|Ariel at start line
|Beautiful De Dion trike at tea stop
Somehow this time even the dual carriageway was far more enjoyable. Perhaps knowing what to expect helped and staved off disappointment. The tea stop was marvellous and the bike was threatening enough power to make a rice pudding skin worry. Suitably refreshed before setting off it seemed prudent to check oil. Remarkably the total loss system had by this point used absolutely no oil at all. Luckily I had put some two stroke oil in the petrol and clearances in the well used motor are such that seizure is quite unlikely. Last year I had consumed a tankful by this point. Thinking that this was down to using too thin 30 grade oil I had swapped to 50 this year. Obviously it was proving too gloopy to drop through the oil regulator at all.
As I approached Brighton I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself. Sure a little overheating and consequent power loss was evident, when you are dealing in fractions of horsepower a little difference counts for a lot, but progress had been good and the end was in sight. But coming in to the city outskirts I noticed the brackets supporting the Wall to the bicycle had fractured. A couple of miles to go and with smooth roads I made the decision to press gently on. A mistake. In sight of the Pavilion the Wall decided to break from its partner bicycle and make its own way in life.
Disaster! The motor unit clanked down the road behind the bicycle dragged on by the bowden decompressor and throttle cables. I came to a rapid halt in the middle of a busy junction and made my way to the pavement, cursing the blank-faced car drivers too gormless to stop and let me across.
|1913 TT Douglas at finishing line. Wonderful patina
So close to the end and on busy roads there was little to do but detach the cables, pick the Wall up, and cycle on. I placed the unit on top of the handlebars and, though a bit hairy going through city traffic so top heavily laden, we pedalled across the finishing line to a mini cheer.
Thankfully the Wall sustained only minor flesh wounds and will soon be re-attached to the Raleigh Cross-Frame, perhaps to return next year.....