All set for another year

We had our tandem in at Laid Back Bikes over the weekend to get the Rohloff gear hub serviced. It’s been almost 2 years since we got the bike and although it’s only done a little more than 1000 miles in that time, I did feel a little guilty at having left it so long. This was confirmed by the ‘fairly black’ extract taken out from the hub during the service. Ooops.

Anyway, no harm done and it’s now full of nice clean shiny oil again.

I made two classic schoolboy errors putting the Quetzal in the back of the car. First one was packing up the bike to take it in for the service. The bike needs folded in half to fit in the car – something that I still marvel can be done at all, when you see the size of this behemoth of bicycling equipment fully assembled. I unshipped the stoker’s chain but left it on the pedal spindle instead of taking it right off and hanging loose to the side.. When you fold the bike in half, I discovered that this means the chain gets pulled tight against the frame and the chain tubes get bent through 90 degrees round the frame joining plates. Urgh. Of course I didn’t notice until the bike was in the car (and manhandling the bike in and out on your own is enough of an effort that I wasn’t going to do it again).

Again, luckily no harm done! The chain escaped unscathed and the tubes have gone back to the shape they were.

Folded Quetzal
Folding the bike into the back of a standard family estate car

Secondly, after David at LBB had very speedily got the bike serviced and ready for us to pick up, I was feeling like a car packing / bike folding veteran (I’ve done it 3 times in 2 years after all!), and wasn’t paying enough attention. You have to take one of the stoker bars off so the bike can lay flat in the boot, which we duly did. I confidently pointed out the way the bike should be put into the boot when David was helping me load it. Being the ‘expert’ with this particular car I thought I had the whole thing progressing pretty smoothly. Of course I put the bike in upside down, so the one remaining stoker bar was pointing down into the floor of the boot. It acted as a very nice pivot point and the bike went see-saw-see-saw all the way home. Again, the bar (and car!) emerged unscathed, although I did have to drive very gingerly over some of Edinburgh’s speed bumps.

4 bolts, 2 spanners and 1 Allen Key later and the bike is back in the garage fully assembled, ready for the year. Tandeming is growing on both of us, and if you haven’t yet had an opportunity to try it you really should give it a go. We’re hoping to do a fair bit more this year – starting on Thursday. 66 miles round the very hilly Ettrick loop with a stop off at some friends in the Ettrick valley if the weather is kind to us. Looking forward to it!

Quetzal winter ride
Quetzal winter ride

3 thoughts on “All set for another year

  1. When touring we occasionally have to fold the Quetzal at the end of a long day to get it into an elevator and an upstairs hotel room. Usually, we arrange a ground floor room or use a hotel store room but sometimes they’re unavailable. I’m glad it folds down relatively easily but as you say if you’re not doing it regularly its easy to forget to either do it in sequence or forget about something. Oily hands appear to be unavoidable 🙂


    • I’m betting you tandem veterans are just saying that to humour me! 🙂

      I’m curious as to how hotel proprietors react when you turn up out of the rain with a dripping mechanical beast and oily hands, and ask to take it upstairs to your room?


  2. Clif and Susan always choose sunny places to go 😉

    It’s such a brilliant design though – much easier to fold up than another nameless tandem brand. The fact it can stand (and even be wheeled a short distance) with only the hinge bolts in is first class. We’ve had it on a few trains now and been on plane twice. Even take it apart into two halves on a moving train but that was just to entertain the guard!


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