SkiBike Tour 2012-13 - Made It!

Posted: Tuesday, 25 December 2012 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , ,

Well I've made it to Geneva and I really had my doubts, arriving here at 15 minutes past midnight on Christmas Day. Why am I always caught out by last minute disasters that conspire to make for such a mad rush on the lead up to departure day?
On this occasion it was Uncle Fester my tired old Ford Fiesta who threw me a curved ball when one the wheel bearings seized up last week. Most galling was this was not down to neglect, but as a consequence of poor servicing technique on my part a month ago. So my precious pre-Christmas skibike building week was reduced to a mad scramble to source and fit more replacement parts. Exactly the very last thing I needed before a gruelling 700 mile journey across some tough and remote terrain.

Uncle Fester - travelling light in 2010

That sorted, I approached the assembly of a spare skibike with some gusto and blasted through it in a few days, transforming a pile of disparate bits into quite a tasty looking machine. There will be more on this subject soon, once I have had a chance to test it out, see how it behaves and draw some conclusions. Thanks to this manic output, for once I was waxing skis on the evening before the ferry and not the same morning.

I am beginning to think that Uncle Fester is a member of UKIP (a UK Euro Sceptic political party) as every time I hit foreign soil he throws a tantrum. Having crossed the channel, just past Brussels, I could hear a vague whirring noise from behind me. Sure enough once I had stopped and checked, the other wheel bearing was showing signs of a rapid demise. This was around mid-day on Christmas Eve and in continental Europe it is more important than Christmas Day itself. I stopped by a garage where the proprietor was still working and he confirmed that I was well and truly shafted.
I had a think and not wanting to spend all Christmas stuck in Brussels, I decided to keep going and see how far I could get. After all it was only another 450 miles to Geneva, what could go wrong? Keeping my speed below 50 mph the noise level was tolerable, although progress was painfully slow. By the time I reached Geneva the sound was akin to a Lancaster bomber on final approach, but defying my own risk estimate, I had made it to civilisation and a bed for the night.