Interesting day cycling. Or not cycling as it turned out.

I was up at a reasonable time and after putting some air in the tyres, headed off for what promised to be a tough day’s riding. Some big lumpy bits between Guernica and San Sebastián.

Before I’d got to the first of the big hills I was finding it hard work. Really hard work. Even harder work than my lack of training would suggest. I stopped to check the bike and discovered that the front brake was rubbing due to the quick release lever of the wheel being jammed up against it. Obviously in my haste to reassemble the bike and hit the road yesterday I had put it together in a somewhat slapdash manner, the front rack trapping the lever this and making it almost impossible for the front wheel to spin freely.

Having corrected this, panniers off, bike upside down at the side of the road I continued onwards towards the first of the big hill. I rode it to the top, slowly but got there and the views were pretty impressive;

Although I’m not sure the iPhone really captures the scale of the hills around here. They’re big.

It was halfway down that the fun really began. Somehow the crank bolt holding the left crank and pedal in place had worked its way loose and pinged off the bike never to be found. A minute later, the left pedal felt seriously wobbly and suddenly the crank arm itself decided it was time to leave. Braking sharply I jettisoned the bike into the grass verge and returned to collect the crank from the middle of the road.

This was a bit of a problem. I have spares of lots of things onboard, but a crank bolt wasn’t amongst them. There was no hope of finding it and gator tape and zip ties weren’t going to fix this one. I didn’t even notice where it came off and disappeared to.

Luckily, google maps was working and I managed to locate a bike shop in a local town about 5 miles away. The only issue being that it was beyond the summit of the next big hill. So I spent an unscheduled couple of hours pushing 18kg of bike and 30kg of gear over that bloody hill in baking sunshine. I did grab a few snaps on the way;

Having arrived in the town at siesta time I had little choice but to mooch around a bit before €10 and about 10 minutes of the bike shop guy’s time sorted it out for me.

Having a hostel booked in San Sebastián I pushed on another 6 miles to the nearest town with a train station and hopped about a crawling 2 hour train ride to my destination. Not exactly the way I wanted to arrive but I got here.

San Sebastián seems a lovely town, even on a Tuesday evening in March.

The ride to Pamplona tomorrow looks lumpy so I’m going to take some time out and get the LBS to check the bike over while I explore a bit before I head inland.

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