheap pedals rather than the more expensive pair I already had. Perhaps, that’s where I made the big mistake.

Next day, I was off on my commute, the left pedal, worryingly didn’t feel it was performing correctly, and when I spun it, it didn’t spin as well as the right one? I just thought it was something to do with the newness of it, that it would settle in. (Dumbo)

The following day I parked my Yaris as usual, unloaded my Pioneer and started to pedal, I got 50 yards and the left pedal fell off, I was going up hill so I was going slowly enough so as to not come to any harm. I walked the bike back to the car and examined the pedal and crank, I screwed the pedal back into the crank and spun it a few times, it worked. So I decided to pedal on to work.

Roughly half way to my signal box I could feel the pedal loosening, so I stopped and was able to screw it back in. It stayed there all the way to work. Already I was worried about the trip home after my shift, but decided that if it loosened again I could screw it back in and I could make it back to the car.


About a third of the way to my Yaris the pedal came adrift and I could not screw it back, the threads on the crank were stripped bare. I was stuck now with eight miles or so to get back to my car. My youngest son works shifts like myself and I knew he would be travelling home in his car at that time, so I rang him to pick me up, and arranged with the security man at the factory I came to a stand by to keep my Pioneer safe until I returned.

Tierloch, my son took me to my car, then I drove back to the factory and picked up my bike and went home.

Now, I had yet another problem keeping me from pedalling, a ruined crank arm.

I spoke to my new bike shop proprietor, and explained the situation, he said it would be another week before he could take the bike in. I was non committal because I didn’t want to be off my bike for that long.

Then a brain wave hit me, (oh no, I can hear you saying), I have my Bikehand toolkit, I’ll do it myself. Will I ever learn?

To remove a crank arm, a particular tool, amazingly known as a crank arm removing tool is required. I had one in my toolkit. What could go wrong? A crank arm is designed to stay in place and has to withstand a lot of stress and use, particularly when the rider, me, weighs in at 17 stone or so. I am being kind, to myself, when I say that.

Well it all seemed so easy after watching a YouTube episode describing how the job should be done, so I started.

Even with the right tools, it all went wrong, and to cut a very long story short, I ended up with a crank arm with two stripped threads one for holding the pedal in place and now the one holding the crank arm to the spindle!

Consequently, I have to wait till mid week next week to see if my new friend the bike shop proprietor can cut off the steadfast existing crank and put a new one on.


Before I close, here’s a tree for tootlepedal, a bit different from the lush ones we are seeing these days. It looks like it is straight out of a spaghetti western 20200603_065945.jpg

I’ll get there one day, the nirvana of pedalling problem free, a maintenance free bicycle.


2 thoughts on “Getting nowhere fast.

  1. tootlepedal says:

    I can sympathies with your pedal problem. They are a nightmare to remove and a real pain when they start to go wrong. I have been left holding a duff pedal with nowhere to go before.

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